Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Long Trip

If you've wondered where I've been, I was getting ready for, and going on, and recovering from, what was probably our family's longest camping trip yet. 

It was my husband's itinerary this year and since he's an explorer-type, we went further afield and crammed more in than I might have done. Plus, it was our first trip into true bear country. On the upside, since he wanted to visit two National Parks neither of which offered campgrounds with showers, we've made some progress in terms of learning what amenities we can survive without. [Background: our pact has always been that he's willing to camp in the dirty, messy outdoors as long as there are showers. I'm less picky, which isn't necessarily a compliment to me...]

Next ambition, a family backpacking trip! But I digress. Back to this year's trip, I'll tell you a little about our best camping meals.

One that we've repeated a few times is a dutch oven recipe for breakfast, called Almost Pumpkin Pie. It's not foolproof, though, especially if weather intervenes and makes coals impossible. Also, we didn't think through the fact that cooking overnight wouldn't really jive with bear restrictions. But, through a combination of luck and finagling, we enjoyed it again this year and it's becoming a tradition.

Another camping meal that is becoming a real go-to staple for us is chilaquiles. A bag of tortilla chips, a can of enchilada sauce, a jar of roasted red peppers, a can or two of chicken, some kind of fresh diced veggie (tomato or zucchini, for example), and a bag of Mexican cheese makes for a one-pot wonder. It was originally (a few years ago) planned as a dutch oven meal, but met with the usual fate of pouring rain that night, so I made do with a skillet. Since then I've honed it a little - stirring it in a mixing bowl before putting it into a well-greased skillet, then adding the cheese on top -- and it really hits the spot. Its other point of recommendation is that, aside from the cheese, nothing needs to be kept in the cold box. I have some kids that pick out the peppers and such, but so be it, they're still getting the benefit of the flavor.

Our other unexpected favorite this year was the sandwiches on our long, long drive home. We splurged on deli salami, havarti, and provolone, knowing that we'd have used up most of the goodwill of our week by then; and since we happened to be doing the longest drive on a Sunday, we couldn't plan on our usual treat of stopping for fast food to cap off the trip. Salami is a popular rarity here anyway, but I had also chanced upon a hearty sandwich loaf of king's Hawaiian bread, and putting the two together was fantabulous. Mmm, I'm happy right now just remembering it.


Of course, the whole expedition had far more highlights than the food -- that wasn't the main point of the trip! -- but since this is mostly a food blog, I hope you enjoyed the images and ideas of camping and eating in the beautiful wide-open world.

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