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When Firelight Camps sprung to life in early September, I found myself playing with fire more often than my computer keys. My blog suffered, but my belly did not, nor did those of our glamorous campers (more affectionately called “glampers”). Working with fire as a primary source of heat for cooking required more preparation and attention than the snappy stovetop recipes I’d become accustomed to making in my home kitchen. I discovered that fire needs time to grow and collapse into steady-burning embers, creating a scalding haystack to bury foil-wrapped potatoes or crown with a grill grate for roasting peppers. There was a primal romanticism in tending to a bubbling stew suspended in a cast iron pot over flames, with little concern for time, but the ample company of new and old friends around the fire ring. The sing-song-snap-crackle-pop of morning eggs and bacon was elevated with the smoky flavor that lingered on my tongue and in the fibers of my sweater until dinnertime. I had no qualms admitting that Campfire was my new perfume.
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But I’ll confess that when my friend Will put me in touch with his pal Jonathan Cedar at BioLite, a camping stove company I’d admired from afar, I began to daydream about quicker outdoor culinary possibilities that wouldn’t sacrifice the very ingredient I’d grown to love: wood-burning fire. As a former outdoor guide, and long-time backpacker and rock climber, I had used my fair share of comping stoves. Nearly all of them relied on gas.

Biolite is unique in its approach. The founders set out to create a stove that made cooking with wood and other natural resources, like leaves and twigs, clean and safe. In rural areas of other countries, ingesting smoke from wood-burning stoves was found to be a main source of illness and death. BioLite took their model one step further by finding a way to harness their stove’s latent heat – energy that is lost to the ether – for charing phones, batteries and other technology.
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In a flurry of emails with BioLite’s team, we got excited about creating new recipes with a BioLite stove. The CampStove Bundle arrived at my house within days, and I quickly set up my outdoor kitchen on the grounds of Firelight Camps. At home, I had packed the ingredients I needed so that it would require little effort to whip up a meal once I got the stove burning. I’d learned that outdoor cooking always requires preparation so that you can look forward to a gorgeous, nourishing and hearty food that can be made before the sun goes down.
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I set out to make the following menu with my BioLite stove, and hope you’ll try making these recipes on your next outdoor adventure.

Grilled Pumpkin with Goat Cheese & Lemon Zest

Mushroom & Leek Quinoa Risotto

Aztec Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows

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Grilled Pumpkin with Goat Cheese & Lemon Zest

Yield: About 4 servings
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 14 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 small pumpkin, cut into crescent moons
  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/3 cup crumbled, plain goat cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest

Preparation:

  1. In a large Ziploc bag, shake together the pumpkin slices, maple syrup and pumpkin spice. Pack this in your picnic basket or backpack.
  2. In a separate medium Ziploc bag, shake together the goat cheese, sea salt, pepper and lemon zest. Pack this in your picnic basket or backpack.
  3. Fire up the BioLite CampStove with the Portable Grill attachment.
  4. Once the grill is hot, use tongs or a fork to lay the pumpkin slices evenly on the grill (reserve extra maple syrup in the Ziploc). Cook for 5-7 minutes on each side, until charred and fork-tender.
  5. Transfer the pumpkin to a plate and sprinkle the goat cheese mixture on top. (If you are making the Mushroom & Leek Quinoa Risotto, use the hot grill to prepare the leeks at this time).
  6. Go the extra step. Replace the Portable Grill with the KettlePot and heat the reserved spiced maple syrup. This will only take a minute. Pour the warmed syrup over the pumpkin and devour.

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Mushroom  & Leek Quinoa Risotto

I love replacing quinoa with traditional risotto rice because it is quicker to make and results in a high-protein dish that’s ideal when you’re expending energy in the outdoors. The trick to creamy, flavorful risotto is coconut milk and reduced stock. By using vegetable bouillon and nixing the parmesan, this dish can be vegan without skimping on substance. As for mushrooms, use whatever dehydrated fungi you fancy – shitake is a great choice!

The ingredients have been organized in groupings that can be packed separately in Ziploc bags to make cooking on at your campsite (or glampground) easier. 

Yield: About 4 servings
Preparation time: About 10 minutes
Cooking time: About 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 leek, rinsed and cut into matchsticks
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/4 cup diced onions
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (13.5 ounce) can coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable bouillon
  • 1 cup pre-rinsed quinoa (rinsing quinoa removes the bitter coating called saponin)
  • 1/2 cup dehydrated mushrooms
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)

Preparation:

  1. Fire up theBioLite CampStove with the Portable Grill attachment. Once the grill is hot, use tongs or or a fork to grill the leeks until lightly charred. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  2. Replace the Portable Grill with the KettlePot. The KettlePot gets hot fast, so work quickly and use a spoon to stir continuously so the risotto doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the butter, onion and garlic, and saute until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the coconut milk, water and bouillon and stir, dissolving the bouillon.
  5. Add the quinoa, mushrooms, bay leaf and cinnamon stick. Stir frequently for about 12 minutes, until the quinoa is translucent with white threads around the grains.
  6. Stir in the Parmesan cheese and grilled leeks. Transfer the risotto to the BioLite bowl (which comes nestled inside the BioLite KettlePot) and share with your camping party.

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You can opt to replace some of the coconut milk and stock with white wine, like the Finger Lakes Dry Riesling pictured here. Plus, a swing or two can make cooking outdoors merrier (and warmer).

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Aztec Hot Chocolate with Mini Marshmallows

Prep Time: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

Before leaving home, mix together the cocoa ingredients in a Ziploc bag, including the mini marshmallows. This recipe is made with warming spices appropriate for nights under starry skies. Mini marshmallows help temper the heat from the cayenne, but the extra punch is of course optional.

Ingredients

  • Powdered milk - 2 1/2 cups (replace with powder soy milk)
  • Confectioners sugar - 2 cups
  • Unsweetened cocoa mix - 1 cup
  • Sea salt - 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon - 1 teaspoon
  • Cayenne (optional) - A pinch
  • Water - 5 cups
  • Mini marshmallows - Half a handful per camper
  • Peppermint sticks - 1 per camper

Instructions

  1. Fire up theBioLite CampStove with the KettlePot attachment.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Fill your mug to the halfway line with cocoa mix. Use a peppermint stick to stir in the water and dissolve the mix, making a luxurious dessert beverage.
  4. Garnish with mini marshmallows.

Notes

Allergans: dairy

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