Some camping trips are divine: perfect weather, happy children, equipment fully-functional, bugs bugging someone else, and The Great Outdoors is, well, great.
The Montauk Lighthouse.
Then there are the camping trips that are more, shall we say, character-building.
A tick-free hiker is a happy hiker!
We’ve just come back from a trip that was a bit of a mixed bag. We were on the beach at the East End of Long Island in Spring, which can be a hit-or-miss deal. You might have sun and breeze. Or you might have 30 mph winds, cold temperatures, and chilling rain. We mostly had the latter, but in the end, managed to pull out one spectacular beach day, the requisite s’mores, several yummy, grilled meals, and a couple of tick-free hikes. And anyone who has ever camped by a body of water will understand the sheer joy of spending a week living outdoors Without One Single Mosquito Bite. (Even if you had to freeze your miserable ass off, huddled around a smoky damp wood fire gripping desperately to a plastic tumbler of boxed Malbec to achieve it).
There were other umbrellas that might have come in handier on this trip, but funnily enough, these were the only ones I had!
I like to say that the best friendships are forged by shared suffering, so Ashley, Marianne, and I have done yet another round of forging and are already planning for next year! (Leandro may have other ideas, but I have the deciding vote as long as I am paying.)
This trip was rather light on cooking – it happens when you are hit with gale force winds, blustery rain, and a shitty, shitty, shitty propane stove which is headed straight for the Island of Misfit Toys even as we speak.
Look out, Bobby Flay…here comes Leandro and His License to Grill
But, cook one must and following are two of the recipes that came up during this trip. I hope to post a couple more in the next few days, but I am still doing laundry and catching up with the wreckage that is post-camping! And really, I am deciding whether to ‘fess up on how we cheated on the camping thing, discuss Leandro’s stomach issues; and am hoping to sort out a nifty vodka cocktail we adjusted our attitudes with…we shall see…
(for other camp-friendly recipes, see Spaghetti a la Carbonara, Spider Dogs (the coolest hot dogs EVER), Spanish tortilla with zucchini, Quesadillas, Scrambled Eggs, Aglio, Olio & Peperoncino – Pasta with Garlic, Oil and Hot Pepper, Grilled Tomato Pasta Sauce, Cannelini and Tomato Salad, Black Bean and Sweet Corn Salad, and Five Minute Black Beans).
Goat Cheese and Crackers – with Cucumber or Green Grapes!
Spread your favorite crackers with goat cheese (which keeps very nicely in a cooler). Top with cucumber slices or halved green grapes and served. Apple slices would also be lovely.
Fire up the grill. While the coals are heating up, soak ten wooden skewers in water for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, cut up a mix of vegetables – figure about 4 cup, but this is a very flexible recipe
(Notes: Peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, onions, are especially recommended. Eggplant is not, as it takes so long to cook through that everything else will be burnt if you put them together on a skewer. Grape tomatoes should also be skewered separately, as they cook faster than anything!
Also, try to cut the vegetables so that they cook evenly: denser vegetables should be smaller; more porous vegetables should be thicker.)
Skewer the vegetables, leaving a bit of space between them so they cook evenly.
In a separate bowl, whisk – or use a fork! - 2-3 Tbs olive oil; 1-2 cloves garlic, minced fine; a pinch of salt; the juice of half a lemon; 1/2 tsp sugar; and 1 tsp oregano (or your favorite herb).
Brush the skewered vegetables with the oil mixture, using a brush, paper towel or your fingertips, or use a shallow plate to dip them lengthwise.
Place on grill and turn every two minutes or so, depending on your grill. When the vegetables exchange their crisp look for something more translucent and maybe even a bit charred, serve!