Indoor Camping Food

BackyardI don’t live in a particularly urban city. There are 8,000 people. I’m in the heart of the city and the picture here is my driveway pretending to be a campsite. It’s not exactly all concrete all the time. Yet, I know lots of people live in city-like cities, the kinds where not everyone has a backyard, so I’m surprised that there aren’t better indoor camping menus available for those who simply don’t have a campfire spot close at hand. Here is my contribution to the genre:

Local Ordinance Compliant Campfire Dinner
(A note on recipes)

  • Beer in a can
  • GORP – Raisins, Peanuts, M & M’s
  • Chex Mix – The kind made from a recipe, not poured from a bag
  • Foil Packets – These are brilliant. If you were actually camping you would wrap the ingredients in foil and throw them in the coals. Here the coals are a 375-degree oven. Last time we had these the combos were: chicken; beef brisket + cabbage; ground beef + mushrooms + onions; diced zucchini + mushrooms + onions + bread crumbs + a generous amount of butter. You could also do potatoes, fish, things wrapped in bacon. . .
  • Skillet Cornbread – Any recipe will do, I added lime zest, lime juice, cilantro, cayenne and blueberries to serve with the chicken.
  • Blueberries, Raspberries, Blackberries or any other sort of fruit you want to pretend you’d be able to find growing wild if you were in an actual camping location. I’d add chopped mint, which could potentially be growing near your imaginary campsite, why not? If you also want to pretend there’s a cow there for fresh cream to pour over the berries, I wouldn’t object.
  • S’Mores – The best no-fire S’Mores recipe in the world (see below).  Also, spreading Nutella on a graham cracker and eating it with a marshmallow would do. For the truly indulgent there are S’Mores martinis

Fireless S’Mores

These don’t go for elaborate toasting of marshmallows to create the ambiance of the campfire – instead they just taste like S’Mores. It’s quick fudge and marshmallow fluff sandwiched between graham crackers. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

  • Graham Crackers
  • Marshmallow Fluff
  • Quick Fudge

Quick Fudge (this is a variation of a Cook’s Illustrated 15 minute fudge recipe, the original works as fudge, this variation really doesn’t hold up by itself)

  • 16 oz semi-sweet chocolate
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk

Melt all these ingredients in a double boiler, pour onto wax paper in a half sheet pan (or a cookie sheet will do) – if you can fit the sheet in your fridge to get cool first, that will be helpful. Spread the chocolate into a rectangle about 1/4 – 1/2 inch thick depending on how you want the chocolate / fluff / graham cracker ratio to work out. I prefer less chocolate, more fluff. Once the chocolate is cooled down you can cut out squares to match the graham crackers.

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