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Camp cuisine – beyond baked beans

Mark Staneart prepares a popular Thai stir fry at a Camp Pig Out gathering at the Strawberry Music Festival.
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Strawberry Music Festival offers an opportunity twice a year to gather good friends and enjoy a rich array of singer-songwriters. Camping and good food are part of the deal.

Camp Pig Out, a 20-year tradition, had an innocent beginning. According to Mark Staneart, “Around 1982, I was attending my third Strawberry festival camped with Eric and Christina Rice, Karen Dyer and other KVMR deejays. Wesley Robertson was camped in a different location with Vohn, Chip and Lynn Meshew. They invited me to come over to their camp for dinner and served up an exceptional spread. These are all serious good cooks. After a fine dinner, we acknowledged that just because you’re camping, you don’t have to dine on a can of beans. Camp Pig Out was born.

“Since then, we’ve grown to a group that usually includes 20 to 25 adults and assorted children. We set up a rather elaborate kitchen, and we eat well, to say the least. We’re absolutely certain that we have the best food at Strawberry. We entertain a crowd of 50 or more on some evenings. An invitation to Pig Out can be the social pinnacle at Strawberry.



“All of us cook more or less by instinct, so getting it down in recipe form is a bit of a challenge,” says Staneart. To hear the music that inspires Camp Pig Out’s environs, tune into KVMR-FM (89.5) on Saturdays from 10 a.m to 4 p.m.




Thai Stir Fry

(Mark Staneart)

11/2 pounds pork loin or chicken breast, sliced thinly

3/4 cup soy sauce

3/4 cup sherry

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced ginger

Finely ground red pepper to taste

Assorted vegetables, sliced thinly: zucchini or other summer squash, mushrooms, broccoli, carrots, red onions, red cabbage, bok choy, celery.

1 pound eggplant, preferably Asian type, but larger black beauties will do.

Salt

Peanut oil

Thai Kitchen Red Curry Paste and Red Chili Paste

Patak’s Hot Curry Paste

1 can (141/2 ounces) coconut milk

Sliced green onions

Unsalted peanuts

Shredded coconut

Make marinade of equal parts soy sauce and sherry with ginger, garlic and liberal sprinkling of red pepper. Place sliced meat in marinade and freeze in plastic container. Frozen meat will help cool your ice chest.

As it melts, the marinade performs desired effect on the meat.

When it’s time to start dinner, slice unpeeled eggplant, salt sliced surfaces liberally, lay on paper towels and pat paper towels down firmly on surfaces. Let it sweat at least a half hour. While eggplant is sweating, slice other vegetables, then cut eggplant into cubes.

Drain marinated meat. Heat peanut oil to about 375 degrees in large skillet or wok. The eggplant will absorb quite a bit of oil, so be liberal.

When oil is hot, add chili paste and red curry paste, a tablespoon of each if you like it hot, less if you want it milder. When it sizzles, begin adding vegetables, stirring constantly. Add firmer items, such as celery, first and the softer items, such as mushrooms and bok choy leaves, later.

When all vegetables have partially cooked, add meat and stir until browned, but still rare. Push all ingredients in pan to side and add tablespoon of curry paste in the middle; pour in coconut milk. Blend all ingredients, reduce heat to about 225 degrees and simmer about 10 minutes, or until meat and vegetables are completely cooked. Serve over steamed rice.

Garnish with sliced green onions, peanuts and shredded coconut.

TacoPizzas

(Edwin Holloway)

TacoPizzas cut across food groups, cultures and textures. They make a delicious snack or full meal. It’s essentially a Mexican ensalada with an Italian touch. Uneaten portions can be easily stored for quick meals over a period of a week or more. Most ingredients can be made from scratch, or obtained prepared.

12 ounces enchilada sauce

4 ounces green taco sauce

1 ounce pesto sauce

1/2 clove garlic, crushed

2 cans black beans

2 pork loin or pound of lean ground pork or chicken – barbecued

12 white corn tortillas, fried in olive oil

3 medium-size anaheim peppers

1 small red bell pepper

1small red onion

1 bunch green onions, green portion only

1 bunch cilantro

2 jalapeno or yellow wax peppers, sliced thin

1 cup grated cheese (provolone with mozarella or packaged “pizza cheese” and/or romano or Trader Joe’s Pecorino Romano Sheeps Milk Cheese)

Combine enchilada sauce, green sauce, pesto and garlic. Try roasted garlic salsa and Mexican tomato sauce such as El Patio Tomato Sauce. Mix crushed garlic thoroughly with liquid ingredients. Let stand overnight.

Fry tortillas in thin layer of oil until slightly brown. Keep fried tortillas in small bowl; as you add more to it, stand them up vertically in bowl.

Thin slicing of peppers and onion is key for proper texture of TacoPizzas. Slice peppers and red onion lengthwise as thinly as possible.

Cut lengthwise about an inch. Cut green onion in eighths of an inch. Chop piquant peppers finely; add or serve separately. Mix well. Chop cilantro; add or serve separately.

Mash one can of beans well; add other can of beans whole. Let beans cook down a little for optimal viscosity. For vegetarians, TacoPizzas will stand on their own without meat. (“With meat, pork works best for me, chicken a close second.”) Slice meat thinly and cut into pieces about an inch long.

If you cannot barbecue, use fried, crumbled lean ground pork. Mix meat with beans for carnivorous diners or serve meat separately.

To serve TacoPizzas, place all ingredients before diners. Place the fried tortilla on plate or bowl and layer remaining ingredients. Diners should eat TacoPizza with the bowl held close up!

Chili Rellenos, Camp Pig Out Version

(Chip Meshew)

12 fresh long green chilies, anaheim or poblano

12 ounces Monterey jack cheese

Flour for dredging

6 eggs

6 tablespoons flour

Roast chilies over open flame or on barbeque; roasting brings out flavor.

Rinse thoroughly to remove skin. Remove stem and seeds. Stuff chilies with sliced cheese.

Roll stuffed chilies in flour; set aside. Preparing batter is tricky when camping because it requires a mixer. Hand-cranked mixers will work, but take a lot of time and effort. (“I use one of the beaters from my electric mixer attached to my cordless drill.”)

Separate eggs; beat whites very stiff. Beat yolks to frothy and fold into whites; add flour. Dip stuffed chilies into batter. Fry in oil until brown on both sides. Makes 1 dozen. Serve with tomato sauce.

Tomato Sauce

4-5 tablespoons oil

2-3 tablespoons flour

2-3 tablespoons chopped onion

1 cup beef bouillon

1 cup tomato puree

Heat oil in large frying pan. Brown the flour in hot oil. Saute onion until tender. Add bouillon and tomato puree. Cover and simmer 30 minutes. Pour a little sauce over your relleno.

Broccoli Beef

(Wesley Robertson)

“For Pig Out I ratchet up the heat a lot!”

11/4 cups soy sauce

11/4 cups white dry wine

11/4 cups cornstarch

1/4 cup sugar

5 pounds round steak

5 pounds broccoli

2 teaspoons salt

3/4 cup peanut oil

8 cloves garlic, minced

4-8 dry red peppers, crushed

1/4 cup fresh minced ginger

3 tablespoons cornstarch

1/2 cup soy sauce

Combine 11/4 cups soy sauce, white wine, 11/4 cups cornstarch, and sugar. Set aside. Cut beef across the grain into thin slices, 2 to 3 inches long and marinate for several hours in refrigerator.

Trim broccoli to match beef slices in size. Using small amount of oil, stir-fry broccoli with salt 11/2 to 2 minutes. Remove broccoli and set aside.

In same pan using remaining oil, add garlic, ginger and peppers to hot oil for 10 seconds, then add beef. Stir-fry until 3/4 done, about 2 minutes. In separate dish combine 3 tablespoons water with 3 tablespoons cornstarch and 1/2 cup soy sauce; set aside. Return broccoli to pan. Mix beef and broccoli together; add cornstarch mixture, stir-fry until done, about 1 minute. Add several drops of sesame oil and serve.

End of the

Trail Musgo

(Vohn Smith)

A spur-of-the-moment recipe of things that may be headed back to the house if not turned into a late-night snack.

Sunday afternoon, all leftovers and extras should be gathered in one spot for evaluation. Items may consist of barbecue chicken, spaghetti sauce, hamburger patties, canned carrots, canned green beans, onions and garlic. Stay away from pickled things, or sweet sauces for this experiment. Hopefully, you will find something like hamburger, onions, celery, garlic, potatoes, carrots, green beans, corn, tomatoes, salt, pepper and beef broth.

You can’t have too many onions. Dice onions, some small, some large. Set large pieces aside. Heat bacon grease and/or olive oil in large cast-iron pot; add small onion pieces and caramelize. Add finely chopped garlic (if we cannot be generous at this point, our camping priorities may be called into question).

Add raw meat, burger, chicken, whatever, and brown with onions and garlic. Salt and pepper to taste.

When browning is complete, add diced tomatoes, cook a few minutes, add canned bean liquid if you have it. Add celery, dice heart and tender leaves small, slice stalks angular to pot. Add green beans, liquid and all. Add carrots, liquid and all. Peel and add potatoes, diced smallish. Add beef broth, water and beer. Bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer till all is tender. At this point, other cooked items may be added to taste. See how it goes.

Bette Worth writes a column for The Union on Wednesdays. You can write her in care of The Union, 464 Sutton Way, Grass Valley, 95945; or she can be reached at


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