Thursday, August 6, 2009

Food for A Family Backpacking Trip

Before we moved to Michigan in 2004, Geoff and I spent many weekends together backpacking along the west coast. On short trips, we brought ingredients to make pancakes and scrambled eggs for breakfast, bagel sandwiches for lunch, spaghetti or Indian curries for dinner, and s'mores for dessert. If we had space in our pack, we threw in a bottle of wine. On week-long trips, we were happy to eat trail mix, granola bars, and instant oatmeal on days 4, 5, 6, and 7. Tomorrow, we are headed to North Manitou Island for our first backpacking trip in Michigan and our first backpacking trip with our 3-year old. Of course, I've been thinking for days about what we'll bring to eat. Since we'll be carrying Caroline's gear in addition to our own, space will be at a premium. But it's only a 2-day trip and the hike in to our campsite is not more than a few miles. What should we bring? So far, I've gathered ingredients for hummus (instant), cucumber, and cheese sandwiches, whole wheat rotini pasta with garlic and cherry tomatoes, and s'mores (always s'mores). Plus, I've packed bread, instant oatmeal, granola, crackers, dried apples, blueberries, cherries, hot chocolate, tetra packs of milk, coffee, and tea. What am I missing?

I just learned that the weather forecast predicts rain for Saturday, which to me is just additional motivation to carry good food. Eating instant oatmeal on a beautiful morning is one thing. But who wants to sit in a tent eating instant oatmeal for 2 days? Come to think of it, who wants to take a family backpacking trip when the weather forecast predicts rain?! Me.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Simple and in-season: White Bean and Corn Croquettes

Sweet corn is in-season! We bought half dozen ears from Kory Krueger (Sweet Spot Orchards) at the farmers' market on Saturday. They were $0.50 a piece. We usually eat sweet corn as corn-on-the-cob but tonight, I cut the kernels off of one ear and added them to my recipe for bean croquettes.

I use an easy and versatile recipe for bean croquettes: First, I mash together 2 cups cooked beans (any kind), 1/2 cup onion (minced), 1 egg, 1/2 cup bread crumbs, salt and pepper to taste. (Tonight, I added corn to the bean mixture). I like my croquettes with a little bit of texture so I mash them using a potato masher. For a smoother texture, you can put the bean mixutre through a food processor. Next, I cover the bottom of a large skillet with vegetable oil and turn the heat to medium-high. Using my hands, I shape about a 1/4 cup of the mixture into an oval-saped cake. I repeat this step with the remaining bean mixture. Finally, I cook the croquettes in the hot oil until golden brown on each side (about 3 minutes per side). They are best when served hot or warm.
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