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North Shore Camping

July 27, 2011

We’re getting ready to head up to the North Shore of Minnesota for a week of hiking and camping with two of our favorite people, Kori and Craig.  I’m also looking forward to swimming in Lake Superior, which will be my first legit Great Lakes experience (other than admiring Lake Michigan from Chicago’s roadways).  While all four of us are foodies, Craig and I are the most avid cooks (read: are the most obsessed with kitchen tools and gadgetry), so we’ve been hard pressed to strip our camp kitchen down to the basics:  cutting board, knife, skillet, Dutch oven, BBQ tongs, spatula, stirring spoon, and box of aluminum foil.  The Coffeeholic Gentleman is in charge of the java press, of course.  Even with such a minimal set of tools, I’m looking forward to some delicious campfire meals.

To help ensure the tastiness factor, I packed up a bunch of favorite spice blends in mini zip-lock baggies:

Cinnamon from Wheatsfield Co-op's bulk spices aisle mixed with homemade vanilla sugar (Madagascar vanilla beans courtesy of Adam & Spencer!)

Cornish Sea Salt Co.'s Peppercorn & Mustard Seed blend. I can't wait to sprinkle this smoky mix into some roasted potato packets.

A friend recommended curry couscous with nuts and dried fruit, so...

Garam masala is great because the spices are dry-roasted before being ground. Since the spices are already cooked, this blend can be used as a table seasoning without risking upsetting sensitive stomachs. My favorite garam masala recipe comes not from an Indian cookbook, but from the "Sundays at Moosewood Restaurant" cookbook.

Fancy pink mineral salt from the bulk spices aisle at Wheatsfield Co-op

My favorite dried herbs -- rosemary and thyme. Makes me want to break out in song. These will be nice on veggies or fish.

Ukrainian Village blend from The Spice House in Chicago. My go-to mix, delicious on anything and everything.

Tangy and spicy West Indies seasoning blend from The Spice House in Milwaukee, in case we need to add serious pizazz to something.

I also picked up a copy of this book in anticipation of some tasty foraging on our hikes — and hey, if some berries find their way into some campfire pancakes, so much the better.

Got any favorite camping recipes? I’d love to hear them.

Midwestern Exposure will be on vacation next week.  I’ll let you know about our outdoor cooking adventures when we get back.

  1. kori permalink
    July 27, 2011 7:47 am

    I have never, ever, been camping with eight spice options. Holy flavor kaboooky. I’m excited.

  2. July 27, 2011 8:25 am

    I am excited to hear how your trip turns out – sounds so different than my previous camping trips. We weren’t as fancy – hot dogs & pop tarts were our staples.

  3. Diana permalink
    July 27, 2011 9:32 am

    Our favorite was always campfire stew? packets done in tinfoil.
    Spray or grease one side of a sheet of tinfoil.
    Put down a 4 oz patty of ground beef—fairly lean is better—season.
    Top with slices of potato and carrot and any other veggies you like [we often add green pepper, celery, or zucchini.]
    Season the veggies
    bring tinfoil around everything and seal first on the top and then each side.
    Throw on/in the fire turning occasionally.
    Don’t worry about charring; just enjoy a hardy meal in a pouch.

  4. July 27, 2011 5:06 pm

    I did a LOT of backpacking through Canada when I was much, much younger. Your stripped down kitchen gear would be heaven, I carried dried food, and a mess kit (a little fry pan, cup, knife/fork/spoon that all nested together) and water bottle.

    I also used to do a lot of “stationary” camping which allowed for fresh veg and fruit, stuff that didn’t need a fridge (that is, no fresh meat or dairy, but dehydrated was OK…read jerky, salami and cheese you could cut the mold off of). My favorite thing to do was along the lines of what Diana suggests, just throw what you have in a tin foil packet, throw the packet on the fire, wait, eat. If you have a little oil or butter, throw that in or just a sprinkle of water will do to help it steam, salt and pepper (or your fancy spice packets) help.

  5. July 28, 2011 9:27 am

    Fun! First–I will be very very impressed if you actually swim in Superior as opposed to flailing madly and getting out immediately. That water is COLD.
    Second, if you drive through Duluth, stop at Northern Waters Smokehaus in the DeWitt -Seitz building in Canal Park. They have the best smoked fish and meats. Lake trout, bison pastrami, etc. So yummy. They also have an impressive sandwich menu : ).
    I can’t wait to hear about your camp cooking creations!

  6. July 28, 2011 11:29 am

    Kori, I will never let you suffer bland food!

    Mindy, nothing wrong with a good hotdog and a tasty Pop-Tart now and again. 🙂

  7. July 28, 2011 11:30 am

    This sounds wonderful and versatile — heavy-duty aluminum foil is in our kit, so we will give it a try!

  8. July 28, 2011 11:32 am

    Beth, I’ve only been backpacking twice, and both times someone else was in charge of feeding us. You’ve put my so-called minimal camp kitchen into perspective! I just picked up a small, plastic bottle of olive oil to bring, too — thanks for the suggestion.

  9. July 28, 2011 11:34 am

    The Northern Waters Smokehaus has officially been added to our group itinerary — thanks for the recommendation! I love smoked fish and smoked meats, so I’m looking forward to trying a range of their offerings. Mmm.

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