Friday, August 27, 2010
Camping, Gluten-free Style...
So, I don't camp. I mean until a recent camping excursion to McCall, Idaho I had not been camping since I was a kid...unless one night of car-camping in Yosemite while in my late 20's counts? No, not really. I'm more of a dare I say...hotel snob. I just love hotel rooms and fluffy beds with high thread count sheets, and super cool bathrooms with the awesome take-home swag that certain hotels leave for you each morning - I can't help it. I think it's a genetic flaw (or not).
Regardless, I was excited to camp again and give this outdoor activity a whole-hearted try! I'm an outdoor gal, really truly...just never felt that comfortable sleeping in a tent in the great outdoors with the impending doom of a bear attack...but that was before our excursion. Another little issue that's held me back from strapping on a backpack with all my wears, was the fear of wondering what on earth I would eat if I was camping in some remote wilderness, solely left to survive on Lara Bars and trail mix...okay, I digress. Drama aside, our weekend trip to McCall was a lot of fun and a chance to put my silly concerns aside, enjoy my very handsome and capable "camping guide extraordinaire," and a gorgeous spot on the map...and the opportunity to grill up some tasty and simple meals that were perfectly gluten-free under the beauty of the stars, while breathing in that wonderful mountain air.
If you've never been to McCall, ID it's worth a trip - just 2 hours outside of Boise and sitting on the gorgeous Payette Lake; it's a wonderful town. There's so much to do - hiking, biking, golf, tennis, boating, swimming...there was even a triathlon taking place the morning we were there. The town is quaint with a new beach/park area for kids and adults. I was impressed, as I hadn't been back in several years and the community improvements were noticable. Sun Valley, ID is my favorite place to spend time...but I have to say that having the Lake to look at and the beach to lounge on, while listening to the waves lapping on shore, was tempting me to spend more time in McCall.
Cooking on this stove was a fun challenge and my handsome guide assured me that it would do the trick. We packed coolers and bags of food picked up at the organic Coop in Boise, ensuring that I would be safe and not stranded with only nuts to eat...like the squirrels camping with us. Our dinner menu consisted of fresh corn (grilled, sort of), fresh asparagus cooked with olive oil and sea salt, and some delicious Aidells organic chicken apple sausages grilled over the stove, not the fire. Though not all of their sausages and products are gluten-free, this particular variety is free of gluten and soy. I've always had good luck with this brand...and they are very delicious. We also popped open a nice bottle of an Idaho wine, Ste. Chapelle Soft Red, and did I mention the yummy plate of appetizers we threw together? Even when camping I've learned that a lovely plate of sliced salami, a nice Monterey Jack and some freshly made guacamole go a long way. As I was preparing the plate, while channeling my minimalist self, it dawned on me how refreshing it is sometimes to be completely out of your element and have to make-do, improvise or be creative - in this case, with basic cooking utensils, a propane stove, and some good old plastic plates. A refreshing change and the finished product was quite tasty.
And seriously, what camping trip is complete without the historic S'more?! Not ours! Gluten-free marshmallows, a good old Hershey's chocolate bar and some very creative thinking to replace the traditional graham cracker, taaa daaaa...Enjoy Life, Eat Freely's soft baked snickerdoodle cookies, were the perfect partner to melt that gooey s'more goodness into.
I'll spare you the details of the rabid, wild animal that forged through our campsite early the next morning and thundered by the tent with such force that...okay, well perhaps I was exaggerating a tinsey bit but honestly, something wild did gallop by our tent leaving me frozen in fear and praying I would have another shot at roasting marshmallows over the campfire in this lifetime. What a wonderful and rustic treat that truly is (the roasting, not the wild beast) - to sit close to a roaring fire, cuddled and warm with nothing between you and your delicate dance with marshmallow and nature's incinerator. There's a real art to the perfect "roast" no? After a few ignited 'mallows (rookie move), the fire temperature was understood and spears were bravely thrust back into the flames for another attempt at creating that perfect, just toasted, crusted on the outside, smoldering on the inside bite...hungry yet?