Starlight Cuisine

Camp food need not come from a pouch.

October 20, 2016

Recipes

The first time I backpacked was in Baja Arizona’s unforgiving Galiuro Mountains. My inexperienced frame carried 45 pounds for 10 days. Prior to departing, my expert companion taught me to pack my top-of-the-line gear lightly and modularly, but the trip tested my fortitude and emotional well-being. Sometime in the heat of the Day Three, while arguing about topographical map navigation and gnats and the demerits of canyoneering, I came to resent every rocky step.

Except the sacred sunset dinners at the tent. Those kept me from turning back to the trailhead. The promise of the reward of those meals kept me buoyant under my pack’s weight, and eventually sparked my love of backpacking. Today, regardless of whether I carry 45 pounds for 10 days, 18 pounds for three days, or if I “glamp” (“glamor camp”) for a night from an ice chest with a campfire and running water at a developed site, food prepared under starlight tastes better than any coming out of a restaurant or home kitchen.

Here are some health-conscious recipes to encourage that first trek or spice up the 50th. Each serves one hungry adult, though measurements are somewhat inexact. Access to dishes, potable water, and at least a backpacking stove are required. Pack dry ingredients in organized Ziploc bags and roll to remove excess air and save space in your pack.

Couscous with Ras el Hanout
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The perfect dinner for a 10-Day Trip, where pack weight and space are of utter concern.
Servings
1 person
Servings
1 person
Couscous with Ras el Hanout
Print Recipe
The perfect dinner for a 10-Day Trip, where pack weight and space are of utter concern.
Servings
1 person
Servings
1 person
Ingredients
Servings: person
Instructions
  1. Assemble spices at home.
  2. At camp, cover couscous with about ¾ cup water (or just covering) in stove pot.
  3. Add homemade spice packet.
  4. Add cinnamon sticks, each broken in half.
  5. Add sundried tomatoes, peppers, and pistachios.
  6. Stir and let sit, covered, for approximately 30 minutes, cooking on very low heat.
  7. Stir occasionally. Check often. Remove cinnamon sticks. Yields about 2 cups cooked.
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Chili Bean Macaroni and Cheese
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This dinner is perfect for a 3-Day Trip, where pack weight and space are of moderate concern. As a caveat, the FDA does not recommend consuming unrefrigerated cheese. In a somewhat lawless world, like the Baja Arizona wilderness, a person might bring it anyway.
Servings
1 Person
Servings
1 Person
Chili Bean Macaroni and Cheese
Print Recipe
This dinner is perfect for a 3-Day Trip, where pack weight and space are of moderate concern. As a caveat, the FDA does not recommend consuming unrefrigerated cheese. In a somewhat lawless world, like the Baja Arizona wilderness, a person might bring it anyway.
Servings
1 Person
Servings
1 Person
Ingredients
Servings: Person
Instructions
  1. Boil water.
  2. Cook macaroni.
  3. Add sliced cheese to taste to cooked elbow macaroni.
  4. As the optional cheese melts, clean the pasta pot (reuse the water!) and add beans.
  5. Mix the pasta, cheese, and beans back into the pot, and season to taste if desired.
  6. Tiny premade taco seasonings go over well, but watch your salt levels. Dehydration is dangerous.
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Cod on Hot Campfire Coals
Print Recipe
This dinner is perfect for a Glamp Trip, where weight and space are of very little concern.
Servings
1 Person
Servings
1 Person
Cod on Hot Campfire Coals
Print Recipe
This dinner is perfect for a Glamp Trip, where weight and space are of very little concern.
Servings
1 Person
Servings
1 Person
Ingredients
Servings: Person
Instructions
  1. Oil the less shiny side of a piece of strong aluminum foil.
  2. Pat dry and salt and pepper both sides of fish and place it on the foil.
  3. Add other seasonings to taste.
  4. Top the fish with thinly sliced lemons and herbs of your choosing (parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme are a classic combination).
  5. You may also top it with thinly sliced bell peppers.
  6. Squeeze the juice of one lemon over the top of the fish.
  7. Seal the fish in the foil and place on hot coals.
  8. Fish should be done in 15 minutes.
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