So while I was gone camping, I did miss the canning business a bit, however I did get to do a bit of culinary fun. We camped in Kirk Creek campground down in Big Sur, which was absolutely beautiful (and allowed dogs!). It was kind of awesome to pack food for this trip because we didn’t really buy much. All I packed were some vegetables we had in the fridge, yogurt (homemade, of course), bread (homemade again, from beer grains), fruit, jam, eggs, butter, a small jar of olive oil, a jar of salt and pepper, a jar of cumin and a jar of red pepper flakes. We also brought some tea and some oatmeal packets that we’ve had sitting around the cupboards for such a purpose. While we were down in the area, Brandon did buy some sausages and we got some stuff to make s’mores. We also brought wine.
While we were camping, if I wanted a snack, I had to eat an apple or some raisins or peanuts. For dinner, cheese and cream were not options because they wouldn’t keep very well (and honestly, I didn’t have any in my fridge to pack before we left, so they got left). I felt so good after eating the apple, or the raisins and peanuts that it made me think “why do I ever eat cheese and bread for snacks?” Well, there’s an obvious answer to that, however it did make me more aware of what I eat, and that choices about my food lead directly to how I feel. I felt great after that trip. Also, due to the dinners we made, consisting entirely of vegetables and homemade beer grain bread (extremely high in fiber due to the literal whole grains in there), I didn’t eat much fat or refined sugar at all (save for the s’mores).
These vegetable dinners were amazing. What were they, you might ask? A delicious dish called “Hobo Stew” brought to you by the Haas family. I think traditionally they consist of hamburger, carrots, celery and onions, wrapped up in a few sheets of tinfoil and thrown straight onto the coals of your campfire. We got a little more fancy.
First off, we started with the vegetables we had left in the fridge: eggplant, zucchini, onions, peppers, tomatoes. Also a drizzle of olive oil, a squeeze of lemon, some salt, pepper, cumin and red pepper flakes. My secret ingredient was a chopped apple. It made everything else inside sweet and delicious. On the side there is some toasted bread made with grains from the last beer we brewed. It made me think “Why don’t I eat roasted vegetables for dinner every night?” I held to this dream until we came home and a few days later this conversation was had:
Brandon: “There’s no food in the refrigerator”
Me: “What are you talking about, I just went to the farmer’s market”
Brandon: “Yeah, all we have is vegetables and condiments”
Apparently we can’t just live the way of a camper. It really makes you think about the modern conveniences that we enjoy and utilize. We enjoy the ability to pull a soft delicious cheese from the refrigerator and eat it with a soft bread just purchased from the bakery. We can open the freezer and pull out a frozen pizza and it will be cooked in a matter of minutes.We can leave the dishes on the table and stick them in the dishwasher the next morning.
Our camping adventure just reminded me that people used to have to work to cook things – to start a fire, to wash any dishes right away or the wild animals would invade the camp, to eat what you have and to use each piece of it. It made me want to stay longer, to get away more often, to sleep under the stars and eat by the fire. And then I came home, got in my hot steamy shower and crawled into my comfy bed atop a mattress and covered in clean sheets. So even though I won’t be foraging in the wilderness for food or sleeping under the stars on a regular basis, I may more regularly enjoy some hobo stew (conveniently cooked in my oven, of course).