What's cooking: Camping cuisine

  • Article by: BY KIM ODE , Special to the Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 4, 2012 - 4:59 PM

Also: Get those kids moving, calling eggheads, and build a better burger.

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Can you build a burger as good as the Screen Porch Burger? If you can, it could land you $100,000.

As people head into the wilderness, they needn't leave good food behind. Jeremy Hutson, who divides his time between St. Paul and Grand Marais, Minn., has written "Backcountry Cuisine: Pack and Go Recipes for Camping" ($15.99, Tate). Many of the recipes in the 68-page book use a double-boiler technique he learned a decade ago in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness. This enables hungry paddlers or backpackers to prepare tastier meals than you might think, such as Berry Ricotta Pizza, Cornbread Sausage Bake, Tea-Infused Mashed Potatoes. Hutson also has tips for food prep and essential utensils.

Get kids moving

Valley Natural Foods in Burnsville is sponsoring a 5-2-1-0 challenge for young shoppers to reduce the risk of childhood obesity. The program, through July 20, asks kids to do four simple things each day: eat five fruits or vegetables, limit screen time to two hours (TV, computers, video games, etc.), get one hour or more of physical activity and drink zero sugar-sweetened beverages. In addition, there are free activities that emphasize healthy habits, although registration is necessary 32 hours in advance by calling customer service at 952-891-1212, ext. 221, or online: www.eventbee.com/v/valleynaturalfoods/boxoffice. Look online for more detailed descriptions of each event.

Calling all eggheads

Eggland's Best, a brand of eggs, is hosting its first contest and the top prize is $10,000. "Your Best Recipe" contest asks at-home chefs to submit their best original recipe featuring at least two EB eggs. A $1,000 prize will be awarded for breakfast, appetizer, main course and dessert categories. The most creative use of Eggland's Best eggs will be awarded the grand prize. Entry deadline is Aug. 12. For all the details, visit www.egglandsbest.com/promotions/recipe-contest.aspx.

Calling all beef eaters

Then there is the famous Build a Better Burger contest, now in its 21st year. Sponsored mainly by Sutter Home Winery in Napa Valley, Calif., the grand prize is $100,000. If you're not a beef eater, a contest for an alternative burger carries a $15,000 prize. You may enter as many burger recipes as you like. Burgers are judged on creativity, taste and visual appeal. For all the rules, including necessary proportion of beef, visit www.sutterhome.com. Entry deadline is Sept. 3, for the May 2013 cookoff at the winery. See last year's winning recipe at right.

KIM ODE

  • SCREEN PORCH BURGER Serves 6. Note: From Jennifer Beckman of Falls Church, Va., who won $100,000 last year for her recipe in Sutter Home’s Build a Better Burger contest. Sweet Corn-Basil Cheese: • 6 oz. sharp white Cheddar cheese • 1 c. sweet corn kernels, from about 3 ears • 1/2 c. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves • 1/2 c. mayonnaise Bread and Butter Frickles: • 1 c. vegetable oil • 12 long sandwich-cut (stacker) bread and butter pickles • 1 c. flour • 2 eggs • 1/2 c. milk • 1/2 c. cornmeal • 1/2 c. panko (Japanese-style bread crumbs) • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt, divided Patties: • 2 lb. ground chuck • 1/2 c. finely sliced green onions • 2 tsp. kosher salt • 1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper • Vegetable oil, for brushing on the grill rack • 6 King’s Hawaiian Sweet Sandwich Rolls • 6 slices (1/4-in.-thick) heirloom tomato • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt • 6 leaves red-leaf lettuce Directions To make the cheese spread: Shred the Cheddar on a box grater. Combine the cheese, corn, basil, and mayonnaise in a medium bowl and stir to blend. Set aside until ready to serve. Heat a gas grill to high (or prepare the fried pickles on a stovetop). To make the frickles (fried pickles): Heat a large cast-iron skillet on the grill for at least 5 minutes. Carefully add the oil to the hot pan and heat to 350 degrees. While the pan is heating, lay out the pickle slices in a single layer on a kitchen towel. Blot with a second kitchen towel. Arrange 3 small bowls into a breading station: place the flour in the first, beat the eggs and milk together in the second, and mix the cornmeal and panko in the third. Season the contents of each bowl with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and mix to combine. Bread the dried-off pickle slices by turning in the flour, then dipping in the egg mixture, and finally coating with the panko-cornmeal mixture. Fry the breaded pickles in batches, turning once, until golden brown and crisp, about 90 seconds per side. Drain on a rack set over a paper-towel-lined sheet pan. Reduce the heat to medium-high. To make the patties: In a bowl, combine ground meat, onions, 2 teaspoons salt and black pepper; mix gently. Divide into 6 equal portions and form into 3/4 -inch-thick patties to fit the rolls. Brush the grill rack with vegetable oil. Place the patties on the rack, cover, and cook, turning once, until done to preference, about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. After turning the patties, arrange the rolls, cut side down, around the edges of the grill to toast. To assemble burgers, place a patty on each of the roll bottoms. Top each with 2 crisscrossed frickles, a tomato slice, and a lettuce leaf. Spread the top half of each roll with a scant 1/4 cup of the cheese mixture and close the burgers.
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