For those of you who read the first column in this series, you may remember that I do not like to camp (). One of the (many) reasons I do not like to camp is the food. Sure s’mores are scrumptious (until someone eats one too many and you are up all night dealing with a camper with a sick stomach), but beyond those marshmallowy-good treats, camp food can be limiting.
My older brother used to take me out camping in the Sierras so he could fish for rainbow trout which he would then fry up over the campfire. I do not eat fish unless is it heavily battered with a side order of tartar sauce and French fries. Needless to say, I was always hungry when I went camping with my brother.
Then came camping with my boyfriend (later to be my husband), where his idea of camp food was chili from a can or freeze-dried backpacker meals. Again, the hunger.
Next was camping with my botany classes (read the rattlesnake story in that aforementioned first column). Among the grad students in the biology department at California State University, Fullerton, there was an historic precedent of seeing which group could bring the best meals to the camping field trips. It was on those trips when I learned camp food could be good, even gourmet (I always signed up to bring the napkins and paper plates—I understand my limitations).
Other students went all out, sourdough-blueberry pancakes, sun-dried tomato basil (it was the 90s, afterall) and my favorite, sesame ginger chicken. That recipe showed me that a little prep work at home could result in great meals in the outdoors.
So here is that recipe. Share your favorite camping meals or stories with the community, either in the comments below or send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sesame Ginger Chicken (4 servings)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
4 cups cooked rice, stored in a ziplock bag or other airtight food container
4 tbs. Sesame seeds
For the marinade:
4 garlic cloves peeled and crushed
½ c. low sodium soy sauce
¼ c. seasoned rice vinegar (I always buy the Trader Joe’s brand)
2 tbs. Honey
2 tbs. Fresh ginger root, peeled and grated
3 green onions, whites and green tops, slivered
2 tbls. Toasted sesame oil
Combine all the marinade ingredients and place in a gallon-sized freezer ziplock bag and add the chicken, then refrigerate (do this the night before your leave). Make sure you keep the chicken well chilled while camping, best to make this for the first meal of your camping trip.
At the campsite
If there is a grill at the campsite, or you are adept at cooking over a campfire, have at it. I use a camp stove and cook each breast for about 3 minutes on each side, or until there is no pink. Heat the rice up in a pot and serve it with the chicken, sprinkled with the sesame seeds. Add a mixed salad, and you’ve got a tasty and healthy camping meal.