"Iron Chef" Cabin Camping

It will take me awhile to catch up so I am going back to the beginning of this crazy summer to bring you up to date on some fun and great food we have had. If you have read this blog you know that my family gravitates toward either the beach or the mountains for relaxation and recreation. Several weeks ago some friends of ours called and said they wanted to go camping before they were reassigned (they are military) since they could wind up anywhere. Even though it was not the best time since I was in the middle of proposal season and camping takes a lot of preparation, I thought we might be able to do it if there was a cabin, since then we wouldn't have to pack and carry our tent. I have to say, that I really didn't expect there to be one available, since cabins are usually all booked in the on season, but there was one available and so we were on for a weekend in the mountains!

Some of the best part of camping is the food, but it takes a lot of planning. Luckily, our friend Julie was up for a camping"Iron Chef", and so we set about splitting the meals and developed menus for the trip. For my dinner, I made a great recipe that I actually found on Foodbuzz for a flank steak and delicious cheesy polenta. But Julie blew me totally away this trip. She made a delicious version of eggs benedict that used thinly sliced roast beef with sauteed mushrooms instead of ham and a cream and cheese sauce instead of the routine hollandaise. Served on sliced brioche from Anderson's Cafe, a fabulous cafe in an upscale garden shop here in Newport News, this dish was a real hit, definitely better than usual camping food,and Julie even poached her eggs on a camp stove!!! I was amazed, since this is a skill I have yet to master. Round 1- Advantage Julie

I was sure that I could blow her out of the water since I had made homemade venison sausage.I planned pancakes but on a whim, I made the leftover cheesy polenta into patties and fried them with the sausage, and they were a great hit, the cheesy creaminess making the perfect complement to the spicy sausage. Since I had to cook in the rain- I give myself extra points. Round 2- Advantage Me

Our next dinner, Julie made a mushroom soup with toasted cheese sandwiches made from the Anderson's brioche with brie and gruyere cheese, and a clone of the Bonefish Grill's Saucy Shrimp Appetizer that was out of this world! Round 3-Goes to Julie

I hope I am not making it sound as if it were all competition since we had an awesome time with good friends, hanging out by the fire, talking and laughing and soaking up the beautiful scenery at Crabtree Falls. Besides the great food the hit of the trip was our tennis racket-style bug zapper which provided some unexpected entertainment, and our Mayan hammock which provided a great place for hanging out (and sleeping, for Lilly!)

Saucy Shrimp Appetizer Clone From Bonefish Grill*

1 ounce butter
5 ounces (50/60 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 ounces sun-dried tomatoes

1/4 of the Bonefish Grill lime-tomato-garlic sauce (see below)
2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled

1. Add butter to sauté pan, coating pan. Pour excess butter out. Sauté shrimp, olives and sun-dried tomatoes until shrimp turn opaque.

2. Add one-fourth of the lime tomato garlic sauce (see note). Toss the
sauce with shrimp and vegetables and remove the pan from the heat.

3. Pour all ingredients onto an appetizer plate. Top with crumbled
feta and a pinch of parsley.

Lime-tomato-garlic sauce: Place 1/2 cup roughly chopped
sun-dried tomatoes, 1/2 cup roughly chopped fresh tomatoes, 1/4 cup
lemon juice, juice from 2 limes, 1/4 cup chopped garlic, 1/2 cup white wine and 5 tablespoons granulated sugar in saucepan. Stir and let cook until reduced in volume by half. Add 1 cup heavy cream, 2 teaspoons salt and 1 teaspoon white pepper. Stir and let simmer until the mixture thickens. On medium to low heat, slowly add 2 tablespoons butter (cut into small pieces) until melted. Remove pan from heat when all of the butter is incorporated.
Makes enough for 4 servings

*Adapted from:

Awesome Julie's take on Anderson's Showplace Eggs Benedict*

1 loaf of Brioche, sliced
1 lb. of sliced deli roast beef, chopped
4 Portabella mushroom caps, diced
8 eggs
1 batch of mornay sauce (recipe below)
1 bag of baby spinach

1. Toast Brioche and set aside.
2. Boil water in deep skillet for poached eggs
3. Place mushrooms in pan with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil (if you
chose- if you are using a non-stick skillet this is not needed) and
4. Once mushrooms are cooked add chopped roast beef. Mix well and allow
to heat through.
5. Begin poaching your eggs and steam spinach.
6. Once eggs are cooked to order, put toasted bread on plate, top with beef, spinach and mushrooms. Add egg and top with mornay sauce and serve.
Serves 4

Mornay Sauce

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups hot milk
1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Gruyere
1/2 cup (2 ounces) freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Dash ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Dash of cayenne pepper

1. Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Add flour and
cook slowly for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Remove
from heat. The mixture should get foamy or frothy but not brown.
2. Add the hot milk and whisk vigorously until smooth. Add the seasonings and return to the heat and boil for about 1 minute over medium high heat. Remove from heat, add cheeses and stir
until incorporated completely. Add cayenne.

Makes 2 1/2 cups


Sandy said…
And here I thought eating while camping resorting to protein bars and baked beans. This is awesome and definitely something I'll keep in mind for my next venture out! I actually work with a program called Chef's Diet; we focus on bringing healthy, well balanced meals to those that might not have time to shop and prepare those meals themselves. Our foods are prepared fresh daily and then delivered straight to your door! If anyone is interested, visit http://www.mychefsdiet.com for more info!
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Deborah Dowd said…
Sandy- It may for some folks, but not for our family! Of Course we are car and cabin camping, so we have access to a cooler and campstove to ensure we are not deprived!
Jade said…
This is awesome!! My husband would love to be able to go camping later this year. I will have to work on a good menu. Thanks for the great recipes!! This is awesome.
Deborah Dowd said…
Jade- Camping is such a wonderful vacation- inexpensive and a real bonding experience for family and friends. If you search my clog I have posted on our camp recipes several times. Take the leap and give it a try- you won't be sorry!
Sylvia said…
I think it would be cute to put together a cookbook for camping.. Stuff to make while you are out and camping that is different from the regular crap. I'm going to keep this in mind-- not for me, but for my sister. She camps all the time with her family (I don't) but I'm sure they would love some new recipes!