A virtual cooking class on wheels, the RV Cooking Show takes viewers on adventures to some of the most sought-after or interesting but little known RV locales then creates a healthy, easy destination-related RV recipe in host Evanne Schmarder's RV kitchen. Tune in to our RV TV...it's always delicious!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Six Words About Your RV Life

Calling all wordsmiths, writers, witty individuals or families…can you condense your RV and camping experiences and expectations into six words? I double dog dare ya to share Six Words About Your RV Life!!

Have you heard of the six word memoirs project from SMITH Magazine? In 2006 the fine minds behind SMITH Magazine offered aspiring writers, poets, those with something to say, and plain ole witty folk an opportunity to tell their story in six words. It’s said that Hemingway did just that when challenged to write a six word story. He came up with this: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Thousands of others from the famous to the neighbor-next-door have submitted their six word story in several SMITH Magazine projects including a series on Love & Heartbreak.

And this got me thinking about my own six word memoirs…stories about my life on the road, as an RVer. My motto and the RV Cooking Show’s tag line is a mere six words – “Love to travel. Love to eat.” I quickly realized we all have a story to tell, a short ditty to share – especially when it comes to our RV and camping travels.

So, with much anticipation and excitement I am delighted to introduce a special six word series – Six Words About Your RV Life. Think about your adventures and see if you can craft a six word memoir about your RV vacation, lifestyle, camping experiences. Leave your six words on this RVCookingShow blog page – Six Words About Your RV Life. Sign in or don’t. Leave your name or not. Contribute as many single six word comments as you’d like and check back often to see what others have contributed.

I’ll start the project out with a couple of mine in the comments below. Give it a go. I think you’ll find it addictive and a blast! As the SMITH folks say…Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

RV Cooking Show

Monday, September 21, 2009

RV Park and Campground Libraries

One of the first things that I do when I get my camper setup in an RV park or campground is scout out the clubhouse. I’m interested in the restrooms, pool area and laundry but my real mission is to find the library. Library??? Yes, indeed. RVers often have a voracious reading habit and minimal storage space. Agree?

Find the library (sometimes in the laundry room) and you may find magazines, books, videos, games, puzzles, newspapers and more. It works like this – take one, leave one or borrow and return one. At the very least, book and magazine exchanges can be found at almost every park. The titles you’ll find in the camp’s library are as varietous as a big city library – magazines from Oprah to Popular Mechanics to Smithsonian to Highways, both fiction and non-fiction books - medical, travel, suspense, romance, etc. and often puzzles of every challenge level.

Occasionally you’ll run across an RV park or campground library that offers videos and/or DVDs. You may be asked to sign them out – after all, RVers work on the honor system – but chances are you’ll find an interesting selection for your enjoyment. Videos are usually not for exchange but donations to the collection are always welcome. Borrow them for a day or two – free - but please remember to return them. Games follow the same procedure and are for everyone’s enjoyment.

Perhaps you are an RVer and a reader interested in an exchange. Before you leave home gather up the magazines, books, videos, games, etc. you’ve already enjoyed and plan to visit camp libraries everywhere you stop. Don’t worry if they aren’t the latest and greatest. Not always are the magazines current but the content is as valuable as the day it came out. Recipes are still tasty, motivational advice still gets me revved, touching family stories still move me.

I always try to have a few good books on hand in the rig to exchange. You don’t have to exchange in the same genre, either. As I entered Idaho on my way to the Olympic Peninsula I was in search of a fairly recent (within 3 years) AAA Pacific Northwest Travel Guide. I found not only one but three for exchange and traded a novel for the AAA book that was in the best condition. Sometimes I find a cookbook or simple living guide that I think is too good to pass up. It’s those moments that I’m glad I have exchanges on hand.

Some of the very best RV park libraries I’ve run across are those in the Escapees parks or other seasonal or residential parks. Please respect their rules and requests when it comes to “reference” items. Believe it or not, they may have a “reference only” section – not for exchange. Who knew??

So, when packing up your fine home-away-from-home, bring along your “used” books, magazines or other entertainment items and know that more often than not interesting material is at hand – add or exchange as you see fit!!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

RV Cooking Show's Top 5 Ways with Tomatoes

It’s September and in most areas of the country we are nearing the end of the tomato growing season. Sure you can get tomatoes at the grocery store year-round but, with the exception of a few sweet imports, they rarely live up to our summertime tomato memories. Sweet, juicy, fragrant, huge, misshapen, petite, rosy red, striped green, yellow or orange I love fresh from the vine tomatoes (and I’ll bet that you do, too)!

As a tribute to the beloved and fleeting summer tomato I’ve compiled five of my favorite ways I use tomatoes in my RV kitchen – in no particular order...and there are a million more. Take a stroll through my tomato repertoire and please add your own comments, recipes, ideas, and any other tomato trivia below.

Caprese Salad – This delicious Italian salad is beautiful and elegant. Perfect as a starter for an alfresco meal and good enough to enjoy as a small meal with some fresh baked ciabatta bread, it’s as easy and welcome as a summer breeze. Here’s a how-to – you’ll need fresh ripe tomatoes – sliced thick, mozzarella cheese (best if you can find buffalo milk mozzarella – if not use fresh cow’s milk mozzarella) – sliced in thick rounds, several fresh basil leaves – torn, salt/pepper, and a good quality extra virgin olive oil. Arrange the tomatoes, cheese, and basil in a circle overlapping one another. Season with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Pure heaven.

BLT – When we first began our fulltime RV adventure we stopped at my sister-in-laws – a great gardener. While there are a lot of wonderful memories from that visit the one that plays again and again is the BLT sandwiches she brought over to our camper (parked on her property) and we enjoyed in my little RV kitchen. Thick slices of fresh, grainy bread toasted and spread with a touch of mayonnaise, ample crispy, salty bacon (don’t skimp on the bacon, okay!), iceberg lettuce, and thick, dripping slices of red, ripe tomatoes from her garden. Like avocado? ‘Tis the season – add some creamy slices of the green goodness to your BLT and make it a BLTA!

Stuffed and Grilled – I’m grabbing every moment of grilling time left and have had more than my share of ooey-gooey, blue cheese stuffed, bread crumb-topped grilled tomatoes this summer. Visit this RV Cooking Show episode page and watch the grilled blue cheese tomato video, print the recipe or do both!

Pico de Gallo – No kidding, a neophyte in the RV kitchen I was in a South Padre Island grocery and struck up a conversation about peppers with an employee – a Mexican fellow - who proudly shared his wife’s pico de gallo recipe. What a treat – easy and delicious! This no-cook salsa-like dip has a fresh flavor that is perfect for potlucks or happy hours (served with tortilla chips) or served beside any Mexican dish. I love this dish so much that I included it as one of my trio of salsas in this RV Cooking Show episode. Watch, print, or both – it’s all good!

Roasted – This is my favorite method for saving and savoring summer’s tomato bounty well into winter. While it’s a challenge to roast tomatoes in my RV oven I jump at the opportunity (and share, too) to prepare these tasty tidbits when visiting a friend with a home kitchen. Here’s a how-to: Preheat the oven to 250. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. Brush or spray lightly with extra virgin olive oil. Thickly slice as many tomatoes as will fit on the sheet (don’t be shy – use all types of tomatoes – even cherries halved). Roughly chop several cloves of garlic (or leave clumps of cloves whole in their “paper” to roast and use later). Arrange the tomatoes on the cookie sheet, sprinkle with the garlic, top with more extra virgin olive oil and a generous dusting of salt and pepper. Bake 2-4 hours until roasted and rather dry on the outside but still a little moist inside. Allow to cool (go ahead, pop a few in your mouth and be prepared to be swept away!), gather them up into a Ziploc freezer bag and freeze for later use.

And hey, a little trivia…the jelly-like substance around the seeds contains the highest concentration of vitamin C…or so they say… And it’s been proven that our bodies absorb lycopene – thought to be a strong cancer-fighter - found in high concentrations in tomatoes – when eaten with a bit of fat – say olive oil.

To tomatoes!!


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