Campfire Dining – Gourmet Style
With the final long weekend of the summer approaching, Labor Day weekend may signal the last summer cookout, beach BBQ or campfire grill until next May. So, if you’re planning to make this long weekend the most memorable camping trip of the season, why not put a little extra panache into your outdoor dining? After all, just because you’re roughing it doesn’t mean your menu needs to be limited to canned beans and weenies on a stick.
I spend every Labor Day weekend at my trailer in Ipperwash Beach, Ontario. I’ve been venturing to Sunnyside Trailer Park for the past 30-years, which means many of my fellow campers are like family. That’s why we host the annual Sunnyside Labor Day pot luck. It gives us the opportunity to kiss the summer farewell with good food, and good company.
Personally when I’m preparing for our annual camping pot luck, I’m looking for what I like to call “unique convenience” – which means an easy dish, but one that will still knock the socks off of my fellow campers. Many of my campsite neighbors enjoy cooking as well, so the annual Sunnyside Labor Day pot luck has given into a little bit of healthy competition – who can out cook who with limited tools.
If you’re familiar with small hard-top trailers, tents and campers, then you know we are all limited to the odd gas stove, BBQs, hibachi grills, and glorious open flame cooking. Typically, what I do to prepare for my annual pot luck dish is watch the Food Network and consult my health gourmet cook books, and adapt one of the recipes into a campfire-friendly dish.
This year I’ve decided to make a grilled vegetable, shrimp and artichoke pasta salad that I spotted in one of my favorite healthy food gourmet cookbooks. It will just take a few minor adjustments, because I will be marinating and then barbequing the shrimp on skewers, boiling the whole wheat penne burner-side on my gas BBQ grill, and grilling the mélange of red and green peppers, sweet red onions, and canned artichokes on a pie plate over open flame.
My adjusted recipe turned out to be easy for campfire cooking, plus it will have my fellow pot-luckers thanking their ‘lucky plates’!
Campfire Grilled Artichoke Pasta Salad
• 1 can of artichokes
• ½ cup sweet red onion - chopped
• ½ cup sweet red pepper - chopped
• ½ cup green pepper - chopped
• 1 package of whole wheat penne pasta - boiled
• 1 cup of chopped basil
• 1 ½ cups of balsamic dressing
• Spices of your choice for shrimp marinade ( I use a mix of cumin and chili).
• Salt and pepper to taste
1. Roll fresh shrimp in spice mixture and set aside in a bowl
2. Pierce shrimps single-row on skewers
3. Fire up the grill, when hot place shrimps on and grill each side for 2 minutes – set aside
4. Place all of your chopped veggies in pie plate and place over open fire coals
5. Grill until desired. They should be crisp but warm.
6. Bring water to a boil on BBQ side burner and add penne
7. Combine pasta, grilled veggies, and chopped basil.
8. Toss with balsamic dressing.
9. Remove shrimps from skewers and toss with salad.
10. Place covered in the refrigerator until ready to serve
So it just goes to show that a little extra planning; can mean a night of dinning enjoyment. Just pop the cork from your favorite bottle of red, and voila – gourmet campfire cuisine awaits!
About the Author: Gavin McNamara is an outdoorsman who lives to hike and camp. When he is not immersed in the sights and sounds of the great outdoors, he writes for nomadik.com – an online guide to outdoor living, with information about Backcountry Orienteering, Camping Gear, Beginner's Guides and more.