Campsite Top Chef


Curried Lentils with Roast Carrots, Stir-Fry Broccoli with garlic, onions and spices, Greek Salad, Chili-Spiked Roast Butternut squash, Chili loaded with organic veg, Corn on the Cob roasted in the Husk. Sounds like something straight out of a hardworking, well equipped kitchen right? Sure it does, but that would be easy. All of that was created while camping out here in Leadville, using little more than a campfire, a JetBoil, a little camp stove and a few tupperware containers.

I have been delighted to find out how easy it is to still create amazing dishes while "roughing it". We have eaten well, not had to sacrifice flavor, health and gotten to be hugely creative in the meantime.

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Our first night of cooking we decided to experiment with roasting under the hot coals of the fire. I had picked up some butternut squash, carrots and corn for roasting at Alpine Natural Grocery in Frisco and with a few simple additions from Bryon's backseat pantry, we were in business. I only had a very small paring knife that I picked up for 2 bucks so I painstakingly peeled and cut up the Butternut Squash and then tossed it with some Chili powder, fresh garlic cloves and olive oil. I did the same for the carrots. We folded them up nice and tight and put them under the hot coals of the fire. We left the corn in the husks and wrapped those in foil as well. We slightly buried the packets under the coals, way from the direct heat. The sound of the oil in the packets sizzling wetted our appetites. Meanwhile, I put together a great Greek salad and added avocado. Tomato, fresh spring greens, red onion, cucumber, local goat cheese and avocado, topped with a easy red wine vinegar and olive oil dressing. We pulled it out of the fire when we intuitively knew it was done and voila, perfectly tender butternut squash and carrots. It was so amazing to have this success after proceeding with the technique we had never tried before. There was a lot of high-fiving after we took the first few bites. It was damn good.

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The roast vegetable packets were amazing and the salad was a fresh, bright counterpoint. The whole meal just popped and was quite satisfying. After this meal, my mind was churning with the infinite possibilities for the next few nights. The success of the coal roasting unleashed so much potential!

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The next night we were hungry for something hearty and interested in trying out multiple techniques. We again roasted some carrots in the fire. We also cooked some wild rice on a friend's gas burner. Bryon carefully and tediously cooked up some lentils over a small campstove which pretty much requires constant attention. I utilized the jetboil and stir-fried up some broccoli with onions, garlic and spices. It was really quite good, well rounded and proved once again that good quality ingredients simply prepared make amazing meals.

I come back to it time and time again, good food, healthful food, gourmet food is not rocket science. It can be quite easy in fact. Good quality ingredients, simple techniques can produce profound results! I for one am continually excited about the possibilities for cooking, eating and discovering. There is always more to learn and explore! It is exciting!