Friday, August 2, 2013

Flame All The Things!!

     This morning I sat on my porch and sorted cucumbers.  I love preparing food outside.  There are some veggies that really should only be prepped outside.  I love to sit on the porch shucking corn, or snapping beans, or shelling peas.  It gets me out of my Summer kitchen and into nature.  The kids often leave me alone, unless they want to help, so I get a quiet time-out surrounded by a warm breeze, buzzing insects (we have a lot of dragon flies), and twittering birds.  I can watch the squirrels raid my ornamental cherry tree and scrabble around on the outer twigs of our maple trees.  The soft snap of beans punctuates the solitude.  I am often a little disappointed when I'm done to have to go back in to the heat and clamor of the kitchen.

     As far as actually cooking outside goes, I usually leave it to my husband and it is usually limited to hamburgers on the grill and hot dogs over a campfire with a s'more or three thrown in for good measure.  Last weekend the boys decided we needed a camp out.  We had promised them one in the yard last Summer, but it was generally rainy and awful last year so we put them off.  But last weekend it was beautiful and the idea of camping out had been coursing through their little brains for weeks so we finally relented.  I decided that I had had it with charred veggie dogs.  It was time to cook actual food over honest-to-goodness flame.

    All previous experiences I'd had with foil cooking involved me up all hours with howling indigestion from undercooked potatoes so I nixed them immediately.  Otherwise, I had a bunch of produce I had harvested from my garden and a handful of things from the farmer's market.

 My husband still manned the process.  For the record, this is not how you're supposed to do it.  You're supposed to let the flames die down and cook over the hot coals.  But the sunlight was fading and we didn't have the time or patience for that.  These worked out great.

 Veggie packet with tofu, hubby had chicken wrapped in bacon over his veg., the best pasta salad I've ever had from my local butcher of all places, chips, and corn on the cob, also cooked in foil.

     Foil peaches: These stayed in the longest, about 40 minutes.  They were slightly under-ripe.  I sprinkled a little Sucanat and cinnamon on them and called it good.  They would have been better had they been ripe, but the cooking time would have been way, way shorter.  We liked them plain and tried them with a toasted marshmallow, too but it would have been better with vanilla ice cream.

 Can't have flame without a marshmallow in it at this house.  I swear, they'd cook them over birthday candles if I'd let them.

This is why they aren't allowed to cook them over birthday candles...

Tofu Veggie Packet
Yield: 1
1/4 block tofu
4 purple podded pole beans, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 radishes, cubed
1/8 C chopped onion
1 clove garlic crushed
2 Tbs cubed trumpet mushroom
1/8 C peas
1inch piece thyme, or rosemary
olive oil spray
Salt and Pepper to taste

Fill a sheet of tin foil with the veggies and top with tofu.  Spray the tops of the tofu with the oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Bake over coals for about 20 minutes until veggies are soft.

*If you want to do the chicken/bacon version, slice a chicken breast very thinly into about 1/2 inch thick strips.  Wrap a quarter piece of bacon around each slice and place on top of the veggies.  No need to spray this packet with oil.  Cook until chicken is done about 20-30 minutes.

Best campsite in the state.

 A little early evening light show.

We had a pretty rough night.  The boys slept fine, but I was freezing and of course, no matter how flat the campsite, I always end up in the morning tangled in my sleeping bag with my feet half-way out the door and a rock in my ear.

Clearly when I say "we" I mean "I."

     But the food was good!  It got me totally pumped to try more things on a campfire.  I even went out and bought a grate today!  I might even do some of the cooking next time, who knows?


  1. awesome fun!!! For potatoes - I usually cube them pretty small, and steam them in the microwave until they get a little bend in them, then toss them in the foil packets. :) I love me some potatoes - especially with onions - oh yum. Fun stuff Brookers. We still haven't camped in our back yard yet this year. Ours isn't actually a forest though like yours is. Great post! Miss ya & love ya all!

    1. I actually thought about microwaving the potatoes first, but when it came down to it, I forgot to do it. I thought about you while I was freezing my buns off on the hard, hard ground. "Susan would have all her blankets out here. Susan would have a soft bed under her sleeping bag. Susan would have every pillow in the state out here." You know how to camp.

  2. I laughed through this whole post.. this is totally our family. Best site to camp is truly your own backyard... because once the close their little eyes, we pick them up and bring them into their own beds! Haha!


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