Camp Kitchen: Harvest Dishes

September 18, 2007
Filed under Camping Recipes, Main Dishes

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You’re not alone if you find that fall is the best time of year to sleep under the stars, kindle a campfire under a full moon, and feast on newly harvested fruits and vegetables. Stop at roadside stands on the way to the campground to buy fresh produce for recipes like these.

Gold Doubloons

When yellow squash is abundant, make a big batch of this tangy dish to serve as an appetizer, relish or salad.

3 pounds summer squash

3 lemons, washed and squeezed

6 cloves garlic, peeled

1/3-cup extra virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 cup fresh basil leaves, cut in thin strips

Wash the squash, remove the ends and slice it very thin. In a large, plastic container, mix lemon juice, garlic, oil and pepper. Fold in the squash. Add the lemon skins, cover and refrigerate at least four hours, mixing occasionally. Before serving, discard the garlic cloves and lemon skins, and fold in basil. Serve ice cold within a day or two.

Rootin’-Tootin’ Beef Bombs

Round up all your favorite fall root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, turnips, etc.) and make individual meals to order.

Pan spray

Large onion, sliced

1 pound lean ground beef

Salt, pepper

2 cups potatoes, scrubbed and finely sliced

2 cups peeled, thinly sliced root vegetables

Steak sauce

Set out four large squares of heavy-duty foil, spray with nonstick and place a bed of sliced onions on each. Top with a ground beef patty. Salt and pepper the beef. Then pile on the vegetables. Drizzle it all with steak sauce. Bring up the corners of foil and twist to seal and form a handle. Place them over well-started coals for 30 minutes, then test one to see if it’s done.

Granny Smith Stew

The secret is in the cutting. Cut vegetables fine so they tenderize before the apples lose their shape.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 tablespoon curry powder

4 large, crisp Granny Smith apples, cored and diced

Medium onion, diced

2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped

2 large stalks celery, diced

Large sweet potato, peeled and diced

10-ounce can chunk chicken, with juice

1 cup canned coconut milk

2 cups chicken broth

In a heavy pot, sizzle the garlic in hot oil, gradually stirring in the curry powder, apples and vegetables to coat. Add the chicken, coconut milk and broth. Cover and cook over low heat until the vegetables and apples are tender. Serve in soup plates with pita bread for mopping up broth. Serves four to six people.

Tater-Tomater Melt

This makes a big side dish to go with meat from the grill, or as a vegetarian main dish. If the tomatoes are very juicy, drain off the excess liquid after you dice them.

2 pounds fresh potatoes, scrubbed and diced

2 cups diced fresh tomatoes

1 cup crumbled saltine crackers

16-ounce carton sour cream

6-ounce package shredded cheddar

1/3-cup grated Parmesan

1 can condensed cream of mushroom soup

Small can (2/3-cup) evaporated milk

1 tablespoon dried mixed Italian herbs

Salt, pepper

While the potatoes cook in salted water, mash all the other ingredients together in a large, zip-top bag to mix thoroughly. The mixture will be lumpy. When the potatoes are tender, drain well and fold in the tomato mixture. Return to low heat, cover and heat gently until heated through. Stir, and then add salt and pepper to taste. This serves eight to 10 persons as a side dish, or four to six persons as a main dish.


Hints for the Harvest

* Scrub fruits and vegetables at home, dry well, and wrap individually in clean paper towels. You won’t need water in camp for washing and towels can be used again.

* Don’t forget this old camp lunch favorite. Core apples, fill holes with peanut butter and dip sticky ends in raisins.

* If you have a microwave in your camper, nuke baking potatoes (sweet or white), then brush with oil and finish them on the grill for a just-baked flavor.

* Add finely diced apples (no peeling needed) and some chopped walnuts or pecans to your favorite pancake batter.

* Bake cored apples individually in foil. Fill cavities with brown sugar, chopped nuts and a dash of cinnamon and grill over medium coals until tender.

* Whole, fresh cabbage keeps for days in the grub box if you wash it, dry well and wrap in a cotton towel. Peel off leaves as needed-don’t cut the head.

* Bake acorn squash on the grill. Cut in half, remove seeds, wrap in foil and place on the grill cut side down. When it’s tender, serve filled with cinnamon applesauce.

* Look for cranberry beans (also called barlotti or shell beans) in the farmers’ market, have a shelling bee around the campfire, then cook and eat buttered as a side dish or in a bean recipe.

* Boil Brussels sprouts in salted water until barely tender, string on skewers and grill. Just before serving brush with a mixture of _-teaspoon nutmeg and _-cup honey.

* Peel back corn shucks, remove silk, replace shucks and soak in clean water. Grill, turning often, until kernels are tender. Peel and eat.

* Put a pound of fresh cranberries in a cold, greased skillet with _-cup water. Sprinkle with 1 cup sugar. Whisk 1-1/2 cups milk, 1-teaspoon vanilla and 1 egg into 2 cups biscuit mix, _-cup sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Pour batter over berries, cover tightly and place over low flame. It’s done when berries pop and batter is firm. Serves four people for breakfast or dessert.

* Put hard persimmons in a paper bag until they get soft, them use the mashed pulp in your favorite pumpkin bread recipe.

* Sweet, greenish-orange Satsuma oranges are picked in the fall. Make salsa by dicing three Satsumas. Mix with a little sweet onion, a touch of jalapeno, half a handful of chopped cilantro, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice and salt to taste.

* Pomegranate seeds add a burst of flavor to lettuce salad. Put the cut pomegranate underwater to remove seeds and unwanted pith floats to the top for easy removal.

* Cut up fresh apples or pears in lettuce salad, sprinkle with pecans and sauce with vinaigrette.

* Discover the many types of autumn grapes including non-table grapes such as concords and muscadines. Halve a colorful medley of different grapes, seed if necessary, sauce with white grape juice and serve as a dessert soup.

Questions? Contact Janet at


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