Monday, May 5, 2014

CHEF TALK, How to Cook Easy, Great Meals on a Camping Trip.



  How to cook easy, great meals on a camping trip 

Camping is a great popular outdoor recreational activity for the whole family. The time of the year is approaching to check your camping gear and look for an exciting destination to explore and conquer. Outdoor activities while camping are fun and can be electrifying, the kids will talk about swimming in creeks and lakes, hiking and watching bears for weeks prior to departure.

One of the most exhilarating experiences must be a meal around an open campfire, away from the regular dinner table and the everyday plate’s forks and spoons. Making a campfire is already an elating thought but what do you cook on it, easy yet tasty and filling. Outdoor life makes you hungry. Preparing food for the outdoors is a skill on itself and really something to think about. You need to bring foods with you and that require some planning. Any perishables need a reasonable shelf life to keep you going for a couple of days. Likely you will not be able to pick something up easily. Preparing food in the outdoors is fun when you are well prepared.

Cooking Tools

Tools and Utensils: 

When you go for a weekend trip with a two nights sleep over, a few items plus forks and spoons are sufficient for an exciting open fire dinner experience. Obviously you need some help to light a fire, a cigarette lighter and a few old newspapers will do that trick. Imagine an open fire in front of you and you need to cook on it. Sounds like a challenge? It is. Here are a few useful items to look for:

Hand Made Fire Pit

1.       A rack on legs. This is a tool you will really need, look for a wire meshed one, if possible with foldable legs for easy transport while traveling. Place the rack over the fire and your barbecue is ready. 
2.       Long handle utensils help to keep your hands away from intense heat. 
3.       A cooler box to store and transport your food. 
4.       A pair of scissors. 
5.       Well prepared food.

Vacuumed BBQ Ribs
 Preparing food: 

Packing your food in aluminum foil and vacuuming is a way to go when preparing food for camping trips. Vacuuming will ensure that your food lasts for a few days. The aluminum foil packaging is a great tool for open fire cooking. Just remove the vacuum pouch and place the whole foil packet on your wire mesh rack. By vacuuming your food packs you can rest assure all the food is still where you put it in the first place just in case you had a bit of a bumpy ride to your camping destination.

Tin Foil Food Packets

Raw foods are a good choice for use in tin foil packets but bear in mind that food items like potatoes and carrots take a long time to cook. Pre-cook these items. Season the vegetables with herbs like rosemary and thyme, toss in oil and then pack in tin foil and vacuum. Sweet potatoes cook well on open fire when raw, so do zucchinis, tomatoes and corn. Tin foil packs are great for vegetables and potatoes. Meats work best barbeque style. Skewer your meats on steel barbeque skewers, vacuum pack separately. Ensure to cover the sharp tip with a piece of meat to avoid puncturing the vacuum pouch. Bananas and marshmallows on skewers will be well received by your kids. Do not vacuum those with full pressure or else they will be squashed.

Barbequed Ribs
Burgers, ribs and sausages are ‘super’ barbeque foods. Freeze your burgers before vacuuming, works superb to keep them in shape. Chicken pieces are also well appreciated barbeque items, use drumsticks, wings and thighs. Season with salt pepper, oil and spices or herbs and bring them vacuum packed in the cooler box. You will have plenty of time for all the fun activities, spend time with the kids and truly enjoy a memorable weekend. So be prepared and have fun!

Written by: Professional Chef Marinus Hoogendoorn

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