Hold the Peanuts. How to survive airline travel with your taste buds in tact.

I usually take the time to make myself real food when I’m at home but somehow when I travel I’m suddenly eating much differently. Well I’m headed out today and nope, no more. The hummus and pretzels that I usually buy are staying on the store shelf. Why not eat on the road the way I do at home? I’m prone to the hangries and there is no way my arrival at what would be 10PM my time is going to be pretty if I don’t have some food. So United,  keep your peanuts and pretzels. I’m going to bring myself something flavorful and delicious. This meal is easy to make and pack and I’m looking forward to unwrapping this deliciousness later. I generally try to avoid bringing extremely aromatic food on flights but frankly I’d much rather smell basil than McDonald’s or nail polish. Yeah, that happened on a flight.

Traveling Caprese Salad: a log of mozzarella, 1 large tomato, basil leaves, good olive oil, balsamic vinegar & salt. Ziploc now makes these handy narrow rectangular containers that are perfect for this portable salad. I slice the cheese into rounds then each round in half to fit the container. Do the same with the tomato.  Layer cheese, tomato and basil for 2-3 layers depending on thickness of cuts. After each item sprinkle with a few drops, about 1/4 tsp good olive oil, a few drops of good balsamic vinegar (about 1/4 tsp) and a few pieces (2-3 per layer of sliced basil). Slice the stack down the middle to make bite sized pieces. End with a few sprigs of basil, a few more drops of oil and a few more drops of vinegar.

***This step is not necessary but hey, I eat with my eyes. Because I want to make sure it fits I make the Caprese salad in the container then invert it onto a small cutting board to cut it into bite-sized pieces. I then place the container on top of the sliced salad and invert it. It remains perfectly-stacked and I’m certain it will fit.***

A French Italian Sandwich – I rarely eat sandwiches because I’m super picky about them. The bread, the ingredients all have to be first rate and if there’s a bit of sogginess I’m done. An Italian sub is one of my favorite sandwiches and I’ve discovered it travels quite well. With its use of quality cold cuts and salami, tangy vinaigrette and crusty bread it’s a travel rockstar. I’m calling this one the French Italian because of my use of French bread this time. I normally make it with ciabatta but when the grocer lets you down, you make do. The key is use a hard crusty bread so the sandwich doesn’t get soggy. 

1 loaf French bread or ciabatta, use deli thin slices of the following: 4 slices Provolone; 4 slices mortadella (or good bologna as an alternative); 4 slices Genoa salami; 4 slices boiled ham; 4 slices other hard salami of your choice; a small handful of arugula; red wine vinaigrette (make a quick dressing with a few tablespoons of olive oil, a few teaspoons of red wine vinegar, a teaspoon of oregano or Italian seasoning and pinch of salt use or Boars Head deli dressing or Italian dressing); banana peppers; basil

  1. Cut the ends off the baguette and using the middle, cut 2 pieces 4.5 inches long and then slice them horizontally. Drizzle both sides of the bread with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 5 minutes. The goal is to dry the bread out a bit. Let the bread cool.
  2. Drizzle vinaigrette over both cut sides of the bread, about 1-1/2 tsp per side. Assemble all ingredients on the bread. Use the boiled ham as a folder – tuck the greens into it and fold over. This way you don’t have fewer greens escaping. Finish stacking the sandwich and before ending with a slice of provolone, drizzle the sandwich with a few teaspoons more of the vinaigrette. Add the sandwich top and then wrap the entire sandwich TIGHTLY in foil. With your hand or between 2 cutting board or with your flat bottomed boot press the heck out of the sandwich. Press it like you mean it. Press it like its done you wrong. It should flatten by half. Wrap in another piece of foil and refrigerate until you’re ready to go. This is the sandwich post pressing:

    After a good pressing.

*** This sandwich can easily be modified. A great vegetarian version is Brie and fig jam. The key is crusty bread. You must use crusty bread otherwise your sandwich will be a soggy mess.

I am packing up some olives, a few pieces of good dark chocolate and now I’m thinking this flight might not be so bad.

TSA will allow forks and butter knives on flights but to keep the meal more lightweight I just roll plasticware up in a napkin and off I go. I also use reusable containers so that I can pack myself snacks for my return trip.

For another variation on this sandwich check out my post: Desk Lunch Doesn’t Have to Be Boring



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