Camping Favorites – Out in the Wild or in the Backyard

by Laura on August 1, 2010

in Food

What would summer be without camping? Camping is a favorite pastime for so many Americans as it is an affordable way to commune with nature, family and friends.

Hand in hand with all that communing with nature, comes the communing with family and friends around the campfire, enjoying chicken foil dinners, campfire stew, and the S’mores!

Camping is a great way to get away for the weekends, but if you are unable to slip away, or just don’t’ want to partake in an outdoor adventure, you can still enjoy some of the favorite camping snacks right in your own home.

S’Mores

August 10th is National S’Mores Days, so gather round the fire and join in on the fun. First found in “Tramping and trailing with the Girl Scouts” of 1927, S’mores have been a mainstay of recreational camping for decades. Simply skewer a marshmallow on a stick hold it above the fire until it is brown and soft on the inside, pinch it off the stick onto a graham cracker, and sandwich with a piece of chocolate and top with the other graham cracker. For those who just can’t wait for the fire to get burning, there are a variety ofmicrowave ‘S’mores makers that ensure results are quick and easy.

For me, my favorite indoor S’mores recipes is a jazzed up version of the traditional campfire favorite. Instead of a graham cracker, I use pizzelles, and top with ice cream drizzled with chocolate sauce. It is a treat that is great for the family as well as for company.

Midnight Snack (for the adults)

As the fire starts to die down, but the conversation and the wine are still flowing, now is the time for the adults to enjoy a little campfire snack–warmed cheese and crusty bread!

Start with a soft-ripened, bloomy rind cheese – you know the ones with the white (bloomy rind) on the outside. The best-known of these cheeses are brie and camembert.

Wrap the cheese in sturdy aluminum foil, place on the embers of the fire (not the direct flame) for about 10-12 minutes. (turn over at least once during this time). Open up and the cheese will have melted and become a bit crusty in places. Scoop up with crusty bread. To add a bit more zing to the treat, perforate the aluminum foil with small holes and pour in one tablespoon of brandy, adding a delicious flavor to the melted cheese.

For an at-home alternative, use a soft-ripened cheese, or tryBoucheron, a semi-soft French goat cheese, with a flaky paste and white bloomy rind. It’s slightly tangy taste is typically enjoyed in salads, or on the cheese board, but when you heat it up until it starts to melt, the flavor becomes even more intensified.

For added flavor, slice it in half (long ways) drip a bit of olive oil on the bottom half, add slivered almonds, crushed garlic, rosemary and a bit of sea salt. Place the other half on top, drizzle with olive oil and place in oven 350 degrees or higher (in a small pie plate, or on oven proof plate) and cook to desired consistency. If placed in a small pie plate, the cheese begins to get crusty, which is delicious to scoop up with crusty bread.

Author and cheese-whiz, Laura Werlin offers up this when buying soft-ripened cheese:

“Soft-ripened cheeses should give a little in the center when you gently press them. If they are quite hard, then they are not ripe. Some will ripen over time, but unfortunately, many Bries and Camemberts made for the mass market are not made in such a way that they will ever fully ripen. Your safest bet is to buy these types of cheeses from smaller specialty cheese shops, in the specialty cheese section of the supermarket, or, ideally, directly from the cheesemaker.”

She adds, “The rind of a soft-ripened cheese should look white – not pink – and the aroma should be fresh. If the cheese has a pinkish hue and smells like ammonia, it won’t be good to eat.”

Biscuits

Biscuits  are a must-have on a camping trip. While biscuits on a stick are a fun and easy way to have everyone make their own breakfast, I find something a bit traditional more satisfying.

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Biscuits are wonderful tummy fillers for a snack or to complement meals, and are especially easy to make when using cast iron, an essential tool for true campers. Cast iron is highly valued for its cooking properties. It heats evenly and holds the heat. The portable cast iron pot (camp stove) is extremely versatile, and can be used for deep frying, searing, baking on the stove, grill in the oven, or over a campfire.

So, don’t wait until your out in the wild to use the camp stove, stoke it up, make some biscuits, douse them in butter and pair them with eggs and bacon, a camping breakfast ritual. Or, if it is dessert time, create a strawberry shortcake, camping style. Once made, place on plate, drizzle with cleaned and hulled strawberries, top with a bit of cream, and enjoy.

Wherever you decide to camp – on the road or in the backyard, don’t let summer pass you by without enjoying those camping favorites.

 

Click for Recipes:

Pizzelle S’mores

Sourdough Biscuits (in the portable Camp Stove)

 

 

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