Are you ready to get more adventurous with your camp cooking? Tired of the same old hamburgers and hotdogs every time? Did you know you can adapt most recipes to cook over a wood fire?
When learning to cook over a wood fire it’s important to keep trying. You will get the feel for it. But, it’s also important to have exciting reasons to try! We are going to leave most tired, worn, camp food out in this post and be courageous about trying new things! (Don’t worry- if the campfire thing is too hard to deal with, just use a single-burner butane stove. Walmart carries a Coleman one for 20$ US that is excellent. You will probably want to have one for a rainy camp day anyhow. They will happen.)
There’s something I’ve noticed about food: whenever there’s a crisis if you can get people eating normally things get better. -Madeleine L’Engle
I know camping isn’t really a crisis, but it is very different from home. Things like good, healthy food and hot tea can elevate the experience and make it seem civilized and even posh! Let’s go!
I start here because this lovely drink is the best thing in the world for when you are tired or down. It cheers everyone up and nourishes the soul. It makes you slow down and savor your time and it blesses others when you make it for them. You can use any metal container to boil water in for tea. Make sure it has some sort of spout so you don’t burn yourself pouring it. We used an old granite-ware coffee pot for years until we finally bought an old copper simplex kettle on ebay. You need a grate and a smallish fire (see previous entry on fire building). If your pot doesn’t whistle, just keep an eye on it. When it boils pour the water into a container you can steep the tea in. We use an old coffee carafe form Thermos. Put 4 teabags in for a full pot of tea. Let steep less than 5 minutes. Fish out bags and serve with honey and milk or my DD’s recipe for a London Fog Tea Latte‘. Biscotti go really well with tea!
Life is short… well you know the rest. Cupcakes are really hard to do in a dutch oven, so make these before you leave. They will be a welcome snack treat with tea after your crew is done setting up camp. Travel with the icing in a bag and delight your kids with letting them decorate their treats. Make sure to squeeze as much juice out of the peaches as possible. The juice can throw off the balance of the recipes.
Peach Pie Cupcakes with Sweet Cream Peach Icing
For the Cupcakes:
Use a regular white cake box cake mix to make this quickly while you are packing for camp. Reserve 1/2 Cup of the mix. Then, peel and cut two fresh and ripe peaches into small pieces. squeeze the pieces gently with paper towels until a lot of the juice is gone. Alternately, use 1 can of peach pieces, dry with the paper towels and go to the next step. Dredge the pieces in 1/2 cup of the cake mix that you reserved.
Make the cake mix. When done stirring, gently fold in the dredged peaches and any leftover mix in the bowl. Bake according to package directions. Cool and then frost with the icing.
For the Icing:
Beat 1/2 stick (4 Tablespoons) of softened butter in a mixer until smooth. Add 2 Tablespoons of milk, 1/4 Cup of diced and dried off peach pieces, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Then add in 1 & 1/2 cups more of powdered sugar and whip. Put into an icing bag and chill until ready to use.
Breakfast is the meal to get your troop on their feet in the morning! Keep it simple!
Fried Eggs and Toast
Heat a skillet on a grate over a medium-high small campfire while you get out 2 eggs per person, butter, salt, and bread. Toast a piece of bread for each egg while frying the eggs. (You can put the bread directly on the grate, or on foil on the grate to toast.) Put 1 Tsp butter in skillet and swish it all around. Break eggs and pour straight from the shell into the pan. Dust with a pinch of salt. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, then flip over. For runny yolks cook about 30 seconds-1 minute more. For cooked yolks pierce the yolk, cook 2 more minutes, flip and cook about another 30 seconds. Watch the eggs closely, as there will be more hot spots on a campfire than on your stove top at home. Be prepared to move and or turn the skillet to keep the eggs from burning. When done, serve either on top of toast or with toast.
After a morning hike or other pursuits, make an easy lunch that your family can relax with and have fun.
1/2 clove cut garlic
1& 1/2 Cups white wine
4 Cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
1 loaf French bread or baguette for dipping
Rub the cut half of a garlic clove all over the inside of a small saucepan. Cook on your camp stove or over a small fire on a grate.
Bring 1 & 1/2 cups of white wine to boil in the saucepan and add
4 cups coarsely grated Gruyere cheese, just 1/2 Cup at a time, stirring and melting completely before adding the next 1/2 Cup of cheese.
When it is all melted, set the pot on a thin bed of coals while dipping and eating, making sure to turn and stir so no hot spots develop.
Pull out the stops here with something delicious, yet easy. Steak Brochettes (kebobs) and Chimichurri sauce. Then side it with grilled corn on the cob and Bernaise butter for flavor. Make the Chimichurri and butter before you leave home and it will be ready to eat quick as a cricket.
3 Cups packed fresh parsley
1 Cup packed fresh cilantro
1 clove garlic
Chop in food processor or dice with a knife until finely chopped. Then whisk in:
1/4 Cup olive oil
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper
Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh tarragon, or 1 Tablespoon dried
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsely, or 2 teasppons dried
1/4 teaspoon salt (if using salted butter, omit; we like pink salt)
1 stick, or 8 Tablespoons of butter, cut into pieces
In a small saucepan on medium heat cook the garlic until fragrant; about 1 minute. Then turn down to low and melt, but do not cook the butter. Add the spices and salt and stir. Let the mixture cool down enough to thicken, but not completely solidify and turn out into a container to store it in.
Cut the steaks into chunks, salt it and skewer to roast either over a grate or in a pan. If you cook it to medium or medium-rare it will have a wonderful taste! Dip the hot steak into the cold chimichurri. Pull the husk down from the corn, but do not remove. Instead use it as a handle while you roast the corn on your grate. Turn until done, then slather with the special butter. YUM.
I know! Another dessert! But hey, it’s a great one and not everyone knows how to fix it. You really can’t mess it up as long as you line your dutch oven with foil, spray it with cooking spray and keep turning it and checking it. You will use a box of cake mix and a can of pie filling (you can pick whatever flavor combination you like- our favorites are: cherry & chocolate and apple & vanilla). Here we used cherry and vanilla. Mix them together and pour into the dutch oven. Cut a few pieces of regular butter up and sprinkle it over the top. Cook over coals and with coals on the lid for about 30-45 minutes, turning the bottom and lid every 10 minutes. Check periodically and when it’s done, let it cool a bit before digging in! The crusty outside is my favorite part.
Well done! Have everybody help clean up and enjoy your full tummy!
Next- memories and lessons learned camping. 🙂