As a kid, I went camping with my family nearly every weekend throughout the summer. Our fare was the traditional camping cuisine of lunchmeat sandwiches, chips, fruits, veggies, and plenty of hot dogs, hamburgers and S’mores.
As an adult, my camping cuisine taste buds have expanded. I’m no longer satisfied with a few slices of shaved ham and Swiss cheese on a plain white bun topped with mustard. Today, I put together weekend camping meals using products from our community Farmer’s market.
My mom had to pack food for 2 adults and 4 children and didn’t have time to make gourmet creations. I only have to pack food for 2 adults, so it’s much easier to put together meals. Since we aren’t catering to children our choices are not as limited.
I don’t think of ‘gourmet’ the same as most people I know. To me, gourmet simply means kicking up the recipe a notch. For example, as a child my favorite sandwich was sliced honey ham with American cheese and mustard. As an adult I still love ham and cheese sandwiches, but instead use butcher store lunch meat, Brie cheese, Dijon mustard, and freshly baked whole grain bread.
Wrapping lunchmeat sandwiches in parchment paper and again with plastic wrap helps keep ingredients fresher and prevents them from getting wet when stored in an ice cooler. Once you’re at the campground all you have to do is remove the plastic wrap and the parchment paper provides a handy wrapper.
Nearly everyone I know takes granola on camping trips. I remembered it tasting like cardboard until I found a recipe for Almond Flax Granola at DirtyGourmet.com. This recipe takes about an hour to prepare, but is worth the effort.
Granola is a great camping food that can be eaten as cereal, trail mix, or snack. It’s a great energy-booster and a healthier option than candy or power bars. Not to mention, it doesn’t melt into a glob in the hot summer heat.
The Dirty Gourmet is one of the best resources I’ve found for gourmet camping food recipes. This website is dedicated to outdoor foodies and offers a wide range of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and appetizers. It also categorized foods by activity including: backpacking, bike touring, car camping, day trip, and picnic.
The Today Show offers a section of gourmet camping recipes presented by Chef Melissa Perello of San Francisco’s Fifth Floor restaurant. What’s really nice about these recipes is they provide directions for packing foods and preparing them at campsite.
My husband and I tried the Fingerling Potatoes and Bacon packets and are now grilling them at home. Other gourmet cuisine selections include: Israeli Couscous with Broccolini and Chili Flake, Summer Ratatouille Packet, Roasted Tomato and Bread Salad Packet, Risotto with Leeks and Wild Mushrooms, and Bulgur Wheat Salad.
Another inspiration for my camping cooking has been NPR.org. Nicole Spiridakis, founder of the infamous food blog Cucinanicolina.com, shares a bounty of camping food tips and easy-to-prepare recipes in her article, “Forget the Granola: Camp Cooking Goes Gourmet.”
Our favorites include: Grilled Vegetable Fajitas with Black Beans and Campfire Cobbler. Additional recipes include: Quinoa Chowder, and Whole Wheat Penne with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms and Chard.
Camping wouldn’t be complete without gourmet S’mores. Some of our favorite ways to ‘gourmet-up’ the traditional S’mores recipe include: adding strawberry or banana slices; using homemade marshmallows; and substituting chocolate bars with dark organic chocolate.
Don’t get stuck in the boring camping food rut. Instead, add a little pizzazz by adding a few indulgent ingredients or go all out with the suggested recipes. If you need additional inspiration, the Internet is a great source for locating gourmet camping cuisine recipes. Bon Appetit!
Gourmet Camping Cuisine Recipes from DirtyGourmet.com
Today Show: Camping This Summer? Cook Up Gourmet Meals
Nicole Spiridakis: Cucinanicolina.com