Recipes to avoid spoilage

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Bento-ing from: › USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2009
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maki
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Bento-ing from: somewhere › France
Joined: 24 Jan 2007
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Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

Wow, 90 plus degrees for several hours eh. In your case I would seriously consider investing in a proper cooler box. They aren't that expensive, and you'll really get your money's worth out of it. Get some extra ice packs to go with it. You might consider putting some bottles of water or something in the freezer the night before to go in the cooler too, to keep yourself hydrated. Regular tap water in reusable bottles would do. We haul around a icy-water packed cooler like this in the heat of the summer when we are toodling around the hotter parts of this region, and believe me that cooler has really paid off! I think we paid like about US $25 for a pretty big one (it holds at least 4 2-litre bottles of water), plus a couple of extra ice packs.

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Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

My sister usually packs a cooler with ice packs, one frozen bottle, and one unfrozen bottle of water in the trunk of her car (she goes back and forth from school and clinicals 12-14 hours a day), and it works for her. She does not have a huge cooler it is about 1' x 1.5' x 1', and I think it was about $10-$15.

What she found she really liked were fancy salads, but you just have to make sure it is not too close to anything frozen otherwise the lettuce gets funky.

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

My recipe suggestion would be Gazpacho (you can eat it with those PB sandwiches if you like).

It can be kept in an insulated thermos flask, so should stay pleasantly cool even after several hours in that ridiculous heat (I'm not sure what a thermos or vacuum flask is called in the US, it's an insulated container that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold)

Measurements don't have to be exact and you can go adjusting them to your taste. As long as you have a blender/liquidiser it is really quick and simple to prepare. Here's my version, it's based on what was taught to me by a friend's mother from Granada in Andalucía.

4-5 medium/large tomatoes - the riper the better
1 small cucumber or half a large one
1 bell pepper, deseeded - preferably red or green, but orange or yellow will do.
a small slice of onion (you can use a shallot or some scallions/spring onions if you prefer). - A little goes a LONG way
Half a garlic clove (a whole one if it's very small) - Again, a very noticeable flavour.
1 chunk of stale/hard bread (or fresh bread slightly toasted or half a cup of toasted/sauted breadcrumbs)
Plenty of olive oil (extra virgin preferred)
a dash of wine, cider or rice vinegar
salt
cold water/ice cubes

Cut the tomatoes, cucumbers and bell pepper into pieces, cut up the onion and garlic also. Put them all into the blender, add approximately an inch of the olive oil, a small dribble of vinegar (be very careful not to add too much vinegar, you can always add more later), a teaspoon or two of salt and blitz the lot until smooth.
Add some cold water to the stale/toasted bread to soften and add this to the liquidised vegetables (or just cool the breadcrumbs and add them). Add 4 or 5 ice cubes. Blitz again.
Taste the result. If it's too thick, add more ice cubes. Adjust vinegar, salt and olive oil to taste.
Shake the flask before serving.

Once you've got the hang of it and know how many ice cubes you need to get it to the right consistency, keep some of the ice cubes whole in the flask - it will keep the gazpacho ice cold for longer. The ideal way might be to make the gazpacho a little thicker than you require the night before and keep it in the refrigerator (the flavours will mature this way). Add some ice cubes when you pour it into the insulated container the next morning. Be sure not to add too much water as the result becomes insipid.

Watch out for the onion and garlic as both these ingredients are quite potent, if you don't like either of them, don't use them. Then again, you may want more.

You can eat it with a spoon if you like. I usually drink it.

At the height of a Spanish summer (temperatures regularly reach 100F and above) this is sometimes the only thing I can bear to eat in the middle of the day. For me it's survival food. Mercifully, it takes me under 5 minutes to prepare.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

My mum first soaks the bread in the vinegar and then mix everything and process it but I guess the result will be the same.

I love gazpacho!!! I'm waiting for summer so I'll make big gazpacho batches so I can have some everyday! :D

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My bento blog: http://justbento.com/blog/1305
My art blog: http://jizaacaso.deviantart.com

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

Speaking about gazpacho, there is a brand that makes the BEST pre-made gazpacho ever. It's called "Alvalle", I recall seeing it outside Spain but I'm not sure. You should try it because it's almost like home-made. Really!

Loretta
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Bento-ing from: London › UK
Joined: 4 Mar 2009
User offline. Last seen 1 year 12 weeks ago.
Alvalle Gazpacho

Out of the commercially available pre-made gazpacho, I'd agree this is the best (it's that marvellous Murcian produce they use!). It's the same gazpacho MacDonalds use in Spain.

It can be found in the UK, one supplier is Brindisa where it costs about GBP6.50 a litre (about 7.5Euros). It's slightly cheaper from http://www.partridges.co.uk/ at £5.95. (You can find it from websites selling mail order to North America, but it costs more than $20 a litre this way!)

I tend to have this Alvalle (now part of the Tropicana empire) product most if I'm in Spain for the summer but staying outside of Alicante in a hotel or apartment without a kitchen/liquidiser/blender. I honestly find that gazpacho is so easy and quick and cheap to make that paying £6 or more is too much of an extravagance (and my recipe is better anyway! :D). But I would strongly recommend that any British based readers NOT try British brands of pre-made gazpacho. I've tried some made by Marks and Spencers and the New Convent Garden Food Company, both were vile.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Alvalle Gazpacho

your recipe is BETTER??? aw you are my goddess! Alvalle gazpacho tastes almost exactly the same as the one my mum prepares! O_oU
I usually buy it pre-made... but you're right it's way cheaper here... also, my husband doesn't really like it so i prefer not cooking it just for myself! :)

anon.
Re: Alvalle Gazpacho

Any chance you would share your recipe? I miss Alvalle gazpacho like crazy and nothing I've had in the states has measured up.

Stephanie
Bento-ing from: San Lorenzo › California › USA
Joined: 15 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 18 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

Speaking of cold soup, borsch is eaten cold in the summer months (I usually had it with a mashed up hard-boiled egg). I don't like it , but I thought I would throw it out there in case someone does.

pii_bii
Bento-ing from: Newcastle-upon-Tyne
Joined: 6 Jan 2009
User offline. Last seen 3 years 28 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

That gazpacho sounds great; I've never made it before, but may be tempted now.

Jiza
Bento-ing from: Madrid › Spain
Joined: 13 Feb 2009
User offline. Last seen 2 years 48 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

It's a very fresh food and it's great for summer. My mother makes it almost everyday from may to september... but that's mostly because of my brother's addiction to gazpacho, lol!
It's also a great way to eat lots of raw veggies that you don't like (like green peppers!).
But beware it's not that "diet" food since it has bread on it!

arlia11
Bento-ing from: Framingham › Massachusetts › USA
Joined: 5 Apr 2009
User offline. Last seen 4 years 6 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

For a simple thing, i would stay away from things like mayo and cheeses, dressing, etc. Simple foods will keep the best. I mean, think of apples - they won't spoil if kept warm, and you can spritz lemon on them to keep them from getting brown. Grapes will be alright as well, and if you use hard crusty bread rolls like mini ciabattas and keep it separate from ANYTHING that might get it wet, it will be fine too.

You can also probably stand to use butter for things, like butter a roll and have fruits or some really dry veggies and leafy greens that are well dried.

I think the key is to keep all moisture out of it and make sure anything cooked has a LOT of time to cool down completely so it will not make any moisture or condensation.

You could also line your bento with parchment to make sure there is a bit of a barrier to the plastic so the food doesnt have a chance to make moisture?

Just some thoughts.

Alice
Bento-ing from: Leicester › UK
Joined: 9 Jun 2008
User offline. Last seen 3 years 26 weeks ago.
Re: Recipes to avoid spoilage

I'm not sure parchment would help, since the moisture would be coming from the food.

I think a food thermos would be worth investing in. If you got a big compartmented one, you could even keep ice in one of the compartments in order to keep it cool.

Me and the creature both have huge compartmented insulated food flasks from lakeland that Mum and I found on sale. They don't sell those anymore, but there are plenty of alternatives out their, probably of a more realistic size.

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