What are some great meals to cook as a group?

6 other foodie friends and I are spending a week in the woods in October, trying to think of good collaborative dinners we can all make together - was thinking along the lines of fish tacos, but would love some other fun suggestions. We'll have access to a full kitchen and grill. Thanks!!!

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pierino
pierino September 15, 2016

If you don't want it to turn into the Blair Witch Project have a brigade system in place. Be sure everyone knows what their specific job is and as best you can assign stations. If you are using a real outdoor grill one person should be in charge of just that; maintaining a steady set of embers to cook over. After that assign prep tasks and maybe salad and dessert stations. Paella is actually fairly easy to cook outside if you want to go that route.

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Trena Heinrich
Trena Heinrich September 15, 2016

To go with your theme of fish tacos. Maybe you could have one person make the corn tortillas by hand while another makes pico de gallo. Every dish would make the meal complete at the same time using fresh whole ingredients. Also, a blender set up to make smoothies and mixed drinks including margaritas might be fun, too!

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702551
702551 September 15, 2016

Tamales

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702551
702551 September 16, 2016

Ravioli. With a large group, it's possible to go nuts with the fillings.

One or two people prepping the dough, the others making various fillings. All hands on deck filling them.

Shuna Lydon
Shuna Lydon September 15, 2016

Tostadas, Summer Rolls, fish en papillote, baking cakes in cast iron dutch ovens, s'mores, eggplant parmesan, pies, pasta from scratch, gnocchi, French gnocchi (pâte a choux), doughnuts, babka - sweet or savoury, pizza. I love build-your-own meals!

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MMH
MMH September 15, 2016

I don't camp. But, we used to rent beach houses. We assigned each couple/family to be in charge of planning the meals for a day. That way no one was dumped on. And, each person/family could prepare and recruit. Some people actually bought deli food and others cooked great things. But this way everyone was accountable.

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Nancy
Nancy September 16, 2016

Before I add my two-cents-worth, what kind of woods (temperate, rainforest, southern scrub, etc) and roughly, first or second half of October?

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Nancy
Nancy September 16, 2016

OK, here's the thinking behind the question. It would be nice to cook one or more dinners using the foods of the region you're in (depending on availability & taste preferences):
Pacific northwest - salmon or shellfish, game (moose, elk, caribou), mushrooms, berries, kale, small fruits, potatoes, fiddle-heads (when in season).
Mediterranean forests, woodland and scrub (California central valley) - great abundance of choice...nuts, herbs, hundreds of fruits and vegetables
Southern forests (with or without adjacent seashore)...grits, crawfish, fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, pecan pie, chicken and dumplings, skillet cornbread, pulled pork etc.

How to do.
I think MMH's idea of rotating one night per couple or family is useful, as long as they can draft sous chefs if needed.
Another way would be to let people who have special masteries (bread, dessert, barbecuing, breakfast) take on those duties and others work with them to learn or improve their skills.

BerryBaby
BerryBaby September 16, 2016

A big pot of chili or beef stew. If chili, set up a chili station with shredded cheese, chopped onions, jalapeno peppers and corn tortillas. A big basket of mini corn bread muffins go especially well. Beef stew is always a great meal especially on cooler fall evenings. Many can pitch in cutting up the vegetables and the best thing is once everything is in the pot, you can visit, play board games or cards and enjoy the amazing aroma of the stew. Serve it with a crusty, hot loaf of Italian bread...there's nothing like it!

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hchambers86
hchambers86 September 16, 2016

Thanks to everyone so far - these are all great suggestions. To answer some questions: we'll be in the catskills area (upper New York) - wish we'd be somewhere lush and summery!

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Nancy
Nancy September 16, 2016

So, for Catskills local cuisine, think apples, grapes, other fall produce, meat and dairy from nearby Hudson Valley, NY state wines
http://www.syracuse.com/drinks/index.ssf/2015/08/new_yorks_best_wines_who_won_t.html

caninechef
caninechef September 20, 2016

Oh no, you must be from NY City, where people think northern NY starts at the Tappan Zee Bridge. Gotta be north of Albany to be upstate. But if you leave your woods there should be an abundance of fall festival things to do and eat. and it is prime time for winery touring. You can tour Hudson Valley Foie Gras if you are in that area and do not have moral objections.

Nancy
Nancy December 28, 2018

Belated reply to Caninechef.
No, I'm from Rochester (not so far from Albany). When I was growing up and read about upstate, I thought for sure they meant Plattsburgh.] (and nearby),
It was only later when I met people from the 5 boroughs (NYC) that I realized for THEM upstate began at Yonkers, even sooner than the Catskills.

Michele
Michele September 16, 2016

I like to cook (and eat) and was going to suggest chili or beef stew but I am blown away with the suggestions of making tortillas and dough for ravioli. In the woods? I guess I am out of my depth here. I was just going to suggest baked potatoes, tacos (with bought tortillas), chicken sausages on buns, wood fire pizza. And wine.

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702551
702551 September 16, 2016

What's the big deal with ravioli dough? It's just flour, eggs and water. People have been making noodles like this for thousands of years without machines. Especially for seven foodies, at least one of them should be able to make a quick inbound stop at the grocery store for flour and eggs.

The original poster does mention that there's a full kitchen and grill at the house. Toss a rolling pin in the trunk if you don't want to bring a pasta machine or know if one exists on the premises. Heck, you can use a glass bottle in a pinch as a rolling pin.

Making the dough is a snap. It's filling the ravioli that's time consuming.

Making tortillas from scratch is the same basic principle, the dough is easy, just need a tortilla press.

Baked potatoes for seven foodies who want to collaborate on fun projects? What sort of collaboration is that? One to turn on the oven, another to wash the potatoes, another to dry them, etc.?

This isn't an inquiry about the easiest way to feed seven people. The inquiry is about fun projects for seven foodies who are bunking together for a whole week. Baked potatoes for seven people would take one person about three minutes of work.

PHIL
PHIL September 16, 2016

My Turn to get in on this: A riff on the taco / fajita thing, you can have each person cut up different toppings and make a fajita bar, lettuce, onions, tomatoes jalapenos etc.. while one person makes the chicken or steak another can slice it.
playing on the participation thing, pasta primavera with mixed veggies chopped by your crew. lightly grill the veggies
For pizza buy some small precooked shells and make a toppings bar so you just have to finish them. Stonefire makes Naan bread that makes great small pizza. I am sure you can get some farmers market veggies for toppings, broccoli rabe , tomatoes , grilled sausage etc....
Let us know how it turns out. ********P.S. Can I Come?***********

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SKK
SKK September 16, 2016

In June 14 of us went on a friend's boat (we did not all sleep on it!) for 3 nights. People chose the meals they wanted to be responsible for and made sure they had the ingredients or knew where to purchase them. With one person or couple responsible for one complete meal we were all able to join in and help produce the fabulous meal because we had an already set focus. It was also a time of learning from one another - shared new recipes, collaborated on where to purchase great ingredients locally. And the left overs were outstanding!

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sexyLAMBCHOPx
sexyLAMBCHOPx September 16, 2016

Fun cooking times with friends including making two types of risotto. We all took turns stirring while others helped with salad. Another one was making 5 different types of potstickers. We sat around the table made them while drinking sake.

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Kenzi Wilbur
Kenzi Wilbur September 18, 2016
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ChefJune
ChefJune September 21, 2016

I would plan to grill those pizzas. The char you get from the life flame adds a lot of flavor. And if they're together there for 7 days, making the cough from scratch would be SO superior to premade, bought crusts. Plenty of time for the dough to rise.

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Sam1148
Sam1148 September 22, 2016

My standard thing for a group is a low country shrimp boil Corn, potatoes, sausage, shrimp. People can help shucking corn and cutting it in thirds. Scrubing potatoes, and cutting sausage.
I use a "Zataraine" spice mix--which is sold in a bag. And bloom that with a can of beer and lemon halves. Then bring up the water to temp with salt.

From there it's just timing adding things. I go sausage, potatoes, corn then shrimp. With about 10 mins between additions. Poking the potatoes for the final test for doneness.
Then drain and dump it on a table covered with news print. Serve with butter, cocktail sauce and a salad.

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Natalie R.
Natalie R. September 22, 2016

My Chinese friends and I have enormous parties (I'm talking breaking fire code sized groups) where we all make Chinese dumplings. The dough is just flour, water, and a little oil. You get wooden dowel rods to roll them out, and you stuff them with whatever filling you want to chop up. We boiled them for soup, and then dipped them in black vinegar and chili oil. Great conversation happens while you're assembling! Some people roll, some people stuff and crimp.

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M.McAwesome
M.McAwesome September 26, 2016

I was about to add the same thing. Dumpling making is best done in groups!

Zenqi
Zenqi December 27, 2018

I realize that this was originally posted in 2016, but since I was looking at it today for ideas for the same, I thought others might also. So, here's my two cents...

Tamales
Enchiladas
Gnocchi
Pici (hand rolled Tuscan pasta)
Ravioli (as previously mentioned)
Dolmas
Shish-ka-bob
Different types of fondues (each person or couple gets a recipe for one)
Spring or Summer rolls
Chinese potstickers
Won-tons
Sushi

Desserts:
Baklava
Hand pies
Cookies (of course)
Individual tiramisus
Individual parfaits
Creme brulee

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Picholine
Picholine January 10, 2019

Salad and pizza grilled. Make your own with different toppings. Breakfast egg bake.
Make ahead stuff like lasagna, stew and chili so you can party and have fun with your friends. That’s what we do. No matter at a camp or the cape.

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