Saturday, June 28, 2014

Summer Fun: Campfire Cooking

This is not the fire I built.

Today, I made a fire (mostly) all by myself, withing noting but twigs and sticks and started it with nothing more than a plain old match.  No handy wax-covered homemade fire starters; no newspaper or cotton or dried leaves; no clicky lighters; and definitely no accelerant!  Nope, I had to build the right "a-frame", stuff it with tinder (like toothpicks), layer it with kindling (like pencils), and have fuel (like your forearm) on hand, and get all the way down on my hands on knees to blow on the little flame.  (We had even practiced beforehand with "edible fire"--coconut flake tinder, thin pretzel kindling, thick pretzel fuel, red hot fire starter, and even a little cup water bucket with toothpick fire stick!!)  Mine didn't work well the first time because some of my tinder was damp and would extinguish the flame, but with some help I found some other "tiny tinder" and got it started.  And it burned strongly for three minutes . . . which means I passed my official Girl Scout fire safety and skills test.  Now I can take the Girl Scouts into the woods to make s'mores.

No overnight camping in tents yet; that's a different training.  Later.

We also learned the proper way to clean the latrines (hint:  gloves and sani-tabs), to set up a fire circle (with water bucket and soaking fire stick), to wash dishes (soap, rinse, sanitize), to set up a dish line (with clove hitch and taut line knots), to hang up a tarp halfway over the fire in case of rain or wind, and to extinguish a flame.  Other tips:  use aluminum foil instead of cutting boards; soap bottom and most of sides of pots to decrease charring; make a "dribble bucket" out of a big water container with spigot (and extra big hole cut in top for ventilation) along with soap-in-a-stocking; save birthday candles and candle stubs for firestarters (or cotton ball and chapstick!).

And we cooked!  Because what is a campfire without cooking?  There were "walking" salad, dough boys, one pot lasagna, one pot chili, and, of course, s'mores.  Cooking and campfires were always my favorite parts of camp.  I've mentioned all the singing before--"Titanic", "Barges," "Buffalo Song," "Balloons," "Bunny Foo Foo" etc etc etc--but there was also food.  Not necessarily the food served in the cafeteria but what we cooked at our units:  s'mores, banana boats, soda ice cream (batches of grape and root beer), hobo stew, and some egg thing with frozen hashbrowns.   Meals always tastes better around the campfire . . . and I'm looking forward to many more with Sis and her Girl Scout friends.

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"Walking" Salad
Place bite-sized vegetables (baby carrots, cucumber slices, chunks of bell pepper, grape tomatoes, broccoli/cauliflower florets) in a plastic baggie.  Add dressing if desired.  Walk around and eat your salad by hand.

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Doughboys

Wrap foil around the end of a  long metal campfire fork or wooden stick.  Heat it near the fire.  Remove from fire and wrap single triangle of crescent roll dough around the foil.  Place over coals and rotate until cooked through.  Remove from foil and stick by twisting and pulling.  Serve with jam, butter, cinnamon-sugar, etc.

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One-Pot Campfire Lasagna

Mix together:
12 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
12 oz. jar water
12 oz. bag egg noodles

Heat over fire.  When noodles are cooked, add

8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 lbs ricotta

Serves 6-7

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One-Pot Campfire Chili
 Mix together:
3 lbs. hamburger
1 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes with jalapenos (like Rotel)
1-2 cans water
1 package elbow macaroni

Heat until macaroni are cooked through.  Serves 12.

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S'Mores
Heat marshmallow on stick over fire.  Squish between two graham crackers with one square Hershey's chocolates.

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