As soon as the weather got warm I decided it was high time I took Johnny on his first ever camping trip! We went to the same campground I used to frequent with my parents when I was a kid, San Simeon State Beach. It was just a one-night trip, but we had a blast and we already have a big trip planned for each month of summer.
We spent a lot of our time out on the beach collecting moonstones and other pretty rocks, and in the evening, as well as the next morning, I made us a campfire meal to end all campfire meals! I'm hoping some of my campfire cooking tips and tricks will encourage you to forego the gas-powered grill and try it yourself. We brought the little old Skotch cooler and filled it with plenty of ice and some simple ingredients: whole rainbow trout, a half package of bacon, half carton of eggs, a couple pats of butter, and two ears of white corn. In addition to the perishables we brought lemons, potatoes, and spices:
Dill, black pepper, grey salt, and Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning (Yum!). I also brought a single utensil to cook everything with, my Hobo Knife I won at the pirate party I posed about here.
So for the fish, be sure they are gutted and cleaned, then sprinkle dill, salt, and pepper inside the cavity and stuff them with lemon slices. My mom gave me this great wire basket with a really long handle that's made for grilling fish and it worked like a charm. You can pick them up in the barbecue section of almost any store. Be sure to turn and move them often to get them to cook evenly. The skins will char but the flesh inside will stay nice and moist.
The potatoes are super easy; just clean them, poke them all over with a fork, and wrap them in heavy-duty tin foil. Place them on the side of the fire under some coals, but don't let them get into the actual fire as the tin foil will burn off. They bake just like in the oven and take about a half hour. Be sure to bring fireplace tongs with you so you can get them out easily. I like butter and TJ's Everyday on them. Yum!
And last but not least, campfire corn. One of my absolute favorite camping foods. Corn can keep well without a cooler so this is a great snack for longer trips. You shuck the corn but leave the husks attached and fold them down to make a handle:
Don't worry if you don't get all the silk off, it burns off in the fire. You can rest it on a grill but I like to roast it by hand, since you've got some time till the fish and potatoes are done.
Delicious! For breakfast the next day we went foraging along the beach and found tons to eat. (Check out my other posts about foraged food here.) Sorrel (heart-shaped clover) has a mildly lemon flavor, anise (also known as wild fennel) has a licorice flavor and is excellent with eggs, dock is a mild green, wild radish greens are a tad spicy, and beach spinach is naturally salty.
I chopped all the greens with my trusty hobo knife and set them aside while I heated our well-seasoned cast iron pan and made the bacon, which cooks really fast on the fire.
The empty half-carton of eggs makes a great holder to drain the excess fat off the bacon. You want to pour almost all the rendered fat out of the pan, but reserve a little to keep the eggs from sticking. Add the greens and give them a quick stir as the pan is very hot and they'll cook quick! Crack the eggs on top and keep the pan moving a little to create a sort of scramble with the greens and give them a quick flip when they're close to done. Grind some Everyday Seasoning on top et voila!
It was sooo good, if a little sloppy, but hey, we're roughing it! As the day wore on, Johnny decided to try his hand at some cooking before we broke down the tent, and since we had extra s'mores supplies and bacon left...
Bacon s'mores! Best thing ever! Happy camping!