Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Feed Zone Portable Cookbook

Alright! I've had almost 3 weeks with the new Feed Zone Portables cookbook from our friends at SkratchLabs. It surpasses my expectations on every level. My first reaction to some of the stuff that I read in the book was "This stuff is CRAZY! I'll never eat this as ride food!" Wow was I wrong.

The first things I made were the Spiced Beef & Onion Rice Cakes. I picked the weirdest thing that I figured there's NO WAY I can eat this on the road. Beef, onions and a LOT of ginger! I'm an adventurous eater, but that just seemed way too spicy to be chowing down on in the middle of a ride. I figured even if I like it, there's NO FREAKIN' WAY anyone else is going to eat them. Dang was I wrong! I love them! They're perfect for riding. The ginger makes them easy on the stomach. I had 3 different portables with me that day. I figured VVill would eat one 'cause he likes spicy food, but that I'd be hauling them back home with me. I was wro.... wro.... WRONG!!! again. They all got chowed down and were the first to go.

What kind of crazy is it to bake a meat pie and take it as ride food? It would seem that it is not crazy at all. Beef & Sweet Potato Pies were awesome. They're a hair under 300 calories each and make AWESOME ride food! They have many different crust options. I chose to make them in a cupcake tin so that they'd fit perfectly into my Revelate Feedbag. 4 fit into the feedbag perfectly. The crust protected the pies and they were not at all gooey. They were exactly what I was craving in the middle of a long day in the saddle.

They take a little longer to bake than the rice cakes do. I can make a big batch of rice cakes in about 40 minutes including clean-up. It took me 1h20 to bake the pies. They are definitely worth it, but I still needed to speed my production or I wouldn't want to bake them very often. I figured it out! Double the recipe and stagger the process of making filling. I made a dozen beef pies and 10 apple pies in a hair under 2 hours (including clean-up). I made the crust first (2 individual batches in the food processor since one huge batch wouldn't fit) then I made the beef filling. While the beef pies were baking, I cleaned up and made the apple filling. Beef pies came out, I put them on a cooling rack and stuffed the apple pies. They were in the oven in no time! I cleaned up while they were baking. They went onto a cooling rack next to the beef pies. My wife and I had pies for dinner (time saving 'cause I'm making dinner + ride food!). By the time we were done with dinner, the pies were cool and ready to wrap up. 2 pies went in the fridge for today's ride, the rest went into the freezer in freezer bags. I'll put them out on the counter the night before a ride and they'll be thawed by morning. I've got ride food for the week!

Probably the best find for summer are the Blueberry & Chocolate Coconut Rice Cakes. They're delicious! They're great energy. They're vegetarian. They got gobbled up at Kill Bill Century VERY quickly. I used lime juice instead of lemon because it was what I had. It worked perfectly and tasted great. I went easy on the salt... easier than Biju recommends... and that was a mistake. They would have been better tasting and better ride food with a bit more salt in them. He says 1.5 tsp coarse salt. I'd suggest starting with 1tsp and seeing how that tastes and adding a little from there. I only used .5tsp and that wasn't quite enough.

The benefit of this book is that it is NOT all stuff that is difficult to make. The pies are quite involved to make and it helps to have experience making pastry dough... though they can also be your entry into getting pastry dough experience if you're so inclined. The rice bars are easy to make. Having a good rice cooker helps. Some of the recipes are SUPER EASY! The Blueberry & Chocolate Coconut rice cakes are extremely simple. PB&J Rice Cakes take barely longer than the time it takes to cook the rice. They make GREAT ride food too. They are inexpensive and provide GREAT calories for riding.

We're constantly exploring and having lots of fun with it. Let me know what you've tried. I look forward to hearing about your adventures in cooking these things. There's LOTS of room for variations on the recipes. Changing things up changes the nutrition of the portables, but if it makes it easier to eat on the road, then it's all good!

Have fun! Eat well!


PS: One more added benefit to these things... they're MUCH EASIER to unwrap and eat while riding than any energy bar or gel that I've ever seen. Not a big deal for most, but for those of us who often eat without stopping for a break, that is HUGE!

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