We take a camping trip with friends and their families every year, booking a group camp site months in advance, planning meals and looking forward to the weekend we get to spend in the beautiful Ozark National Forest, with some of the most fabulous people we know.
We take turns laying meals out on the picnic tables, and when it's our time for our shift, you can bet I have prepared as much in advance as I am able to. Nothing is better than the smell of the campfire, eating outdoors, and not spending all of my time cooking. My husband smoked ribs this year, and I blended a cocktail, prepared a couple of appetizers, mixed up a salad and two other side dishes and baked a pie.
Between the discovery of our "instant" tent - which literally pops up in a matter of minutes, my casual camp cooking style, and the fact that the kids all play from morning until night, it has become one of the most pleasant and relaxing vacations we take.
1 (750ml) bottle of riesling
1 1/2 cups of white cranberry-peach juice
1/2 cup peach schnapps
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 (1/2 inch thick) lemon slices
2 (1/2 inch thick) orange slices
2 fresh peaches, cut into wedges
10 fresh raspberries
3 cups of ice cubes
Mix the wine, white cranberry-peach juice, schnapps, lemon juice, sugar and vanilla in a large pitcher. Stir in the lemon slices, orange slices, peaches and raspberries.
Chill, covered, overnight. Stir in the ice and serve.
Recipe adapted from Add Another Place Setting, Recipes from the Junior League of Northwest Arkansas
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CHERRY TOMATOES STUFFED WITH MARINATED FETA
1 7 to 8 package of feta cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon shallot, finely chopped
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 pound of cherry tomatoes
12 pitted kalamata olives, halved lengthwise
Toss cubed feta, oil, shallot and oregano in a small bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cut 12 tomatoes crosswise in half, scoop out tomato pulp with small spoon or melon baller. Place tomatoes cut side up, on a serving plate. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Place a piece of marinated feta, and an olive half in each cherry tomato. Drizzle with additional olive oil if desired.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, July 2009
SHRIMP AND SCALLOPS WITH LEMONY SOY
1 1/2 cups soy sauce
1 cup mirin
1 cup sake
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 jalapenos, thinly sliced
1 pound shrimp, shelled and deveined
1 pound scallops
In a dish, combine the soy sauce with the mirin, sake, lemon slices and jalapenos.
Thread the shrimp and scallops onto skewers and add them to the marinade, turning to coat.
Refrigerate for 30 minutes, turning once halfway through, then drain.
Light a grill and oil the grates. Brush the shrimp and scallops with oil and grill over high heat, turning once or twice, until lightly charred, about 4 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Food and Wine, June 2012
TWO POTATO SALAD WITH CREME FRAICHE
1 1/2 pounds of small red potatoes, halved
1 1/2 pounds peeled sweet potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
3 tablespoons white vinegar
3/4 cup creme fraiche
1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 18 minutes, or until tender.
Drain. Place potatoes in a large bowl. Drizzle with vinegar, toss gently to coat. Let cool to room temperature.
Combine creme fraiche, chives and salt and pepper, stirring with a whisk. Add to potatoes, tossing gently to coat.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, May 2003
BAKED BEANS WITH BACON BREADCRUMBS
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
12 ounces smoked ham, diced
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 cups ketchup
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup whole grain mustard
1/8 cup worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 to 3 cans of navy beans, drained and rinsed
4 to 5 slices of bacon
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Heat oven to 350F.
Heat oil in a large heavy pot over high heat, add ham, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until onion caramelizes, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add ketchup, brown sugar, molasses, mustard, worcestershire and hot pepper sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Let sauce simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir beans into sauce.
Cover and bake beans until juices are bubbly and thickened, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Meanwhile, place bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast in oven until crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Let bacon cool and reserve 1 tablespoon of bacon drippings.
Coarsely chop bacon, place in a food processor with reserved drippings and panko breadcrumbs. Pulse until bacon is finely chopped, season with salt and pepper.
Remove beans from oven. Heat broiler. Sprinkle beans with bacon breadcrumbs. Broil, uncovered, until crumbs are golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, June 2012
BLUEBERRY FIELDS SALAD
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup blueberry preserves
1/3 cup olive oil
spring greens and baby spinach mix
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup crumbled blue cheese
Heat walnuts in a small skillet over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, 5 minutes or until toasted and fragrant.
Whisk together balsamic vinegar, blueberry preserves and olive oil, and salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.
Combine walnuts, greens, blueberries and blue cheese in a large bowl. Drizzle with desired amount of vinaigrette and toss to combine.
Serve immediately with remaining vinaigrette.
Recipe adapted from Southern Living, February 2012
FRENCH COCONUT PIE
Pastry for 9 inch pie, unbaked
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup butter, melted
1 cup coconut
Heat oven to 325F.
In a mixing bowl, beat eggs until fluffy, add sugar, vanilla, buttermilk and butter.
Add coconut, mix thoroughly.
Pour mixture into pie shell and bake until golden brown, about 45 minutes.
note: crust will cook to a crisper texture if pie is placed on the bottom rack.