Thursday, July 7, 2011

Going back to my roots...

The Husband and I just celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary. Every year we try to do something special and romantic. We’ve gotten all-you-can-eat crabs in Sheepshead Bay, visited my parents (WTF?) gone to Las Vegas so I could compete for Miss Exotic World (again WTF?) last year was one of our best options we went to Ocean City, MD to drink 40s and tequila on the beach with the locals. And this year we thought it would be fun to get back to nature. We would take our city-loving asses into the woods with nothing but a tent, a cooler full of food, a couple sleeping backs and hiking boots. I’m getting back to my roots.

Now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “Peekaboo? The Showgirl? Tent camping??” The answer is YES! Once the glitter is washed off, the sneakers come on, the bra gets thrown on the floor, and the makeup washes completely off and I’m a pretty down to earth boyish kinda girl.

I grew up camping, playing in the dirt, and cooking mud-pies in the back yard covered in whatever I decided to cook. Mud-pie with a side salad of clovers and violets anyone? Sounds delicious…I’ll have two! The funny part of my divided personality is that even at that point of my life I would be cooking my mud-pies while wearing an evening gown complete with socks for boobs. Rolling in the dirt, making up stories about how my husband had tragically left me and my cabbage patch children alone in the woods with no way to fend for ourselves. He was always a truck driver. Strange…since my father was actually a scientist.  But a truck driver was the only thing that would make me being a single mom in the woods believable. Mud was all we had. I had to build ovens, beds out of leaves, dig for food, plant seeds etc. I’m sure that at the end of the day outside I was covered in filth from head to toe! In fact it just made me look like a more believable single mother in the wilderness, so I KNOW I really smudged that grime all over me. That’s what the kiddie pool was all about. After a long day in the yard, my mom would throw me in the pool. I would inevitably try to take the cat with me…Then she would save the violet and clover salad I had made and we would often add them to our actual dinner salad. My mom always encouraged me to eat out of the yard. She taught me that the tiny strawberries in the grass were poison, but mulberries, clovers, raspberries and violets were ok for my experimental cooking.

My love of being outside was fostered by the fact that my parents were and still are outdoors people. We spent every family vacation camping. Part a way to save money, I’m sure, and another part that they truly loved it. We would pack up the car with our camping gear and drive to wherever my Dad felt like. I’ve camped in so many state parks all across the country that I couldn’t count them anymore. And when I got old enough –about 11- I joined the BOY SCOUTS! Yes, I am not a boy, but the girl scouts were for sissies. My mom was teaching me how to cook, and so I had that covered. I wanted to camp, white water raft, go spelunking, rock climb, dive head first into the mud, pee in the woods, and learn how to fend for myself. And…boys were way more interesting than girls. I got along with girls just fine, but I always got along with boys better. Eventually that caused my exit from the scouts as well…but not how you think.

I was an experienced camper in my teens and I even won a scout-cooking contest when I prepared a Cornish game hen roasted on a handmade spit (that I made) over a fire at the age of 13.

Yes, I am a very glittery tomboy.

But ever since my last day of the boy scouts when my best friend –who just happened to be a boy-and I fell asleep talking in the same tent and I was devastatingly kicked out of the scouts for something that never happened, in the most humiliating way possible for a 14 year old girl who had always gotten along with boys better than girls…. I stopped camping.

This anniversary was so exciting because I was going to take it back, and sleep in a tent with a boy, who is my best friend and I might actually do that other stuff too! So…the husband and I loaded up the car with our gear and headed out to Ithaca to camp in one of the State Parks. I was beyond excited! I felt like I was 11 years old all over again as we approached the entrance to the park…paid our $20 and headed our campsite, firewood in hand.

It was about 7pm, I pitched the tent, and he worked on the fire. Then I took over the fire…got that sucker roaring and I began to cook! This was going to be GREAT!! At about 7:30 there was nothing left to do…it was official…we were bored as hell. Holy cow. We both pride ourselves at never really getting bored, I mean we don’t even own a TV…but wow…. this was epic boredom. I started to cook, and we just stared at the chicken on the fire. And stared…and stared…we had a little transistor radio that managed to get a Latin radio station, which we turned on just loud enough to not make too much noise for our neighbors.  We couldn’t wait to eat so we would have something to do. The sun had gone down and it was pitch black outside when I finished cooking. 

The meal I cooked was pretty great!

Here’s a video of it cooking:

Yes...we decided to make our night more exciting by popping popcorn! It was super fun to watch, especially when you're as bored as we were!


the recipe for your summer camping trips!

1 chicken cut into pieces.
1 head of radicchio
Baby greens
Fingerling potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt
1 lemon

Put a light coating of olive oil on chicken, and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Arrange chicken on grill over the lightest flame for 15 minutes, and then move to a spot with more flames to cook more thoroughly. Cook for another 20 minutes or so rotating and flipping them about every 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the potatoes in tinfoil with olive oil, salt and pepper. Wrap them up tight making a sealed pouch for them. Put the pouch in the coals of the fire. Put it in when you start the chicken. Keep it there until the chicken is done.

While the chicken is cooking cut the Zucchini, halve the raddiccio, and cut cauliflower and place on the grill.

Make a simple vinegrette dressing for the baby greens. Mixing olive oil, salt, pepper, juice of ½ a lemon, and a tiny bit of mustard. And toss greens. Serve grilled Veggies on top of the greens.

Remove potatoes and chicken and serve.

REMEMBER TO DO ALL OF THIS BEFORE NIGHT FALLS! It is very hard to cook and see in the dark no matter how many flashlights you have. It also makes you a lot less scared of HUNGRY BEARS!

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