Friday, June 12, 2009

Campfire Cooking I

Welcome to the first in a series (I hope) of posts all about our adventures in outdoor cooking! With summer upon us and the camping season in full swing, there should be many opportunities for outdoor adventure and lots of photos to share. I have a big interest and a small love affair with outdoor cooking, everything from hot dogs over the campfire to charcoal grilling to "gourmet" dishes in the dutch oven. This is a nice "in between" summer with no little baby to attend to at the campsite, so I am revving my engines for some tasty food adventures along with a few more active endeavors nearby the campsites. Finally Adventure Mama lives up to her name (wink, wink)!

Two weekends ago we camped with our small group from church for a few days. It was a great, relaxed kickoff to the camping season! Although we asked everyone to provide their own breakfasts and lunches, we attempted to serve the dinners. Ashamedly, I admit that I used the exact same menu we've used at small group camp outs before. Thankfully, we're not sick of it yet! Here's some of what filled our plates, chins, and bellies (in our bellies, I mean. Unless you're pregnant and you find that everything lands on your belly...).

Dinner #1 is Foil Fajitas, which are perhaps becoming a signature dish for our family. Even when the guys go camping without the gals (but the gals still prep their food, of course :), foil fajitas are requested. It is a simple recipe really, and super satisfying. As an added bonus, most of the prep can be done at home, making your time around the campfire even more relaxing. The basic idea: tortillas, sour cream, cheese, lettuce, and a foil packet of fajita seasoned strips of meat, bell peppers, and onions. Throw the foil (securely closed, of course) on a low fire for 10 minutes or so, and then put it all together! This picture really makes the chicken look unappealing, but this is the only visual aid I have to offer:
And don't forget to chop up some fresh and zesty pico de gallo before leaving home. There's nothing better on a fajita!I generally go the easy route and serve pre-packaged rice and beans as a side (just add water and boil). However, dessert is much more exciting!
Now is where this lovely relic comes into play- an old fashioned dutch oven with legs. I believe mine is the 12" variety. I have my Grandma Knudtsen to thank for this, as she surprised me with it as a Christmas present several years ago. Although this one was brand new, I'm told that they last for many generations and a dutch oven celebrating it's 150th birthday is a real charm to cook with. Picture yourself cooking in style with legendary figures like Davey Crockett, Caroline Ingalls, and Paul Bunyan (well.... maybe not:).

This is what it looks like as it baking a delicious cherry cobbler, found at my favorite site for dutch oven recipes. 350 degrees of pioneer goodness, right there! And here is the finished cobbler- I toted along a can of whipped cream to top it off. Unless, you're a certain privileged 2o month old and you get things just how you prefer them: all whipped cream, no cobbler!Dinner #2 consisted of BBQ chicken over the fire, green tossed salad, corn bread, and baked beans. I have no pictures of the BBQ chicken, thanks to the fact that I was so distracted by my flaming arm hairs and smoke filled lungs while tending the meat. Frankly, I've decided this dish is not to be made by the faint of heart, and one should be very attentive to the quality of fire you're working with. We had a few majorly charred chicken thighs mixed in with the rest...

My version of baked beans? Easy as dumping a can of beans in a pot and finding an open flame.
Tossed salad? Make sure to remember to bring a cutting board and decent knives.
The cornbread involves the dutch oven again, so of course it is fun and rewarding. Here's the finished product-
After it's all said and done, a nice after-dinner nap is in order. Right, Hope?
Thanks, small-groupies for cooking with us and letting us boss you around! Here's to more grubbin' to come!


Erin said...

funny, funny lady! you and your dutch oven which I'm sure we'll enjoy next weekend?? yes? you'll have to teach me how to use it.

Anonymous said...

In my eyes, Becca, you are the gold standard of camp-chefs. Cherry cobbler? I'm impressed :) I'll eat by your campfire any time!