There`s something about Summertime that seems to say campfire. Maybe because I`m not really likely to camp any other time of year, as I value the fact that I`ve lost none of my limbs to frostbite, or maybe because people really only take vacation time then, but camping and Summer go hand in hand. Like peas in a pod, or peanut butter and jelly, or that mixture of goodies found in lovely s`mores. For those who don`t know the lingo, a s`more is this lovely treat where a graham cracker half is topped with half a chocolate bar, and that is topped with a roasted marshmallow, and the rest of the graham cracker is put on top of that. Now, why is it called a s`more? It`s a compound word (same as won`t, shan`t, etcetera) that combines the words ‘some’ and ‘more’, and as all compound words do in at least American English rules the apostrophe [ ‘ ] represents where excess letters were cut out, which in this case is s
omemore= s`more. Now, aren`t you happy that I`m a lit nerd, and you got to learn all that neat-O stuff?
And Now, For Something Completely Different*
Now, unless you happen to live in a place wherein eating a s`more is an unusual pastime, you may be sick and tired of them. After about two decades of them, I`m kind of ready to shake my camp desserts up a bit. So, beyond a few more complex goodies which I regularly partake in when camping (because you only camp for the challenge of making fancy campfire food, right?) I have here for you a goodie which tastes amazing and is easily do-able with the equipment you have. In fact, I`ve got a whole meal for you, that takes very little effort and is great for a beginning camper. This would also work for that first day into your campsite, which almost always ends up being a Friday after a long day of work, and you really just want to chow down on something. See? I even give you alternatives. Real sensitive and thoughtful, ain`t I? And that is a prime example of an improper/slang compound word that every English teacher on Earth will growl at you for, unless you live in a region where it is part of the normal accent. So, like, the South. And if you are from the South, you don`t really need any of this, because I swear my Southern friends live on sweet tea, barbeque, and corn, so they already have a built in camping menu.
Now, onto the meal for the day for the rest of us. Beef kabobs and campside pies! Really, they are a cinch to whip up, and the end result is delicious! I can`t stand the juicy little mushrooms, the flame seared streak, the sweet bell peppers that go into another galaxy when you apply fire. It`s really a world apart.
Skewer Them Kabobs
- Fire. A fireplace, a chiminea, a firepit, a grill- it`s all good!
- Skewers. I like steel, as they are washable and reusable, but bamboo works too, and can be composted.
- Button portabella mushrooms, halved.
- Pineapple cubes. Terribly unhealthy, but I use the stuff that comes in a can. I know, I know. Jeez, I didn`t expect some sort of Spanish Inquisition… (favorite Monty Python Sketch link!)
- Cubed beef. I used sirloin here.
- Onion wedges. I used white vidalia.
- Bell peppers cut into 1″ sections. You can use a three pack of peppers from the grocery store, or just some fresh ones at the farmer`s market. Yay green, fresh, family owned, and organic in one produce purchase!
- Sliced zucchini, which is also fresh at this time of year and should be at that same farmer`s market.
It`s pretty straight forward. Cut all your ingredients, put them on the skewers, cook for a few minutes on one side over the fire, then flip and finish on the other side. Make sure that your meat is completely cooked, though, as it probably has been in a cooler for at least a few hours by now, and it really wouldn`t be safe to have too much pink. The photo does show them pink, but that`s because this picture was taken before they were done cooking. After they were finished, they disappeared so fast that no one could whip out a camera in time!
Besides being delicious, these pies are also super easy to slap together. If you can make grilled cheese sandwiches, you can make these. Cause they kind of are the same concept, but with berries instead of cheese. See? Simple.
- A cast iron (not stainless steel!) skillet OR some fun cast iron presses. Weird looking, but useful for frequent campers and many yummy recipes, as well as just being plain cool!
- Fire! Because burning things is just plain fun. Just be sure to be responsible about your fires!
- A can of pie filling. I used cherry pie filling from my farmer`s market, but apple and blueberry are always popular choices as well. If you can`t find any at your farmer`s market or a local farm or farmstand, than most grocery stores also sell it, but try to support the few remaining family run farms first! Most of the unethical farming practices that are found today stem from the fact that people buy big brands and don`t support the ethical (and small!) family farms.
- Bread. You can use presliced, or add to some of the wildness of camping by slicing your own with a serrated knife. Now you are really in the wild! I like to use Rudi`s brand gluten free mulitgrain bread as my go to pre-made bread, though I sometimes make my own loaves for fun.
Butter two slices of bread on both sides. Put a slice in the bottom of the press, and pile some pie filling on top. Put another buttered slice of bread on top of that, and close the press. Spend a minute or two with it hovering above the fire, then flip it and spend some time on the other side. Open the press and slide it on a plate, and presto! You have a wondrous new treat to try. Incidentally, if you chose the skillet rout, you can do the exact same steps, but flip it using a spatula inside of the skillet, flipping it when one side gets crispy brown. Or golden brown, if you so prefer.
No Fire Pit?
I would have been camping and noshing on camp food all this weekend if my trip hadn`t been rained out, as my Twitter followers were aware. Unfortunately, that meant I was doomed to miss out on all of those goodies I was looking forward to. Or was I? In the end, I just put a layer of rocks in the base of a rusty wheel barrow and put some wood on top of that, and voila! I made an instant firepit. Rather nifty, eh?
And, in honor of those few and fabulous readers who noted my sorrowful camp-free weekend, I`ve put up a new Twitter badge on the side bar, so you can click that little bluebird icon if you aren`t a fan of all the strenous effort I put into making all of these links in this post. Don`t worry, I won`t cry too much if you don`t utilize my linkies. I`m too busy eating my campfire pie!