Archive for the ‘Food & Camp Cooking’ Category

New Camping Recipe Book

It was going to be one of those “quick” projects. But it really wasn’t! But today, after weeks of work, I finally was able to order a proof copy. Whew!

082113-CampCooking101

This new book (available mid-September 2013) has 101 camping recipes that have been featured on TheOutdoorPrincess.com the Pitch Your Tent Newsletter and some that have never been published before. Book will retail for $14.95 and be available through Amazon.com, Createspace.com, and BarnesAndNoble.com.

(When the book is published, I’ll make those active links to purchase the book!)

It’s fully indexed for quicker searching too!

Let me tell you how much of a PITA (Pain In The A$$) creating an index is! After reviewing a ton of other cookbooks, I realized that a real index is a must. Did you know that a lot of cookbooks don’t index by ingredient? Just an alphabetical list of recipes. What good does that do? How can I look up what to do with my pork? Or bacon? Or ground beef?

Speaking of ground beef, did you know that there’s technically a difference between ground beef and hamburger? No? Me neither!

Special thanks to all my Facebook friends and fans who helped with the title, how long the book should be, and more!

The book will be available to purchase and for signing at Prescott’s Great Outdoors.

The Magic of Ziplock Bags®

This “extra” and 3 others PLUS 26 recipes are available in the eGuide: “Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer”

Camp Cooking with Joanne Fitterer

Every camping trip should include a selection of sizes of Ziplock Bags®. These great plastic inventions are great for storage, make for easy cleanup, and are always useful.

Tip #1: Dry Ingredients
Most of the time, you’ll be able to combine all your dry ingredients into a Ziplock Bag® at home, before the trip. Just measure into the bag like you would a mixing bowl, remove the air when you seal the bag and ta-da! Your dry ingredients are ready – pre-measured, pre-mixed and already contained.

Tip #2: Disposable Mixing Bowl
Ziplock Bags® make great mixing bowls because you can just drop everything in, seal the bag and mix with your hands through the plastic. When you’re done, just throw it away! This isn’t recommended for warm or hot ingredients. But, for things like pancake batter, coating potatoes in oil, or dips, it’s perfect!

Tip #3: Directional Pouring
Okay, you’ve made pancake batter and you need to get the batter onto the griddle. Pour the batter into a large Ziplock Bag®, cut off a corner and squeeze the batter through the hole onto the griddle.

You don’t need to take entire boxes of Ziplock Bags® with you- a handful of each size: sandwich, quart, and gallon should be fine. I don’t find a lot of use for the snack or 2-gallon sizes in the kitchen, so I don’t recommend them.

Readers Weigh In:

  • What camp-cooking tips make your life easier?

Product Review: Bisquick Shake ‘n Pour

Yummy Pancakes

If you’re anything like me then pancakes are a must-have camping breakfast staple. There’s just something about sitting on a cold cement picnic table in the early morning snarffing down hot, fluffy pancakes that is just perfection.

Of course, I’ve always found the MAKING of pancakes in camp to be messy and difficult! If you’re talented in the kitchen you can always make them from scratch OR even bring a powdered mix and add the wet ingredients. The issue is then having a big enough bowl for mixing, bringing a wire whisk so the attempt is made to have the pancakes fluffy, a large spoon to scoop the batter. And then the cleanup!

And if you don’t deal with pancake batter right away… Well let’s just say that it can do a pretty good job of FIXING that cement picnic table after it dries in the bottom of the bowl!

Enter: Bisquick Shake ‘n Pour Buttermilk Pancake Mix

Bisquick Shake 'n Pour Buttermilk Pancake Mix
I had seen it in the stores but was certain that it wouldn’t live up to the reputation: light, fluffy pancakes with no mixing mess. It couldn’t be THAT good, right?

Ha! It was better!

Code Wolf & I had the 10.6 oz container which promised 12-15 4-inch pancakes. All we needed was some cold water, shake and ta-dah! (Of course, I forgot my measuring cup so I estimated with a water bottle…)

It did take some shaking and tapping to get all the batter mixed in so make sure that you have somebody really shake the jar hard. I was impressed that the lid didn’t pop off the container or have any leakage AT ALL.

pancake batter
Then pour a dab of batter into a hot, greased skillet and INSTANT fluffy pancakes!

There was no way that just two of us could use a whole bottle of batter in just one sitting. But the left-over batter is good for up to 3 days refrigerated. So I just popped it back into the ice chest and we had pancakes the next morning too.

And as for the 12-15 pancakes, we ended up with 17 between the two breakfasts. If I had gotten really aggressive with the bit of batter left in the bottle, I think I could have made one more.

Browning pancakes

The only thing that is a bit of a negative is the price: $2.99. I expect to pay a bit more for the convenience for when I’m cooking outside. You’d need multiple bottles to feed a larger family or a whole host of kids. But the trade-off in easy: that’s priceless!

Readers Weigh In:

Links are to my Amazon.com affiliate account.

7 Steps to Perfect S’mores

The Perfect S’mores Technique

The Perfect Smore

S’mores are a quintessential part of any camping trip. And they seem really easy to make right? Toast a marshmallow and smash it between two graham crackers and a half of a Hershey’s chocolate bar.

While that is the basic theory, the reality is so much more!

And, as I learned on last weekend’s camping trip with Code Wolf, writing a whole article about the best way to prepare a s’more really isn’t an unneeded topic. Code Wolf is a camping newbie so it’s really been instrumental to figure out how to fill in the gaps in his outdoor-life knowledge. And s’mores… well, let’s just say that he took to making s’mores like he’s been doing it all his life.

Personally, I think it’s because he had a great teacher!

Do me a favor and FORGET thinking you can make s’mores in a microwave or over a gas stove.

THEY ARE NOT THE SAME!

Give it up: Go camping! Get dirty! Make s’mores like a Princess: over the fire!

 

Fake Smore

Do you see any melted chocolate? No? Then it's NOT a s'more!

 

 

Step 1: The fire.
You’ll want an established fire that isn’t too smoky. I like to have it going for at least twenty minutes before I try to make my s’more. That way, the coals are nice and hot and you’ve progressed past the burning kindling and newspaper stage. (Very gross-tasting smoke!)

Step 2: Lower the grate.
This is why I LOVE making s’mores in a campground’s fire ring: the grate! I like it so it’s about 3-4 inches above the top of the flames. I lower the grate early so it starts to get hot.

Step 3: Prepare the toasting boat.
Make a “boat” out of tin foil. I take about a foot-long piece, fold it in half and then fold up the edges. I want a flat-bottom boat that is a bit rigid.

Step 4: The s’more bases
You’ll want a full half of a graham cracker. The closer you get to a complete half, the easier it is to assemble the s’more later.

And do yourself a favor: get the good ones! Please, PLEASE don’t settle for the tasteless store brand! Just like you wouldn’t make a steak with a cheap cut of meat, make your s’mores with the best ingredients!

S'more Boat

Top each base with 1/4 to 1/2 of the Hershey’s chocolate bar. I prefer to use 1/4 (that’s 1 row of 3 pieces) because then the whole s’more isn’t so sticky sweet.

Step 5: Melt the chocolate
With the bases in the boat, you’ll place the boat on the heated grate. I like them close to the flames but not directly OVER. I’m trying to get it so my chocolate is a bit melted at the time the marshmallow is toasted.

S'more boat over fire.

Step 6: Toast the marshmallow
I know there are people who like their marshmallows burnt black. And while I do enjoy a turn-your-teeth-black, make-every-dentist-in-the-world-cringe charred marshmallow occasionally, that isn’t how I like my marshmallow for a s’more.

Toasting Marshmallows

I toast mine until they’re evenly browned.

Here’s the trick:

  • no more than 1 marshmallow on the stick at a time
  • keep it moving (rotating)
  • keep it just above the flames so it’s HEAT not FIRE that does the cooking

My friends Les & Kathy gave me a set of Mallow Masters by Barr Brothers. These things are GREAT! The plastic keeps your hands from getting hot and the double tines (retractable) keep the marshmallow in place. Heat doesn’t seem to travel up the prongs. Get Mallow Masters from Amazon.com! (Affiliate link)

Perfect Color

See how these marshmallows are the perfect COLOR? But how do you get just one into a s'more? It's better to toast them one at a time!

Step 7: Assembly
This is where it can get tricky because everything is hot and melting and sticky. It’s okay to ask for help here because you don’t want to get a sugar burn from anything — they’re VERY painful and can be really dangerous!

Transfer the foil boat to a paper plate or picnic table to make life easier!

Place the roasted marshmallow on top of the chocolate and top with the other half of a graham cracker. While gently squeezing the two halves together, slide the stick out of the marshmallow.

This is where the plate comes in handy so when the chocolate oozes out it doesn’t get onto clothes, hands, or the dog!

Let cool just a bit (a burnt tongue interferes with eating a s’more!) and enjoy!

 

Readers Weigh In:

  • What’s you s’more making technique?

How To Camp-Cook With Unusual Ingredients

EatStayPlay’s popular eGuide, “Camp Cooking from the EatStayPlay.com Newsletter” is full of easy, yummy recipes you can make on your next family trip. But, when I was working on the guide, a few of the recipes called for more unusual ingredients.

So, I thought I’d better give you some advice on how to Camp-Cook With Unusual Ingredients!

So you understand the problem:

  1. You’ve got a great camp recipe that calls for 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce
  2. You weren’t planning on taking a bottle of teriyaki sauce with you on your camping trip
  3. You have no idea what you can substitute for teriyaki sauce
  4. You REALLY want to make this recipe

Guess what! There IS a solution!

With a little pre-planning, you should be able to make just about anything at the campsite that you would at home. All you have to do it have a nice selection of small Ziplock Bags and small plastic containers with lids.

If your recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of teriyaki sauce you can measure that into a small plastic container with a tight-fitting lid before you leave home. At the campsite, you know that you’ve got just the right amount of teriyaki sauce for your recipe and you know that if you end up not making the recipe, you can just dump out the sauce, wash the container and you’re done. You don’t have to lug your (glass!) bottle of sauce out to the campsite and back again!

Now, if your recipe calls for 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon, just measure it into a small Ziplock Bag! You will want to label the bag- especially if you’re taking more than one bag or the same ingredient for different recipes.

Funny Story:

While I was growing up, every October, we went camping with our good family friends Patti and Eddie Gray. Each trip, we made Navajo Fry Bread. Each year, Patti used a Ziplock Bag to pre-mix and pre-measure the dry ingredients. One year, we were making Indian Fry Bread and Patti told me, “Grab that bag of white stuff, it goes into the fry bread mix.”

Turns out it WASN’T fry bread mix- it was Eddie’s powdered coffee creamer!

The moral of this story: label your bags!

Readers Weigh In:

  1. Have you ever had an “unexpected” ingredient in your camp food?
  2. How do you transport and use “unusual” ingredients while in camp?
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