Monday, October 3, 2011

Camp Recipes

While Mark sits next to me and acts like a silly fool ("...and here we have April Crocker's Camping French Cuisine!"), I'm going to just smile, nod, and post some recipes. (No, Mark, I'm not going to title this "Camping Recipes for the Zombie Apocalypse". Sorry.)

Using the ingredients I listed yesterday, here's some of our standard camp meals. Note - our mess kit pans all hold 3 cups of liquid, so if you want to make more than the quantity listed and you have a bigger pan, feel free to do the math.

Instant Vegan Mocha
Mark says I should start with this one because it's the easiest. (Also, it's what we start our camping days with, so there's that.)

2 Tbsp soy milk or rice milk powder
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
3 Tbsp sucanat or raw sugar
1 tsp instant coffee
optional - 1/8 tsp vanilla extract (or just use vanilla-flavored non-dairy milk powder)
also optional - dash of salt (Mark says he's done it with and without and hasn't noticed a difference)
1 cup water

Bring water to a boil. While it is heating, mix all dry ingredients in a cup/mug. The better you mix them, the better they dissolve. (Also, the soy milk powder dissolves better than the rice milk powder, though the rice milk is slightly healthier.)

A quick note about instant coffee - The Nescafé instant classico roast is almost as good as Starbuck's Via instant coffee, but not quite. It is, however, less than 1/10 of the price. We've also used an instant espresso (Medaglia d'Oro) that was pretty good - we liked it better than the others. We found it at our local food co-op, and we think we've seen it at some Whole Foods, but it's a bit harder to find than the other two types. Also, because it's espresso, it's technically a better choice for a mocha than plain instant coffee.

Put mixed dry ingredients into the boiling water. (Mark says it works better if you put the dry ingredients into the water instead of pouring the water into the dry ingredients, but it dirties up an extra dish). Mix in vanilla extract (if using) and drink.

Makes 1 cup.

This is very basic, but I'm going to list it anyway.

1/3 cup quick oats
1 Tbsp soy milk powder
1 Tbsp sucanat or raw sugar
1 cup boiling water
optional - raisins (or other dried fruit), cinnamon, Earth Balance (Earth Balance is good in this, but not so great for bringing on an outdoor camping trip)

In order not to dirty any pans, we mix the dry ingredients together directly in the bowl, add dried fruit if desired, and then add boiling water, stir thoroughly, and let sit for 2 minutes. Add a pat of Earth balance (if using), and eat.

Breakfast Orzo
This dish is a good alternative to oatmeal.

2 cups water
1/2 cup orzo
2 Tbsp soy milk powder
1 Tbsp sucanat or raw sugar
dried fruit (we usually use raisins)
optional - cinnamon, to taste

For best results, bring water to a boil before adding orzo, but to save fuel, pasta can be added first; this reduces the fuel used but results in pasta that isn't cooked quite as well. After bringing to a boil, reduce heat and simmer orzo until done; about 15 minutes. Mix soy milk powder and sugar together and add to orzo. Mix thoroughly, add dried fruit and cinnamon (if using), remove from heat, let cool, and eat.

Chreesy Orzo & TVP
This recipe is a basic starting point, and can be used as is, or livened up with extras, such as broccoli, diced tomatoes/salsa, or whatever else you might have on hand. Note - this recipe is how we make it when we only have one burner and are only using one pan. This dish comes out better if the orzo, TVP, and Chreese sauce are cooked separately, but can be cooked all together if only one burner is available (to prevent one thing from becoming cold before another is cooked) and to dirty fewer dishes.

2 cups water
1/3 cup orzo
1 packet Chreese sauce (we usually use cheddar)
1/4 cup chunky "chicken" TVP
1 Tbsp soy milk powder
salt (to taste)
optional - 1 tsp of oil or Earth Balance (Earth Balance is very good in this, but not so great for bringing on an outdoor camping trip)

Put water and orzo in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. Once boiling, add the TVP and a couple dashes of salt, stirring constantly. Cook for 8-10 minutes. Add the soy milk powder and Chreese sauce, and mix thoroughly. If the TVP is not completely covered with sauce, or if the sauce is too thick, add a bit more water. Add oil or Earth Balance (if you brought it along for the oatmeal), and mix. Continue stirring until the orzo is cooked to your liking (tasting is essential), and add salt to taste.

Makes about 3 cups.

Vegan Chreesy Frito Pie

1/4 cup tiny "beef" TVP
2 cups water
1/4 cup instant refried beans
3/4 cup instant chili mix
1 packet cheddar Chreese sauce
salt and chili powder (to taste)
optional - jalapeño slices or hot sauce
Fritos (or other chips if using as a dip instead of a topping)

Put TVP and water in a pan on the stove and bring to a boil. After 5 minutes, add the chili mix and refried beans. mix thoroughly, and reduce heat to simmer. Add Chreese sauce and mix thoroughly. If mixture is too thick, add water; if it is too thin, add more chili mix. Add salt and chili powder to taste. Add any optional ingredients and serve over Fritos (or use as a dip with other chips).

Other Dishes That Don't Quite Have Recipes

Instant Mashed Potatoes - We usually mix a packet of instant mashed potatoes with a packet of cheddar Chreese sauce, a packet of vegan gravy mix (both Golden and Brown varieties are good), 1 Tbsp of soy milk powder, and garlic salt and pepper. These are also better with Earth Balance, though (as mentioned above) it's not very travel-friendly. We've also added tiny "beef" TVP to the mashed potatoes (which needs to be cooked first), but vegan "bacon" bits also work really well.

*Note about TVP - TVP works best if cooked separately from the other ingredients and then mixed in. When cooking the chunky "chicken" TVP, we usually add liberal amounts of salt or garlic salt to add flavor. When cooking the tiny "beef" TVP, we add Braggs or soy sauce and salt in the boiling water to add flavor.

Italian Orzo & Sausage - This is usually one of our 'first night' dishes, since the sausage doesn't last long unrefrigerated. We cook some orzo (which just needs boiling water and a little salt) and add marinara sauce. We then slice some Tofurky tomato & basil sausages in half lengthwise, grill them in the pan, chop up two of them to use in the orzo dish, and save the other two for sandwiches the next day.

*Note about orzo - Orzo packs much better than long pasta (like spaghetti), and cooks much more quickly than rice. It also mixes better with powdered sauce than pasta shells, which can collect the undissolved powder.

Hummus - The hummus mix that we buy in bulk is quite bland on its own, so we have played around with various additives to try to try to improve the taste. Unfortunately, I don't remember exactly what I've done that's turn out great, but I do know that we've added curry powder, chili powder and/or cayenne, a lot of garlic salt, and oil. The right chips will also make a big difference here; my favorite is the Food Should Taste Good brand sweet potato chips.

Heat & Eat Indian Meals - We've tried several different brands, though Tasty Bite seems to have the best variety and is the easiest to find. We can cook two or three of these packets in one of the mess kit pans on the stove; in order to heat them all the way through, they need to be rotated and juggled a bit in the boiling water. Our best result came from having another pan to put on top of the packets, which trapped the heat and kept the tops of the packets from cooling off as the bottoms cooked. Tasty Bite also makes packaged heat & eat rice, which cooks quicker than regular rice but is much more expensive and has more packaging.

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