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Camp Cuisine

Camp Cuisine - Camping Recipes

Inspire your inner camp chef with recipes for camping trips.  It doesn’t matter if it’s shared around a campfire, cooked in your RV's gourmet kitchen, or take-out from the local deli, food just tastes better on a camping vacation!
Find and share more great camping recipes at CampingCafe.com

Naturally Delicious Wild Rice

Despite its name, wild rice isn't actually rice. It's part of the genus Zizania, a collection of wild grasses that grown in marshes, shallow lakes, and slow-moving streams all across middle America and Canada. In fact, you can find wild rice growing in such varied areas as Minnesota, Texas, Manitoba, and all regions in between.

In Minnesota, wild rice is harvested in the traditional way by the Ojibwe, by canoeing into wild rice stands and gently knocking the ripe seed heads into the canoe. It's critical that wild rice be harvested by hand, because the seeds that land outside the canoe sink to the bottom of the lake, germinate, and grow up to be next year's crop.

Wild Rice Fun Facts
Wild rice and maize (corn) are the only grains that are native to North America. This cereal is high in protein and dietary fiber, and it's naturally low in fat. Wild rice makes a delicious‚and colorful‚ addition to casseroles, stews, pilafs, and Thanksgiving stuffing dishes.

CampingCafe.com. offers up 2 great wild rice recipes this month. Try Cashew Wild Rice or Wild Rice with Rosemary and Almond Stuffing.

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Truly American Foods

If you enjoy thinking about the first Thanksgiving and the foods the pilgrims and Native Americans might have put on the table, you might also like incorporating more of our native foods into your cuisine year-round. Many of the world's best ingredients come from North America, from herbs and flavorings to staples like corn, potatoes, and chiles. For your next dinner party, why not see if you can put together a meal that's completely native to our shores?

Food Staples
When European explorers first reached the shores of North America, they were excited to sample our local foods and take them back to their kings and queens at home. They returned to Europe with holds full of plants, bringing potatoes, corn (then called maize), tomatoes, peanuts, and avocados. While these foods met with mixed receptions in the European courts, it's easy to see that they caught on in time and became staples in European cooking.

A few hundred years later, Ireland was so exclusively planted with potatoes that when a blight struck, it caused a massive famine. European colonists took our warm-weather crops with them to their colonies in Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean, where peanuts, hot peppers, papayas, onions, and tomatoes became so much a part of the cuisine and diet, locals would be shocked to hear that their distant ancestors had never tried these foods.

Read more about native foods and find recipes for a "native" American Thanksgiving feast on CampingCafe.com..

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Rich and Hearty, Mild or Spicy - Chili

The origin of chili is a matter of great debate and there are many out there that have attempted to chronicle the history. For me it's not so much about where it came from or when, it's about what I will put into my next pot. Many lay claims to originating the stew we now know as chili. There seems to be no doubt that chili was a staple during times when meat was in short supply and the cook’s creativity was challenged. That challenge is alive an well today.

Many states in this great land claim to have the best Chili. Texas, New Mexico, California, Cincinnati, Ohio, and even Mexico, would have you believe that they are the originators of authentic Chili and home to the best bowl. As the controversy rages on Chili cook-offs are held every year in ever corner of America. And every Chili cook knows that his or her secret recipe is - really the best. Attend any chili cook-off and I'm sure you'll agree - they are all good.

There are similarities to all the recipes - a combination of meat, beans, chili peppers - but it's the combination, the type of meat, the type of beans, the type of chilies and the spice combination, spicy or mild or somewhere in between that set off the differences - making chili one the home cooks all time favorite dishes. Many experiment with each batch - no batch being quite the same (I fall into that category), while others follow exacting recipes many perfected over generations.

Regardless of which camp you fall into there is no arguing that a steaming, hot bowl of chili with your favorite toppings is comfort in a bowl - just the thing to warm the body and boost the spirit on cold evenings.

So whether you make it spicy, mild, or somewhere in between, you can tailor your pot of chili to your particular tastes. Experiment and make something incredible!

Recipes
CampingCafe.com. offers up some great chili recipes this month. Try Black Bean Chocolate Chicken Chili, Dutch Oven Chili, Vegetarian Chili or Hot and Spicy Chili.

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