Thursday, August 4, 2011

Camping Eats

Camping, for some reason, always inspires thoughts of hot dogs, beans and s'mores.  While I am a big fan of all three, the thought of eating all three all week makes me want to, well, think of other options. 

I decided to try out hobo packs after reading an article from Simple Bites.  These are not a new creation, but I've never tried them before.  I wanted something everyone would voraciously eat after a long day of canoeing or swimming or ...camping.  I decided on pork kabobs, burritos and beef stew packets.  For the beef stew I used this recipe.  I didn't use bouillon, but I did use some balsamic marinade.  I also par cooked the veggies for a few minutes before adding them to the meat.  After I mixed everything all together, I put them in packets, labeled and froze them.  I also did bean, beef and cheese burritos in the same manner...prepped, assembled, labeled and froze.  For the pork kabobs, I marinated the pork in barbecue sauce overnight.  Then I froze the pork.  All the packets stayed frozen until I needed them.  I put the pork on the bottom of the cooler, beef stew somewhere in the middle and the burritos on top for the 2nd night.  All items were thawed for cooking and still a wee bit frozen. 
I bought wooden skewers for the kabobs and soaked them in water all day.  I laid them out in a shallow aluminum pan, poured water in and let them sit while we went on a canoe trip.  I am happy to say that the skewers did not burn at all and they were not hot to the touch when I grabbed them to turn over the kabobs.  I wanted to buy pineapple for the kabobs, but forgot.  We had tomatoes and baby bella mushrooms left, so that's what made it onto the skewers.  Those were marinated with the pork for an hour, just to give the mushrooms some extra moisture. 
We didn't eat hot dogs once on our trip. 
We also didn't eat s'mores.  Two reasons for that.  Number one...I thought I didn't bring the graham crackers and the chocolate was smooshy.  Number two...we brought campfire cookie dough and the makings for an over-the-fire oven.  This is not my recipe at all.  And I can't remember where I found it.  I have a list of sites it could be from, but I haven't been able to find it.  But, it was so yummy, I need to share it.  This is the recipe with my adaptations.  Tweak it anyway you like.
Campfire Cookies (Yield approx. 40 cookies)

2 1/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt (Kosher salt works well)
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened 
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs
3/4 of a bag of dark Chocolate Chips 
1 package chocolate graham crackers
Mini-Marshmallows for topping

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Beat butter, sugars and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, incorporating after each addition.
3. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in another bowl and gradually add to the batter. Stir in chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbles.
4. Chill dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. (This will help your cookies to rise, as the butter bakes up better cold).
5. Drop rounded teaspoonfuls of dough onto a parchment paper-lined baking sheet.
6. Press 3 mini-marshmallows (or more, if you'd like!) into the top of each cookie.
7. Bake for 9-11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on baking sheet, then move to a wire rack to cool completely.

You can bake it in an oven at home or you can try what I did.  I took a cardboard box and covered it in tin foil.  This was not an easy task.  I put five cookies on a small aluminum baking sheet and waited.  Nothing was  happening.  Right.  I need to keep the heat in.  So I made a door.
and kept the door from opening with sticks.  It was a very arduous process.  Well, not really.  Just a lot of waiting.  And more waiting. 

Then my brain started working.  Why in the world was I using a gigantic box when I could get the same effect from using my cast iron skillet?  So, that's what I did.  I put the baking sheet in the skillet (if attempting, please make sure you are always careful around all things aflame and hot) and covered the skillet with foil.  Within 15 minutes they were done.  They were delicious.  The rest of the cookie dough was eaten raw because I was not waiting another hour for 5 more cookies. 
I will make these again.  At home.  In an oven with dials and timers and digital options. 

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