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egg replacers

I often get asked about egg replacement for trail recipes.

These two recipes and information are from A Fork in the Trail’s chapter on Recipe Creation. This bit appears on pages 26 and 27.

“You can purchase egg powder that is suitable for baking but not for use as scrambled eggs. If you have an allergy to eggs or you are vegan, you can purchase egg-free egg replacer at your local health food store.

If you prefer, you can make your own egg replacer. It is similar to egg whites and works well in white cakes, muffins, and cookies. The addition of oil mimics a whole egg in baking. To make the equivalent of one egg, mix 1 1/2 teaspoons tapioca starch, 1 1/2 teaspoons potato starch (sometimes found with the Kosher foods), and 1/8 teaspoon baking powder together and store it in a ziplock freezer bag. Then when you’re ready to use it at camp, add 1/4 cup of water and 1 teaspoon of vegetable oil. Beat the mixture with a fork until it becomes a little foamy.

Ground flax seed can be used in muffins, breads, or other baked goods, but it imparts a flavor that might be unpleasant in a cake or cookies. Keep the ground flax seed cool and away from air and light to prevent it from becoming rancid; this recipe is not suitable for use in hot weather or more than two days into a trip. Store the seeds in the refrigerator until you leave for your trip. To make the equivalent of one egg, use 2 tablespoons ground flax seed. If you cannot find ground flax seed, then grind whole flax seed. Pack the powder in a ziplock freezer bag, removing as much air as possible and storing it away from sources of heat and light. When you’re ready to use it, add 3 tablespoons of water to the ground flax seed and let it sit for 3 to 5 minutes. Add to your recipe like you would regular eggs.”

yet another update

I have to apologize for not keeping up with my blog, however, after a very interesting Fall and a Winter that didn’t seem like Winter at all, I have returned to blogging. I spent most of my time off working on the manuscript for Another Fork in the Trail. Our family had a very big surprise in October as well. We found out that we are expecting and that means I’ll be off the trail and the waterways for 2010 as the little one is due to arrive in June. It also means that the release of Another Fork in the Trail has been put off until early 2011.

This spring and summer I will post more recipes and food finds as time permits… so stay tuned.

I don’t like to have to pull the stove out at lunch, unless the weather is very cold, so I generally try to create no-cook lunches for our trips. This one is a family favorite and will be appearing in my upcoming book, Another Fork in the Trail. The book, the second in my backpacking cookbook series, is expected to be released in Spring 2010.

olive tapenade

dehydration time: 8 to 10 hours
makes 4 to 6 servings

I first had this tapenade at a Fall gathering being hosted in Ontario, Canada’s Algonquin Provincial Park. The original recipe belonged to my friend Alison and it was her contribution to an impromptu potluck. I have modified the dish to suit backcountry trips and although it is great as a spread, it can double as a refreshing addition to pasta.

olive tapenade

olive tapenade

1 cup pimento stuffed green olives, drained
1 cup pitted black olives, drained
1 cup marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1 hot banana pepper, coarsely chopped
1/2 sweet red pepper, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon capers, minced
1 tablespoon lemon or lime juice
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

At Home
Put the olives and artichokes in a food processor and pulse to chop the mixture. It should be a fine chop, but not to the point of being a puree. Put the olive mixture in a bowl and set aside. Next, put the peppers in the food processor and pulse until the peppers are the same consistency as the olive mixture. Add the peppers to the olive mixture along with the garlic, basil, capers and lemon juice. Stir until well combined.

Spread onto lined dehydrator trays and dry for 8 to 10 hours. Package the tapenade in a medium ziplock freezer bag and add the olive oil to the other olive oil you are taking on your trip.

At Camp
Rehydrate the tapenade using a formula of 1 1/2 parts dried mix to 1 part water. Let rehydrate for 10 minutes and add a little more water if necessary. Stir in 1 tablespoon of olive oil, if desired, and serve with your favorite cracker or flatbread.

created by Laurie Ann March ©2008

yogurt with granola and dried berries

yogurt with granola and dried berries

Yes, you can make fresh yogurt on the trail — I’ve been doing it on wilderness trips for as long as I can remember.  While not part of the ultralight mindset because of the need for a thermos, is a great treat and is a wonderful way to get some calcium.

This recipe isn’t really a recipe — it’s more of a technique and it requires a little advance planning. 

trail yogurt

makes 2 to 3 servings

Making homemade yogurt is very easy to do on the trail. You will need a 2-cup, high-quality, very clean, stainless steel thermos for this, and it is one of those recipes actually works better with powdered milk. It is best to make yogurt in the late afternoon the day before as it takes the culture some time to do its job. You should probably test this recipe at home first to get the hang of it. Once you do, you’ll be making fresh yogurt on many of your trips.

8 tablespoons milk powder
1 teaspoon yogurt culture powder
1 3/4 cups water
Honey or vanilla sugar (optional)

At Home
Measure the milk powder accurately and put in a small ziplock freezer bag. Put the culture in a snack-sized sandwich bag and place that in the bag with the milk powder. Be sure to include a copy of the directions below.

At Camp
Boil 1/4 cup of water and pour it in your thermos to warm the metal. Mix 1 3/4 cup water and milk powder together in a pan. Scald the milk by heating it until the edges start to bubble and it reaches the boiling point. Be careful not to boil though. Remove the milk from the heat and cool until the milk is warmer than body temperature but not overly hot. If the milk is too hot, you will kill the culture; and if it’s too cool, the yogurt will not set.

Discard the now cooled water out of the thermos. Then put the yogurt culture in the thermos and add a little bit of the warm milk. Stir until the powder has dissolved. Then pour the remaining milk into the thermos. Stir well and secure the lid tightly. Put the thermos in a large ziplock bag and then inside a cozy. At bedtime take it into your sleeping bag with you. If you are a restless sleeper wrap the cozy in some clothing and set it beside you where you won’t knock it over.  Avoid disturbing it as much as possible; do not shake or stir. By morning, you will have yogurt. If you don’t like unsweetened yogurt, add a little honey or vanilla sugar to it before serving.

Tips
You need as much milk powder as you would normally use to make 2 cups of milk even though you will only be making 1 3/4 cups. These extra milk solids make for a richer and better texture.  

The yogurt may not incubate if you use old culture. Freeze-dried berries go well with yogurt, and it makes a great topping for a bowl of granola.

From A Fork in the Trail by Laurie Ann March ©2008

This isn’t exactly a recipe but more of a technique. I was going to write about how to make popcorn on the trail but Hiram Cook has made a video on it. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. I’ll post some good popcorn recipes soon, maybe even with photos.

This recipe does require some cooking at camp and you will need a surface for frying. I generally use the frying pan from my MSR Duralite Gourmet Cookset but some sets come with a pot lid suitable for frying and that would suffice for this recipe.

You could use wild blueberries in this recipe, if you were so inclined, but I prefer to leave those for the birds and other animals. Instead of syrup you could use a little sprinkle of lemon and some powdered sugar.

chai tea pancakes

makes 2 servings

The spice of chai tea perfectly complements the blueberries in this pancake.

4 tablespoons milk powder
2 tablespoons whole powdered egg
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 cup dried blueberries
1 chai tea bag or enough loose tea to make 1 cup
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
butter (optional)
maple syrup (optional)
3/4–1 cup water

At Home
Mix the milk powder, powdered egg, flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar together in a large ziplock freezer bag. Wrap the blueberries in plastic wrap and place them, along with the chai tea bag, in the freezer bag with the dry ingredients. Add butter and vegetable oil to what you will take on your trip. Pack the syrup in a leakproof bottle.

At Camp
Add 1/2 cup boiling water to the chai tea bag and let steep for 3 to 5 minutes. Allow the tea to cool for a few minutes and then add 1/2 cup cool water. Add the blueberries to the dry ingredients. Add 3/4 cup of the chai mixture to the dry ingredients in the large ziplock bag. Stir to moisten and add extra water as necessary to obtain a pancake consistency. Do not overmix or the pancakes will be tough. Place a little vegetable oil in a frying pan and heat over medium flame. Pour in 1/4 of the batter and cook until the edges appear dry. Then flip and cook until the underside is golden. Repeat until you have 4 pancakes adding more oil to the pan between each pancake as necessary. Serve with a little butter and syrup if desired.

Tip
The batter is easy to manage if you make it in the ziplock freezer bag. Then simply cut off a corner of the bag and squeeze the batter into the pan. Between pancakes, be careful to situate the bag so that the batter doesn’t spill out of the cut corner.

From A Fork in the Trail by Laurie Ann March ©2008

I am trying to avoid cross-posting with my other blog at wildernesscooking.com but this is such a great food for the trail that I thought I could make an exception. Often we want a trail lunch that is simple, lightweight, tasty and doesn’t require a lot of time or the use of a camp stove. Hummus is a tasty dish that fits all of that criteria. It can be used in a wrap with chicken for a nice light dinner meal.

sunny garlic hummus

dried hummus

sunny garlic hummus

dehydration time: 5 to 7 hours  
makes 2 to 4 servings

Hummus is one of the easiest things to make for a trail lunch, and this one has the sunny flavor of oranges.

1 19-ounce can chickpeas – rinsed and drained
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 teaspoon lime juice
2 cloves garlic
1 heaping teaspoon orange zest
2 tablespoons tahini
Pinch of kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked black pepper

At Home
Combine and blend all the ingredients using a food processor or hand blender until you have a thick paste. Spread evenly on lined dehydrator trays, keeping the mixture about 1/4 inch thick. Dry for 5 to 7 hours or until the mixture crumbles and is thoroughly dry. Store in a medium ziplock freezer bag.

At Camp
Rehydrate the hummus using a formula of 1 1/2 parts dried mix to 1 part water. Wait 5 to 10 minutes and then add a little more water if it’s too dry. Serve as a dip with Greek pitas or your favorite crackers or use as a spread in a wrap.

Tip
If you need to increase your fat intake for cold-weather hiking, drizzle a little olive oil on the hummus just before you eat it.

From A Fork in the Trail by Laurie Ann March ©2008