The Westfalia Kitchen

The kitchen from outside, for perspective

The kitchen from outside, for perspective

Here is where I am cooking my way through Vegan Mofo:

From outside, you wouldn't know it hides a kitchen

From outside, you wouldn’t know it hides a kitchen

The Westfalia kitchen includes a two burner propane stove and sink in a cabinet with a folding top. When closed up, people don’t even realize what it is. People actually stop by and comment, impressed with the layout when I have the kitchen in use. The sink is fed from a 13 gallon fresh water tank that can be filled from the exterior or interior. At least in theory. I don’t have the key to open the outside access. Another thing to fix! The pump runs off the battery. BUT, unlike larger RVs, there is no “gray water” tank to catch the drain off from the sink. It just runs onto the ground. In some situations that’s no big deal, but in other cases its unsanitary, and could attract all sorts of undesirable critters. My solution is a small plastic kitty littler container with a screw on cap. I fashioned a drain extender from some plastic tubing and a hose fitting. The hose screws onto the drain, flows into the kitty litter jug, and I can empty it when needed, or convenient, by capping it up.

It'll keeps things from spoiling, maybe

It’ll keeps things from spoiling, maybe

The fridge is routinely panned as old, ineffective technology. It’s true that there are new designs, often called “truck fridges” that can run off a 12V battery without killing it and keep ice cream frozen. I could upgrade, but at a cost of $800, I’ll stick to my little Dometic. I don’t need freezing, I just need to keep things from spoiling, and the propane option is nice. The propane tank will last for quite awhile. The only problem is that it is really small, so packing it can be a challenge. Even without power, it can function as a cooler with some ice. I chose to supplement it with a small Coleman “Extreme” ice chest that is better insulated and sealed compared to most coolers, for a little more storage and flexibility. I’m not planning on camping off grid for extended periods, so I can buy a bag of ice periodically.

There are two tables that swing out of the way. One behind the driver’s seat that can be a table for the swiveling front seats, and one to the side of the rear seat. The tables provide good prep and eating space. Actually, they are often in the way, due to the limited space, especially the rear table. When folded “out of the way”, it blocks access to three cabinets. When swung out, the cabinets are accessible, but sliding in and out of the rear seat becomes a challenge.  It just takes consistent fiddling and adjusting.

Ready for action, just unplug the wok and tea kettle from the sink

Ready for action, just unplug the wok and tea kettle from the sink

The stove works great, but the cooking space is small, so you have to be careful with organizing your prep space. With the top popped, there is plenty of room to stand, but because the kitchen is so low, I end up crouching anyway! It works well to sit on the cooler, or even the back seat for dishes that require an occasional poke or prod.

Thinking about how I like to cook at home led me to this collection of cooking implements:

VLUU L210  / Samsung L210

It almost all fits!

10” cast iron skillet

12” non-stick wok

10” bamboo steamer

universal lid

small camping pressure cooker

2 nesting backpacking pots

tea kettle

cutting board

small and large collanders

large mixing bowl

rectangular plastic tub

assorted utensils

The smaller, camping oriented pots work better than larger ones meant for home use. They fit better on the small stove than the wok or cast iron skillet. But, I much prefer the home utensils, they just cook nicer. The small wok from a home kitchen stows in the sink, the handle fits under the burner grate. The bamboo steamer I love to use for fresh veggies, and especially small potatoes. So far I have yet to use the pressure cooker as such, only as my largest pot. But I’m not very experienced with pressure cooking at home, so I need to find a suitable experiment. I also carry a small backpacking stove as a backup, or if I want to cook outside.

Enough VW talk, food time!

So I completely blew up my tiny kitchen making veggie fajitas.

Veggie fajitas and ranch style beans

Veggie fajitas and ranch style beans

The picture only shows the stove’s mess. My prep table was covered in the detritus from prepping the fixins’. They were worth it though.

Vegan Fajitas with Fresh Salsa and Ranch Style Beans

Beans:

2 cans white or pinto beans

1 T dehydrated onion

2 T dehydrated peppers

1 8 oz can tomato sauce

1 T mustard

1 t agave

1 T cider vinegar

1 T BBQ style seasoning blend

dash Tabsaco

Rehydrate veggies in water, then add beans, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Simmer over low heat to blend flavors. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Salsa:

2 roma tomatoes, diced

1/2 serrano pepper, minced

1/4 C cilantro

2 T minced red onion

1 clove garlic, minced

1/2 lime, juiced

dash salt

Combine all ingredients and let sit to marry flavors.

Fajitas

1/2 each red and green bell pepper, sliced

equal amount red onion sliced

a few slices jalapeno

6 white mushrooms, sliced

In a very hot skillet or grill pan, sear the veggies and season with salt and pepper.

To Serve:

Wrap veggies in a flour tortilla, top with salsa and a slice of avocado. Enjoy with a side of ranch style beans.

About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete
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2 Responses to The Westfalia Kitchen

  1. This is such a great post, I love kitchen tours and I love camping. The van I’ll be using next summer will be a similar-ish size and I can’t wait to cook in it.

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