Magazine article Sunset

Camp Cookin'

Magazine article Sunset

Camp Cookin'

Article excerpt

Recipes for fresh trout and Thai breakfast sausage, helpful planning tips, and the science of s'mores

At the end of a long day of hiking, fishing, or chasing the kids around camp, the last thing you want is a big production at dinner. On the other hand, beans and wienies aren't exactly a cheery prospect, either.

But you can eat well, without an excessive amount of work, if you plan ahead and follow these recipes by Berkeley resident Carole Latimer, author of the backpacker's bible, Wilderness Cuisine. As the owner of Call of the Wild, she's been leading women's trips around the West (and cooking on them, too) since 1978. Latimer loves to cook almost as much as she loves to camp, but over the years she has learned to be practical. And when we tested her recipes on our Coleman two-burner camp stove, the results were delicious.

Bill's Trout

Latimer's father has been fishing in the Sierra since the '20s. This is how he cooks up a mess of trout. And it's still how Latimer likes them best.

Prep and cook time: About 20 minutes (5 at home, 15 in camp)

Notes: Clean fish soon after they're caught, keep cool, and cook within 24 hours. If cooked right away, the fish tend to curl in the pan, so gently flatten with a pancake turner to brown them evenly. Serve with stir-fried or grilled vegetables. Try leeks, fennel, zucchini, carrots, or bell peppers.

Makes: 4 servings

1/2 cup cornmeal 1/2 cup all-purpose flour Salt and pepper

5 or 6 slices bacon (about 1/4 lb.) to make 2 to 4 tablespoons bacon drippings (or use same amount of salad oil)

4 fresh-caught trout (up to 1 lb. each) or similar freshwater fish

1. At home: Put cornmeal, flour, salt, and pepper in a 1-gallon zip-lock plastic food bag. Pack bacon drippings in a small, widemouthed Nalgene jar (see page 114). Transport in an insulated chest.

2. In camp: Gut fish. If desired, or for fit in pan, cut off heads and tails. Rinse fish well.

3. Put fish in the plastic bag with the cornmeal mixture and shake to coat.

4. Put bacon drippings in a nonstick 10- to 12-inch frying pan over medium heat. When hot, add fish to pan without crowding. Brown well and cook just until thickest part flakes easily when prodded to the bone, about 5 minutes per side, depending on size. If desired, serve bacon with fish.

Per serving fish: 435 cal., 41% (180 cal.) from fat; 48 g protein; 20 g fat (4.2 g sat.); 13 g carbo (0.7 g fiber); 148 mg sodium; 134 mg chol.

Thai Turkey Sausage

Cook up a big batch of patties at home and freeze. Heat them in camp for a great breakfast with eggs or hash-browns (Latimer uses sweet potatoes), tangerine juice, and papaya wedges.

Prep and cook time: About 30 minutes at home, plus reheating in camp

Notes: It's easiest to mince lemon grass in a food processor or mini-chopper. For best texture, mince the remaining ingredients with a knife.

Makes: 16 patties; 8 servings

1 pound ground turkey

1/4 pound green beans, ends and strings removed, minced

8 green onions, ends trimmed, minced

1 stalk (5 to 8 in.) fresh lemon grass, tough outer layers, stem end, and coarse leaves removed, minced

3 tablespoons minced fresh cilantro

2 to 3 teaspoons fresh serrano chilies (2 or 3), stemmed, seeded, and finely minced

2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce (nuoc mam or nam pla)

1 large egg

2 tablespoons cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon sugar

About 2 tablespoons olive oil

1. At home: Mix turkey well with beans, onions, lemon grass, cilantro, chilies (lesser amount for mildest flavor), fish sauce, egg, cornstarch, and sugar. Divide into 16 equal portions and shape into 16 patties, each 1/2 inch thick.

2. Pour oil into a 10- to 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. When hot, add a few patties, without crowding. Cook until brown on each side and no longer pink in center (cut to test), about 7 minutes total. …

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