Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Campfire Cooking III: the Staycation Version

We've harassed our nearest and dearest friends about never inviting us along on camping trips for as long as we've known them. To their credit, we did camp together once about 3 years ago, and once because our entire small group from church went. Somehow, our nagging finally won them over (I'm not sure that's always a recipe for success, folks!), and they suggested we set a date for this summer. After much procrastinating, we decided on the weekend of August 8th. And after much more procrastinating, we discovered that every place we wanted to camp was full for that weekend. We set up an alternative plan involving a nearby campground, and everyone was pleased and excited. BUT, as I drove to the nearby campground at 7:15 AM to attempt to guarantee any available campsite, I realized we were in a torrential downpour that showed no signs of stopping. After several quick phone conferences, we determined that this (our final planned camping trip of the season) would be a sleepover at our house.

Frankly, this option suited us all well. I appreciated a whole extra day at home with nothing planned. I recall getting a lot done, though I can't remember what! When it thunder stormed most of the night, we were happy that we weren't holding down the tent stakes with a four year old and three girls under two. And, when I did a single load of laundry the next day and packed and unpacked nothing, I thought maybe we should make sleepovers an annual event. Wahoo!

I had, however, planned for a lot of camping food. So, we replicated our rainy campsite in our own intermittently rainy backyard. The dinner menu was meatloaf flower dinner in the dutch oven. It is basically a ring of meatloaf, with a pretty arrangement of carrots, potatoes, and asparagus in the center.
The flavors are nothing out of the ordinary, but it was fun to put together! We had planned to make stick biscuits (using refrigerated biscuit dough) over the fire, but I popped them in our oven instead. A simple green salad came along for the ride! Here are the proud tender of the coals and the finished (wilted) product:

Here are the girls enjoying their outdoor meal:

After throwing the dirty dishes in the automatic dishwasher (see staycations are pretty sweet!), we lit up the fire for some tasty desserts.

The desserts, Hobo Pies and S'mores, are ordinary pleasures to some, but they should not be overlooked in one's camp food repertoire. In case you need a visual tutorial-

Eva demonstrates an effective heat shield for one's face, in the occasion you have both short arms and a short roasting stick.

This is the cast-iron hobo pie iron, double wide. To make a hobo pie, you must thoroughly butter the inside of the pie iron, place a piece of bread on one side of the iron, add fillings of your choice (we used canned apple pie filling, but broken-up snickers bars are my fave!), and top with a second piece of bread. Clamp the pie iron closed, and place it in the fire, turning occasionally. Depending on the heat of the fire, these can cook up really fast, so be sure to check your progress often! Here are side by side "apple pies."

In this photo, my husband demonstrates "double fisting it" with s'mores :)

Although the original s'more is pretty delicious (albeit a little sweet for my tastes), there are many incredible variations on the theme. One of our favorites lately has been to skip the Hershey's bar and graham cracker and use Keebler Fudge Stripe cookies instead. And a word to the wise, on Eva's prodding I caved and bought "strawberry" marshmallows last summer (you know, the pink ones!). Though they might have eye appeal, they are not delicious campfire fare. I doubt the multi-colored variety would be any better. Just a warning based on our own personal research :)!

The rest of our sleepover involved indoor cooking, movie watching, board games, an indoor pool, and a rainy picnic, but we had a blast nonetheless. Here are some parting shots: what are little ladies to do when it rains for 36 hours straight, but DANCE!?!

1 comment:

AKat said...

How creative, Becca! You and Eric are such fun parents. It makes me want to eat a s'more right now!