Monday, October 1, 2007

In which I divulge some great campfire recipes

I went camping this weekend with my family. There a few things I love more than being outside - hiking, camping, canoeing, swimming, whatever you've got as long as I'm out of doors. We went to Yankee Springs State Park, which was lovely. There were lots of hiking trails and a lake to go fishing. Also, there were lots of acorns.

I love acorns. I can't really tell you why. Maybe its their shiny roundness. Maybe it's their sweet little caps, or their thousands of variations, or all the different colors of rich brown. I found my pockets stuffed with them by the end of Sunday. I'm particularly enamoured of the stripy ones. I've never seen stripy acorns before.

I call this one "Acorns on White and Yellow Table Cloth."

One of the things we like to cook while we're camping is foil packs, also known as Hobo Stew. You need some kind of meat, onions, canned potatos, other vegetables as you like and then some kind of liquid. We were doing a tribute to Oktoberfest, so ours had sausage, potatos, onions, apples, sauerkraut, and for liquid potato juice from the can, sauerkraut juice, or beer. Other variations include hamburgers, potatos, onions, canned mushrooms, and canned gravy. It's important that the potatos be canned, because raw ones would take both too much time to cook and too much liquid.

Then you wrap the whole thing up in foil and toss it on the coals that you have carefully constructed in your fire pit. Half and hour, forty five minutes later, you've got some seriously good food.
We fished a bit off the fishing dock. I mostly just fed worms to the fishes, but my brother caught some itty bitty little fish after he figured out that the hooks were too big.

Even mom tossed a hook into the water.

The other thing we really like to cook outside is Doughboys. Doughboys are basically biscuit cooked on a stick. First you've got to find a stick in the woods that's long and straight and is about as big around as a broom handle. Then you mix up some Bisquick into a playdough like consistency with milk and form them into palm sized balls. You will, of course, have skinned a good six inches of the bark off of one end of your stick, and on this you will apply your biscuit dough, firmly impaling the ball of dough and squeezing it down the sides. Do not form a pancake and wrap the stick. This will cause the Doughboy to crack a lot while cooking and it may not stay on the stick. Cook over coals.

Cook until everything is golden brown. Your Doughboy will probably crack anyway, even if you have followed my directions. This is how you know the inside is cooking. When everything seems done (or the outside is charred to just this side of edible), pull off the stick with a paper towel and stuff with butter and jam. Or peanut butter and raisins. Or blueberries. Or bananas. Or, if you've got some lying around from last night's dinner, maybe some bratwurst or hot dogs. Enjoy.

Oh, and the name Doughboys? They're called that because if you're a less experienced campfire cook, you're likely to char the outside long before the inside is done, giving you a doughy, half-cooked biscuit which is still delightful, but which may sit like a hockey puck in your stomach.

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