Summer approaches, which means Alaska adventures await. To make the most of your outings, you are going to need fuel for the body. Just because you are sleeping in a tent or roughing it in an RV doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on your meals. The sky’s the limit when it comes to preparing for your outdoor feast.
This month I serve up some menu development ideas for these summertime seasonal excursions.
Planning is the key ingredient to any successful outing – and the meals that come with them. Try to think several meals ahead. Let’s say you want to have chicken for dinner. First off, purchase a whole chicken. It is far cheaper by the pound. You can turn it into at least three meals. A big box store in town is a good place to start. They use chicken as a “loss leader,” as we say in the business – the discounted item that lures shoppers in to buy more. And if buying a whole chicken that you have to roast on your own sounds like too much work, make life easier and simply purchase the bird of your choice already roasted from such places as Fred Meyer or Carr’s.
Preparing your fowl is simple: Just bake or roast. There is your first meal. Use the leftover chicken for the next supper by adding it to pasta. Got bits and pieces? Make a chicken salad for delicious sand- wiches. Heck, if you’re in that comfy RV you can even simmer the remaining chicken and bones for a lovely consume. Just add some chopped carrots and celery for a soothing broth. Simmer, season and reduce. Strain out the solids and there you go – fine camping cuisine much tastier than freeze-dried food.
Ramen is another great camping staple. Too boring, you say?
Not at all. This mundane dried noodle is just the base. Use your imagination and add what ever else you like.
Remember that leftover chicken? How about adding some chopped chives and some scrambled eggs? See where I am going with this?
Portable ramen is simple to make and surprising in flavor. Adding just rudimentary ingredients to your outdoor dining preparation can really kick up your meals a notch. Even if you are backpacking and concerned about weight, you can jazz up any meals with a few tomatoes (perched in a safe, smoosh-proof place in your pack) or an almost ripe avocado. Surprise your friends at mealtime with these seemingly simple treats. You will see their faces light up, as everything tastes better when you are spending the night on a mountain.
Another way to rough it easy is to carry some flavored croutons or Siracha popcorn. Drop some on top of soup. Presto, now you have a meal.
If you are headed toward the water, catch a fish. Wrap it in foil. I have a “rule of three” here. Any three will do. Add to the fish just three ingredients: butter, lemon pepper and thyme. Cook slowly over dying coals.
Chop some onions and peppers and do the same thing in another foil packet; this gourmet poached meal is super easy and tasty.
Got a sweet tooth? Many a camper’s favorite course is dessert. For- get about the mundane s’more. Use a cast iron pan or a Dutch oven to create a yummy pineapple upside down cake. Use a stovetop or hot coals – it doesn’t matter; either can be used effectively to produce wonderful results. If you are of age and desire a culinary adventure I suggest adding some dark rum for an over-the-top fireside treat.
So, start planning your Alaska outdoors adventure and don’t skimp on ingredients. With a little prior planning, the outdoors can be the perfect backdrop to your gourmet dining experiences. Make a meal in the Midnight Sun that people will talk about for years to come. I can hear it now:
“Remember when you made that …… when we were rafting the Kenai? That was sooo good.”
You can just nod and smile, knowing how easy it was.
— Mark J. Bly The Flying Chef
PORTABLE GOURMET RAMEN
2 mini Mason jars 1 package of ramen noodles 1 Tablespoon soy sauce 1 teaspoon ginger grated 1 teaspoon hot sauce 1 cup shredded chicken 1 cup spinach, chopped 1⁄2 cup of carrot, julienned 2 Tablespoons sliced green onions
Cook ramen noodles like you always do ac- cording to directions on package.
Run cold water in to the pot of ramen to stop the cooking process.
Tear open ramen flavor packet and pour into bottom of mini mason jar.
Split the soy, ginger, and hot sauce between the jars.
Next add the chicken. Then layer the spinach and carrots. Top with the chopped green onions and screw the lid on.
When ready to dine boil water and pour in to jar topping the ingredients.
Screw the lid back on and let steep for 3 minutes.
Remove lid. Stir, and enjoy!
Go for it, any ingredients can be used to make it your favorite go to lunch.
PINEAPPLE UPSIDE-DOWN CAKE
1 box Betty Crocker super moist yellow cake mix Vegetable oil and eggs 1 cup brown sugar 1 20-ounce can pineapple slices
1 small jar of maraschino cherries 1⁄4 cup butter
Heat oven to 350 degrees, or use indirect heat, or coals on a fire.
Melt butter in bottom of pan. Sprinkle the brown sugar evenly across the bottom on top of your melted butter.
Open can of pineapple and reserve the juice for the cake mix. Place pineapple rings on top of brown sugar and then place a cherry in the center of each ring.
Mix cake batter according to the instructions on the box and sub- stitute the pineapple juice for the water in the recipe.
Pour batter on top of pineapple and bake for about 45 minutes depending on the heat involved. A sure-fire way to make sure your cake is done is to stick it with a toothpick. If nothing sticks to it then the cake is done.
Remove from heat and run a knife around the edge of the cake to help release it from= the pan.
Turn upside-down on plate and let sit for 30 minutes so that the brown sugar oozes all over the top of the cake.
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