Friday, May 04, 2007

We're still working hard to get everything ready for the start of the simulation, although really, we're mostly 'in sim' already: we're in a small hab in a remote location, dealing with the challenges of living in a hostile environment. We're not wearing the EVA suits yet, but the many layers of insulation necessary in the cold are almost as bulky and restrictive!

I've taken over the kitchen, whether anyone wants me to or not. The meals have been good so far, although our remaining non-sim ingredients (potatoes and onions) have played an important role. Last night, we did our best to make Simon feel at home with a Quebecois meal: pseudo-poutine (fried potatoes with gravy and cheese), Montreal smoked meat, and fried onions with mushrooms. Not exactly low fat, but hey, we need the blubber for insulation.



A challenge for my foodie friends: Potato latkes made with instant mashed potatoes. Recipes please!

20 comments:

Fergus said...

any sign of Polar Bears yet? any shots been fired?

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Hmmm...I think your aiming for plain old potato cakes, here, unless you want to make a thick mashed potato, dry it back out, and see if it grates...

Saute some onion in the ghee, you got nutmeg? Next time you go to mars remember the whole nutmeg and grater...what have you got for biding agents? Powdered eggs? Don't know how well those will work...Breadcrumbs could help - you got breadcrumbs? Cracker crumbs? Any kind of crumbs?

Ok, saute some onion, make potatoes a little thicker than to recipe, add onions, baking powder if you've got it (maybe two teaspoons?), nutmeg, salt and pepper, form into cakes. If you're having trouble binding them, maybe add some crumbs. Saute cakes on either side till golden brown.

Garnish with creme fraiche and caviar, and fresh watercress, of course. You've got those, right?

Kim Binsted said...

Plain ol' potato cakes would be fine, thanks. Binding agents: yeah, powdered egg is it, I'm afraid. We do have breadcrumbs and cracker crumbs. No nutmeg, but we do have powdered cinnamon and ginger. I still have a couple of boxes coming in on the next resupply flight - might be some nutmeg in there...

As far as polar bears go, the inuit guys on the advance team saw one about 10km from the hab. No shots fired, and we're doing our best to keep it that way.

Kim Binsted said...

We actually will have creme fraiche (thank you, www.cheesemaking.com) and sprouts, at least. No caviar, sadly. Very sadly.

Tim said...

1 box instant potato pancake mix
1/4 cup chopped parsley
Salt and ground pepper
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Prepare potato pancake mix according to box instructions. Add parsley, salt and pepper, to taste. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a shallow non-stick pan. When oil is hot, spoon 1/2 potato mixture into pan and shape into large round pancake. Brown on both sides, making sure it gets crispy and golden brown, about 5 minutes on each side. Remove from pan and place on a paper towel to dry.

Sarah said...

The best latkes don't use flour or breadcrumbs to bind, in my opinion; it makes them thick and gummy. Kristin is suggesting something along the lines of potato croquettes. There's no reason on earth you shouldn't be able to make lovely croquettes out of dried potatoes. A good latke, on the other hand, needs a healthy mix of grated potato, onion and egg. (no other starches) And there are no onions on Mars, correct?

Kim Binsted said...

There are dried onions on Mars. They won't be as nice, but they will add some onioniness. No dried grated potatoes, unfortunatley. They probably exist, but we don't have any. A failure of imagination.

Tim - sorry, no potato pancake mix, just dried mashed potatoes...

Tim said...

Whoops! my bad...
From the Web: Make up the amount of potatoes you want from the instant mashed potato mix. You will need to add all-purpose flour, egg and baking powder, using amounts suggested by regular potato pancake recipes. One egg should be enough. The mix should be stiff enough to handle and to make into pancakes. If they are too soft, add more flour. Add seasonings to your liking and fry in a skillet with oil.

Evgenya said...

Potato latkes are best eaten with apple sauce! got any of that handy? What is the fruit/vegetable situation going to be while 'in sim'? will you folks be taking some sort of dietary supplement?

greetings from australia

(Hi Kristen! I am in the middle of nowhere, 30 km from Coonabarabran. I guess there is likely no chance of bumping into you at the local pub, eh? I hope you australian adventure is off to a great start.)

Kim Binsted said...

We have lots of canned fruit, including (I believe, somewhere) applesauce. The food management situation is difficult. The loft area is stuffed full of boxes with all sorts of food in them, and we have a list of what's up there somewhere, but finding it in the moment can be tricky! The hunt for the jalapenos last night took half an hour...

Sarah said...

So here's what you do - one dried onion, two dried eggs to every three dried potatoes. If it's gloopy, drain a little egg. Salt. Make into patties. Fry on a skillet in hot oil. Top with applesauce or homemade cremefraiche/sour cream. They shouldn't be *awful*...I mean, they're fried! How bad can that be?

Sarah said...

Oh. And you should keep a detailed log of all your experiments. The Martian Cookbook would *totally* sell to the comcon crowd.

Sarah said...

Ever think that you might be displacing your anxiety about a hostile environment, cold and polar bears by obsessing about the food situation?

Tim said...

You wouldn't want to feed a bad latke to a Martian -- That would be cause for disintegration. They feel the same way about margaritas that have no booze. Better get that still going.

Kim Binsted said...

I wouldn't say I'm displacing anxiety, as I'm not really feeling any yet - I'm much less stressed than I was trying to pack all my stuff into storage. Maybe my displacement is just tremendously effective. I think it's more that I enjoy the challenge of making something yummy out of extremely limited ingredients and equipment. The audience is appreciative, too.

One challenge is that the power goes down every now and then, which confuses and upsets the bread machine. So, depending on when in the cycle it is interrupted, we can end up with a great big ball of dough and no oven to cook it in. I made pan bread out of the last lot, which was OK, but now I have a bunch of (what I hope will turn out to be) cinnamon raisin rolls going in the plug-in slow cooker. May or may not work. At the very least, it's making the hab smell nice, which is a mini-triumph in and of itself.

Kim Binsted said...

One more significant reason to cook: two other duties on the chore roster include "waking up at 7am to go outside and refill the generator" and "burning poo".

Sarah said...

Correct answer. Faux latkes beat burning poo. You get tenure, Kim Binsted.

Kim Binsted said...

My first batch of latkes are Jew approved. Mind you, that's Ryan talking, and he merrily chowed down on ham and cheese quesadillas last night. Doubly mind you, I used the last of the pre-sim real potatoes to make them. I'll report back when I make the powdered versions.

Kristin Van Bodegraven said...

Bread crumbs were suggested if and only if dried eggs proved not to have the same magical binding powers as fresh eggs. For what it's worth, a lot of latke reicipes call for flour. Evgenya, how long are you in Oz? You are in NSW, and I am in SA, one state over. I would love to a)See someone from home and b)See another part of Australia!

Speaking of fresh eggs, I had two fresh out of the chicken for breakfast yesterday. Yummy.

Sarah said...

The recipes might call for flour, but the jews don't. Was thinking about my mom's and she definitely pours the batter in with a ladle, doesn't shape them outside the pan first. They're squishy going in. Nice and lacy, crispy, fried. Mmmmmmm. Fried.