Archives for the month of: July, 2010

When cooking outdoors, I tend not to do a lot of measuring. Camp cooking should be spontaneous, showcasing the natural flavors of just a minimal amount of ingredients. Chunky, gnarley, rough cut, bite-sized pieces of meat and veggies are easy to harpoon with forks or Swiss Army Knives. Seasoning is always done to taste. Dutch ovens and open fire grates are really all the equipment you’ll need with the exception of perhaps a metal spatula and a pair of tongs. Simplicity at its best! The following scrumptious meals were prepared with little more than that on a recent camping trip to Red Feather Lakes, CO.

Bacon, Eggs, Hashbrowns, Toast and Coffee
(or Tea) (Remember Tang?)

Ingredients:

Bacon
Eggs
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Sliced Bread
Butter
Jalapeño Jelly
Fresh Fruit
Coffee, Tea or Tang

Directions:

Cook bacon in Dutch Oven (it will double as a frying pan). Place cooked bacon on paper towels to absorb the excess grease. Pour all but enough bacon grease to coat the bottom of the Dutch Oven into a metal container and reserve.* Get coffee (or tea) started. Crack eggs into Dutch Oven, salt and pepper, and scramble with a spatula. When the eggs are almost done, they will be firm but still have a sheen to them. Serve them up now as they will continue to cook and be just right by the time you sit down to eat. While the eggs are cooking, place slices of bread on the parameter of your fire grate or camp stove toaster. Keep an extra careful eye on them as not to let them burn. Butter and jelly toast and enjoy with eggs, bacon, fresh fruit and your favorite camp beverage.

* Use bacon grease as needed and dispose of the unwanted portion in a bear proof trash container (as with any food trash) or pour on the fire.

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potato Hash Browns

Serves 4

Ingredients:

1 Med Yukon Potatoes
1 Med Sweet Potato (or Yam)
1 sm Onion
1 Colored Bell Pepper
Olive Oil (or any leftover bacon grease)
1 Pinch Chili Flakes
to taste: Salt and Pepper

Directions:

Scrub, rinse and pat dry potatoes. Grate into a bowl. Mince the onion and colored bell pepper and place in bowl along with grated potatoes. Add chili flakes, salt and pepper. Mix well. Heat skillet or Dutch oven with enough olive oil or bacon grease to coat the bottom. When pan gets hot, put in the potato mixture. (you can test by pitching in a pinch of the potatoes and if it sizzles but doesn’t burn, the pan is ready) Let it brown before turning with a spatula. Turn several times to make sure all the mixture is cooked and most of it is golden brown.

Beer Beef Stew with Veggies

Ingredients:

Stew Beef (cubed)
Onions (coarsely chopped)
Garlic (minced)
Zucchini (cubed)
Summer (Yellow) Squash (cubed)
Carrots (coarsely chopped)
Tomatoes (seeded, drained and coarsely chopped) Optional
1 24 0z.. Can Beer
Fresh Chopped Herbs (of your choice: oregano, basil, flat leaf parsley, etc.)
Olive Oil
to taste:
Salt (see July 10, 2010 blog: “Salt of the Earth”)
Fresh Ground Pepper
Chili Flakes

Directions:

Heat olive oil in Dutch Oven (over campfire or camp stove) and sauté onions until translucent. Add beef cubes and turn occasionally to sear all sides. Add garlic then veggies being careful not to let the garlic burn. Deglaze with beer, cover and cook under med-low heat. There is no real time frame other than when the beef is thoroughly cooked (at least one half-hour). Add the herbs and seasoning to taste about 10 minutes before serving. (The lower the temperature is the longer it needs to cook but the better tasting and tender it will be.)

Fire Baked Potatoes

Ingredients:

Yukon Gold and Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Aluminum foil
Butter

Directions:

Scrub, rinse and pat dry potatoes. Coat with olive oil and sprinkle with a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Double wrap each potato in foil and place in the glowing embers of your campfire. Turn with tongs every 10 min. or so to assure even baking. Check after about 30 – 40 min. by sticking a fork in the potato. When the fork goes in easy, the potato is done. Sweet potatoes will generally be done about 10 min before the Yukons, so you might want to put them (Yukons) in the embers about 10 min. before the sweet potatoes. Serve with butter.

Campfire Roasted Cornish Game Hens

Ingredients:

Cornish Game Hens
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper
Fresh Chopped Herbs (sage, rosemary, thyme) Optional

Directions:

Half each bird and remove thighs and drumsticks from hen(s). Coat all of the pieces with olive oil and sprinkle with salt, pepper and any herbs you might have. Place the poultry on the grate over glowing embers. (You don’t want outright flames.) Cook about 3 – 5 min. on each side. The hens are done when the juices run clear.

Note of interest:

Ganesha is the Hindu God that removes obstacles. We brought a small statue of Ganesha with us for good luck and to assure an auspicious retreat.

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com

“When it rains it pours” was the slogan that made Morton Salt famous. But is there more to salt than what comes out of a shaker at your local dining establishment? You bet there is!

Salt is mostly mined from the earth or evaporated from ocean water and comes in many forms such as: fine iodized table salt, Kosher salt, course salt, and salt exclusively for culinary purposes. There are a vast array of gourmet and naturally occurring salts such as Himalayan pink salt or unprocessed sea salt from the Sea of Cortez.

Some of the more flavorful and culinary adventurous salts I have in my pantry are: sea salt from the sea of Cortez (which my two sons brought back from a trip to Baja, Mexico), Chardonnay Oak Smoked salt and Alder Wood Smoked sea salt. Kosher salt is what I use for an everyday general-purpose salt because the crystals are larger, easier to distribute in foods and not as harsh as table salt. I usually mix this half-and-half with course ground pepper. The salt brings out the natural flavor in foods while the pepper adds a bit.

A good quality salt doesn’t taste quite as salty as one might think. The salt from the sea of Cortez tastes like the ocean breeze. Himalayan pink salt contains a little more than 98% sodium chloride (salt) with the remainder consisting of an array of minerals making it earthy tasting and colorful ranging from white to rose colored. It also has a nice little crunch to it if you leave it on the course side. The Chardonnay Oak Smoked salt was a little saltier than I expected with a Smokey Oakey hint to it. The Alder Wood Smoked sea salt was really bold with what I would describe as campfire quality.

Experiment and use different salts when preparing your dishes. From mild to bold tasting, the right salt can make a huge difference. The more flavorful salts can be used in cooking as well as finishing by sprinkling them on just before serving.

Here are a couple of recipes I cooked the other night that you might enjoy:

Grilled Salmon w/Alder wood smoked sea salt

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 Salmon Fillet Steaks
Olive Oil
Alder wood smoked sea salt

Directions:

Prepare the coals in a BBQ or pre-heat a gas grill. Let salmon steaks come to room temperature then coat with olive oil and sprinkle medium to moderately with the salt. When the coals are covered with white ash or the gas grill has pre-heated; it’s time to put the salmon steaks on. Depending on the thickness of the steaks and the temperature of the grill, leave the salmon steaks on the first side for 3 – 5 min. then turning them over carefully with a spatula, grill the other side for about 3 min. until just cooked and the fish slightly flakes apart with a fork. Finish with Alder wood smoked sea salt and serve immediately!

Grilled Potato Wedges

Serves 2

Ingredients:

2 med. Yucon Gold Potatoes
2 med Purple Potatoes
2 med Sweet Potatoes
Olive Oil
Chardonnay Oak Smoked salt
Fresh ground pepper
Chopped fresh herbs (rosemary is always good for potatoes)

Directions:

Wash potatoes thoroughly and remove any unwanted bad spots or eyes. Par boil the potatoes starting out with cold, salted water. Bring to a boil and cook until a fork just starts to go into the potatoes easily. Remove potatoes and run under cold water or place in ice bath to cool off and stop the cooking process. When potatoes are cooled off, pat dry with paper towels, cut into wedges and coat with olive oil then toss with salt, pepper and any herbs. Place on grill until nice grill marks appear then turn them over to achieve the same on the second side. Serve with your favorite condiment: ketchup, sour cream, sweet chili sauce, hot sauce, tomato sauce, barbecue sauce or mayonnaise.

Grilled Summer Veggies

Serves 2

Ingredients:

An assortment of fresh, colorful, summer veggies:

Colored Bell Peppers
Mushrooms
Leeks
Red Onions
Scallions
Sweet Vidalia Onions
Zucchini
Yellow Summer Squash
Snap Peas
Egg Plant
Swiss Chard
Cherry or Grape Tomatoes
Baby Bok Choy
Etc.

Olive Oil,
Fresh Ground Pepper
Fresh chopped Herbs
Himalayan pink salt

Directions:

Wash, Peal (if needed), de-seed and chop veggies of your choice into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and herbs. Place in a veggie grill basket and grill until tender and grill marks appear.
Serve immediately!

Here’s an interesting fact: Salt is the only rock eaten by humans.

Sincerely,

Chef Trusan

http://www.trusancuisines.com
trusan@trusancuisines.com