Cooking in the great outdoors

Last weekend J and I went camping in Hendy Woods.  We had a great time hiking, visiting the nearby California coastline, and chilling around camp.  Last time I was there the river was lined with cute frogs, but this year it was too dry and there wasn’t much of a river let alone frogs.  The surrounding redwood forest is beautiful and cool.  Also, the camp is very family friendly-there were little children running around everywhere.  And if you aren’t into roughing it, there are warm showers.  The only downside is you have to drive on windy roads to get there but it is a small price to pay to get away for the weekend.

Even though I was away from home, I was not about to starve or eat processed food like hot dogs.  It is so much better to grill something special for dinner.  Nostalgic for his boyscout days, J had a hankering for tinfoil dinners.  This meal is super simple to make and are very fulfilling after a long day of hiking.   It just take a little forethought, but once you are in camp, they take 10 minutes to prepare (sans the 1 hr cooking time…our coals were wimpy, but hey, everything is better slow cooked anyway…. 😛 ) Oh, and most of the ingredients don’t have to be refrigerated, so you’ll have lots of room in the ice chest to pack other things.

The best way to make camping go smoothly is planning.  Someday I hope to have a checklist of things that are essential to bring, but I haven’t found time to make one yet.  Luckily we didn’t forget anything essential.  I would have liked a small broom to sweep off the table, but I didn’t NEED it.   Anyway…

Before you head off, pack a knife, cutting board, oven mitts, BBQ tongs, and lots of foil.  Also, prepare the spice mix and pack in plastic bag.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to haul around a lot of glass bottles. And with the windy roads and utensils shifting in the back of my truck, well it could be disastrous.  Also start coals early, well before you start preparing actual dinner.


~Makes 2 large dinners

1lb beef
1 zucchini
4 medium-sized potatoes
2 carrot
1 yellow onion
1 bell pepper

SPICE IDEAS: thyme, cumin, red pepper, white pepper, spike, oregano, cayenne

Olive oil

-Chop vegetables and arrange on large sheet of tin foil
-Add spice mixture and toss
-Drizzle liberally with olive oil

-Wrap dinners.  Make sure you use lots of sheets of foil!

-Cook over coals until carrots are tender.  (You should be able to prod them through the tin foil with a blunt object.  Remember to rotate and flip every once in a while so everything is equally tender and well coated with spices.  Cooking time is very variable depending on how hot the coals are and how close the dinners are to the fire.

-Open gently and serve!


About cookingcampus

I'm a graduate student trying to stay happy and busy and pursue the things I love.
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