Chipotle Beans and Sausage: In the Woods

Chipotle Beans in the woods 15

This was our final hot meal on our camping trip, and the only one that involved the purchase of a pre-prepared element: baked beans (though if I’d had some of mine in the freezer you can bet all you own that I would have used them).  I did adapt it from The Camping Cookbook in that I used sausages, not hot dogs, as the meat addition.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 3

This is definitely my idea of campfire food.  This is something my dad would come up with over the fire – though if he made it, it would be slightly burnt coming out of his ancient frying pan. Now, this was *supposed* to be the last meal we ate at camp, but it ended up being the first meal we cooked at home after abandoning our damp post.

DSCN3466
Even the deer were getting the hell out.

Considering the downpour that occurred while I was cooking it in the safety of my warm and dry kitchen, I did not regret my choice to come home a day earlier.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 13

Drop about 1 tablespoon olive oil into a large frying pan and let that heat up.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 4

Add in 1 small onion, chopped finely, and sauté for a few minutes, until the onion pieces become translucent. Slice up 2 sausages (your choice, but spicy is probably better) into medallions and cook those with the onion until they’re done all the way through and slightly crispy at the edges.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 5

Sprinkle on as well as 1/2 teaspoon chipotle (or more if you prefer).

Chipotle Beans in the woods 6

Crack open a 400g can of baked beans (I chose maple, but chili style would add a kick) and add that to the mix.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 7

I love this can opener. It is literally the best $16 I ever spent.  I’m so miffed that Lee Valley doesn’t sell them anymore.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 2

Cook, stirring occasionally, until everything is hot and bubbly and nice and thick.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 9

Grate up some cheddar cheese (I used 1 cup grated cheddar because I am a greasy glutton) and sprinkle over top of the beans before serving.

Chipotle Beans in the woods 12

Cheesy Corn Fritters: In the Woods

Fritters in the woods 8

Seeing as most of our time camping is spent killing time between meals, it behoves me to put a bit of thought into them so they’re not a disappointment. And that means that all the lunches I made for our camping trip were hot ones. Granted, with everything mixed ahead of time, they were a snap to prepare, but I think the little bit of ceremony required in lighting the grill and getting everything ready made them a bit extra special.

Fritters in the woods 1

These quick fritters come from The Camping Cookbook – like most things we made for this trip – and are spectacular.

Fritters in the woods 9

Mix together 3/4 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 teaspoon baking powder in a bowl.

Fritters in the woods 2

Beat in 1 large egg and 3/4 cup milk.

Fritters in the woods 3

Stir in 75g corn (fresh, frozen, canned, it’s your choice, but make sure it’s well-drained), 1/4 cup shredded cheese, and 1 teaspoon fresh chives).

Fritters in the woods 4

Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a frying pan and drop tablespoons of the batter onto the hot surface. Fry 1-2 minutes each side until crispy and golden brown. This recipe will make about 8-12 small fritters, and we served them with some carrots on the side. Tasty and quick!

Fritters in the woods 5

Fritters in the woods 6

Fritters in the woods 10

Apple and Spice Porridge: In the Woods

 

DSCN3460
This wolf spider and I had a disagreement about where I should tie my laundry line.

There’s nothing like a hot breakfast after crawling out of your warm sleeping bag on a crisp morning at the crack of dawn. While we abandoned our rainy campsite with dampened spirits and dampened everything else, I wanted to continue on with the camp menu, seeing as I had everything ready in any case.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 2

This creamy version of our traditional porridge is adapted from The Camping Cookbook and adds a nice bit of luxury to a morning spent in the woods. Even a super rainy one.

DSCN3458

Dump 1 1/4 cup milk into a saucepan and bring it to a low boil.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 3

Add in 1/2 teaspoon salt and 2/3 cup oats and cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to thicken.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 4

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 6

Sprinkle in 1/2 teaspoon allspice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and reduce the heat a little bit.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 7

Grate up 1 large apple. I’ve never grated an apple before. It’s oddly satisfying.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 5

Tip that into the mix and stir until it’s heated through.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 8

Serve with honey drizzled over top. Perfect.

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 9

Apple Spice Porridge in the woods 10

Baked (or not baked) Macaroni and Cheese: In the Woods

Mac Cheese in the woods 7

This comfort meal is adapted from our own traditional recipe. It had to be downsized so as not to allow for leftovers (shocking, I know).

Start by boiling up a pot of salted water for your pasta. I figure 2 cups uncooked macaroni will do just fine.  Cook that according to the package directions and then drain.

Mac Cheese in the woods 1

Continue by frying up some bacon or breakfast ham, a couple slices (the Pie has outlawed bacon in the house so ham will have to do).  Crumble or slice the cooked meat and set it aside. Chop up a large tomato as well and put that aside for now. These both went into the freezer for me. I also made sure to bring my trusty Tabasco:

Mac Cheese in the woods 5

Assemble your sauce: in a saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon butter.

Mac Cheese in the woods 2

Then mix in 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour. Slowly drizzle in 1 cup milk and stir until it starts to thicken.

Mac Cheese in the woods 3

Then add in 1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese, and stir until all the cheese is melted and the sauce is smooth. Season to taste with Tabasco sauce and salt and pepper.

Mac Cheese in the woods 4

Tip your sauce, meat, and tomato into the pasta and stir to coat.

Mac Cheese in the woods 6

If it hadn’t been raining, we would have then shoved the whole thing into our Outback Oven and baked it for about 20 minutes until it was all crusty and bubbly. As it was raining and we were cold and damp, we just ate it in its squishy state and it was amazing.

Mac Cheese in the woods 8

S’meaches: In the Woods

Summer is drawing to a close, but why not give it one last hurrah with this gorgeous take on the traditional s’more treat? I saw this video a few years ago and I’ve been wanting to try it ever since.  Step one is building yourself a good fire and getting a nice consistent flame. I like to grill things in the coals so it’s a good idea to have this going for a while before you’re ready to have dessert. I apologize in advance for the terrible quality of these photos. There’s only so much you can do when your only light source is a campfire. If you want pretty pictures, check out the above video.

S'Meaches in the Woods 2

Grab yourself 2-3 fresh peaches. August is peach season in Ontario so these are like fuzzy heaven to eat.

S'Meaches in the Woods 4

Remove the pit by halving the peach and then slice the halves horizontally into peach patties.

S'Meaches in the Woods 5

Mix together 1 cup brown sugar and 1 tablespoon cayenne (or more if you’re feeling adventurous). Dredge your peach slices in the brown sugar and cayenne mixture. Grab a package of large marshmallows and jam a marshmallow on your roasting stick, together with a slice of peach.

S'Meaches in the Woods 6

Roast until you get it the way you like it. The sugar should be all caramelized on your peach, and the marshmallow should be exactly as you wish.

S'Meaches in the Woods 8

S'Meaches in the Woods 9

Smush the contents of your roasting stick between two graham crackers and shove it in your face.  Repeat as necessary.  And it WILL be necessary.

S'Meaches in the Woods 10

Creamy Ricotta, Mint, and Garlic Pasta with Peas: In the Woods

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 25

This particular dish, from The Camping Cookbook, is supposed to be served hot, but I thought it would make a nice cold lunch for us to eat after setting up camp on the first day.  So I ended up making all of this ahead of time, at home (which means that technically I didn’t make it in the woods).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 1

Start by boiling up about 150g of your favourite short pasta. The original recipe calls for ziti, but I love fusili so that’s what I used. Cook it according to the package directions, and drain it and return it to the pot when it’s ready.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 9

While that’s cooking, cut yourself about 1 tablespoon fresh mint and chop that up.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 8

Thaw about 1/2 cup frozen peas (or fresh, if you’ve got ’em). I added this element to the recipe for the sake of vitamins. Don’t want to get scurvy while camping.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 4

Mash up as well some roasted garlic (I roasted a few heads of this the week before and it pretty much went into everything).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 3

While the cooked pasta is still hot, stir in 1/3 cup ricotta cheese and 1/3 cup heavy cream (I wimped out here and used half and half).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 10

Add in your mint, peas, and garlic and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 11

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 15

We served this cold with a nice toasted garlic bread I prepared in advance: slice up a small baguette so that you have individual pieces but they’re still stuck together at the bottom.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 16

Chop up some fresh herbs: parsley, basil, and oregano (dried is also fine).

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 17

Mush up some roasted garlic.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 18

Smush those all together with some pepper.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 19

Add softened (this is too softened) butter and mix.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 20

Insert the butter between the slices and wrap in tin foil until you’re ready to eat.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 21

You can toast the bread directly on your camp stove, or you can put it in an Outback Oven, or you can roast it directly over the campfire.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 23

Either way, it’s excellent.

Ricotta Pasta and Garlic Bread in the Woods 24

A-Camping We Will Go: In the Woods

This weekend we are going camping for the first time since we were in Gros Morne in 2011.  The Pie and I have always loved camping – we find it so relaxing to have that forced disconnect from the bustle of urban living, where your only concern is how to fill the time between meals.

Before In the Woods 2

Now, we camp with our car, and a bunch of stuff (see picture). While we *could* concern ourselves with weight allowances and space and shove everything we own into a backpack full of tiny expensive camping equipment, we choose not to. Camping for us is a holiday, not an exercise in survival. Still, even with the ability to shove everything you own in a car to keep it warm and dry you still have to do a certain amount of forward-thinking, and this year I wanted to carry that organization over into our meal planning.

Before In the Woods 7

Before In the Woods 8

Before In the Woods 9

Before In the Woods 6

Normally we pick up groceries on the way to the campsite and kind of wing our meals throughout our stay. This leaves us at the end with a lot of bizarre leftovers: squashed, soggy hamburger buns, marshmallows melted into their plastic bag, huge jars of condiments, and cheese with elements of pine needle in it. We end up throwing most of it out, and we also get really sick of hot dogs by the end of our trip.

Before In the Woods 1

This time I vowed things would be different, and that we would come out of it with as little waste as possible, while still enjoying high-quality meals.  It meant, however, that I had to plan – though if you know me by now, you know that this is where I excel, and I have the collection of wee containers to prove it.   So here I’m introducing a new category today: In the Woods, in homage to the great dishes I have already produced in the middle of nowhere.  Starting Monday, and for the next several posts after that, you’ll be able to feast your eyes on the fruits of my planning.  And if you’re not a huge fan of the great outdoors, all of these recipes can be made at home, too!

Before In the Woods 19