Creative Camp Food

>> Wednesday, July 7, 2010

We're not the most experienced campers ever. Not that it mattered at all on our recent trip to Maine. However, we're the kind of campers who -- halfway to a destination -- think of things like: "We brought all this yummy canned food. But did we bring a can opener?" or "It was a great idea to pick up this 'just-add-water' pancake mix. But did we bring a pancake flipper?" or "Can't wait to drink this wine/beer. But did we bring a corkscrew/bottle opener?"

In that latter example, after trying to come up with 1,000 crafty ways to crack open our Shipyard brews, I realized they were twist-offs. Problem solved. :)

So. Yeah. It's that bad. I say that our unpreparedness didn't matter much on our recent trip because it truly didn't. We were staying at a campsite in the middle of civilization. A grocery store was less than a mile down the road (with great local produce!). We were surrounded by fantastic restaurants. There was no way we'd go hungry. Regardless, after a few days of "roughing it" -- we started to get the hang of things.

We even enjoyed a pretty impressive dinner . . . it was the quintessential fancy-pants campers kind of deal. But, who cares? So what? We went to the grocery store, picked up our fresh ingredients (my favorite were the lopsided heirloom tomatoes -- you probably noticed them up above), and fired up the, uh, fire? That's right. We made "grilled" sandwiches by throwing them into our campfire. The results were oh-so cheesy and delicious.

If you, too, would like to dazzle your friends with your outdoor cooking skills, follow the directions below!

What you'll need . . .
  • Slices of bread (a top and bottom)
  • Tomatoes (we used heirlooms)
  • Cheese (we used pepper jack)
  • Spinach
  • Basil, etc.
  • Mustard (we used spicy brown)
  • Oil (we used a spray canola)
  • Heavy duty aluminum foil
  • A campfire

Method . . .
  1. Prepare your ingredients by slicing how you would for any normal sandwich. Lay out a generous piece of tinfoil underneath your prep space.
  2. Then take your slices of bread and spray (or spread) both sides lightly with oil. Place one slice on the aluminum foil.
  3. Pile on your ingredients in any order you like. Just as you would a normal sandwich. Then top with the other lightly oiled slice.
  4. Roll your sandwich snugly in the tin foil. If this is your first try, you may wish to wrap twice to prevent burning.
  5. Toss into the coals of the fire. Not directly on the flame. Then let sit for a few minutes (about 5) and flip. You can periodically check to make sure it isn't burning.
  6. Sandwich is done when the bread is lightly browned and contents are warm (cheese is melted). You'll be surprised by how awesome it looks!

You can really go wild with this recipe. It's basically a sandwich -- with each slice of bread oiled -- thrown into a fire. It'd work with peanut butter and jelly. It'd work with just veggies. It'd work with pre-cooked or lunch meat. It'd work with tuna. It would even work with apples and cheese.

Campers out there: What's your favorite make-on-site meal? I'm sure you have way more experience than we do. Those of your not-so inclined, what do you think is the most difficult part of cooking in the great outdoors? Just leave us a comment or email us at neverhomemaker [at] gmail [dot] com.

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