Monday, May 31, 2010

Iron Chef: Hotel Room

The snow continues while our airplane is safely ensconced in a hangar. It's cold and windy and nasty outside, so no one really wants to go out to a restaurant, even though there are lots on this block. It's time to stay in and eat the stuff I've bought and placed in the hotel fridge.

It's time for buffalo. Or bison. Or whatever. The giant humped bovine that once dominated the grasslands here is properly called a bison (really: the scientific name for the subspecies is Bison bison bison, so they're really sure about the bison part) but everyone calls it a buffalo. I'm using the words interchangeably, because that's how I talk. I bought the rib steak when the project manager mentioned that he had brought a barbecue, but the weather hasn't supported barbecuing, so I'm going to have to prepare it another way.

A reader commented recently, I look forward to The Aviatrix Cookbook - 101 gourmet meals you can prepare in a hotel microwave oven, featuring special recipes suitable for re-heating on a Lycoming Turbo 540 and/or Janitrol cabin heater. That's pretty close to reality. At the same time, I was thinking about a new Food Network show in which contestants are given a per diem, a knapsack, a microwave-safe Tupperware container and a Swiss Army knife. They can source any ingredients and supplies they like as long as they can walk to where they are sold, pay for them on the per diem, and carry them back to the hotel in the knapsack. And then you have to prepare the best meals possible. Your only cooking appliance is a single microwave oven in the hotel lobby. You may also use a plastic spoon, a hotel ice bucket, and a daily copy of the National Post. Here are my instructions for Buffalo Stew.

Create a cutting board by laying the plastic bag liner from the icebucket on top of yesterday's National Post. Using the large Swiss Army knife blade:

  • Cut one 300-400 g bison steak into bite-sized pieces
  • Dice one medium onion
  • Halve a handful of mushrooms

Place the diced onion in the tupperware bowl with a 15 mL olive oil and about 5mL salt-free Italian herb seasoning. Nuke five minutes, stirring once.

Add mushrooms, steak, 20 mL tomato paste, 200 mL red wine (you can buy it in Alberta liquor stores in mini 250 mL bottles), and some more seasoning mix. Nuke with lid as splatter guard, four or five minute at a time, stirring and adding more wine as required. When the meat is just done let sit for a few minutes, right in the hotel lobby where everyone coming out of the hotel restaurant is looking at you and wishing that the restaurant food was as good as that smells. Take back to hotel room and eat.

I had mine with spring salad greens and a multigrain dinner roll. It wasn't all piled up with radicchio on a cute little plate, though.

A before-bed weather check reveals:

METAR CYLL 240500Z AUTO 31012G19KT 9SM -RAUP OVC007 01/00 A2967 RMK SLP071 MAX WND 31019KT AT 0454Z

The AUTO group indicates that human observers have gone home and robots are doing the reporting. The -RAUP group indicates that the robots have observed light rain and unknown precipitation. I always like to imagine for a moment that that it means a biblical plague like frogs or anvils or blood, but so far it never has been. The unknown is probably snow or related white frozen precipitation. Stupid robots. Stupid weather.


Anonymous said...

If you like bison bison bison, you'll love "Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo". It is grammatically correct for any number of buffalo. :)

Rhonda said...

That sounds really tasty.

It reminds me of one of the times I was cooking in a hotel room (hotel room with kitchen was an option on this trip, and I don't really like restaurant food too many days in a row). I had gone grocery shopping, but had completely neglected to realize that the hotel kitchen was not as well stocked as my own, and was missing such basics as cooking oil.

I did, however, have orange juice. I fried the chicken in orange juice, then when that was done, cooked the asparagus in the frying pan in the remaining orange juice, then when that was done, tossed some (cooked in the only other pot) pasta in what had now become an orange juice reduction. Then I seasoned to taste with the little micro pepper packets.

It was very orangey, but delicious, and I would make any one of those dishes again. Just not all three at the same time.

Anonymous said...

I've finally determined the Corningware French White round 16oz bowl with plastic cover to be the ultimate dish for the travelling pilot. It weighs more than the plastic, but won't stain, is nicer to eat from, and allays any concerns over nuking plastics. They also make an over-sized mug with vented lid that looks intriguing.

zb said...

Stupid robots.

Heh, speaking of robots: A project that was about turning industrial robots into roller coasters seems to have similarities with a project about building a heli simulator. Looks like fun, eh?

Cirrocumulus said...

Unknown Precipitation = "Raining cats and dogs"

Anonymous said...

Or in Japan - raining Datsun Cogs !