photo: Kristen Truax

Aaron Case

Aaron plays bass guitar and does some backup singing for Jupiter Sunrise.

Listening to:
Nothing - Not a Neverending Story reference, literally nothing. Been reading a bit though

England Dan - heard a song in a coffee shop and had to find it.

DMX - Man is that guy nasty!

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Aaron joined JS after a chance meeting in Los Angeles with Ben and Mark. After earning a degree in biology from a college in LA, he promptly threw that out the window to rock on the road. He now acts as science advisor on occasion. His favorite foods are Northern Indian or Thai -both have awesome vegetarian stuff

Check out his JS Cookbook


Jupiter Sunrise Guide to Sustenance on the Road
by Aaron

Livin’ on the road is not all fun and games, it’s mostly potty jokes and making fun of Ben (interspersed with rock & roll of course). But you gotta eat sometimes, and this guide is designed to help touring bands, or anyone of a similar persuasion, sustain themselves with a minimum of expense, a maximum of nutrition and a low impact on the environment. We’ve been staying healthy and reducing ranchland waste all while eating for roughly $1 per person per meal.
There are a couple different sections to this guide: the first is a sort of philosophy/general guidelines and tips that we have learned or figured out through necessity (that necessity being that there are 4-6 people with hearty appetites that we need to feed, essentially for free). The latter part gets into a few more specifics such as equipment lists, good food options and where to get them as well as some easy recipes.

First, become a vegetarian. It’s the easiest and healthiest way to eat cheap. There are a myriad other reasons to make the switch, many more lofty than personal finance, but you can pick up countless brochures on that stuff elsewhere (try: Directly related to health and expense is the tendency for vegetables to last a bit longer than meats and dairy in a hot car. They rarely get you sick even if they are old and in general are a better nutritional value. If you need more convincing, look at the prices for a pound of cheap hamburger and a pound of cheap tofu. One is obviously healthier for you and I’d wager that the tofu is even less expensive. It also ends up as more cooked food, as all that fat in meat melts out and away from your belly.
There is a small challenge in re-learning how to cook sans beef, but get yourself some spices and a little veggie cookbook and you’ll be thanking yourself for overcoming that challenge (I recommend The Accidental Vegan).

Another advantage to only eating plants is that fast food won’t be such a temptation (except that they’re all coming out with veggie alternatives now…) and if anything sucks the cash out the ol’ wallet it’s corporate America’s answer to feeding the person on the go. All mentions of good health aside, it will cost you as much to feed one person at “SickDonalds” as it would to feed an entire group of five by cooking yourself!
It’s hard to avoid watering at the mouth when that big smiling star or the Taco Smell pops up along the side of the highway, so just keep plenty of tasty bits along with you to snack on. Forget what mom, or your mom like being, taught you, snack between meals all the time! Meals just become big snacks, so you don’t waste as much time and you aren’t gorging yourself to the point of gluttony when you do get a meal. This method of ingestion also keeps metabolism up so you don’t get fat and gives you something to do on the long bus rides.

If you’re traveling in a group, it’s generally a good idea to designate one person as the food-meister, preferably someone who’s interested in it and can cook a bit. Now you’ve got one person who knows basically what food you have, can make things with it, knows what to get at the store, and someone to blame when there isn’t anything to eat. Another alternative we’re thinking of is a board of some sort that has a list of what is available that is updated constantly as things are used and purchased. Now anyone can see what there is to eat without rooting around, what they need if they want to make something and when common items are getting low.

A good start to cooking for your whole party is getting the right equipment. If you’ve got an RV, you’re set, heck, you’ve probably got a fridge and a microwave! But without recreational vehicle backing you need a stove, any sporting goods store or a super Wal-Mart has a little two burner propane camping stove. Pretty cheap, real easy to use and propane is cheap too.
Since you have two burners, you only really need two pans. One medium to large pot and one big and deep frying pan (also available at Wal-Mart, not that I’m condoning shopping there, but they let you sleep in their parking lot so we tend to stay there a lot.)
An assortment of utensils is of course required, I recommend a couple of wooden spoons, a pasta lifter, rubber spatula for pot scraping and flat spatula for flipping things. You’ll probably need some knives and a plastic cutting board, and a big plastic mixing bowl. Oh, and a pasta strainer of some sort is nice too, maybe just one of those ones that you hold up to the side of the pot. The cool thing is that most of this stuff you can acquire or borrow from parents or friends that have a couple of sets of cooking things which is sweet for recycling and for saving money.
A milk crate or some sturdy box is the way to keep all your vittle cooking gear. Milk crates have good drainage, so that’s a bonus.
Depending on how many dishes you want to carry and have to clean, I recommend just some plastic bowls for eating out of, as cereal to soups to pasta to rice all work in bowls. And get some silverware. Heavy on the forks.

So the important thing to think of when making a lot of cheap, yet palatable food is overall concept. There’s about four fundamental aspects to a meal: quantity, nutrition, taste and timing. Generally I come up with a sort of theme, like a regional cuisine (say, Thai), see if I have the right materials (e.g.: peanuts, noodles, curry, etc…) and in the right amount for however many folks I’ve got to feed. Then I make sure I’ve got enough beans or tofu for protein and some vegetables and noodles for vitamins and carbohydrates. Taste is arguably the most important part of a meal, so having a full complement of spices and herbs is crucial, especially since much of what you’ll be working with is bland and canned. The trick to spices is getting them in bulk. Many Whole Foods markets have bulk spices as do food co-ops and fancy markets. Once you find some, stock up! I got some cheapo spice jars at Cost Plus World Market and put my spices in there so they’re easy to use and look cool. Man do you save a ton of money by buying spice in bulk!
The trick is to know what spices to add to make a dish taste like what you want it to taste like. Following is a rough list of some herbs and spices that are associated with certain types of cuisine so that you can make essentially anything taste like what you want.

Italian: all the herbs, basil especially, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano and dill, Garlic, onion, black pepper, balsamic vinegar, olive oil.

Mexican: chili pepper of all sorts, garlic, paprika, onion, cilantro, lime, tamarind, cumin.

Chinese, Japanese: soy sauce of course. Garlic, sesame oil, rice vinegar, ginger, chili pepper, clove, wasabi.

Indian: curry powder, cumin, garam masala, ginger, cardamom, fennel, paprika, black pepper.

Middle East: Paprika, olive oil, sesame oil, basil, garlic, red pepper

Thai: curry powder, ginger, peanuts, chili pepper, lime, cilantro, tamarind.

American: onion powder, garlic, salt, black pepper, vinegar, cinnamon.

Creole: Paprika, chili powder, salt, garlic, black pepper, hot sauce.

An easy way out is to find bottles of spices labeled things like “Mexican” or “Italian” or get little pre-made pouches of seasoning that are geared toward certain meals, like teriyaki or chili or tacos and so on. While the pouches may seem like cheating, they’re cheap, last a long time and let you keep some good seasonings around that are hard to find in bulk. That’s our little secret though, don’t tell.
Enough about taste for now, timing is also very important, particularly if everyone’s starving and you’re going on stage in 45 minutes. Get some minute rice and instant mashed potatoes for just those sort of occasions. Otherwise, try to plan out meals so that everything is done at the same time.

A Typical Meal
I’m gonna go through with the basic preparation of a standard meal for 5 people so you can get the gist of the whole process.
Let’s go with that Thai dish I was talking about earlier. (This guide might, admittedly, be biased towards the eastern part of the world because some of the best tasting, yet easiest to prepare food, especially of the vegetarian bent, is found on that half) First I’m going to bust out the stove and set it up, put 10 cups of water in the big pot and a dash of salt and set it on high to boil for the rice. I don’t like instant rice much so I’m going to use the normal 25 minute variety (pick up a 20lb bag for under $10 at an Asian grocery). While the water is heating I start opening my cans of stuff for the nutritious part of the meal. I’ve got a can of bean sprouts, some garbanzo beans, navy beans, carrots and peas. A good rule of thumb is 1 can of stuff per person and about 1 cup (dry) of rice (or whatever grain you’re using) per person. Add or subtract to that amount depending on how hungry everyone is or how much people generally eat. If I can, I try to get some tofu every once in a while or some fresh veggies. Onions and potatoes keep for a long time and sautéed onions taste great with almost anything! I’ve got some broccoli tonite, so I’m going to add that as well. I just chop that up to bite sized pieces.
Right about now put 5 cups of rice into the boiling water and bring the heat down as low as it can go. Getting the propane stove to simmer is a bit tricky, but you can feel it out.
Put a little oil in the big frying pan, I use olive whenever I can, it’s great, lots of trans fatty acids (the non sclerotic kind). Peanut oil is way cheaper, though not as tasty or good for you. I usually put onion in first cause it needs a while to cook, then the beans, then the canned vegetables, then the fresh vegetables (things like fresh carrots and potatoes need a while to cook though, put them in early.) After everything is simmering away in the frying pan you’re ready to season to taste. I always put a little salt and pepper to bring out the flavor. Tonite we’re going to put in a couple spoonfuls of peanut butter, some hot sauce or chili powder, a couple spoonfuls of sugar, 2 minced cloves of garlic, a little dash of soy sauce and a bit of powdered ginger. Feel free to experiment with other emphases in the flavor, this one is going for the peanuts and a sort of spicy sweetness, one of my favorite flavors.
Once the rice is done, the frying pan should be finished as well and you are ready to serve!

Following are a bunch of recipes, some created by Jupiter Sunrise, some by friends, family and fans. If you’ve got any ideas or recipes that would work great for a band on the road, please send them to [email protected].

Thai Coconut Curry (similar to above)
5 cups rice
1 can garbonzo beans
1 can bean sprouts
1 can white beans
1 can bamboo shoots
1 can coconut milk
1 small can tomato paste
1 bag frozen stir fry vegetables
1 onion, sliced
1 tbs basil
3 tbs soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
3-4 tbs curry powder
1/2 tsp red curry paste (if available)

Start the rice. Heat some oil and start sauteeing the onion. When the onion is almost carmelized, add the frozen veggies, drain the cans. When the veggies have defrosted, add the rest of the ingredients, simmer and stir until the rice is done. A JS favorite and Ben's default dish.

Susan Young’s Ultimate Veggie Burgers
2 tablespoons soy sauce
½ cup walnut pieces
¾ cup cooked lentils
¼ cup grated onion
1tbs parsley or other herbs
2/3 cup wheat gluten flour
½ tsp browning sauce
1 tbs cumin
1 clove minced garlic
¼ cup diced red pepper
1 tbs ground flax seed
salt and pepper

Use blender on flax seed and soy sauce until viscous. Put everything else in a food processor and mix well but not too smooth. Add flax/soy combination and mix in. Form into 4 patties and fry in a little olive oil over medium heat until browned on both sides.

The flax seed and lentils hold a lot of protein and essential fatty acids, making these very nutritious and hearty veggie burgers.

1.5lbs of spaghetti
1 onion sliced in strips
1 can corn
1 can kidney beans
3/4 cup TVP (textured vegetable protein
1 can pineapple TIDBITS
3/4 cup shredded coconut
1 can spaghetti sauce
2 small cans tomato sauce
Minced garlic
Italian herbs
Dash of cinnamon
Olive oil
Tiki Torch

Start the water for the spaghetti. Heat the oil to medium and start to sautee the onion. Drain corn into TVP to rehydrate, if more water is needed, use pineapple juice. Drain all cans. When onions start to go clear, add all other ingredients, add one or more small cans of tomato sauce to reach desired consistency. Set to simmer. Garlic and herbs to taste, stick the tiki torch in the ground and sound the dinner bell when the spaghetti's done! Serves 4-5. A JS favorite. See the video

Carol's White Bean Salad 
1 Can Cannelini beans
2 tbs sweet pickle relish
1 Clove crushed garlic
1 Small minced onion     
1/2 tsp Dijon or spicy mustard
2 tbs vegan mayo
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
Chopped celery
Place beans in a bowl, mash with fork or potato masher. Add rest of ingredients and homogonize. Refrigerate before serving. Great as an alternative to egg salad.


Vegan Cheesecake from Molly Freeman, Ph. D
3 tubs "Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese"
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1 ready made crust

Mix all but the flour in a bowl, then fold in flour until smooth. Pour into crust, bake at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. It's uncanny how much like cheese cake it tastes.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie from UC Berkeley
1 unbaked 9" pie shell
¾ lb firm tofu
1 16oz can pumpkin puree or 2 cups fresh cooked pumpkin
1 cup brown sugar
2 Tbs oil
2 Tbs molasses
1½ tsp cinnamon
¾ tsp ginger powder
½ tsp nutmeg

Blend all ingredients well, pour into crust and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until cracks start to appear in the filling. Chill for 2 hours before serving. Goes great after a Now and Zen Un-turkey dinner!

Chili Garlic Spicy Tofu
1 block extra firm tofu
2tbs minced garlic
2tbs chopped ginger
4tbs soy sauce
Sesame oil
green onion
Chili garlic sauce (hot chili pepper fresh or powdered, salt, sugar, rice vinegar, garlic)

Drain, press and cube tofu, start cooking over med. heat in vegetable oil. Add garlic and ginger, some soy sauce, chili garlic sauce to taste. Cover with lid and steam for 3-5 minutes, add green onions and sesame oil at end!

Vegan Manicotti
Spinach filling:
10oz frozen spinach, thawed and drained
saute 1 finely chopped med. onion until translucent, stir in spinach and turn off heat. Mix together (in food processor or by hand): 1lb soft or firm tofu drained and mashed, 2 Tbs lemon juice, 1tsp salt, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1/4 tsp pepper, add spinach onion mixture and mix well.

Preheat oven to 350, layer marinara sauce on bottom of 9x14 baking dish, put manicotti shells stuffed with filling on bed of sauce, then pour more sauce on top to cover. throw some Oregano and vegan parmesan cheese on top, cover with foil and bake for 30min. Serves 4.

The Stormer Super Curry from Ellen Stormer
(i would suggest marinating the tofu with the ginger, vinegar, soy sauce, and pepper sauce)

1) press water out of block of tofu*, cut into 1/2" squares and brown all sides in oil (preferably peanut oil).  Doing this in 2 batches works best.  Remove from pan, reserve on plate.
2) in oil, saute onion, garlic, and fresh ginger. The more ginger the better.
3) add and stir until bubbly and creamy:
1.5 c water
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c soy sauce
1/4 c vinegar
1/4 c brown sugar
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t Thai pepper/garlic sauce
4) add 3 carrots, cook about 4 minutes
5) add broccoli, cook until starting to turn bright
5) add in the tofu, cook until hot.

adjust spices as needed.  Also, if it gets too thick, add more water.  You can use additional vegetables if you wish - but DO NOT skip the broccoli, as it is the best part.  It soaks up the sauce perfectly.

Ellen Kelsey's (formerly Stormer) Inconceivable Vegan Chocolate Cake
This light and moist chocolate cake is incredible, we know from experience.
1) preheat oven to 350F.

2) combine dry ingredients:
- 2 c sugar
- 3 c flour
- 2 t baking soda
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 to 3/4 c unsweetened cocoa*

3) add wet ingredients and mix well:
- 2 c water
- 1/2 c vegetable oil
- 1/2 c applesauce
- 2 T vinegar
- 2 t vanilla

4) poor into greased 9x13 pan, bake for 45 to 55 minutes.

*When baking, I prefer to use a ratio of 2 parts regular cocoa (the cheapest, store brand stuff out there) and 1 part Hersey's Extra Dark Chocolate