Jun 26, 2012

creamy summer chowder + camping

I am not one to indulge in fancy camping food, but I will say that camping food should not be boring. Camping food is doubly challenging in that while it should be delicious, it should also be easy and quick. The two are not necessarily always the same thing. Not sure if others have the same problem, but my teenagers are not thrilled to go camping, so the only card I have up my sleeve is the food one. At times, their stomach is the only reason they feel it is even bearable to go camping. I know family outings will give them some great memories, even if those feelings won't manifest until they are grown up and moved out.

A great way to make sure you have great food and easy prep at camping (after all who wants to be chopping vegetables on a rickety table?) is to prep everything that is practical and possible at home. 

One of the meals we had this trip was a Creamy Summer Chowder. It has a little almond milk, but the bulk of the creaminess is derived from blended corn and the cooked potatoes releasing some starch into the dish. Prepping this meal involved cutting all the vegetables in your nice clean kitchen. Separating the onion, pepper, celery and tomatoes allows the cook to saute them before adding the content of the second prepped bag - blended corn, potatoes and seasonings. After cooking the chowder over the fire for about 20 minutes, the dish is ready. It is a sweet-tasting summer-flavored smoky soup that involves very little prep time at camp and an abundance of flavor. 

We served the chowder with  grilled sandwiches. Anyone remember Pie Irons? Loads of fun and easy to use. The kids loved it and they cooked great sandwiches.. as well as pies. 

Jun 18, 2012

vine and dine + stroganoff-stuffed potatoes

So this is the last post in the Vine and Dine series - unless something happens and it gets resurrected, like Food Network Friday, which is being continued, albeit with a twist, over at Kelly's blog, Three and a Half Vegans. Be sure to check her out and see what she has up her sleeves.

As for V&D, at least for now, Tami's Tempeh Stroganoff-Stuffed Potatoes is the closing cookalong. I am thrilled that she chose to end the series cooking from American Vegan Kitchen. It is only appropriate and, lucky for us, happens to be scrumptious.   

This is another of those recipes from AVK that slipped under my radar. Having not made this recipe yet, I was pleasantly surprised.  I guess it didn't seem like a main dish (although that is the section of the book it is in!) because it is a stuffed potato and we all know potatoes are always a side dish. Tami doesn't conform to expectations, and turned the side-dish potato into a main course.

I added more mushrooms to her recipe (doubled it) and cooked it a bit longer than the recipe calls for, but that is because we love out 'shrooms golden brown and sauteed really well. After baking the potatoes, scooping them out (use an ice cream scooper), mashing them and introducing them to the sauteed tempeh and mushrooms, you re-stuff the potatoes and bake for a few more minutes. 

Combine creamy potatoes, crunchy potato skin, crispy tempeh and mushrooms and this dish is no longer a side thought. If you haven't made this yet, get to it. A refreshing green salad to cut through the richness completes this dish, along with a - no surprise - red wine. David and I chose to indulge in a Cabernet Sauvignon from Arcane cellars. We received this wine as a gift a while back and saved it for this perfect occasion and perfect meal.  

Thanks, Tami, for all the inspiration and cookalongs, not to mention all your fantastic food!