The ideal backpacking food works like so: you boil water, pour the boiling water into pouch containing your meal, close up the pouch and wait 5 ~ 10 minutes, and voilà! you've got dinner (or lunch or breakfast). This minimizes the amount of stove fuel (you're just boiling water, not really cooking) and cleanup (the mess is in the pouch, not your pot). This is all great in theory. In practice, finding Kosher, easy to prepare versions of these types of meals has always eluded me.
But I do believe I've cracked the code. I give you: Trail Tacos. No, not this version which calls for pre-cooking and dehydrating meat (yeah, not going to happen). This version, couldn't be easier. The magic is in TVP, an ingredient that's Kosher and relatively easy to find.
Admittedly, I've yet to make these Trail Tacos on the trail. I did, however, simulate the process in my kitchen. I added TVP, minute rice and taco seasoning into a Ziploc bag and then poured in some boiling water. I didn't measure the amount of water, I just made sure it "barely covered the food." I wrapped the the now quite warm Ziploc bag into a towel and waited for 10 minutes. The results were, well, food! The taste wasn't gourmet (heck, I didn't even have all the ingredients), but it wasn't a disaster: the rice and TVP were fully re-hydrated, and there wasn't any extra water in the bag. Definitely edible and very filling. Had I been on the trail all day, the results would have been nothing short of glorious.
(Photo by mnn.com - I ate my version sans tortilla)
One take away for me is just how effective: TVP + Minute Rice + Seasoning is. Had I substituted chili seasoning for taco seasoning, I'd have trail chili. Had I added tuna instead, I'd have Trail Tuna Casserole.
This is fun and easy, and will definitely make an appearance on our next backpacking trip. Heck, I'll have to try this with my next hotel cooking adventure, too.
Looking around, I've found that Harmony House Foods offers an impressive selection of flavored TVP as well as other freeze dried goodies. Best of all, they are Kosher. It's a bit of splurge, but with a shelf life of 1 to 2 years, it seems like a smart investment.