Reporting Jay Lloyd
Wanna’ spend a ski week with 2 or 3 youngsters without taking out a second mortgage? Sure, it’s possible. Here’s the most funding friendly path. First pair up with another couple and their kids. Then pick your mountain and split the cost of a slopeside or nearby condo. Choose one to fit your group, bedrooms and lofts for 6, 8 or 10. It shaves a chunk off hotel bills. And since they have fully equipped kitchens, you can cut out one of the biggest budget busters – the food bill. You don’t want to spend skiing time over a hot stove, but what Mary and I have done is a combination of cooking batches of comfy food at home and packing one-pot ingredients to carry along, either frozen or refrigerated. The condo refrigerators and freezers are full size. Here’s some of what we take to be simply heated and served, or cooked up fresh while we’re making turns on the slopes. These are guidelines (not detailed recipes). — Jay Lloyd
CLAY POT CHICKEN
The well seasoned clay pot has been one of our best kitchen friends for 40 years – and when we rent ski houses, it goes right along. It’s a covered pot that goes into a cold oven, then set at 400 degrees. Simply take a whole chicken, set in the pot, surrounded by carrots, cut potatoes and celery. Cover and park it in the oven. Then go out and play for an hour-and-forty-minutes. Take it out and serve it up.
CLAY POT PORK AND KRAUT
Fresh, bag, jar or canned kraut. It all works. In a bowl mix it up with a diced apple or apple sauce, pepper to taste, some caraway seeds and enough white wine to keep it moist. Lay it in the pot, top it with a seasoned, boneless pork loin roast, cover and put in the cold oven, then set for 400 degrees. Go chop some firewood or skate on the pond and come back in an hour-and-a-half for a 1-1/2 pound roast. Eat.
SUNDAY SAUCE AND PASTA
Prepare this at home and carry frozen or refrigerated. It will stay good for a couple of weeks. Bake meat balls and set aside. Use a Dutch oven to saute onions and minced garlic in olive oil. Brown sausage and boneless spare ribs. Then add your favorite tomato sauce ingredients. Put the Dutch oven in the big oven, set to 325 degrees for an hour. Add the meatballs for another 30 minutes. Take your favorite pasta along to be cooked at the mountain house.
This classic Italian soup can be a great replacement for the standard ski week Chili. Why? Well, I found that many kids and more adults than will admit it, don’t care for the chili powder that often flavors Chili. There are many Pasta Fagioli recipes, but they basically involve sauteing ground beef in a Dutch Oven or stock pot and at varying intervals add beef broth, beans, vegetables, pasta, tomato sauce, herbs and spices. If you’re not comfortable with guessing at measurements and timing per ingredient, one of the recipes that Mary and I enjoy is a homemade version of the Olive Garden’s. Then just adjust the type of beans, herbs and spices to match your own taste. Here it is: http://www.cdkitchen.com/recipes/recs/524/Olive_Garden_Pasta_E_Fagioli35471.shtml
Most stews, chowders and veggie and meat laden soups can fill the same bill. The trick is deciding how much you need for the crowd sharing the house. Resign yourself. You will take too much. If you need more cold storage, chances are there will be snow at the front door. It’s nature’s refrigerator. Just keep food well covered so you don’t wind up feeding a fox. Burying bottles or cans of beer in the snow has a vanishing offside. If it snows overnight, you may have trouble finding it. But some springtime renter will get a great welcome surprise.