How to Cook on Vacation

A list of ingredients to take — and recipes to make — on a long weekend away.

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I’m driving off in the morning to spend a long, and hopefully restorative, weekend with friends, cooking and swimming together, reading books and taking long walks. I’ll stop at the farmers’ market when I get there, but since I’ll be cooking in a rental-house kitchen, and I’m not sure what to expect, I’m also bringing essentials from home — ingredients that might be hard to find or expensive to buy in small quantities, along with a few tools.

What I’m packing for the weekend:

A bottle of extra-virgin olive oil, a deli container of fine kosher salt, a less full deli container of flaky salt, a small pepper mill, a small container of Tajín, a shaker of furikake, a quart container of short-grain rice, a box of dried pasta, a dozen fresh corn tortillas, a few lemons, a few green chiles, a piece of Parmesan, a dozen eggs, a packet of matcha, a tea whisk, a metal grater and an all-purpose, 6-inch chef’s knife.

That all fits in a wide canvas tote bag in the back seat of my car, and it’s everything I really need to take care of a few people for a few days. The eggs are for some kind of fluffy frittata for brunch, probably full of greens I find at the market. The nests of tagliatelle I had lying around are ideal for a springy pasta dish for dinner, with more vegetables and herbs, lemon zest and Parmesan.

The furikake is a shortcut to the flavors of toasted sesame and seaweed, perfect for seasoning hot rice to have with mushrooms or maybe asparagus, tossed with torn herbs, lemon juice and olive oil. Tortillas mean breakfast tacos are always an option, or maybe tacos dorados with potatoes, or with summer squash and mint. The Tajín is to shake over chilled watermelon or mango for a spicy, hydrating snack.

If I’m cooking away from home, I like to have an outline but keep it flexible, so that I can easily adapt to whatever ingredients turn up. If you like to plan things more thoroughly, keep reading — there are enough brunch, snack and dinner recipes below to fill three days.

For Breakfast

Plantains With Jammy Tomatoes and Eggs (above)
Yewande Komolafe’s dish of plantains with jammy tomatoes and eggs is a particularly delicious and comforting way to start the day. Go to the recipe.

Kimchi and Potato Hash With Eggs
Potatoes and eggs are a dreamy pair, and Hetty McKinnon adds kimchi and mayonnaise to make a crisp, spicy hash. I love the idea of wrapping bites in nori as you go. Go to the recipe.

Enfrijoladas Pintos
Jocelyn Ramirez adds chipotle to her pinto bean sauce, making these beautiful enfrijoladas just a little smoky. Skip the sour cream to make it vegan, or use a vegan version. Go to the recipe.

For a Snack

Melon and Avocado Salad With Fennel and Chile (above)
Ali Slagle makes a habit-forming fruit rub using toasted fennel seeds, chile, salt, sugar and lemon zest, then seasons melon and avocado with it. Go to the recipe.

Paneer con Tomate
Browning paneer and covering it in a raw, grated tomato sauce is so fast and satisfying, and you could easily use halloumi or another frying cheese in its place. Go to the recipe.

Chile Verde Guacamole
Pati Jinich’s guacamole is completely transformed with just one ingredient: a blistered, peeled and chopped Anaheim chile, mixed into the avocado right at the end. Go to the recipe.

For Lunch or Dinner

Roasted Potato Salad With Jalapeño Avocado Dressing (above)
Hetty McKinnon’s potatoes and beans drizzled with a jalapeño-avocado dressing are excellent on their own, and they’d be amazing wrapped in warm, puffy tortillas. Go to the recipe.

Crème Fraîche Pasta With Peas and Scallions
This creamy pasta from Hana Asbrink is quick with frozen peas, though you could shuck fresh peas if you’ve got them and blanch those in the pasta water. Go to the recipe.

Vegan Lasagna
If you have a brand you like, you can use store-bought vegan ricotta as a short cut in this lasagna, but if not, try making your own with cashews and firm tofu, as Gena Hamshaw does here. Go to the recipe.

One More Thing

If you’re looking for drink recipes for the long weekend, Rebekah Peppler has a fantastic one for a soothing, nonalcoholic French 75 that starts with a homemade shrub of muddled citrus peels and spices, which you can make ahead — it keeps for a month. And if you’re just getting into making nonalcoholic drinks, you might find these detailed bottle notes from Anna Perling on Wirecutter helpful.

Thanks so much for reading the Veggie, and see you next week.

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