Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Trail Cuisine

A major part of a wilderness trip is feeding the hungry campers. Trips require lots of a energy and campers and counselors both need to replenish their bodies at the end of a long day. With practice and proper instruction, cooking on the trail can be fun, safe, and tasty. Today I am going to describe a Woodcraft favorite: the quesadilla.

The first step to a meal on the trail is establishing your "kitchen." The counselors designate an area away from the tents and any danger of someone interfering with the ingredients and stove. I started by chopping the onion and pepper and placing the chicken and cheese in a bowl nearby. This is a great way to get the younger campers involved. They can help out with prepping ingredients and assisting the cook before they are old enough to handle the stove. Once the ingredients are prepared and on-hand, the next step is to light the stove. The stove in the picture is an MSR Whisperlite. They are safe and reliable as well as easy to clean and maintain.

Once the stove is lit and the pan is hot, you simply place half the tortilla in the pan and evenly distribute the pepper, onion, chicken, and cheese.

I prefer to add a bit of cayenne to keep things interesting. A few small spice containers are a great way to stave off blandness in trail meals. They are also light weight and take up very little room in a back pack.

After a few minutes on each side the quesadilla is ready. This is a good menu item for trips because they can be made two at a time in the pan once the tortilla is folded over the ingredients. This cuts wait time and fuel usage in half.

Another nice feature of the Whisperlite is that the metal is designed to cool very quickly. Usually by the time everyone eats, the stove is cool enough to touch. However, it is always worth waiting an extra five minute before disassembling the stove. Once the stove is apart, you're left with very little to clean because quesadillas are a low-maintenace dish.

Woodcraft campers learn stove safety in OLS. As Trail Campers and Auroras they begin to take larger roles in the meals on the trip. Our aim is develop informed, competent, and confident hikers who can whip up a gourmet trail meal. Try out the recipe next time you're on the trail.
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