There are some who argue that "real camping" involves little more than a tent, a package of hot dogs, and a case of cheap beer. However, we happen to think that any night spent in the woods can be greatly improved with good food and better wine. There's no reason to swig Natty Ice all night when you could be sipping pinot noir from your solo cup, and we can't imagine why anyone would settle for half-cooked wieners when they could be chowing down on rosemary roasted potatoes. No one ever said that blandness builds character.
To get you started on the road to better camping, Chow.com has created a great slideshow of desserts that will blow your s'mores routine out of the water. Starting with chocolate cake baked inside an orange rind and ending with bacon s'mores, the seven-image article had us drooling in seconds. Though there are some we can't imagine making (chocolate fondue sounds a little too complicated even for a dedicated outdoor gourmand), there are others that we're dying to try. The campfire cherry cobbler, in particular, looks easy and delicious—the two essential factors when planning campground menu.
But before you start dreaming about dessert under the stars, we're curious as to what you eat when you're camping. Personally, I usually fall back on the foil packet method, which is a fool-proof way to make roasted veggies and meat. The trick to cooking in a foil pouch is getting the seasoning right and pulling it out in time—otherwise, you can end up with a bland, mushy mess. My favorite campground meal involved fillet mignon cooked in a vidalia onion and fig sauce, with a side of red bliss potatoes smothered in rosemary and butter. Though buying a good cut of meat (and flavorful potatoes) made a huge difference, the seasoning was absolutely essential.
And when it comes time for breakfast, I usually take out the cast iron pan. It's the perfect tool for crisping up bacon, whipping up a batch of pancakes, or even making a forager's feast frittata.
The best part of eating outside? Even if you burn the edges of your cobbler or take your steak out a little too soon, everything still tastes better in the open air.
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