Friday, May 6, 2011

Camping and Good Eats

My family's camping trips to Bow Willow exposed me to the joys of campfire, Smores, and sleeping under the stars.  The adults would host frisbee golf tournaments while the kids hiked up the river ravine at dusk looking for gourds or played hide and seek among the desert landscape.  My favorite memory of those trips is of me introducing myself to a lantern.  I burned the shit out my palm and had a nasty blister for days.  I was definitely not friends with the lantern.  Back then, the campgrounds were primitive. Since my childhood, the area been designated for dune buggy and 4-wheel use and the campgrounds have been developed but I would like to think that I would find my way to the rock formations that I explored in my youth.

Later on in my childhood, Mother Mary, Mother Jean, Mother Patty (because you could never just yell "Mom", you had to say their first name too to get their attention) and all us kids - me, my two sisters, Linda, Steph, John V., John R., Susie, Karen and various childhood friends - would pack up the vans and motorhome and take off for exotic places like Lake Mead, Picacho State Park, Martinez Lake and Fisherman's Landing.  These places became known as "The River" and provided me with life lessons like how to swear, how to apply Sun-In to lighten my hair, how to moon the Coast Guard chopper, and how the ratio is always one beer to one water to one aspirin.
Steph, Jani, me and Linda on our way to the "Jungle Cruise"
Every morning, we would wake up in the "Hilton" (a gigantic green Coleman tent) to Mother Jean saying, "Who wants to ski?"  The lucky first one got to ski when the water was at its best - glass.  There are certain foods that I equate with these childhood camping trips. Captain Crunch cereal.  Grape Crush soda.  Doritos with ranch dip.  Maybe because Mom only allowed us to eat that crap while camping because at home it was Cheerios, milk and grapes.

Fast forward to many years later and we're camping for the Doctor Professor's birthday at Big Sycamore Canyon (which is a great little spot north of Malibu) and as the sun hits our tents in the morning, it was Emma calling out "Aunt Allie" that happily forced me out of my cozy tent.  Now as a grown-up, my camping food has become more gourmet - ostrich egg scramble and good strong Kona coffee, a firm distinction between day beer and night beer, and a Friday night dinner that is fit to serve at a dinner party ... under the stars of course.

Doctor Professor prepping the breakfast egg

Best damn bloody mary mix!
Spiced Rubbed Salmon, Rice and Lentil Pilaf, Mixed Green Salad with Berries and Maple Leaf Cookies

2 1/2 lbs. wild salmon, fillet with skin on
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

1.  Make several 1/2 inch scores on the skin side of the salmon to ensure even cooking.  Flip salmon over and drizzle with EVOO.  Rub 2 or more tablespoons of spice rub on salmon.
2.  Grill 10-12 minutes depending on temperature of the grill, amount of salmon and desired doneness.

Spiced Rub Salmon

Rice and Lentil Pilaf:
1 package of Trader Joe's Jasmine Brown Rice (Green box in the freezer section), cooked (4 minutes in microwave)
1 pint of organic cherry tomatoes, halved
Handful of dry roasted, unsalted pine nuts
Sprinkle of goat cheese crumbles
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1/4 cup parsley, finely chopped
Dash of sea salt and pepper
Drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
1 cup dried green lentils

1. Before camping trip, combine first 8 ingredients through EVOO, in a tupperware container and pack in cooler.
2. Night of dinner, boil 2 cups of water and add 1 cup of lentils, cook 10 minutes and drain.  Add cooked lentils to rice mixture, stir to combine and reheat the other ingredients.

Mixed Green Salad with Berries for Rome (Rome calls this my special salad):
2 packages of Trader Joe's Organic Spinach
1/2 small red onion, sliced
Sprinkle of dry roasted, unsalted slivered almonds
1 cup organic strawberries, sliced
Balsamic vinaigrette

Maple Leaf Cookies from Trader Joe's (these are so addicting)

Friday Night Dinner a la Allie

1 comment:

  1. Love this! :) I make a salad similar with mandarin oranges instead of strawberries. Delish.