Daily Archives: July 7, 2007

Back to basics–campstove burritos

Saturday night dinner

A good friend of mine described a recent kayak/backpacking excursion, which entailed a beautiful afternoon out on the water, and then a jovial afternoon and evening on the beach with friends, one a true gourmand. “He made pad thai for us on a campstove!” she erupted with excitement, eyes glittering.

Pad thai. I love backpacking, but her description of his campstove pad thai thoroughly intrigued me. “Did he use peanut butter?” I asked, wondering about what shortcuts he may have used. No, she said. He forgot the peanuts. “Was it good?” Oh, she said, it was very very very tasty.

“You should–” she started, “write posts on your food blog about campstove cooking!”

And thus, a new tradition begins…campstove cooking posts.

Taking food on the trail requires some forethought, but you don’t have to make a ton of compromises if you plan ahead. There are people who bring extensive cookware on the trail, though that is not me. I want to travel as light as possible, keeping the heaviest food for the first night of camp.

My husband and I are known to take frozen steaks with us on the trail, grilling them the very first night. Ground beef can also be frozen and used the first night to fortify any meal, whether it be a stew or our backpacking favorite, burritos.

But in general–we like to go very light. That means light camping pots and pans (more like: light camping pot and pan, singular)…and the lightest (weight-wise) ingredients possible.

I’ll go over my various recipes, but for now I’d like to share our perennial favorite in the backcountry: Burritos!

Burritos are a staple meal of ours for its simplicity, its protein content, and for its fun factor. It’s easy to make, and everyone can assemble their own burrito!

Apologies, but I have no photos–lots of pictures of mountains and rivers and creeks and streams and wildlife, but sadly I took no pictures of our meals!

Recipe follows after the jump…

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got basil? make pesto.

campanelle with basil pesto

I dislike pesto in general–too often, it drips with olive oil and tastes overwhelmingly like garlic. Now, I love garlic, but not when I’m supposed to be eating a pesto that should taste more like basil and pine nuts. These two sensations turn me off to pesto. Plus, storebought pesto often contains basil that is just…flavorless. Ick.

But homemade pesto? The kind that allows basil to take center stage, the kind that is edged with the savory undertone of roasted pine nuts? I LOVE it. The only caveat–this is such a simple food that you want to use high quality ingredients. That means, the freshest basil you can find, and the best olive oil you can find.

It’s not often that I indulge in making homemade pesto–delicate fresh basil is not a staple in my fridge…but this year, I’m lucky enough to have a good crop of basil in my vegetable garden! I’ve watched my basil plants grow, with homemade pesto securely in mind. And this week, they grew to a requisite height, with the requisite amount of bunches.

Now there is nothing that spells summer so much as fresh, homemade pesto tossed with pasta (preferably a very ridged or ruffled shape like campanelle that can hold the pesto in its nooks and crannies). To top it all off, there’s minimal cooking involved (you only boil the pasta), helping the cook to avoid slaving over a hot stove or oven for hours on a hot summer day.

So why not indulge?

basil, olive oil, garlic, and toasted pine nuts

Recipe follows after the jump…

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