Thursday, July 29, 2010

Campfire Cuisine

Cook’s Corner
Betty Kaiser

Campfire Cuisine

Vacation time is in fully swing and families everywhere are cooking around a campfire. Good camp meals don’t just happen. They take planning. Lists must be made and a great deal of thought put into meals cooked outdoors with minimal refrigeration.

Camping menus should be simple with much of the prep work done at home. Lettuce can be washed and bagged for salads. Burger patties formed and put on ice. Desserts can be as simple as sliced oranges sprinkled with coconut. But bacon sizzling on a grill always starts off the day and marshmallows dropped in ashes (and wiped off) always end the day.

Stick cooking was invented for people like me who don’t want to be slaving over a hot fire all day. If you put a hotdog on a stick and let little kids and big grown-ups cook their own main course they’re happy campers. Put that dog in a toasty bun at lunch or dinner, add a plate of beans and you’ve got a meal!

Eventually, hamburgers and hot dogs get old and we begin hankering for something else to eat. Again, those hot dog sticks come in very handy. You can thread them with cubed pork, chicken or steak in an endless variety of combinations. A can of pineapple cubes with onion and bell pepper added to the skewers make a great, easy main course.

I found this first recipe on the “Travel Oregon” website. They periodically send me interesting Oregon-style recipes. Chilaquiles, however, are Mexican comfort food so this was one was a surprise. If you like enchiladas, you should like these. This is a breakfast recipe and will serve a crowd. The other recipes are basic camping food with just a little twist. Enjoy!

Dutch Oven Chilaquiles

A Dutch Oven
Olive oil
1 dozen eggs
Splash of milik
1 12-ounce can enchilada sauce
4 corn tortillas, hand cut into 1-inch strips or cubes
Pinch of fresh chopped oregano
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
6 ounces Monterey Jack Cheese, grated
1/2 bunch of chopped cilantro
1/2 red onion, finely diced
2 avocadoes, sliced

Wipe the sides of the Dutch Oven with olive oil. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Saute the oregano, onions and bell pepper until translucent. Pour in egg and milk mixture and stir frequently. When the eggs are almost cooked, begin heating the Dutch Oven lid.

Place tortilla strips into the enchilada sauce; then combine the strips and sauce with other ingredients in the Dutch Oven. Continue to cook mixture, stirring and folding ingredients. Add 2/3 of the Monterey Jack cheese and half of the cilantro. When the meal is almost done, add the rest of the cheese and cilantro and place the diced red onion and chopped avocadoes across the top.

Cover with heated lid for a few minutes and serve!

Breakfast Pig on a Stick

Hot dog forks
1 package fully cooked sausage links
1 package refrigerated breadsticks

Spear a sausage link on a stick.
Lay one breadstick dough strip out and wrap dough around the sausage. Pinch the end or poke it over the stick end. Cook over coals until the bread is browned. Take your time and keep rotating it so that the bread dough is brown outside and cooked inside. Eat plain or dip in catsup, mustard, or whatever your kid will eat.

Basic Cedar Planked Fish

2 pounds of salmon, char, halibut or trout fillets, skin on or skinless
1/4 cup canola oil or Italian dressing (if using skinless fillets)
General seasoning and herbs
1 large lemon cut in half and then quarters to serve.
1 red cedar plank large enough to hold fish in a single layer

Soak plank for 8 hours or overnight in a bucket in plain water (weight with brick to keep plank submerged). Drain plank and pat dry.

If using skinless fish, rub one side with oil; place on plank, oiled side down. If using unskinned fish, place on plank, skin side down.

Sprinkle fish generously with seasoning. Cover plank loosely with aluminum foil. Place plank on campfire grill over campfire and cook until fish is just opaque, about 15 to 25 minutes. The plank may catch on fire around the edges near the end and this is okay; if the fire becomes too strong, spray plank with water bottle.

Serve on plank or transfer to serving dish. Discard plank after use.

Russian Cherry Delight

1 15-oz. can crushed pineapple
1 21-oz. can cherry pie filling
1 21-oz. can strawberry pie filling
2 21-oz. cans apple pie filling
1 8-oz. bag chopped pecans
1 18-oz. box Duncan Hines yellow (butter recipe) cake mix
1 to 2 sticks of butter
3-4 teaspoons cinnamon
1 12-inch Dutch oven

Preheat a lightly greased 12-inch Dutch oven to 350 degrees.
Pour crushed pineapple on the bottom and spread evenly; cover lightly with cinnamon. Follow the same procedure with the cherry pie, straw berry pie, and apple pie fillings (but don’t drain!).

Spread dry cake mix evenly over pie fillings. Sprinkle pecan pieces evenly over the dry cake mix.

Cut butter stick into thin squares and apply over entire top.

Bake one hour at 350 degrees, with nine charcoal briquettes under the oven and 15 on the lid. Check after 20 minutes; if necessary, adjust the number of briquettes. Serve warm or cold, with ice cream or whipped topping. Serves 10 to 12

Note: Be sure and bring along a can opener and some bowls to serve this in. Then, if you’re really camping and don’t have access to ice cream, try pouring a little milk over the warm cake. Delicious!

Keep it simple and keep it seasonal! 
Betty Kaiser’s Cook’s Corner is dedicated to sharing a variety of recipes 
that are delicious, family oriented and easy to prepare. Her columns are published weekly in the Cottage Grove Sentinel.

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