Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Quick Camping Recipes

I recently sent the Boyfriend a care package full of cookies and other treats.  2 small bags were filled with freshly ground cumin and a great curry blend I picked up at The Spice House in Old Town.  I'm trying to make his time out in the wilds tastier.  So I e-mailed him some easy camp friendly recipes and thought I'd share with you.  I'd love it if he sent me some pictures if he does make these (hint). Before I get to the recipes though I have one more little bit I need to share.


On another note.  We all, especially the Americans (and even Brits) reading this, know that childhood obesity is becoming a bigger problem that reduces life expectancy.  It also keeps kids from being able to do so many activities in life and can cause a lot of pain and suffering for years.  It isn't a disease, it is lifestyle habit.  There is this competition for methods to prevent or reduce childhood obesity.  It'd be a great help to people's lives if you took a couple minutes to vote on which is your favorite.  I'm very much a fan of teaching kids about the hows and whys and introducing good things to them so that they can take this knowledge to fight their own battles and also know where they can turn to for help and information.  I like the National School Garden Coalition, but choose as you agree!  Thanks for your help!

Enjoy the recipes - as I sent them to him:

1. Basic Lazy American Thai Curry
The quick and dirty way is to start by sauteing a bunch of chopped onions with oil and a good amount of curry powder and cumin on medium heat.  You want the onions to take their time cooking here and not burn or brown, but just become soft (this is ideal, but you can always cook'em quick if you're in a crunch).

Once the onion is cooked through, then you add a variety of veggies to the pot/pan and raise the heat, adding a splash of water or broth to help steam the veggies through.

Add soy sauce and an acid like lemon juice or rice vinegar and a sweet like honey, sugar, or even sprite .  White wine is great too, but I'm assuming that isn't really an option. (optional add-ins- ginger, hot peppers, peanut butter, coconut milk , mini corns, fish sauce, tofu, etc.)

Serve over rice or noodles.

2. Easy Indian
This is a great one pot meal option. Start the same way, with a lot of chopped onion in oil and curry powder and cumin.  Allow to simmer slowly to cook the onions through.

Add frozen or canned peas (or fresh obviously), chopped carrot (or frozen or canned), a drained and rinsed can of chickpeas (or more than one can for your throng of young people - rinsing is better, but not necessary - for the chickpeas not the people, though I suppose it also applies to the people)

There should be a nice hearty volume of things in the pot.  Add some crushed tomatoes (canned works again, but you can ALWAYS choose to buy fresh though the tastes won't be great fresh this time of year), bring to a boil/simmer, and season to taste

Serve over rice, or you can always boil potatoes and chop them up and actually mix them in.  

Add cayenne or other chili as a heat option.  Try to serve with pita bread or Naan, for an authentic experience.  Easy heating - if you have a grate over your fire, or if you're using a stove, place the bread directly over the fire and flip continuously until heated through and slightly toasty.  Otherwise, wrap a bunch in aluminum foil and stick in the fire pit at the start of the cooking process.  You can also bake potatoes this way obviously or make garlic bread etc.

3. Arabic Goodness
One of my favorite ways to use Cumin is in Arabic food.  It also adds depth to Mexican food, and can be added to Indian food to accentuate the Cumin flavor often already present in Garam Masala - a base for Indian food that I did not buy for you.

Saute onion in a pot with oil, a lot of cinnamon, and cumin.  Add dry brown lentils and saut√© until all sizzly and smelling wonderful.  Add rice and water.  For every one cup of lentils, you need 2 cups of water, and the same applies for rice.  Cover pot, bring to boil, then to a simmer.  Cook until done and water has been absorbed (about 20-30 minutes depending on variables like amount, size of pot, and altitude). DO NOT ADD ACID OR SALT until after the lentils are done cooking.  They will stay crunchy otherwise.

This is your foundation.  You can stuff peppers with this, wrap in aluminum foil and bake (each person can do this, or you can just hollow out peppers and wrap in foil, bake and each person can add the rice and lentil mixture into their own pepper.  You can always add spinach and nuts for a more well rounded bowl, top with a garlic lemon yogurt, maybe put into a pita with chopped romaine and tomatoes.

You can omit the rice, add broth on top of the water, and add spinach for a lentil soup that my mom makes, seasoning with fresh lemon juice.

4. Make it Moroccan
Let's do a pasta.  Easy.  Make pasta.  In another pot, saute onions in oil and cumin and cayenne, add garlic, then add a plain tomato sauce and chickpeas.  Mix together.  Yum.  Serve with love and smiles and maybe a nice salad on the side for green goodness - chop up a bunch of parsley and tomatoes to give it a Mediterranean feel.

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