Wednesday, January 13, 2016

RVs and the cookin' ain't easy

Sweet potato/yam soup
Simple is best.

That’s a motto that is near and dear to the heart of anyone who cooks in a recreational vehicle. RV kitchens are miniscule, making food preparation challenging. It’s pretty hard to be a gourmet cook when you don’t have room to prepare an elaborate meal.  

Most EV kitchens don’t have room to bring all the pots and pans you use in everyday cooking in a house. For example, I only had room for one of my six frying pans. I also could only bring two sauce pans. And forget about all those handy-dandy appliances, such as pasta makers and food processors. I had room only for the blender, toaster and waffle iron, only bringing them out when I needed to use them. 

Plus, only one of the three burners on our trailer’s propane stove had an adjustable temperature control. They others had one setting: high.  

Undoubtedly there are some cooks who can function under these challenges. I wasn’t one of them.

One pot/pan meals quickly became the norm, and the simpler the recipe, the better. Macaroni and cheese, and soups became my go-to dishes.

Sweet potato soup quickly became one of our favorites. It’s hearty and filling, and easy to prepare. I found this recipe online, but tweaked it a lot, adding this, eliminating that, until I found the combination we liked best

In the recipe below, I used ham chunks from a package of pieces and slices. I saved the slices for lunch sandwiches, and used the pieces in soups. You can also buy ham cubes in packages, but they’re really too tiny for this soup. The original recipe called for chicken broth, but I just mixed powdered chicken bouillon with water. The original recipe also called for just sweet potatoes, which can be hard to find, especially in small towns. We tried it with yams; it was OK, but not as good as sweet potatoes. The ideal combination turned out to be one of each, as show in the accompanying photograph.

 I don’t use measurements in this recipe, but it will feed 2-3 people easily, with maybe some left over for lunch the next day. You can easily double or triple the recipe depending on how hungry or how many people you have to feed.. Serve it with a green salad and fruit for dessert. 

Cheryl’s Sweet Potato Soup

Sauté ham chunks (4-6 ounces)  in a couple of tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle some dried minced onions over the top. Stir the ham frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom.

Peel and cut up sweet potatoes or yams.  Don’t make the chunks too tiny. Add them to the ham chunks in batches, sprinkling a heaping tablespoon of flour over the potatoes between batches; stir after each addition.

Pour chicken broth or powdered chicken bouillon mixed with water over the potatoes to cover them. Bring to a boil, then simmer until the broth is thickened and the potatoes are done. Stir frequently throughout the cooking. Salt and pepper to taste – I normally don’t add salt because of the ham, though. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!