Camp Cookery

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by pete, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. pete

    pete Moderator Staff Member

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    Camping season is just around the corner (in fact we head out for our first weekend trip next weekend, come sun or snow!) and with that comes the joy of open-fire cooking. I was wondering what all you like to cook while out camping? Do you have a favorite recipe? Or maybe a great tip to share with all of us?

    The two couples we usually go with are all foodies, like me and Wanda, so even though we do Hamburgers & hot dogs we also try to do a couple of interesting meals. One of my favorites (newly favorite as I created it last time out) is Tandoori Spiced Grilled Chicken Thighs with Sweet Potatoes and Caramelized Onions. It is simple and much of it is make ahead. At home I rub down chicken thighs with a mixture of Tandoori Seasoning (found at Penzey's or The Spice House) mixed with some ground Chipotle, to kick up the heat. I also make a ''hobo'' packet of peeled, sliced and blanched sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, salt, pepper, butter, a hint of cinnamon, and a hint of the ground chipotle. This is wrapped in 2-3 layers of aluminum foil. Everything is put into the cooler and all I have to do grill the chicken and throw the ''hobo packet'' into the embers to heat it up.

    While camping I am all about saving time on the cooking chores (that leaves more time for hiking, running the dogs and of course drinking serious amounts of beer), so we do lots of things in advance, and pack it up to take with us. We usually do oatmeal for one breakfast so I mix it all up with loads of nuts and dried fruits, sugar, salt, etc. and put it into a ziplock bag so all you have to do is boil water, add the contents of the bag and stir. Muffeletta style sandwiches are also great. I make them the morning we leave, wrap them in a couple layers of plastic wrap, and since I use really crusty bread they are perfect the following day for lunch. All that oil and vinegar has seeped into the bread, but they aren't overly soggy, and all those flavors have add 24+ hours to meld and mingle.
     
  2. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    The cast iron dutch oven is one of the great tools of camp cooking. It opens up fresh breads, pizzas, braises, stews and casseroles.

    Back in November, I showed a monster convection dutch oven like I have. We cooked a turkey in it in March out ice fishing. It's good for smoking ribs and beer can chickens.

    Over Memorial Day weekend, many of the Polynesians head out to a ghost town they originally colonized and throw a monster bash. Pit cooked whole pigs, and other specialties make an appearance. My nieghbor is one of the planners of that bash and it's some serious outdoor eatin'.


    Over life fire, I like kabobs, various tin foil packet meals and such.

    If you want to try some other hobo tricks try a Buddy Burner

    Dian Thomas in her various editions of Roughing it Easy showed me how to roast an apple over coals. Very simple. On a long skewer, roast a good quality tart baking apple, Granny Smith is my preference. When the skin softens, thinly cut it away. Roll in sugar and cinnamon and roast again until the sugar crusts up. Thinnly cut away the cooked soft apple and enjoy. Repeat the sugar coating and cook until the apple is consumed short of the core.

    I use my stove more than live fire much any more. The fire restrictions have been severe the last few years and stoves have been all that's allowed. They've even banned charcoal once late spring comes around.

    Phil
     
  3. foodnfoto

    foodnfoto

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    I'm glad to hear other folks here are into camp cooking. Here are some of our favorites that we cook over the open fire.

    On cool mornings, along with our coffee, we make what we call "Gus's Breakfast". We start by cooking some bacon in the dutch oven. When it's crisp, remove the strips and give most of the grease to the dog; then drop in hand formed biscuits around the outer edge and cover for about 12 minutes. Then drop a few eggs in the middle, top with the bacon strips ; cover and cook until eggs are done to your liking.


    For dinner, vegetarian chili cooked over the fire is always on the list as is shepherd's pie and tamale pie with a cornbread topping. We always take bags of frozen marinated chicken strips to cook on sticks and wrap up in pita bread. Sometimes I take along homemade pizza dough mix with instant yeast to make grilled pizzas or bake fresh pitas on the bottom of the upturned dutch oven.

    Phatch, I can't wait to try the apple cooked on a stick. That sounds great!

    Sometimes in the hottest part of the summer we camp on the outer part of Cape Cod where no fires are allowed due to the fire hazard of all the underground peat. Then we do the "ultra-hippie vegetarian sprout camp" with bags of sprouting seeds, nuts and beans hanging from the trees around our site. Then we eat lots of tofu, sprout salads, rice cakes, fresh fruit and raw vegetables-only firing up the stove to make our mandatory cowboy coffee in the morning. We go home feeling very healthy.
     
  4. dickie

    dickie

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    How about chicken teriyaki. Make a the gingery marinade at home. The chicken pieces can marinate for a couple of days. It's great with a side foil packet of mixed veg such as snow peas, julienne carrot, jicama, etc.. Maybe grilled pineapple brushed with simple syrup for dessert.

    Nothing better by a campfire than ranch style beans, make ahead and just reheat on the trip. This would be good with a grilled ham steak with a barbecue glaze.

    I love reading these threads. Have a great trip. dickie
     
  5. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    For the weekend scout trips (I'm the scoutmaster), I have the scouts pre-cook the dinner that is then heated when we get wherever.

    Pasta and sauces works well this way, though we cooked the pasta at the camp.

    Chili was a big hit.

    Anything in a tortilla.

    Pork roast in a dutch oven over cous cous.

    Pressure cooker risotto/barley/orzo done QUICK at camp.

    Sometimes I haul my smoker and do real barbecue too on the longer camps.

    Phil
     
  6. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Just got back from the week long summer camp. No fires or charcoal allowed so I had the scouts cook all this on a three burner high output camp stove and that oddball stovetop convection dutch oven I've posted about before.

    The menu was

    Monday
    lunch: focaccia sandwiches, (including mesclun mix for "lettuce")
    dinner: Soda Can Chickens, roasted potatoes with sage, rosemary and garlic, steamed beets.

    Tuesday
    breakfast: eggs, bacon, hash browns
    lunch: tuna in pita bread
    dinner: smoked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, green beans

    Wednesday
    breakfast: pancakes, sausage
    lunch: Spaghetti and marinara
    dinner: Chile Verde smothered burritos

    Thursday
    breakfast: Ham 'n' Cheese omelets
    lunch: chili and corn bread
    dinner: Navajo Tacos (spicy stew over fry bread)

    Friday
    breakfast: breakfast burritos
    lunch: chili cheese dogs
    dinner: Steak with garlic butter, baked potatoes, steamed carrots, chocolate pudding for dessert.

    Phil
     
  7. shroomgirl

    shroomgirl

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    Phill I love reading your posts on lscout cooking, my oldest son who is soon to turn 21 went camping in Louisiana 15 times atyear at least. the scoutmasters version of camp food did not include anything fresh....it was all pretty much the brown food group.
    When cooking for shroomers hunting in the heat I made them the French grilled veg sandwich with tapenade, feta and a basalmic in the crusty bread, like muffalata it is better the next day. I've also made a wrap with hummos and corn, cabbage and a mustard dressing , it has got to be in the archives somewhere ...that is the problem iwth cooking from the hip ....there are no records of what goes into something besides your memory.

    I've done shiitake risotto over a ststove for 200, morels and cream for large groups, chanterelles and fingerlings.....there is nothing like commando cooking.0my fav is to cook on a farm wiht whatever is in the field.
     
  8. phatch

    phatch Moderator Staff Member

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    Had the scouts out last night for the peak of the Perseid meteor shower. Had about an hour of good viewing before the moon came up. Big bright moon. Washed out just about everything.

    Because it was a week night I tried to accomodate the adults getting back to work in the AM and we left a bit later than usual on Wednesday too. So I used prefabbed food. Scouts opted for some Buffalo Wings on the grill. Grilled corn on the cob too. Perfectly acceptable for 15 minutes of grill time and no prep. Had a spread of crudites too.

    Continental style breakfast for quick setup and cleanup.

    Fortunately, I have access to a remote site kitchen where we went. This is some private land the local polynesians bought to commemorate a ghost town founded by polynesian immigrants. They've built a kitchen there for the 3 day party they throw every Memorial Day. I havent' ever been yet, but it's supposed to be a big bash with lots of ethnically proper cuisine including the earthen pit roasted pigs.

    The point of all that was that I didn't have to pack any cooking gear. No stoves, no grills, no fuel. So the trip is quick, easy and light.

    Phil