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Archive for the ‘Dinners’ Category

This chili recipe came about because my darling husband was craving quinoa. It didn’t matter that we’d had quinoa soup for two days before, he still wanted something else with quinoa. His love of my vegan quinoa dishes always surprises me. I grumbled lovingly, and headed to the kitchen to see what I could create without having to run to the market. This is the recipe that came out of my kitchen experiment. Use a whole jalapeño pepper if you like a little more heat.

quinoa and bean chili with tomatillos

vegan and gluten-free

dehydration time: 7–10 hours
makes 6 large servings

1 tablespoon olive or avocado oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
1/2 small jalapeño pepper, minced
½ cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground ancho chili pepper*
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 10-ounce can condensed tomato soup
½ cup vegetable stock or water
¾ cup canned tomatillos, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28-ounce can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 19-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 19-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
¼ cup fresh cilantro, coarsely chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

At Home
Add the oil to a large pot over medium heat. Sauté the onion and celery in the oil until softened. Put the quinoa in the pan and toast the seeds until they start to bounce in the pan. Add the jalapeño pepper, garlic, chili powder, ancho chili pepper, and cumin. Cook for 1 minute, then add the tomato soup and vegetable stock. Simmer for 10 minutes then add the tomatoes, tomatillos, beans, and lime juice. Simmer for 1 hour, add the cilantro, and season to taste.

Remove the chili from the heat and let it cool. Measure the chili and write this measurement on a sticky note. Place on lined dehydrator trays and dry for 7 to 10 hours. Place the dried chili in a ziplock freezer bag along with the sticky note.

At Camp
Add enough boiling water to the chili mix in a pot to equal the measurement on your sticky note. Do not add the water first or you will have too much liquid. Once rehydrated you might have to reheat the chili.

Note
I used a piece of a whole dried ancho chili pepper and ground it to a powder with a coffee grinder that I use exclusively for spices.

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My return to posting on this blog has been a long time coming. I’ve been busy with the challenges of a new baby, finishing the manuscript for my second wilderness cookbook, outdooradventurecanada.com, and life in general. Another Fork in the Trail, is now in the publisher’s hands and I will see the layouts this week. The book should be on shelves by mid-May.

Amidst all of this I have been writing a monthly recipe column for Seattle Backpackers Magazine.

Here are the links to each month’s instalments…

December 2010: Quinoa – A Superfood for the Trail

January 2011: Winter Drinks to Warm You Up

February 2011: Romancing the Trail

March 2011: Soup’s On – Pizza Soup and Ribollita

I hope you enjoy the recipes and articles. I’ll be posting more recipes on the backpacking recipes blog soon.

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A fellow, known online by the name of Oregonhiker, graciously granted permission for me to share his trail recipe for a quinoa-based Jambalaya with you. Quinoa is a favorite in our family, as is Jambalaya and combining the two is a great idea (I wish I had thought of it). If you haven’t used quinoa before and would like to learn more about it, please visit wildernesscooking.com for more information.

I’d like to thank Oregonhiker for taking the time to create this yummy recipe.  Here it is along with some great tips.

I added a new recipe to my camping food list. This is new in two respects, one is the Jambalaya and the other is using quinoa.

Quinoa is a grain that is high in protein, has a nutty flavor and hydrates very easily. My son used this on the PCT, starting from dry grain and adding water.

 jambalaya

dehydration time: 8 to 10 hours
makes 3 to 4 servings

1 1/2 cups quinoa (rinsed and drained)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion (minced)
1 bell pepper (minced)
10 fresh mushrooms (minced)
28 ounces canned crushed tomatoes
15 ounces canned white beans (drained)
8 ounces fish – more on this later
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Place the quinoa in a saucepan with 2 3/4 cups water, bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes or until tender and translucent. Set this aside.

Heat a fry pan over medium-low heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot add the onions, bell peppers and mushrooms and stir for 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomatoes, beans, fish and herbs and bring to a boil, let in simmer for 5 minutes.

At this point your kitchen should be filled with a heavenly smell.

Add the quinoa to the mixture and blend.

For my first attempt I used tuna for the fish. This didn’t work very well as the tuna didn’t seem to rehydrate well and although the taste was very nice it was extremely chewy. The original recipe called for deveined shrimp.

Spread this mixture out onto dehydrator trays and dehydrate. I did it overnight on the plastic trays that hold moisture, and I had to flip the food over in the morning to fully dry it all.

This then goes into ziplock bags. On the trail I simply put the Jambalaya into my cook pot, added water to cover the food and brought it to a boil and simmered a couple of minutes, and then let it sit a few minutes to fully hydrate. The amount of water you add is something you need to experiment with, if you add too much you just end up with a bit of soup to finish off your meal with. I do stir the mix while heating to be sure that it doesn’t burn on the bottom.

Some recipes suggest adding boiling water to the ziplock bag. I don’t favor this approach as there is a significant amount of research out there about the potential for unwanted chemicals to leach out of the plastic into your food. For me clean up is a breeze, just a little water in the pot, a quick scrub with my no-see-um net scrubber and the pot is clean.

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I’m unsure of the original origins of this recipe. It was given to me by my father-in-law after we had this for dinner at his home one evening. While it was a little different than the traditional cabbage rolls I was used to, I did enjoy it and I thought that it would dry perfectly. It did and it makes a great addition to our trail food.

backcountry cabbage casserole

dehydration time: 8 to 12 hours
makes 4 to 6 servings

If you are vegan you could easily substitute beef flavored TVP for the meat in the recipe.

1 pound ground beef
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 cup cooked rice
2 10 oz cans condensed tomato soup
salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups cabbage, shredded

At Home
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Meanwhile, brown the ground meat and onion in a large skillet. Drain off any fat and stir the tomato soup, rice, salt and pepper. Layer half the cabbage in a greased 9 x 13 inch dish, cover with the meat mixture and repeat the layering again. Cover the dish and bake for 1 1/2 hours.

Measure the casserole and write this measurement on a sticky note. Spread the food on dehydrator trays that have been lined with fruit roll inserts or plastic wrap and dry for 8 to 12 hours or until no moisture remains. Put the casserole and the sticky note in a ziplock freezer bag.

At Camp
Add enough boiling water to the dried ingredients in a pot to equal slightly less than the measurement on your sticky note. Be sure to account for and add your dried ingredients to the rehydration container prior to adding any water. You can always add more water if you need to. Once the dish has rehydrated, reheat it through if necessary.

Tips
Putting the container, be it a freezer bag or pot, that you reconstitute your food with inside of a cozy will generally eliminate the need for reheating the food after rehydration. This, of course, depends on factors such as the time of year.

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While this recipe is a little weightier than dehydrated fare, it is a great go-to for those impromptu trips. Using a boxed stuffing mix, such as Stove-Top, makes this a super easy trail dinner.

crabby cakes

makes 2 to 3 servings

A fellow canoeist and avid day hiker, inspired this recipe when we were on a wilderness paddling trip together in Algonquin Provincial Park. I’ll never forget her husband, crabbily teasing me in regards to the number of portages I had planned for each day… “Laurie this is the best hiking trip I’ve ever been on!”  was his comment after the 4th carry of the day. I guess that is what happens when you let a backpacker organize a canoe trip. I called these “crabby cakes” just to tease him a little.

3–4 single serving packages of mayonnaise
1 single-serving package sweet relish
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/2 package stuffing mix for poultry
2 3 oz pouches or 1 can real crab meat
4 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon cooking oil

At Home
Put the single serving packages of mayonnaise and relish into a small ziplock bag. Put the stuffing mix in a large ziplock bag with the dried chives. Put the bags of mayonnaise bag and the pouches of crab in the large bag. Package the cooking oil with the other oil that you will take on your trip.

At Camp
Mix all the ingredients together in a pot. Add 4 tablespoons water and let it set for 10 minutes. Shape the mixture into small cakes and cook them on a greased frying pan until golden on both sides, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Tips
Powdered shortening can be used in place of cooking oil. I recommend serving a nice side of vegetables with this dish.

created by Laurie Ann March ©2005

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