The Good Food Muse Goes Camping

Stanley and I went on a quick one-night camping trip this weekend, the highlight of which was the food......

One of my favorite things to cook and eat when camping is kebabs. They're exceptionally easy - food on a stick always is I suppose. In the morning before we left I prepared the ingredients: red potatoes from our Quann Community Garden (we've got tons of them!), my very first eggplant from the Marquette Street Garden, and zucchini from Tipi produce near Madison (purchased at Willy Street Co-op).

I sliced all the veggies into shish kebab sized pieces and prepared a quick marinade of these herbs from the garden (parsley, oregano, and thyme) with olive oil, minced farmer's market garlic, and lemon juice.

I mixed the vegetables and marinade in a big Tupperware, which I put on ice in a cooler. I love how gourmet you can get with the shish kebab ingredients, yet it's all easily packable in a single Tupperware.

For dessert, I decided to grill some of these Missouri peaches. These are seriously incredible peaches, and I say that as someone who knows her peaches. They're for sale right now at Jennifer Street Market on the East Side, and I've made several trips to that little market just to stock up on these luscious beauties. It's rare to find a real, tree ripened peach around here - all Willy Street has is organic California peaches, which are good, but too far traveled to be really amazing. Once I found these, it's been really hard for me to stop eating them. I think I've had at least three or four a day for the past week..... the season is just so short, I feel like I should take advantage while they're here. If you live in Madison and enjoy peaches, I highly encourage you to go pick some up!

I marinated the peaches in rum (a present from Ben and Erica from their recent trip to Costa Rica), fair trade vanilla, raw sugar, and freshly ground nutmeg.

These also went in a Tupperware on ice.

On the way to pick Stanley up, I stopped and got some beef stew meat and two nice big shrimps to add to the veggies. I threw them in and mixed if all up before leaving town.

Wyalusing State Park is about 2 1/2 hours from Madison. It's at the spot where the Mississippi and Wisconsin rivers meet. Our camp site was way above the rivers on a bluff with this beautiful view.

Along the way we picked up a dozen ears of sweet corn ($3 per dozen is the going rate at farm stands. I'm really really enjoying the Wisconsin farm stands in this summer. They don't exist in California like they do here.), some early apples from a wild tree we encountered along a country road, and some sumac to make tea with.

We also stopped at a chicken farm along the way to pick out some pullets. I'm going to pick them up after we move to our new house on August 15, but I wanted to figure out what I was getting. The farm we stopped at was really nice, with tons of chickens to chose from. I ended up going with a Welsummer, a Wheaten Maran, a Barnevelder, and a Buff Sussex. These are all rare breeds that lay a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes of eggs. The farmers kindly showed us around their farm and gave us a dozen eggs to take with us. The really dark one on the left comes from the mother of the Wheaten Maran that I'm getting - I really hope I get eggs like that from her!

Anyway, by dinner time, the veggies and meat were very well marinated.

I was especially happy with how soggy the eggplant was. It made it quite easy to spear without breaking the pieces. I grouped all the veggies separately on their own sticks, because they all cook at different rates and I've never had good luck with kebabs that mix a bunch of things together. This way things could cook in their own time and we could take each veggie and type of meat off the fire when it was done.

Mmmmm...... even before they were cooked these kebabs were looking delicious!

The corn went in the coals still in it's husk. The fire was a bit hot for my tastes, but we put the veggies on, and they did very well. The potatoes went on first, followed by the eggplant, then the zucchini, then the beef, then the shrimp.

Here's the finished product. It was WAY too much food for two people, but we ate most of it anyway. Leftovers are too hard to deal with in the woods.

It got dark so I didn't get very good pictures of the peaches grilling. Needless to say, they were delicious. Grilled fruit is an under appreciated thing. You should really do more of it.

Fast forward to this morning. I have this crazy memory from when I was a kid of cooking bacon and eggs over a campfire in a paper bag. I've always wanted to try it again, and this seemed like as good a time as any. The first step is to rub the bacon on the inside of the bags and line the bottom with bacon. The grease keeps the paper from burning, at least in theory. I used uncured bacon from Willow Creek Farm near Madison.

I added the little bit of leftover veggies form the night before....

....then two eggs per bag.

Then you just roll up the bag, poke a stick through, and cook it over the flame.

The whole thing turned into a bit of a catastrophe when Stanley got the top of his bag (which wasn't rubbed with bacon grease), too close to the fire and his whole bag went up in flames. He acted quickly to save his bacon - putting the fire out by whacking the bag with a big stick, then salvaging what he could and cooking it all on tin foil. He's a good sport, and is very good at putting up with me and my crazy ideas. I could have been safe and boring and brought a pan to cook on, but I like to take chances......

Mine turned out awesome! It was a bit runny on the top....

But when I got it all mixed up it was just perfect. I probably won't do the eggs in a bag trick again soon - it's pretty much just a novelty - but it was fun to give it a try.

We roasted two of the little apples we had picked along the road to go with breakfast. They were really good, even though we pretty much forgot about them in the midst of the burning bag fiasco. They cooked perfectly and added a nice touch. The sumac we had collected turned out to be infested with spiders, so that idea went out the window. Ah well, you can't always have everything go right, and we ate incredibly well on this camping trip dispute it all!
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1 comment:

  1. Hi. I have a blog at www.picturecamping.com where I feature people's posts about camping, and I would like to send my readers your way. Of course I would give you credit for quotes and would link back to your site.

    Thanks for considering this,

    Jean B. in SC


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