Tag Archives: food

Super Simple Campfire Cuisine

Memorial Day and the unofficial kickoff to summer is nearly here.  Many of us will be headed to our favorite state park for a weekend of camping fun or a relaxing afternoon picnic.

If you are looking for some easy recipe ideas for your trip, may we suggest…

Diner-Bacon-&-Egg-Sandwich-On-Roll_Evan-Amos Public domain
MaryAnn’s breakfast sandwich, photo by van-Amos Public Domain

Maryann’s Easy Skillet Breakfast Sandwiches

Ingredients

Bagel or English muffin, 1 per personBacon, 2 slices per person
Eggs, 1 per personAmerican cheese, 1 slice per person

Equipment

Cast iron skilletFork
Spatula

Directions

  1. Cook the bacon in the skillet and remove
  2. Remove some of the bacon fat and grill the bagel or muffin
  3. Remove the bagel or muffin and add the eggs
  4. Cook easy over eggs adding cheese went egg is flipped.
  5. Place the egg/cheese on one half bagel or muffin, place two slices of bacon, and top with the other bagel or muffin half.
  6. Season to taste with salt, pepper, hot sauce or other seasoning.
Pita_pizza_jeffreyw CC wikicommons
Jackson’s pita pizza, photo by Jeffrey, accessed from Wikicommons

Pita Pizza, one of Jackson’s favorites:

Ingredients

PitasTomato sauce (stored in a sealable plastic jar, plastic bags are a no-go)
Shredded cheeseOther toppings optional

Equipment

Spoon for spreading sauceTinfoil is optional but does make a more evenly cooked pizza
Cooking grate optional – you can also use a Y-shaped stick

Directions

  1. Gather all ingredients: pitas, pizza sauce, pizza meat, and toppings and assemble your pizza
  2. Get your campfire hot with low flames
  3. Assemble the pita pizzas and lay them on the grill or Y-shaped stick over the campfire (your Y-shaped stick will not catch on fire as long as it is thick and you are cooking over coals and low flames- do not let the flames touch the stick or pita too much)
  4. Cover the pizzas by tenting some tinfoil
  5. Remove from the fire when the cheese is melted
Pizza-Nachos_towpeasandtheirpod
Stefanie’s skillet nachos, photo by twopeasandtheirpod

Skillet Nachos are one of Stefanie’s favorites:

Ingredients

1 bag corn tortilla chips1/4 cup onion ; diced
1/4 cup black olives; sliced1/2 cup pepperoni; chopped
1 cup cheddar cheese; shredded1/4 cup tomatoes; diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa

Equipment

10” cast iron skillet

Directions

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet. Spread evenly in layers the chips, onions, olives, pepperoni, tomatoes then the cheese. Cover and heat until the cheese melts.

Serve in the skillet with sour cream and salsa.

Recipe from BigOven.com

MacCheeseFoodista
MaryAnn’s Mac & Cheese, photo by Foodista

If you have a hankering for macaroni and cheese, Maryann suggests:

Skillet Mac N Cheese

For camping, measure out the ingredients before the trip and pack in smaller containers or Ziploc bags to save time and space.

Ingredients

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (about 8 ounces)1-1/2 cups half-and-half cream
2 tablespoons butter3/4 pound cheese (cheddar and smoked cheddar), shredded
2 tablespoons all-purpose flourOptional toppings: cherry tomatoes

Equipment

10” cast iron skilletWooden spoon
1-1/2 qt. pot with lid

Directions

  1. Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large cast-iron or other heavy skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Stir in flour until smooth; gradually whisk in cream. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat; stir in cheese until melted.
  3. Add macaroni; cook and stir until heated through. Top as desired.
Camping_food_outdoor. PXHERE
Ro’s one-pot stew, photo by PXHERE

Ro recommends this one pot meal:

Campfire Stew

Serves 12 people

Ingredients

3 lbs. 90% ground beef3 10 oz. cans of concentrated alphabet vegetable soup
1 large onion, peeled and dicedSalt and pepper

Equipment

2-qt. pot with lidKnife
Cutting boardWooden spoon

Directions

  1. Brown ground beef
  2. Add onions and fry until soft
  3. Add vegetable soup and just enough water to keep from sticking.
  4. Cover and heat until hot.

Who can forget dessert?

PeachCobbler_OkieBoys_Flicker
Sarah’s peach cobbler, photo by Okie Boys, accessed from Flicker

Lazy Peach Cobbler from Sarah:

Ingredients

2 (30 ounce) cans sliced peaches, in syrup½ stick (1/4 cup) butter
1 package white or yellow cake mix1 can whipped cream, optional
Ground cinnamon to taste

Equipment

12” camp Dutch oven (the ones with feet and a flat top)

Directions

  1. Place a 12-inch camp Dutch oven over 15 hot charcoal briquettes.
  2. Pour contents of peach cans into oven. Spread dry cake mix evenly over peaches. Sprinkle cinnamon over all to taste. Cut butter into equal slices and arrange on top.
  3. Put lid on top of oven and place 10 hot charcoal briquettes in a checkerboard pattern on top. Bake for about 45 minutes or until done.
  4. Spoon into bowls and add cream, ice cream or whipped cream, if desired.

Recipe from Lodgesmfg.com.

Mock Angel Food Cake from Ro:

Serves 12 people

Ingredients

Loaf of white bread14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk (pull top)
3 cups shredded or flaked coconut

Equipment

Cutting boardKnife
Three small bowls3’ long straight sticks or pie irons

Directions

  1. Open the milk pour in one bowl
  2. Open coconut and pour about half into one bowl
  3. Trim off crusts off the bread
  4. Cut into 1 in long strips place in one bowl
  5. Dip the bread into the milk and then roll in coconut
  6. Toast on a stick over embers, or cook in a pie iron or a reflector oven.

From Cooking Out of Door compiled by Alice Sanderson Rivoire published by Girl Scout of USA, 1960

Allison’s helpful hint for making refrigerated items last: fill 1-gallon jugs or large yogurt containers with water and freezing them to put in your cooler. They will last longer than a bag of ice and your food won’t be swimming in water as the ice melts.

Need more ideas? Check out these books and websites.

Books

Bell, Annie, The Camping Cookbook, Kyle Books, 2010.

Hansel, Marie, The Campout Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Cooking Around the Fire and Under the Stars, Workman Publishing, 2018

Time Books, The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook: The Official Cookbook From The Ultimate Camping Authority, Oxmoor House, 2017

White, Linda, Cooking on a Stick: Campfire Recipes for Kids, Gibbs Smith, 1996

Websites

Reserve America’s Camping Recipes

Dessert Recipes from Utah State Parks

Campfire recipes from Huron County Parks

Camping Recipes from South Carolina State Parks

KOA’s Camping Recipes

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Enjoy your cooking

Yes, We Have Pickles

Long before refrigeration and supermarkets made it possible to get fresh fruits and vegetables from around the world, our predecessors relied upon drying, salting, fermenting, and pickling summer’s bounty for winter meals.

Allowing the wind and sun to dry food is the oldest method of food preservation. The Seneca and other New York Native American tribes dried millions of bushels of corn each year. The dried corn was turned into hulled dry corn and corn flour to sustain people during the colder months.  Native Americans also dried meats, fish, and fruits such as blueberries for their winter meals.

Ganondagan Husking Bee10_Carol Llewellyn
Ganondagan State Historic Site Husking Bee, photo by Carol Llewellyn

Pickling vegetables and fruits goes back as far as 2030 BC. Pickling can be done in two ways, soaking the fruit or vegetable in either vinegar or saltwater (brine). The word pickle is a variation of the Dutch word for brine – pekel. Soaking vegetables in a brine bath is known as lacto-fermentation where lactic acid bacteria turn sugar in food to lactic acid.

Pickles of one sort or another have been produced and eaten in New York homes for many generations.  Early European settlers sometimes used New World ingredients in their Old-World pickle recipes.  One example of this is black walnut pickles, a variation of Old World English walnut pickles.  Pickle recipes were passed down from one generation to another, with housewives recording the recipes in their special recipe book.

New York’s first European colonists were the Dutch, who maintained settlements along the Hudson River as far north as Fort Orange (now Albany).  The van Rensselaers were a prominent Dutch family in the Hudson Valley.  When sturgeon was abundant in the Hudson River, Maria van Rensselaer (a cousin to the Fort Crailo van Rensselaers) would use this hand-written recipe to pickle the sturgeon.

On the score of hospitality p12
van Rensselaer family recipe to pickle Sturgeon, from Kellar, p. 12

And this recipe to pickle cucumbers:

Keep the Fruit n pickle till green, changing it often, then in cold water 2 days changing very frequently, then wipe and dry them & to every six lb fruit 8 lb Sugar, 6 lemons, ¾ raw ginger a bit of Mace- boiled to a clear Syrup.  When cold pour it on the fruit, the day after pour it off & give it another boil – the next day as the same & as often as necessary, never pour it on hot, for it will spoil them.

Eggs were one of many foods that were pickled because egg production is linked to day length; hens need about 13 hours of light a day to lay eggs.  Staff at Loyalist home Philipse Manor Hall may have used a recipe similar to this recipe from The Lady’s Assistant (p. 277) to make pickled eggs.

To pickle Eggs.

BOIL the eggs very hard: peel them, and put them into cold water, shifting them till they are cold.  Make a pickle of white-wine vinegar, a blade of mace, a bunch of sweet herbs, and a little whole pepper; take the eggs out of the water, and put them immediately into the pickle, which must be hot; stir them a good while, that they may look all alike; untie the herbs, and spread them over the top of the pot, but cover them with nothing else till they are turned brown; they will be fit to eat in nine or ten days.

Bruise some cochineal; tie it up in a rag; dip it in the vinegar, and squeeze it gently over the egg, and then let the rag lie in the Pickle. This is a great addition.

During his stay at the Hasbrouck House in the Hudson Valley it is possible that George Washington, who was a big pickle fan, dined on some of his wife’s pickles. Recipes from Martha Washington’s hand-written Booke of Cookery includes recipes (or receipts as they were once called) for pickling a variety of food from cowcumbers (cucumbers) to mackerel – George probably enjoyed them all!

220px-American_Cookery_(1st_Ed,_1796,_cover)

Cooks in the Jay, Livingston, and Schuyler families may have had access to Amelia Simmons American Cooke, the first American cookbook  It was first published in Hartford, Connecticut 1796, with a second publication in Albany New York also in 1796.

Pickling recipes in Simmons cookbook included pickling the barberry fruit:

The Lincklaen family recipe book from Lorenzo House included to pickle Chalottes (shallots) and to pickled cucumbers.

Pickled charlottes and cucumbers
Recipes for pickled Chalottes (shallots) and cucumbers from the Lincklaen family cookbook.

Frederic Church’s family maintained a farm and gardens at Olana in the Hudson Valley.  Some of the produce from the farm was used to make pickles, including this Sweet Variety pickle:

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Church family recipe for Sweet Variety pickle

Pickles were not only important part of many New York family meals, they were also a menu staple on the military bases in New York as this menu from Fort Ontario illustrates.

Fort Ontario Christmas dinner menu 1939
Christmas dinner menu, 1939, Fort Ontario.

If you would like to learn more about preserving the summer harvest, maybe you can join in on the We Can Pickle That! program at Clermont State Historic Site on September 8.

Please note: recipes in this blog are for historic reference only and should not be made at home.  The National Center for Home Food Preservation provides a wealth of information about food preservation as well as food preservation recipes for the modern family.

Resources:

Avey, Tory. (2014) History in a Jar: The Story of Pickles

Colonial Williamsburg, Food Preservation Fact Sheet

Extra Slaw, Pickled Green Black Walnuts

Kellar, Jane Carpenter. (1986) On the score of hospitality : selected recipes of a van Rensselaer family, Albany, New York, 1785 – 1835 : a Historic Cherry Hill recipe collection. Albany, NY, Historic Cherry Hill.

Mason, Charlotte. (1778) The Lady’s Assistant 3rd Edition, London.

National Center for Home Food Preservation, Historical Origins of Food Preservation

Washington, Martha. (1799) Booke of cookery.  K. Hess commentary, New York, NY, Columbia University Press

Wikipedia, Pickling.

Still_life_with_sausages
Still Life With Sausages, accessed from WikiCommons