Camp Cuisine From A Can

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JPShelton
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Camp Cuisine From A Can

Postby JPShelton » Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:01 am

Group,

Since the feedback from the Spam thread was so good, I thought I might continue the quest to cease "foraging at the bottom of the culinary hierarchy" -as Richard so eloquently put it- by seeking input on favorite canned camp cuisine i.e. stews, chili, menudo, tamales, pasta dishes, and so forth that are enjoyed straight as they come from the can or are used as the main ingredient in creating something more daring.

Since mankind and womankind cannot live (or camp, for that matter) on Spam alone, I'll start off by sharing one of my canned camp-out faves in the hope that others will do likewise....

It's Chicken and Dumplings, and I make it with the following ingredients:

-3 cans of Marie Callender's Chicken a la King soup
-1 9 oz can of chunked white chicken of any brand
-1 1/3 cups of milk, divided.
-2 cups of Bisquick baking mix.

Making this dish couldn't be simpler. You dump the soup, canned chicken, and 2/3 cup of milk in a large coverable saucepan and stir occasionally while you bring it to a boil.

In a medium mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of Bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk and stir until a soft dough forms. You drop this by the spoonful into the boiling sauce. If you're closer to sea level than 5500 feet, reduce the heat slightly. If the converse is true, leave it boiling. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes at sea level or 12 to 15 minutes if you're 5500 feet or higher. Then cook covered for another 10 minutes at sea level or up to 15 minutes if you're 5500 feet or higher.

It isn't like my Grandma Katie up in Siskiyou County makes it, but it isn't too far off, and I don't have to start by boiling a whole chicken first, like granny does...

The only source that I know of for this soup that's used as the base for the sauce is Costco. Living, as I do, in south Orange County, finding a Costco isn't a problem, as I've got one close to home in Capo Beach, farther up the road in Laguna Hills, and a little farther still in Laguna Niguel, so one of the three will have it in stock. If you don't have a Costco nearby, or aren't a Costco member if you do, I suppose that just about any brand of chart of chicken soup would serve as a base to add carrots, peas, corn, and chunked white meat chicken from a can to, but I haven't tried doing so.

I made this for dinner this evening 'cause we wanted something quick and easy and it was a big hit with my 2 year old daughter, 4 year old son, and wife. When camping, it feeds two hungry fishers to the point of explosion, and will feed three with more modest appetites.

Now that I've showed you mine, I'm anxious to see what manner of canned concotions will follow.

-JP
Last edited by JPShelton on Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I fish, therefore I am."

Richard
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Can It?

Postby Richard » Tue Feb 10, 2004 9:57 am

Geez, bottom-feeding again.... :? OK, JP, I'm going to take a slightly different tack. If you're camping with cans of grub, then you probably aren't backpacking. And if you aren't backpacking, then you probably have a cooler. Here's what I suggest: fill the cooler with ice, and with fresh or frozen meat and with fresh vegetables and cheeses and other tasty stuff per menus you've developed before hitting the road. If you pack any cans, make 'em cans of chicken stock for preparing soup from the aforementioned ingredients, or maybe tomatoes/tomato sauce for topping pasta. And the latter aren't necessary, either -- one afternoon in the backcountry near Saddlebag Lake, a cute young thang strode through our camp on her way to meet friends who were up over a nearby ridge. Hanging from the back of her pack was a clear plastic bag filled with tomatoes. The heat from the sun and the swinging of the pack as she walked were slowly breaking 'em down -- no doubt they made a wonderful sauce later that evening.

As you may have suspected, I'm not a big fan of canned meals, although I don't mind using canned ingredients like tomatoes to reach a higher end. But I'm also not a fan of freeze-dried backpack foods. Cooking is pleasure, and there's no reason why one can't cook and eat well with light-in-weight ingredients when on the trail. If you must bring cans, may I suggest limiting them to meats that can be added to pasta dishes and such. Better yet, leave the meat at home and pack a fly rod instead -- many Sierra backcountry creeks can actually stand to have a few trout harvested from them...
Last edited by Richard on Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:57 pm, edited 3 times in total.

Huck Ferrill
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Postby Huck Ferrill » Tue Feb 10, 2004 10:28 am

We usually have fresh meat, etc., OR in the case of deer hunts (hunting till dark), meals we've made beforehand and frozen. Two straight out of the can, that I can think of, though:
1. Jalapano/peanut butter hor d'oerves
One medium can of whole jalapenos
One jar of smooth peanut butter
Cut the stem off the pepper, and split it, removing or keeping the seeds depending on taste (I keep the seeds). Add a gob of peanut butter to one of the halves and eat it. Goes great with beer. Believe it or not, this recipe is almost standard practice on our car camping trips, like, every night!
2. Jalapano corn
One can of corn
One can of jalapenos
Cross cut 2-3 jalapenos. Add to a can of corn in a saucepan and heat. This is a good side dish with all kinds of meat and poultry dishes.

JPShelton
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Bottom Feeding?

Postby JPShelton » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:25 pm

Richard,


Hey, trout feed off the bottom, too, and they seem to get along okay! But I wouldn't want to eat what they eat, either, so I get your point. I kinda think that you're missing mine, however...

I love to cook and I'm pretty darn good at it. So good, in fact, that very early in my married life, the meal preparation role was delegated to me at my request and in the circle of hunters and fly fishers that I swirl in, the role of camp cook usually falls on me, too--which suits me right down to the ground. I'm one of those guys that enjoys shopping at Williams-Sonoma as much as I enjoy shopping at the fly fishing emporium, the shooting sports shop, or the tool department at Sears.

While it is true that you can forage quite well with "real ingredients" kept fresh in a cooler, it is also true that ice and the insulated boxes needed to contain it and perishable foodstuffs take up a lot of space. That's not a big deal on a weekend jaunt with a buddy, but it can be if you're planning on camping out at a place like Monache Meadows along the South Fork of the Kern for a week with your fly-fishing wife, 2 year old daughter, and 4 year old son. You gotta bring fishing equipment for two, a tent big enough for a family and sleeping bags and other bedding for all. The kids also need some toys to play with and books to be read from at bedtime, and clean clothes to wear every day, and so on. All of that stuff takes up space. And in my personal situation, it all has to fit, along with the wife and kids, in a 1987 Nissan Pathfinder. Lowering my culinary standards to the point where I can do a few meals from a can and resist the gag impulse makes it possible to take that which is truly important to me -my wife and kids- along for the adventure. I already do plenty of fly fishing and hunting without them, both through my guide service and in the work that I do for CFF and the other mags that I write for, and I try to limit the fly fishing that I do without my family to "work-related" fishing because I never want my wife or kids to see fly fishing as something that daddy does to escape from them. I don't want my wife or kids to think of fly fishing as something that they have to compete with for my attention, and I don't want them to think that fly fishing is more important to me than they are, because in the scheme of things, it isn't. If I go fishing as a recreation, I bring the whole family, and I try to make the experience as enjoyable for all as possible.

This is why I used Monache Meadows as an example. It's a pleasant place to camp. The kids enjoy the ride on the four-wheel drive trail we take to get there. There's plenty of wildlife around to view. And there is a lot of dirt to play trucks in and plenty of grass to roll around in. During the day, there is a bright blue sky above, with white puffy clouds, and at night that same sky fills with all of the wonders of the universe. Then there is the stream. My wife will fish it one day, and I'll spend it playing with the kids, taking them on short hikes, or just watching the clouds in the sky. The next day, I'll fish a little, and my wife will watch the kids. The next day, we might not even fish at all, but spend the day just strolling through the woods. This is why it takes my wife and I a week to each get 2 days of fishing. Two days are consumed getting there and back, one day we spend together and don't fish, and the remaining days are divided between mom and dad each getting a bit of river time.

So while I had my tounge in my cheek a little when I started this thread and the others on Spam, it certainly wasn't firmly planted. In all honesty, I don't like eating out of a can, either. I am an aesthete at heart and tend to view most things that I am passionate about -quail hunting, fly fishing, and yes, even cookery- with an artist's eye. But if eating out of a can every now and then during the course of a week in the southern Sierra helps make it possible for my whole family to enjoy an outdoors experience, then I'm willing to sacrafice my aesthetic sensibilites -and my taste buds- for the greater good.

That's the real point of my initial post. For some of us, "eating out of a can" is a means to an end, and one that is dictated by circumstance. If we gotta eat out of a can, why not make doing so as pleasant as possible?

-JP
"I fish, therefore I am."

Richard
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Wow!

Postby Richard » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:28 pm

Peanut butter and jalapenos -- puts a whole new meaning to "PB&J," doesn't it? But hey, I like the idea -- thanks, Huck, for showing me a great way to finish off the jar of Skippy's that has been languishing in my pantry.

Here's a slightly similar hor d'oeurve that an uncle of mine introduced me to years ago while on a fishing trip to the Huntington Lake area:

Spread a Saltine cracker with peanut butter. Add some sliced red onion. Top with a dollop of mayonaise. Eat in one bite.

It's surprisingly tasty.
Last edited by Richard on Tue Feb 10, 2004 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Richard
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Re: Bottom Feeding?

Postby Richard » Tue Feb 10, 2004 12:56 pm

JPShelton wrote:So while I had my tounge in my cheek a little when I started this thread and the others on Spam, it certainly wasn't firmly planted. In all honesty, I don't like eating out of a can, either. I am an aesthete at heart and tend to view most things that I am passionate about -quail hunting, fly fishing, and yes, even cookery- with an artist's eye. But if eating out of a can every now and then during the course of a week in the southern Sierra helps make it possible for my whole family to enjoy an outdoors experience, then I'm willing to sacrafice my aesthetic sensibilites -and my taste buds- for the greater good.

That's the real point of my initial post. For some of us, "eating out of a can" is a means to an end, and one that is dictated by circumstance. If we gotta eat out of a can, why not make doing so as pleasant as possible?

JP, please note that my opening line was likewise tongue-in-cheek! But hey, the reason why I brought up alternatives to canned foods was because with our usually harried and hectic lives it's all too easy for us all to fall back on meals that are merely dumped out of cans or boxes, even when at home. (These sorts of meals were pretty much what I was raised on.) My post was an aside to remind readers that if we can cook with fresher stuff, then we should, 'cause doing so is fun, and convivial, and usually leads to a better tasting meal. Clearly, however, there are times when doing so ain't gonna be possible, and your idea of dressing up canned products with add'l prep is darn useful. Thank you for thinking of it.

Still, having recently tried Spam again, there are some things that remain beyond the pale. Spam is on that list! :D

Huck Ferrill
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PB, Saltine and red onion

Postby Huck Ferrill » Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:09 pm

I've had that one, but without the mayo, and you're right it's great. Speaking of PB and mayo, have you ever had PB, mayo and bananas (or raisins) in a sandwich? Mmmmmmm, GOOD!

Richard
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Re: PB, Saltine and red onion

Postby Richard » Tue Feb 10, 2004 3:57 pm

Huck Ferrill wrote:I've had that one, but without the mayo, and you're right it's great. Speaking of PB and mayo, have you ever had PB, mayo and bananas (or raisins) in a sandwich? Mmmmmmm, GOOD!

Can't say I've had the, uh, pleasure, Huck.

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Beats Campbell's

Postby Richard » Wed Feb 25, 2004 1:43 pm

As I type this, the deluge outside my office has turned to near Biblical proportions, with thick sheets of rain and snow lashing roof and window, turning the view, such as it is, into a watery abstraction. The March/April ish goes off to printer in few hours, and because this is the peak of crunch time, there's no way I can leave to have lunch in town, despite the nearly bare condition of my larder. What to eat to stave off the pangs of hunger -- seven-month-old peanut butter on three-day-old bread? The refridgerated remnants of a can of diced tomatoes? Martini olives? Ah, but there in a cupbard sits a can of Juanita's "Hot and Spicy Menudo," bought at Safeway several weeks back. I open it, toss several greasy nodules of bright orange fat into the trash, then dump the intriguingly gelatenous remainder into a sauce pan. Ten minutes later, I ladle the now-steaming soup into a bowl, and as per Junaita's suggestion, top it with chopped onion, dried oregano, cilantro, and a few squeezes of lime. It's surprisingly...tasty. And spicy. And the tripe is so soft it literally dissolves on the tongue. Man oh man oh man....

cingularbill
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Foul Weather and Good Menudo...Mmmmmmm

Postby cingularbill » Thu Feb 26, 2004 7:19 pm

Richard,
I just signed up for the Forum and your discription of the weather on Feb 25 pretty well fit the weather here in Merced yesterday. While there was no snow we did have gale winds and horizontal rain.
That Menudo sure would hit the spot. I like to add a small can of white Homny and a pinch or two of Gebhart's chile powder. Mmmmmm.
I'm traveling to the Phoenix, AZ area for a wek or so and plan to try my luck on a couple of rivers there.
Well, just wanted to put my two cents worth in.
Bye for now.[/b]

Stan Wright
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Re: Camp Cuisine From A Can

Postby Stan Wright » Tue Sep 21, 2010 11:24 pm

Am I just bazar? I can't be the only person who liked "Ham & Lima Beans" C-Rations... am I?

"Always carry a knife with a blade long enough to reach the bottom of the Peanut Butter jar."
"Why let the truth stand in the way of a good fish story".


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