3 Easy Dishes for Camping
As we continue to enjoy clear blue skies and warm summer sun, camping is popular this August. Although I’m not the most rugged Pacific Northwest outdoor adventurer, I always enjoy packing rations that please the palate while I’m immersed in nature at any of the numerous, accessible parks. Whether the destination is the forest, mountains or a beach, a good deal of foraging can be done to supplement what gets packed in (and back out).
To take advantage of nature’s seasonal provisions, travel with an identification guide to local edibles and, if there’s any doubt, always err on the side of caution–never eat something you can’t identify as 100% safe!
- Cook stove & fuel (in case of burn bans or inclement weather)
- Skillet, pot containing nestled dishes, utensils, a wooden spoon or spatula
- Sheathed knife (a Kuhn is my favorite), a multipurpose tool with can and bottle opener, a
lighter and matches (in waterproof container)
- Herbs & spices: red pepper flakes, smoked sea salt, ground black pepper, cilantro, curry
powder, an Italian herb blend, and a head of garlic
- Coconut oil
As backpacking tends to be quite limiting to foodies at dry campsites (where pack weight and water reserves are important), non-perishables and foods that are high in protein, salt and fat like hard cheeses, nut butters and salami make great snacks. Efficient starches like couscous and quinoa require very little precious water resources to prepare for dinner with canned, dried or fresh ingredients.
Try this delicious backpacking meal: Quinoa with smoked clams, garlicky dandelion greens & pickled peppers (if possible, add foraged chanterelles, sautéd in coconut oil), almond butter with blackberries and yogurt-covered raisins.
On kayak camping trips, hatches provide built-in cool storage and offer a world of possibility. Freeze a few pre-cooked and portioned meals for the first day and pack them in an insulated bag with beverages to keep everything cool. Finding fresh additions to meals is also a snap on the water–make sure to check with the Health Department for beach closures and specific harvestable species before you leave. *
If you’re traveling by car and making scenic stops along the way, you know that the cooler is your best friend and imagination your only limit. Load up with ice, fresh herbs, fruit and veggies, protein as desired and bring along those cast-iron pots and pans, since weight is of little concern.
One creative car camping meal: Mojitos and Burritos – Serve up some refreshing drinks while the skillet is put to good use: sauté garlic, onion, ground beef and Tuscan kale and splash with tequila, add a can of black beans, season liberally before spooning onto a warm tortilla and topping with diced jalapeño, tomato and fresh cilantro.
After graduating from the Seattle Culinary Academy, Ashlee Redfern moved to Italy for 8 years. After earning a degree in Intercultural & Interlinguistic Studies from the University of Florence (Italy), working in the food, wine and fashion industries and teaching English, she now lives on Bainbridge Island and shares her passion for delicious food and cultural exchange through her business, Italian Inspirations. She is a personal chef, offers Italian language classes and cultural & travel consulting services in the greater Seattle area. She also organizes and guides personalized, small-group culinary tours of Tuscany for adventurous foodie travelers. Visit her blog: www.italian-inspirations.com