One of the benefits of being in a wine club are the exclusive events you can attend. We are “citizens” of Frogtown Cellars, a winery north of Atlanta, and this past weekend I attended an all day event centered around the harvest. This was not just a party, we worked for our dinner. In the morning, we picked grapes for hours. While it was a great experience, it was hard work. And the weather could not have been more perfect.
After much searching, I have finally found a Riesling that is right up my alley. Sorry Germany, I thought it was going to come from your soil, however, your neighbors in Alsace appear to make a wine that are more suited to my personal taste. A fresh, fruity and floral nose. Bone dry with zesty acidity and hints of melon and peaches. A truly lovely wine that opened up nicely in the glass.
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Since the start of our camping and backpacking craze this summer, I have spent a LOT of time making beef jerky. And I have eaten more beef jerky in the past two months than in my entire life. Why the sudden interest? Well, I had never eaten homemade jerky before and find there to be a remarkable difference compared to the store bought stuff. Doesn’t eating the same thing on every camping trip get boring? Well, no, because there are many recipes for jerky and you can use it as an ingredient in other dishes! Here is what I have learned about beef jerky so far this summer….
I was in NYC recently on business and had dinner with a dear friend at The Red Cat in Chelsea. I had been eager to dine there for ages because my cousin works at the restaurant and told me on several occasions that the food is great. After much delay, I got my opportunity and it was well worth the wait.
I am a big fan of savory pies. Chicken pot pie has been a favorite of mine since I was a young child and I have spent years perfecting my own version. A second type of meat pie came into my life when I was 12 years old and lived in England for a year. The Shepherd’s Pie.
I recently made a big batch of salsa for a camping trip and it was terrible. I was in a rush and instead of seeking out delicious locally grown tomatoes, I bought some from the grocery story. The salsa did not taste bad, it just tasted like nothing. So we did not eat it but for some reason I was reluctant to throw it away. I was curious if I cooked it for hours whether it would magically transform into a wonderful Mexican style-marinara sauce. So I gave it a shot and was pleased with the results.
I was fortunate enough to score another windfall of chanterelle mushrooms this week from our foraging friend and was really excited to try something different. I wanted a simple preparation that would let the natural flavors of this wonderful vegetable shine. A saute of chanterelles, shallots, garlic and white wine was the perfect side dish for a dinner of pan seared chicken, rice and okra.
I have recently been asked by a few friends for camping tips and gear recommendations. Since we have gone camping more weekends this summer than we have stayed home, I have learned quite a few lessons along the way that I am happy to share. My primary suggestion is to prepare and organize at home as best you can, and bring only what you need. That will free you up to enjoy the camping trip and not waste time packing / unpacking / organizing / prepping / searching. I love camping because I appreciate the quiet, beauty and serenity of the wilderness and want to soak up every minute that I can.
A good friend of ours likes to forage for mushrooms in the woods. I have been the very lucky recipient of his hard work a few times, and most recently was gifted a huge bag of chanterelle mushrooms. This is not even the full bag. I had never been in possession of this quantity of gourmet fungi so I wanted to make a dinner to truly honor and highlight this windfall.
If you camp a lot during the summer like I do, a dinner of hot dogs and baked beans becomes boring very quickly. I did a brief stint of gourmet cooking earlier in the season but quickly realized I was spending way too much time prepping meals when I really wanted to be hiking or playing in the river or whatever else we trek out to the middle of nowhere to do. The happy medium for me is to plan recipes that are tasty, easy to prep at home and fast to cook at the campsite.