Gourmet Camping

Camping. What does it make you think of? Bugs? Fire? S'mores? Hiking? Something that people don't usually think of when they get excited about camping is food. It's usually low-quality food that tastes great because you're so hungry after hiking all day. And there's nothing wrong with that, once in a while, but why not go all out on your camping trips? Think about it. Often people don't have time to cook during the work week. Camping is the perfect setting to take your time, because you happen to have a lot of time. It doesn't mean you have to lug a bunch of special kitchen tools to make a great campfire meal, it just takes creativity and prep work.

I love camping. I grew up doing it, and luckily, Justin is more of a camper than I am, so we're sure to be pitching many a tent in years to come. This past weekend, Justin and I went camping with my lovely cousin Steph and her wonderful husband Brian. We had oh so much fun gallavanting around Hocking Hills State Park. They were in charge of three lunches and snacks, and we were in charge of two breakfasts and two dinners.

Steph and Brian make their own bread (and it's so delicious!! The recipe is found in More with Less, called Oatmeal Bread, and they add flaxseeds and more whole wheat flour to the original recipe). We had filling sandwiches with deli meat, spicy mustard, and smoked provolone. They also made a big thing of Sweet Corn, Tomato, and Basil Salad, which came from one of my favorite food blogs. Snacks included carrots, trail mix, pretzels, and fruit. We had the same lunch and snacks for all three days, but this was just fine with us. It was delicious.

Day 1: Dinner for 4

Since Justin and I get veggies every week through our food co-op membership, we wanted to make sure to put those to good use on this trip. Our first meal was Cucumber Yogurt Salad (which we made the day before), whole wheat flat bread, and spicy Italian turkey sausage. It was fun to toast the sausages on a stick (except both of mine started to fall off and I had to finish cooking them in aluminum foil on the coals -- I think the trick is to poke the stick all the way through the sausage lengthwise). The coolness of the cucumber salad was a nice complement to the spicy sausage. Some of us wrapped the sausage in flat bread and some of us just had three separate components.

-Shady Grove Farms Spicy Italian Turkey Sausage (1.5 pieces per person)

-Whole Foods Whole Wheat Flatbread (1 piece per person, warmed in aluminum foil over fire grate)

-Cucumber Yogurt Salad (make ahead and keep chilled until ready to serve)

-S'mores (these need no description!)

Day 2: Breakfast and Dinner for 4

For breakfast the next morning we had blueberry- and peach-filled pancakes. They were so delicious, and a really great way to start a long day of hiking. We used Krusteaz Whole Wheat Complete Pancake mix. I added about a teaspoon of cinnamon to the mix (using the 18-21 pancake ratio -- it really only makes about 12 good-sized pancakes). Then I added 1 cup each of blueberries and diced peaches. We sprinkled the extra fruit on top and drizzled with honey. We used a camping pans to cook them over our Coleman stove. Wonderful!

Dinner that night was a bit more involved, but still very easy. My inspiration came from a couple of Real Simple recipes that I had torn out of the magazine last June and then forgot about. The first was a salad of Chard with Pine Nuts and Feta (we could have scavenged those pine nuts! says Steph), and the second was grilled potatoes and onions which led me to make...Hobo pies! Hobo pies are veggies, beans, meat, cheese, or whatever you want to put in a tightly packed aluminum foil pocket and cook over hot coals. They're really versatile and you can spice them any way you like. We used potatoes, red onions, cannellini beans, balsamic vinegar, oil, Mrs. Dash Garlic and Herb seasoning, salt, and pepper. We peeled and chopped and dumped everything in a big bowl, then divided it into four portions, placing each portion into a square of aluminum foil. Be sure to fold over and seal each pocket well, and then fold and seal it again with a second piece of aluminum foil. The last thing you want is to watch your delicious Hobo pie go tumbling into the coals. This was a wonderfully filling and healthy meal, especially with some of the leftover Sweet Corn, Tomato, and Basil Salad that needed to be eaten.

-Krusteaz Complete Pancake Mix (add 1 teaspoon cinnamon and two cups of fruit to the 18-21 amount, and you'll get about 3-4 thick pancakes per person)

-Coffee (boil water on Coleman stove and use with French Press, or use stovetop percolator)

-Chard with Pine Nuts and Feta
(I didn't follow this exactly -- I just threw all the ingredients together and didn't sautee anything. It still tasted great!)
1 bunch rinsed and chopped chard
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 1/2 ounces (1/2 cup) crumbled low fat Feta
dash Balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
Combine everything in large bowl and toss.

-Hobo Pies
1 1/2 pounds peeled, diced potatoes
1 red onion, sliced
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
a good sprinkling of Mrs. Dash
salt and pepper

Peel onions and dice. Slice red onion. Place in large bowl. Add oil, vinegar, beans, and seasonings. There's really no need to measure ingredients, just eyeball it. Or, prepare the dressing beforehand and pour over potatoes, onions, and beans once you're ready to make the Hobo pies. Toss everything together and divide evenly among four large squares of aluminum foil. For each portion, fold one half of foil toward the middle, then close the other half over the middle. Roll in the edges to form a tight seal. Repeat with another square of aluminum foil over the original packet. Place over hot coals and cook for about 15 minutes. Remove with sticks. If potatoes break easily with a fork, it's done.

Day 3: Breakfast for 4: Fruity Oatmeal and Coffee
As you know, I love oats. I haven't been eating oatmeal in the summer, since it's hot, but the cooler morning air at Hocking Hills made it so that oatmeal was a great breakfast option. We added everything to these oats. We were planning to add honey, cinnamon, and raisins, but then we also had leftover blueberries, peaches, and bananas. The result was jam-packed oatmeal with lots of flavor and fiber. It's good fuel to either do more hiking or take down your camp site. We had chosen a walk-in site, so we lugged all of our stuff a quarter mile in a few trips. We didn't regret it, though, since the main campground had people packed in like sardines. This oatmeal gave us great energy to pack up our gear.

6 cups rolled oats
5 cups water
1 cup diced peaches
1 cup blueberries
2 bananas
1 cup raisins
cinnamon to taste (I used about 3 teaspoons)
honey to taste (I used about 1/2 cup)

Bring water to a boil. Add oats, simmer until most of the water is absorbed (about 10 minutes). Add cinnamon and honey, stir well. Stir in fruit. Enjoy!


Scott said…
The food sounds amazing! Sounds like quite the trip!