Yet another Fabulous DiVQ Photodocumentary Adventure Production,
Brought To You In Excruciating Detail:

The newest -- and sadly, final --
edition of
Dashboard Dining!

Once upon a time, to cope with the utter shock of moving from God's Backyard to the Ninth Ring of Hell, I elected to amuse myself with the escalating temperatures by proving that the sizzling noise when my butt hit the car seat wasn't my imagination -- it was indeed so hot that I could cook in the damn car.  With the help of the trusty probe thermometer, I experimented first with the Dashboard Egg, moved on to Car-Cooked Chicken En Papillote, and rounded out the season with a coffeecake.  

The '06 cooking season has so far proved rather mild (relatively speaking), but with today's temperature projected at a roasty-toasty 116 I am poised to get my dashboard groove on.  The Fine Piece of German Engineering (my much-adored vintage diesel Benz, hereinafter referred to lovingly as "the FPOGE") is curbside, ready for action.

Since this is Dashboard Dining's last outing, I've elected to do the full spread -- entree, sides and dessert all cooked on the dash at once.

As every fan of comfort food knows, there's just not much that beats Fatty Beef.  (Windsor the Poopid Stoodle would agree, since he gets the trimmings.)  Therefore I present for your consideration the myriad exotic ingredients and the intricate preparation method for Boeuf Gras aux Oignons et Champignons:

That's right, class, there's just nothing to beat taking a world-class piece of fatty beef and adulterating it to taste like PTA potluck food. 

Armed with a pristine new roll of foil, the beef is trimmed and sliced up.  It then reposes on a sheet of foil and the Magic Flavors, consisting primarily of sodium and excitotoxins, are applied.  When it's done, it presents thusly:

And surely, one cannot experience a Fatty Beef Dinner in its full glory without its natural partner, Sleazy-Cheesy Potatoes?

Peel, slice, fan out on foil, season, butter excessively, and apply cheesy goodness.  Could it be any easier?

Next up will be the Designated Green Thing.  This isn't about imagination, so let's just run with some haricots verts.

Ever since reading about the zipper-bag omelet I've been curious to try that alternate modality, and if a zipbag can stand up to boiling water it can probably survive nicely in the car.  I have therefore departed from my preferred method of the foil packet, and we will observe the results at day's end.

Next, we must move on to the Truly Important Stuff:  dessert.  My original inclination was to make a dish of Chocolate Stuff, as that doesn't really need to set up in order to be divine.  It would, however, be about as visually interesting as watching a cowpat steam, so the next choice was apple streusel.

Chip up your apple with the preferred degree of OCD accuracy, and combine with refined death and spices of choice.

In the interest of absorbing a certain degree of ooze, I tossed in some chipped-up dried Rainier cherries as well.  Turned into the dish and topped with more white death and butter, you get this:

That last inadvertent product placement, oozing yummy brominated veg oil and FD&C #5 assures you that it is indeed me engaging in this weirdness.

Now the various selections are prepped and lined up.

The foil packets are closed and the edges sealed with quarter-inch trifolds, and we're ready to rock and roll.

Trotting outside, I check the probe thermometer stationed inside the FPOGE. 
According to the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, most slow cookers utilize temperatures between 170 and 280 F.  I figure the FPOGE's internal temp of 185 F will do, since I'm burning daylight.

The various papillotes, dish and bag are arrayed on the dash in the order of their eventual consumption.

Look at it there, happily cooking away.  Isn't it just adorable?

Now to fritter away the surface-of-the-sun hours and anticipate the dinnertime delights.  *drumming fingers*

At last, at last, by sixish I couldn't stand it any longer, and when the reported exterior temperature clicked from 112 to 111 I lunged to the curb, potholder and tray in hand.  How sick and wrong is it to open your car door and start salivating?

The fragrant results plated up beautifully in the waning afternoon light.

I snarfed up the beef pretty promptly; the texture could perhaps have taken another hour or so, but the sauce was savory and flavors well blended.  I was surprised to see that the cheese melted entirely into the potatoes!  They even had little "grill marks".

The anticipated apple-goo turned out satisfactorily sticky and syrupy, and while the streusel didn't brown, it was nicely crunchy.

All in all, I would have to declare this a satisfactory end to Dashboard Dining, the magnum opus of car-key cuisine.  The FPOGE is soon to be replaced by that white beast you see behind it.  It has served us faithfully and well, and in ways I'm sure Daimler never dreamed of -- a road warrior that not only brought dinner home, but cooked it up as well.

Fine Piece of German Engineering, I hope your next owner loves you and enjoys cooking in you as much as we have.

OMG, the madness didn't really stop there.  After a two-year hiatus,
an unwary world witnesses The Return of Dashboard Dining!
...So, what could Diva possibly do after Dashboard Dining?
Visit to find out!