Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Camping Local Challenge

Eatting locally while camping for 3 days is a challenge unto itself-
I did my best- and here's what we packed:

The first night we had beer brats with tons of sauerkraut and coleslaw. I made the brats with locally grown wheat gluten and Vine Park brewery beer (Mai Bock). The coleslaw is made with locally grown cabbage. I was bummed to not have any plain homemade sauerkraut ready for the trip, but I do like the Eden Organic variety.

My favorite way to eat vegetables while camping is to pack the prepped vegetables in a big bag and the dressing in a little jar and throw it all in the cooler. The coleslaw was super easy to mix up at the campsite and I marinated the zucchini, sweet onion, and tomato salad for a full day in its dressing before enjoying it- yum! It was really nice to have fresh vegetables while camping- I usually use just frozen or dried veggies while camping.

Another night I fried up a spice blend of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, coriander and garlic power with frozen locally grown potatoes and peas in my trusty cast iron skillet- the only pan I ever have to bring on camping trips. They were thawed nicely by the second night and mixed well with Jyoti lentils and vegetables. Too bad I didn't double the amount of food, though. We all wanted more of this!

One of the quickest meals was "chili over chips", pretty much my favorite camping food, next to tofu jerky (I use the basic recipe from Sarah Kramer and Tanya Barnard's book, How it All Vegan).

Quickest Camping Chili
Just pour this chili over locally made tortilla chips or cornbread for a quick and hearty meal!

1 can diced fire-roasted tomatoes with green chiles
1 can unseasoned chili beans (or kidney beans)
1 c TVP (textured vegetable protein)
1 tsp. cumin
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. salt

Pack the TVP and premeasured spices in a little container (Try packing these ingredients in a 16 oz. glass bowl with resealable lid and then use it as your chili bowl- less waste and less to pack).

Heat a cast iron skillet over a camp stove or open fire. Pour the can of tomatoes and drained can of beans into the skillet. Add the TVP mixture and then enough water to form a thick soup consistency. Stir frequently for couple of minutes, adding water as needed as the TVP absorbs the liquid. Serve all alone or over cornbread or chips. I served it over Whole Grain Milling chips and put some homemade garden pickles on the side. And locally made root beer afterward!

Desserts and snacks are pretty important for camping. I made 3 pounds of tofu into jerky and we nearly finished it off on Day 2. There were 24 gluten-free chocolate chip cookies (locally milled rice flour) and the makings for plenty of 'smores (not at all local, but very necessary). I also packed a double batch of homemade granola (locally grown oats and maple syrup and home-dried Michigan blueberries), Wisconsin nectarines, and my favorite trail mix.

I was sad when my trail mix filled with raw almonds, raw walnuts, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips and hibiscus salt melted together in a big hunk in the hot sun. But I was happy when it cooled and I ate trailmix smothered in chocolate. I just might do that on purpose from now on.

We all had a great time, but it's nice to be back home and in my own home. Here's the wigwam the kids built... Don't worry- we didn't let them sleep there during the crazy thunderstorms.


Catherine said...

We usually take tons of fresh veggies camping - our favorite is "foil packs" over the coals with tofu, roasting veggies, garlic, and yummy seasonings. Your local goodies sound fantastic!

aTxVegn said...

Campfire chili and smores are perfect, and I think the granola with melted chocolate sounds really great!

Erin said...

Best camping food ever! Love the idea of chocolate coated trail mix.