One-Pot Campfire Pasta

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This recipe comes to you by way of the great outdoors! Recently my love and I headed out into the Oregon wilderness for a weekend of adventure near Umpqua Hot Springs. Given that we were camping in a site that had no running water, we packed a big jug with us, and the ingredients for a yummy, filling pasta that wouldn’t take too much juice.

I have a confession to make: I am a vegan who doesn’t like beans. I think their texture is a big mood killer in terms of yummy cuisine. That being said, I’m slowly but surely developing a fairly stubborn soy allergy, so using TVP wasn’t an option this time around, and I needed to restore my energy after a day of hiking. If you’re into a more traditionally meaty pasta instead of our white beaned friend here, feel free to sub TVP for the beanies, and soak in broth or water to prep them up according to package instructions.

The campfire adds a delicious, smoky flavor to this pasta that simply can’t be beat. It’s the perfect meal for a ravenous trio of hikers on a rainless day. I usually will prep the herb/spice mix before leaving so I don’t have to bring all my precious herbs and spices into the forest. Equipment-wise you’ll need a knife, cutting board, spatula, very very very good oven mit, and fire-safe cookware (I use my cast iron skillet). A measuring cup helps, but I have a perfectly 8oz camping mug that works for me.

Disclaimer: You will get ashes in your food, and most people say don’t eat those. Use your best judgment. It’s very easy to burn yourself cooking over a fire, so please be super safe!

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: super varies depending on the hotness of your fire, anywhere from 15-30 minutes

Total time: your guess is as good as mine, but at least you probably don’t have anywhere to be in the middle of the woods, haha

Serves: 3

Ingredients

  • 12oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp high smoking point oil
  • 1 1/2 cups dry pasta. Somethin’ thick ‘n chunky works best, like penne or bowtie (I used bowtie)
  • 4 cups of water, divided (I filled my camping mug with water and added water a mug at a time to the pot)
  • 1 can cannelini beans
  • 1 jar of your favorite red sauce (I like Newman’s Own sockarooni purrrrsonally)

Instructions

  1. Get a campfire going, and lay your cooking rack over the fire. Some recipes call for the fire to already be at low embers, but I’ve cooked this over a medium flame on a fresh fire and had no issues.
  2. Place your cast iron skillet over the fire to preheat, and add your cooking oil, using your spatula to spread it around to coat the pan. It shouldn’t take long to get hot.
  3. Once it heats up, add your mushrooms and herb mix. Spread out in the pan so they can brown. It’s pretty common for the fire to heat up one part of the skillet more than others, so shift things around as needed so that everyone gets cooked fairly evenly:Mushrooms over the fire
  4. Once your mushrooms are looking a little brown, add your pasta, and two cups of water. It should come to a boil pretty fast. Shift your pasta around in the pan so that it gets a good coverage of boiling water. Continue to cook until almost all of the water is gone, careful to leave enough so that it doesn’t stick.
  5. Taste-test your pasta. If it’s not soft enough, add more water a half cup at a time until everybody’s al dente. This process could take a little while, and depending on the size of your cast iron, you may want to add more or less water so that your pasta can get what it needs. Once it’s all done and the water has cooked off nearly all the way, it should look a bit like this:36188222_10160405105175063_8140440825382305792_n
  6. Add your red sauce and beans, and heat to the desired temperature, careful not to overheat and cause sticking or burning. Once it’s all warmed up, remove the pasta from the fire, and enjoy.

Happy camping!

Sweet Potato Pancakes

 

This recipe comes to you by way of a weekend that’s cloudier than it should’ve been. Here in Portland we were supposed to have sunshine all weekend and instead we have been CALLOUSLY ROBBED OF JOY.

Anyhoo, what to do when you wake up on a cloudy Saturday? Make some delicious sweet potato pancakes. The most important element of this recipe is patience. Giving the apple cider vinegar and soy milk a moment to react guarantees a rich, fluffy, moist pancake. Rushing the recipe or throwing everything together in a bowl makes a flat, sticky hockey puck (learned that one the hard way).

On the left, we have Jeffy’s amazing photo of their pancakes topped with apple butter and pumpkin seeds. On the right, I went with the classic maple syrup and Myoko’s cultured vegan butter. These pancakes end up a rich stack of yummy, filling goodness, flooding your Saturday morning kitchen with the pleasant aromas of Fall. I hope you enjoy them!

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 35 minutes

Makes 5 pancakes

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw sweet potato, shredded or diced small
  • 1 cup soy milk (plain or vanilla)
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Oil for cooking

Instructions:

  1. First we want to get our sweet potato nice and smushy. Heat a cup or so of water in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the sweet potato and cover, stirring occasionally, until sweet potato is soft, about 7 minutes. You can also do this in a steamer basket over the water, unless you can’t find yours because you’re too hungover (hi).
  2. While the sweet potato cooks, get out two mixing bowls, one for your wet ingredients and one for your dry. In your wet ingredients bowl, add the soy milk and apple cider vinegar, and stir to combine. Let sit for a minute or two to react into a nice buttermilk.
  3. In your dry ingredients bowl, combine flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, and pumpkin pie spice, whisking together until thoroughly mixed. Set aside.
  4. Once your sweet potato is all cooked, drain and rinse under cold water. Smash with a fork or blend in a blender until lightly pureed. When I’m using shreds, I like to leave a little texture to give the pancakes some tooth, but you do you.
  5. Add the sweet potato to the dry ingredients bowl and mix until it forms a loose, clumpy dough. Add the vanilla extract to the wet ingredients, give one last thorough mix, and pour into the dry.
  6. Very lightly mix everything together with a spatula or wooden spoon until just combined, careful not to over-mix. This will give your pancakes a moist and fluffy texture.
  7. Let the batter rest while you preheat your skillet or griddle. I personally cook these on medium heat on a stovetop one at a time, using a third of a cup of batter for each pancake. These can get sticky pretty easily, so I make sure to re-oil the pan between each pancake so they don’t cling. I put them between two dinner plates on the counter to keep them warm until everything is done.
  8. Serve with syrup and vegan butter, or apple butter and pepitas like my partner and I did, shown above. These would also be great with toasted or candied pecans or walnuts, apple slices, or apple sauce. The sky’s the limit!

Happy pancaking!

Creamy Potato Leek Soup

SOUP! Soup is delicious. It’s also the name of this very cute cat:

But that’s neither here nor there.

This recipe is brought to you by my new plot at a community garden! Y’all, being real–everything I touch dies. I’m pretty nervous about jumping from “I’ve successfully kept this house plant alive for two months” to “I’m going to grow a whole thing of vegetables,” but whatever, we’re out here doing it. The plot I inherited was overgrown with weeds, some flowers that were infested with ladybugs, and two very large leeks. After clearing everything out, the leeks remained; thus, leek soup!

I ended up having this soup in a mug as a side with some barbecue tofu and broccoli florets. That being said, you could totally eat this alone or with a large wedge of bread.

I’m back to taking photos myself, so these are terrible. Forgive me! And forgive me for falling into the cooking blog habit of typing novels before recipes. No joke, though–this is one of the best things I’ve ever cooked. The toasted flour gives a nutty flavor that perfectly compliments the savory leek and garlic.

 

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Total time: 25 minutes

Serves: 2

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons vegan butter or safflower oil
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 2 large leeks, green stems removed, diced small
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 medium-large yukon gold potatoes, diced
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 tsp ground sage
  • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup vegan sour cream (optional)

Instructions

  1. Snag a 2 quart saucepan and bring the two tablespoons of oil to a shivery, smokeless consistency over medium heat. Test that it’s ready to toast the flour with a small pinch. If it sizzles, scatter in a tablespoon of flour and toast, pushing around with a wooden spoon, until golden brown.
  2. Once the flour is ready, add in the leek, and sautee until soft and fragrant, about three minutes. Then, add the garlic, and cook until fragrant, about one minute.
  3. After the garlic and leek are ready, add in the broth, potatoes, and all the herbs. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  4. Once the potatoes are done, taste for flavor. Add salt and pepper as needed. If you’d like a creamier consistency, stir in the sour cream while still hot so it’s evenly disbursed. Enjoy hot, perhaps on the porch.

Happy souping!