AUTHOR: Julia TITLE: One for the Road (Recipe: Chap Jae) DATE: 11/20/2009 01:53:00 AM ----- BODY:

The (holiday) travel season is upon us.

Boarding Passes? Printed.

Luggage? Packed.


Most airports highway rest-stops are food-challenged. Though driving offers more flexibility, the last thing I want to do is divert my route for decent food when I still have 5 hours to go. Whenever I travel, I pack a picnic.

Menu planning takes into account the obvious that I want to satiate my hunger and eat healthy. It needs to travel well and pack light.   But perhaps most important, the meal must stave off any cravings I might have for crappy food along the way -- I’ll admit I’m enticed by the aroma of Cinna-bons in the airport or fried chicken at highway rest-stops.

My picnic basket usually includes snacky foods like carrot sticks and whole wheat crackers. To satisfy my (limited) sweet tooth, I buy a bag of Stacy’s Cinnamon Pita chips. They aren’t the healthiest, but certainly better than the other sweet options.

For my main meal, I usually pack something that requires a fork (but no knife), so I feel like I’m really eating a meal.

Chap Jae, a Korean noodle dish, is a wonderful complete meal – with vegetables, starch and protein. It has plenty of umami from the dried mushrooms and soy sauce, which makes it extra satisfying. Like many Asian stir-fries, it’s also a great way to use up bits of left-over vegetables in the pantry. In my case, I gleaned a few leaves of kales, celery and scallions from the garden.

What's your go-to road-food?

Chap Jae
½ pound sweet potato noodles (found in Asian Markets) or vermicelli
½ pound boneless chicken or beef, cut into thin strips
5 dried mushrooms, rehydrated in warm water
3 scallions
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce + extra for seasoning
1 tablespoon sesame oil + extra for cooking
1 ½ teaspoon sugar
1 onion, peeled and sliced thin
Extra soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar for seasoning.

Julienne of Vegetables, which can include any or all of the following:
Red Peppers
Bamboo Shoots
Green Beans

1. In a bowl, combine the thin strips of meat and mushrooms with soy sauce, sesame oil, sugar, garlic and scallions. Let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. If using sweet potato noodles, cook for 2 minutes. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil. If using wheat vermicelli, cook according to package directions. Drain and rinse under cold water. Toss with 1 tablespoon of sesame oil.
3. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add sesame oil and onions. Cook onions until soft. Add chicken and mushrooms and continue cooking until meat is cooked through. Add vegetables. When vegetables are tender, remove from heat.
4. To the same pan, add another bit of sesame oil. Stir fry noodles over high heat for 2 minutes. Stir in the vegetables and meat.
5. Adjust seasoning with extra soy sauce, sesame oil and/or sugar.

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----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Tall Kate DATE:11/20/2009 08:59:00 AM I always need protein, but I also crave crunchy foods (not so much with the sweets). So: Carrot sticks, yes. Apples. Hummus, with pita chips (sometimes even homemade). String cheese (not exactly original, but it has fat and protein and I have young kids!). If I'm ambitious, some bean or lentil soup in a thermos. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Katie DATE:11/20/2009 09:02:00 AM That looks like a great travel option! I usually take any leftovers that need to be eaten (ideally something that doesn't taste too terrible when eaten cold), lots of carrots, and a few pieces of fruit. I got some strange looks last year as I spread out my Thanksgiving leftovers while on a plane at 9 am (I had been up since 4, so it seemed like an appropriate lunch time). ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Cinnamon-Girl Reeni♥ DATE:11/20/2009 09:34:00 PM This is loaded with goodies! This is the best road food I've ever seen! My road food is larabars! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Blogger Julia DATE:11/21/2009 08:49:00 AM Tall Kate -- clearly you're driving! I tried taking Hummus on the plane once and the confiscated it at security!

Katie -- I'm with you... I can eat just about anything, anytime.

Reeni -- good for you! if all I had were larabars, I'd so be chowing on fried chicken and cinnabons. No will power. ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) DATE:11/21/2009 05:44:00 PM Strips of roasted or grilled chicken breast, grapes, and low-carb bagels, for trips where I want to make only minimal stops along the way, or to bring on the plane. Sometimes for flights, if I'm feeling wicked, I'll pack vegetable sushi and a pair of chopsticks. Makes my seat-mates jealous! ----- COMMENT: AUTHOR:Anonymous noble pig DATE:11/22/2009 11:02:00 AM Wow, you are organized, we always stop to eat! ----- --------