Thursday, July 30, 2009

Camping with Carnivores

From the bean of Green Bean.

I could smell the fire. It's scent lingers in my hair, my jacket, the clothes packed away in the back of the car. There's something special about camping to be sure but even more, about the campfire. It is often the only thing souvenir from a camping trip. And this time, it was all mine.

I didn't grow up camping but, since I hit college, I've been on a fair number of camping trips. Funny thing, though, in all those camping trips, I've simply been along for the ride. Someone else makes the fire. Someone else does the cooking. I simply eat and help clean up.

Not this time. Last fall, Burbs had advised me how to reconnect my boys with nature in two words: CAM PING. I took her seriously. We spent the next several months investing in camping equipment and making reservations.

Well, last weekend was first up. My first camping trip as the only adult responsible for cooking. As we hadn't yet found a camping stove on Craigslist, it was all about the campfire. But what does one cook over a campfire?

My husband fondly remembered something he called a hobo. Something about a baked potato and vegetables. Sounded perfect so I did a few Google searches to see how exactly how to hobo a hobo. Well, hobo me because a hobo apparently is all about the meat. Not this hobo! As a 100% vegetarian hobo, I passed on the fond memories and the smell of beef over the campfire.

Social networking to the rescue! With some more research and the help of my tweeting and Facebooking friends, I compiled an armory of vegetarian campfire meals.

From regular Phone Booth guest poster and photographer extraordinaire, Sweet Eventide, I got the simple and delicious suggestion of a foil pouch filled with veggies. We did this, by the way, with homegrown tomatoes, summer squash and a farmers' market carrot, oh, and some feta cheese too!! Yummy.

Two Frog Home leapt in with thoughts of veggie shish kabobs and a tasty dipping sauce. Call me a kabob but that sounds divine. It didn't make it into the fire on this camping trip but, shish, I smell some wonderful kabobs in our future.

Green Me served up on heck of a website. One Pan Wonders has a whole section on cooking vegetarian while camping. Holy Cous Cous, Batman! That Carrot Orzo sounded fantastic. Lacking some of the key ingredients and the time to go get them, I decided to pass on any of these recipes until next time. Cannot wait to try some of these dishes.

Green Resolutions kept it simple. "My favorites include potatoes cut into chunks, wrapped in foil and set in the coals to cook; corn still in husks - pull husks back, soak in water for a few hours, pull husks back, tie husks to hold water in and grill; and apples, cut in chunks and cooked until it starts to caramelize." We decided to do a taste test with the corn. Two cobs using Resolution's method of husk on and two cobs cooked in foil. It's probably no surprise which one tasted better. (Hint: au natural).

Cstn85 suggested sticking as close to camping traditional as possible and going with a tofu pup. She commented how, despite being vegetarian, there's nothing like watching a hot dog pop and sizzle over open flames. We couldn't agree more. The kids did the roasting and there were no dishes to wash. What could be better?

Allie of Allie's Answers had some answers. "Portobello mushroom 'burgers' are always good." I'm sure they are but as Mr. Green Bean is afraid of Portobellos, we had to pass. Her other suggestion, though, is a surefire winner: campfire pizza! Okay, so we didn't make this either because I gave away the darned pizza stone in a decluttering fit. The good news, though, is that I gave it to a family member who still hasn't used it. No reason I can't ask for it back, right?

And, to top it off, anything for dessert other than the traditional s'mores? Make It From Scratch recently posted a recipe for Campfire Delight. It's made of berries (or probably any other fruit in season), marshmallows, oats, puffed rice cereal, and chocolate. As the chefs, my kids, can attest. It was a delight!

Thanks to all my online friends for filling our campfire with non-carnivorous wonders.


Anonymous said...

Hi. I have a blog at where I feature people's posts about camping, and I would like to send my readers your way. Of course I would give you credit for quotes and would link back to your site.

Thanks for considering this,

Jean B. in SC

Green Bean said...

Jean, thank you for asking. Yes, you may feature this post provided that you give us credit and link back to us.

Daisy said...

A pudgy pie iron is cheaper than a camp stove and can be used in campfire coals for any meal. We've done pudgy "pizzas" with pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese between the bread slices, PBJs, toasted cheese, and just about anything else. Two slices of bread + filling = one pudgy pie. MMM.

Green Bean said...

So a pudgy pie? Is that one of those types of pie irons that you stick in the fire? I was wondering about those. Thanks for the rec.


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