A Pair Of Gourmands

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Gourmet camping meals

He says:
I just came back from a two days camping trip at Mabel Lake near Lumby. The weather was great, the lake was beautiful and we ate two nice meals worth explaining.

Our first dinner was Buffalo Sirloin Steaks with Wild Mushrooms, and Purple and Yellow beans from our garden as veggies. At 6:30am that morning, Kristin and I got up and went scavenging in the forest for mushrooms. Lucky for us with all the rain of the last couple weeks, the forest floor was fairly wet and we managed to pick a pound or so of Chanterelles, Clavarias and Boletes. All I did was pan fry them in butter with salt and pepper and they were just amazing with the steaks. The other people at our campsite were a little upset with us, I think, but we shared a taste of mushrooms all around and that seemed to help.

For our second dinner, we had brought basa, a delectable Vietnamese white fish, and served it with shrimp in a tarragon lemon butter, and corn on the cob grilled to near perfection. This time, our fellow campers were past upset and flat out envious, so we shared bigger tastes with a few people.

I say there is nothing wrong with hotdogs or burgers, but there is certainly nothing wrong with cooking fresh simple quality meals with a nice glass of wine, even in the middle of nowhere. The next time I go camping, I plan to make Grilled Maple Buffalo Flank Steak. I will marinate it at home before I leave and bring the sauce ready to go.

She says:

As usual, my job on the camping trip was not about the cooking, but rather about the presentation. As Martin says, there is nothing wrong with hamburgers or hot dogs, and even they can be more fun if the table is set to make the most of them. We have put together a camp box, and even a mini version for picnics, that has a range of condiments and spices to accommodate many types of meals. For hot dogs or hamburgers, I make sure we have a jar of pickles and some chips & dip. We might chop tomato and onion as a filling, or have slices of cheese. For our steak dinner with the grilled corn, a simple pepper mill made a world of difference. And a nice dinner is always nicer if you have a tablecloth and napkins. You can even have a flower vase, or put out treasures the kids have found as a centerpiece (a pretty rock, a piece of driftwood) once they have been rinsed off.

Desserts, too, can be a challenge when camping, but a bit of imagination goes a long way. We had s’mores one night – those wonderful campfire sandwiches of a roasted marshmallow between two chocolate covered graham wafers. But we didn’t stop there – we created the Smoreo! Try putting a roasted marshmallow between the wafers of an Oreo cookie! (I know, not exactly low cal, but wow, what a treat!) Another great camping dessert is banana boats, and they are easy to make as well. Just take a banana with the peel still on and cut into it lengthwise so you can stuff it. In the slit you made, put a few pieces of marshmallow and chocolate. Then wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil and toss in the fire for about 10-15 minutes. (It should go over the coals.) Using BBQ tongs, take the banana out and carefully unwrap it on a plate. The first bites are very hot, but the taste is exotic and delicious.

So, get outdoors and enjoy a gourmet meal on your next camping trip or picnic. Sing a few rounds of “Row your boat ashore” or “Fire’s Burning” as you lick your lips with the last bites, and you will remember what life is really about.

Chef Martin’s Tip 21 - The Perfect Roast Beef!

Food doesn’t need to be well done to taste good. Invest $10 to buy an instant-read food thermometer and learn to use it!

Cook roast beef at a higher temperature (minimum 400F) and take it out when the internal temperature reaches 128F taken from two different angles. The ends of the roast will always cook faster than the middle. Let it rest for 15 minutes covered with foil paper, then slice away into a perfect medium rare roast.

Another trick: when you make a roast beef in your oven, sear your roast in a pan before going in the oven, it will seal the flavors inside.

If you want to use the BBQ, good for you, just use the same method. Keep your BBQ at 450F and turn your roast often. Once the roast has been seared all around, it’s OK to turn off the heat from under your roast and let the heat from the other side of the BBQ smoke and cook the roast until you reach the right internal temperature.

If you were going to spend a few dollars on a meal, roast beef is a good place to start. Buy a prime rib roast with the bone still attached, and I promise you won’t regret it!

“No matter what happens in the kitchen, never apologize.”
(Julia Child, 1912-2004)

The Chef in Stead - Website For Previous Chef Tips For comments or questions, you can reach Martin at 250-712-4440 or Email.

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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."


E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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