Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Cell phone cooking?

No campfire? Try a couple of cell phones.

A couple of scientists did an experiment where they placed an egg between two cell phones to show that the microwaves would cook the egg.

The complete story is here.

There seem to be no end of alternate heat sources for cooking if you get creative.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

How not to start a fire you don't want

Preventing forest fires.

It has been really hot and dry here in east Tennessee the last couple of weeks. So I don't think it would be a good idea to go out in the woods and build a big camp fire.

I really value our forest and I want to keep them in good shape for a long time.

We have been limiting our outdoor cooking to a propane grill and Dad's chiaroscuro fire pit on the concrete by his pool.

For forest fire prevention tips see Smoke the Bear's web page.

(And remember Smokey the Bear's middle name is "the")

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

how to make a camp fire

If you are going to do any camp fire cooking, you first need a camp fire.

How to make a camp fire you ask? First you need some wood. Dry wood is preferable to wet wood but either will work.

Start your camp fire by stacking some two to three inch diameter camp fire logs like a Lincoln log cabin. Start with four to six logs stacked like a cabin.

Inside the space, pile up a few leaves, very small twigs and what ever fire starter material you have. The core of an old pine stump is the best thing you can use. There are also some commercial fire straterblocks you can buy.

Build a little tee pee of small wood over your fire starter.

Now you may have seen waterproof matches in camping books, but these should be gone with the wind by now. I think the only people using phosphorous matches now are meth labs. Not sure why they don't put the matchbooks behind the counter instead of the cold medicine.

Use a butane lighter. These work even in the rain. Even if you drop it in a puddle. If you are using matches, you might as well be using flint and steel. If camping where I can carry what I like, I use a propane torch. You can start a camp fire with even wet camp fire logs using a propane torch.

As the fire grows, you can add bigger and bigger camp fire wood to the stack.

Monday, June 19, 2006

How to make Smores

Smores are a traditional campfire food favorite. In fact I just is not campfire cooking without Smores. On our trip to Livingston, Ky 5 ear old Jake demonstrated just how much fin it is to make smores by making one for all the Jeep campers as an appetizer while our steaks grilled.

How to make smores:

Take a rectangular Graham cracker and break it in half forming two squares.
Break a Hershey chocolate bar in half and place half the bar on one of the crackers squares.
carefully toast a couple of marshmallows over the camp fire. The trick is to get them hot enough to melt the chocolate but not burn them to a crisp. They have a pretty golden color when done just right.
Place the properly toasted marshmallows on top on the chocolate bar and top with the other half of the Graham cracker.

Allow just enough time for the chocolate bar to melt then enjoy while its warm.

For s'more ideas on how to make smores, see this link or look in the Callaway cookbook.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Playing with Fire

Managing your camp fire cooking heat source.

Last year at the XJ list fall crawl, I learned some great fire management skills from a guy with the ironic nickname of Frosty.

In order to move around hot logs, he used a pair of metal chopsticks. Using these tongs, he could move a heavy hot log anywhere in the fire pit he wanted to. This tool allowed him to concentrate the heat in one area or spread it out as needed for best cooking.

To make your our frosty fire chopsticks, go to a local hardware store and pick up a stick of half inch thin wall conduit. It usually comes in ten foot sections. Cut it into three sections just over three feet long. Since our recent survey showed most readers have only two arms, one of your three poles will be a spare. You can make your two main sticks longer if you wish.

Practice on cold wood before you give it a trial by fire. Once you get the hang of using these chopsticks, you will wonder how you ever built a fire without them.

If the fire is really hot or the air is really cold, you may want to use gloves when handling your fire sticks.

How to cook on a camp fire

Campfire cooking is fun and easy.

Prepare a nice medium fire. Make a sirloin patty and place in center of a tin foil square. Add onion slice, sliced carrot and sliced potato. Salt and Pepper if prefer. Top with 1 teaspoon margarine and wrap. Allow to bake about 60 minutes. Test for preferred doneness. Mix 1 cup self rising flour, 1 tablespoon mayonnaise, 1/2 milk or water in a plastic bag. Squeeze or stir until mixed. Melt margarine or butter in bottom of Dutch oven and drop balls of dough. Cover and bake for 30-45 minutes. Check for doneness and brownness. Turn over and bake more, if desired. For dessert top a peach half with a marshmallow and wrap in a tin foil square. Bake for 20-30 minutes. Tasty!

Happy summer campfire cooking.

This advice is from

Campfire Cooking

Food always tastes better cooked over a campfire.

One of the best things about my off road Jeep trip to Livingston was the campfire cooking. Hanging out by the campfire with the guys form the XJ list is always entertaining, but this time the food was excellent.

Maybe because I was very hungry. Maybe because it was warmer than 20 degrees out. Maybe because there was no sand in the steak. ( I did not experience that one myself, but I have heard the story enough to make me feel like I did.)

For whatever reason, I love campfire food. When camping, I am willing to totally ignore all my healthy choices advice and just enjoy the carcinogen flavored red meat.

I just found a campfire cooking ebook that has tons of great recipes that I am looking forward to trying out on my next camping trip. Here is the link to some more great campfire food.