Entertaining | October 2016
Let's Go Glamping
Your guide to a glamorous outdoor experience
Story by Andrea LeTard
The latest trend in outdoor excursions eschews tricky tents and sleeping on the hard ground in favor of a more comfort-focused approach. Fabulous sleeping arrangements alternatives include teepees, treehouses, cubes, igloos, villas and huts. Use these ideas to create your very own DIY glamping experience, perfect for the crisp, cool October weather.
A glamorous resting spot for your night or weekend outdoors should be a priority. A blow-up mattress is ideal — it’s comfy, fluffy, and you can make it look just as lovely as your bed at home. Consider topping it with a foam mattress or feather bed, and bring a cozy comforter and a few pillows. Use lighting for an extra homey ambiance. String lights, lanterns, and solar lights are ideal — they’re pretty and act as great.
Gathering around the fire singing “Kumbaya” all night doesn’t exactly cut it for entertainment these days, so you’ll need plenty of activities to keep you and your friends entertained. Board games are easy to pack and are always fun with a group of people. Also consider old-school campfire games like I Spy, Charades, and Truth or Dare to bring creativity and loads of laughter. Get active during the day by having a scavenger hunt or playing flag football, volleyball, horseshoes, or dodgeball.
Three-course meals feel elaborate and can be easier to create than they seem when camping. A simple cheese platter or charcuterie spread is a perfect no-cook first course while any elegant main course can be cooked in a cast iron skillet right over the campfire. Dessert can be easy as an updated take on s’mores or foil-baked fruit. The key is preparation — cooking on a camping trip is easy as long as you make some of it ahead.
1st Course: Pumpkin Pie Bacon
Wrapped Dates (serves 6)
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
9 dates - halved and pitted
6 slices of bacon - cut in thirds
In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, granulated sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Store mixture in a travel container. Wrap each date half with a slice of bacon. Store all bacon wrapped dates in a travel container.
Sugar mixture • bacon wrapped dates • straightened coat hangers or clean sticks
Coat each date with the sugar mixture on all sides then thread three dates onto each person's coat hanger or stick. Cook over the fire, turning every few minutes until bacon becomes crispy on all sides. This will take some time, so be patient.
2nd Course: French Onion & Mushroom Soup
in Cheesy Bread Bowls (serves 6)
6 tbsp butter
4 large onions — sliced
1 tsp sugar
4 garlic cloves - minced
16 oz Baby Bella mushrooms - sliced
1/4 cup Marsala wine
1 1/4 cup red wine
2 heaping tbsp flour
4 large Rosemary sprigs
1 bay leaf
6 cups beef broth
6 sourdough bread bowls (circular loaves)
6 oz freshly grated Swiss or Gruyere
4 oz freshly grated Parmesan
Ways to Cook
over a Campfire
Grate or Griddle — Place one of these about 5 inches from the coals for an easy way to grill meat.
Cast Iron or Dutch Oven — These can be placed directly over the coals or on warm bricks/rocks next to the fire and are ideal for soups and stews.
Aluminum Foil — Foil packets are the trendiest of camp cooking methods. Wrap anything from meat, shellfish, or veggies in a packet and place directly overthe fire.
Skewers/Coat Hangers/Sticks — Go old-school — skewer or thread food on any of these and cook directly over the fire.
Edible leaves — Find these at a specialty grocery store and use them to wrap fish or veggies to be cooked over the fire.
Paper bag — From bacon toeggs, a paper bag is a great tool for fire cooking, just hang it directly over the fire. Careful, not too close!
3 — Course Dinner
This 3-course camping menu is the perfect way to experience fine dining, camp-style
Heat 4 tbsp butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions with a heavy dash of salt, pepper, and sugar. Cook, stirring often for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown and caramelized. Add the garlic, mushrooms, and another dash of salt. Sauté for about 5 minutes or until mushrooms are cooked down. Pour in the Marsala wine and red wine. Let liquid reduce by half. Sprinkle in the flour, stir, and let cook for about 8 more minutes. Take off the heat and pour into a travel container. Tie rosemary and bay leaf together with kitchen twine. Store in a plastic bag. Using a sharp knife, cut a circle around the top of each bread bowl, being careful not to cut through the bottom. Pull the top off of each bowl. Then, using your hands, pull out some of the bread until a bowl shape is formed. Discard the tops and the extra bread. Store the bread bowls in air-safe containers or bags. Mix the Swiss (or Gruyere) cheese together with the Parmesan. Store in a travel container.
Onion-Mushroom mixture • Herb bundle • Beef broth • Kosher salt and pepper • 2 tbsp butter • Bread bowls • Cheese mixture • Cast Iron or Dutch oven • Soup ladle • Aluminum foil • Tongs • Spoons
In cast iron or Dutch oven, add the onion mixture, herb bundle, beef broth, and a dash of salt and pepper. Cook over fire or coals, stirring occasionally, until soup is warm enough to eat. Add the rest of the butter. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle about 2 tbsp of cheese into each bread bowl. Ladle some of the soup into the bowls then sprinkle the tops with a thick layer of cheese. Wrap each bowl in aluminum foil, then put over the fire or coals for 3 to 4 minutes, using tongs to take bowls off the fire. Carefully unwrap and enjoy!
3rd Course: Salted Brown Butter Krispy S’mores (serves 9)
1/4 cup butter
1 (10 oz) bag miniature marshmallow
6 cups rice cereal
1 tsp Kosher salt
18 large marshmallows
9 small squares of good-quality chocolate
(Ghirardelli, Lindt, Godiva)
Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the butter. Let butter sit until it’s melted and starts to brown. Lower the heat then stir in the marshmallows with the salt. Let cook until almost melted. Take off the heat and stir in the rice cereal until combined. Pour into a well-buttered 8x8 baking dish. Use a spatula or waxed paper to lightly press down until all sides are even. Let cool. When cooled, flip the square solid out of the pan and cut into 9 small squares. Take each square and cut down the middle to form two even squares, like a sandwich. Store treats in a travel container.
Rice Krispies • Large Marshmallows • Chocolate • Straightened coat hangers or clean sticks
Give each person rice treat sandwich halves, a square of chocolate, and 2 marshmallows. Heat marshmallows on coat hangers or sticks over the fire. Assemble each treat with melted marshmallows and chocolate between rice treat halves.