Car (!) Camping Hints

Although this  blog is about truck camping,  our cousin, the car, has some helpful hints.  This list came from Bon Apetit. I eliminated some of the impossible items (like making cocktails ahead of time, etc.).

1. SKIP THE SPAGHETTI
Pasta can take forever to cook in a camp stove and wastes the water you’ve packed in. Instead, use quick-cooking alternatives like couscous, orzo or quinoa. Polenta is especially versatile: Leftover cooked polenta can be made into patties, pan-fried, and served with honey or maple syrup for breakfast. (Good idea. I love grits.)

2. GLOVE STORY
Instead of fumbling with those pliers-like pot lifters, pack a pair of insulated leather work gloves, which can be used to handle hot cookware and move burning logs. (Ah. Maybe.)

3. CHEESE, PLEASE
Never leave home without hard cheese. Pack some aged cheddar, Parmigiano and/or Gruyere (it keeps for at lease a week) and you’ll come up for new uses for it every day. Use the serrated blade on your multi-tool to grate some over your one-pot dinner, sandwich between English muffins or pita bread for grilled cheese, and, on your last night of camping, melt any remaining cheese for fondue. (Found that wrapping the cheese in vinegar dipped cheesecloth in a plastic bag (opening it periodically for a breath of fresh air) is the way to keep the  cheese the longest.)

inside-out-smores-646.jpg

4. MORE S’MORES
Use leftover/broken graham crackers and chocolate to make inside-out s’mores: Melt chocolate in a cup, warm a marshmallow over the fire, then dip it in chocolate and roll it in crushed graham crackers. Eat it right off the stick. (Too cute.)

5. BOX IT UP
Buy the best boxed wine you can find and throw away the box. If you must drink white wine, submerge the bladder in a cold stream or lake to chill it down. When the bladder is empty, it can be refilled with water and hung in the sun to make a solar shower. (And eliminates the need for the corkscrew.)

6. GOOD SOAK
While you hike, soak lentils in an extra water bottle (2 cups water to 1 cup lentils). At the end of the day, simmer until tender (it only takes a few minutes), then use in soups, salads, wraps, etc. (great idea. I tried it for 2 hours and that was not enough time.)

7. THE CURE
Instead of that old standby beef jerky, pack country ham, salami, or other dried charcuterie. You can snack on it during the day, use it in sandwiches or wraps, and heat some up to render the fat for cooking.

8. GET FRESH
If you’re only camping for a couple of days, skip the dehydrated fruit and vegetables and pack fresh, sturdy produce–such as carrots, cauliflower and apples–instead. They’re cheaper, more nutritious, and you can cook them or eat them raw as a snack. One exception: dried mushrooms. These are practically weightless and add a ton of flavor to soups, stews, and grains. (For a two week  boondock – or longer- I will start out with fresh, then segue to dehydrated.)

9. COFFEE TALK
Throwing used coffee grounds into the fire is an environmental no-no. Portable espresso machines and French presses are for “glampers,” and “cowboy coffee” is for cowboys. The best coffee for camping is Starbucks Via packets, which produce café-quality caffeine with no waste and no bulky beans or equipment. (Can’t go that far. Maybe for 4 days of backpacking.)

10. HIT THE OLIVE BAR
Olives, pickled vegetables, oil-marinated tomatoes, peppers and onions, and bocconcini all make great mix-ins for cooked grains and pasta–and are great for snacking on their own. (Yes, and you don’t have to refrigerate any of that. It would be smart to have other containers, instead of what you get in the store. )

11. GHEE WHIZ
Ghee is a camp-cook’s best friend. It will keep for up to a week (or more)in your pack and can be used for cooking (who wants to make pancakes in oil?) or combined with instant oatmeal for a fruit cobbler topping. (I agree.)

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