Cookie Jason’s Grilled Sausage and Green Beans

Happy New Year, campers! Welcome to our first recipe of the year. You all hereby resolve to enjoy fantastic food throughout the year…

This is a great one for chilly nights around an open fire, or at home the around dinner table, or curled up on the couch in a toasty living room in front of a good movie. Because, as always, this is just as easily done around the campsite as it as at home. Play along…

This is a two-step process. First, we grill, then we pouch.

Major players:

  • 1lb bratwurst, Italian sausage, or your favorite
  • 1lb Green Beans, trimmed and cut into 1 to 1 and a half inch sections
  • 1 Medium onion, sliced
  • 6 to 7 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter

 

First, grill the sausage until completely cooked through and set aside to cool. Also, grill the green beans.
Yes, we’re going to grill the green beans. You read that correctly. But we’re not worried about cooking them all the way here. Let’s just get some nice grill marks on those and develop that flavor a bit. They will continue cooking in the next step. Once the sausage has cooled enough to handle, slice it into 1-inch segments.

Now it’s time to pouch; which is my favorite method of campsite cooking. It’s easier to use a disposable aluminum baking pan here. But if you’re using foil just make sure you’re using heavy duty foil and make it double-layered on the bottom. Now simply add the sausage, green beans, and all remaining ingredients except the butter into your pouch and toss to coat everything with the EVOO. Add the butter on top of the mix and close it up. Leave a vent hole or two. If you’re using an aluminum baking pan just cover it with foil and poke a couple holes into it. Let that go on medium-high heat for about 20 to 25 minutes.

(If you’re doing this at home and it’s too cold for the grill outside, sauté the sausage and green beans and then do the rest as above in the oven at 375 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes, covered with foil in your favorite baking /roasting pan.)

cookie (1 of 3)

A little something extra? Sprinkle the shredded cheese of your choice right on top just before serving.

 

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

 

A little tip from Cookie Jason:

Get yourself a coffee/spice grinder for about $15-20 on Amazon and grind your own pepper. You can get whole peppercorns in the spice aisle. I like the multi-colored ones (which are just the peppercorns picked from the plant at varying maturity). I get mine by the ounce at Sprouts. I also add a bit of whole cumin seeds to mine, as you can see here. (I highly recommend this. You won’t be able to taste cumin in there, but it does slightly alter the flavor profile of the pepper. Give it a try.) Freshly ground pepper makes a world of difference. Pour it into a spice jar and use it on everything you like pepper on. An empty spice jar works great here, like one that garlic powder came in, for example.
~You’re welcome

 

 

Chef Jason’s World Famous Camp Side Kebobs

Chef Jason’s World Famous Camp Side Kebobs

 

Who doesn’t like kebobs? Warm up with these around the camp fire or on the patio. Just because it is winter doesn’t mean we can’t grill, does it? And kebobs are just plain fun. The key to making these special is in the marinade. Of course there are countless marinades you can do. You can play mad scientist and come up with all manner of concoctions. The idea here is to have fun with it and experiment.

 

Major Players

 

  • Beef cubes – Don’t use stew meat here. London broil is really great, but sometimes I even use New York Strip or rib eye (my personal favorite). Just make sure it’s cut into 1-inch cubes. 4 to 5 per kabob, so you’re looking at about 3lbs for 7 to 8 servings
  • 1 ½ cups plain yogurt
  • ½ cup lemon juice
  • ¼ cup olive oil, plus 2 to 3 tsp for tossing veggies with
  • 1 Tbsp Salt and 1 Tbsp course ground pepper (white pepper if possible)
  • 6 or 7 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 heaping tablespoons of chopped rosemary (Now, you’re not using the dried stuff in little plastic jars, are you?)
  • Finely chopped (leafy) fresh herbs (parsley, tarragon, marjoram, cilantro, etc…)
  • 3 to 4 medium-size button mushrooms per kebob
  • 1 large onion, quartered and layers separated into petals
  • Wooden skewers

 

OK, the fun stuff:

First we’ll start with the marinade. Combine the yogurt, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and rosemary in a blender and blend until smooth. Add beef cubes to a gallon-size zip-top bag and pour in the marinade. Push out as much of the air as you can and seal the bag. Massage contents gently to make sure every piece is coated. Store in the refrigerator or icebox for at least 3 hours and up to 12. Also, soak the skewers in water at the same time, for a good 3 hours. I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite so I prefer to assemble these at home and transport them in disposable aluminum baking pans covered with foil.  Its also easy to make a few meatless ones for your herbivore friends. 

 

Drain away marinade and discard. Toss mushrooms and onion petals with 2 to 3 tsp olive oil and salt. Use 3 to 4 beef cubes and 3 to 4 mushrooms per kabob, alternating, with onion petals separating the beef and mushrooms. Leave at least an inch of skewer on each end for handling. Cook over medium heat on all 4 sides until browned and slightly crisp. It should be about 4 to 5 minutes per side. Remove from heat and immediately sprinkle with the fresh-chopped herbs. Let cool for at least 5 minutes. Crowd-pleaser? I think so…

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Cooky Jasons Fall Recipe

Chef Jason’s World Famous Sage Roasted Pork

OK, time for the first fall recipe of the year! It’s fall time now, my favorite season, and being a seasoned foodie it’s definitely my favorite time of the year for cooking AND camping. It’s time for pumpkin-spice EVERYTHING. But the warming euphoria of the aroma of cinnamon, sage, pine, and other holiday staples is what really drives the fall season mood in my opinion, and we’re going to use a couple of those here.

Boneless country style pork ribs are my personal favorite. It’s super tender and easy to grill. But any cut of pork will work just great. If you’re using pork chops, make sure they’re at least an inch thick. And this will be a double cooking process. Follow along…

Major Players:

  • 3-4lbs preferred cut of pork. Boneless is best
  • 4-5 cloves garlic, crushed and finely minced/diced
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup finely shredded/chiffonade sage. Must be fresh sage; no dried stuff from plastic jars here.
  • 1 cup dried cranberries, or 1 ½ cups fresh ones (roughly chopped)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts

Start by grilling the pork just until all sides are browned and you have some nice grill marks on all sides. Make sure you coat the pork in a little olive oil and salt and pepper first. You don’t need to cook it all the way through here. The second part of this is done in foil pouches. Pour a little olive oil on the foil and lay the pork down on top. Then simply add the garlic, onion, sage, cranberries, butter, and chopped walnuts over the pork. Seal it up but leave a slight opening for venting. Let that hang out over medium heat for 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pork from the foil to a plate to cool, but don’t you dare throw all that wonderfulness in the foil away. No no no… Drizzle the contents over the pork and serve. Sagey goodness abounds. Happy Fall!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Cooky Jason’s June Recipe – Quesadillas

Quickin’ Quesadillas

As far as quick snacks go, you can’t get much simpler than the awesome quesadilla. In its most basic form it’s only two ingredients: a tortilla shell and cheese. And it takes about 3 minutes to make and costs less than a dollar. But obviously, we can’t just leave it at that. So let’s check out some simple variations. We’ll start with the simple version and go from there.quesadilla2

Major Players

One soft tortilla shell: You can pick up a package of these for only a few bucks. (Get the blue corn ones if you can find them. Trust me…)

Shredded cheese: Use ¾ cup for a standard size tortilla shell, 1 cup for a large one. I like to use sharp cheddar and shred my own because it’s cheaper. But sometimes buying shredded cheese is worth the convenience.

Heat a skillet over very low heat and lay in your tortilla. (Or heat the grill up to medium. Lightly coat each side of a tortilla shell with olive oil and salt.) Sprinkle in your cheese on only one half of the tortilla. Salt and pepper to taste and add a few pinches of garlic powder. Or scratch the regular salt and use garlic salt instead. Fold over the other half of the tortilla to make a half-circle. Give it about a minute per side and you’re in business.

Game Changer

Sautee ½ cup onions with ½ cup sliced mushrooms in 2 Tbsps olive oil. Also add in one finely diced dehydrated chipotle pepper (dried smoked jalapeño) with the seeds removed. You can find these at most grocery stores these days. They are not spicy-hot and have an amazing smoky flavor. Also add 2 Tbsps water to your skillet to help soften the chipotle. Let this go for about 4 minutes and remove from heat. When you add your cheese to the tortilla, add only half of it. Then spread your onion/mushroom/chipotle mixture evenly on top of the cheese, then add the other half of the cheese and fold over the other half of the tortilla. Again, we only need to go about a minute per side.

Additionally, how can we forget a little poultry? Marinate 2 to 3 chicken breasts in the juice of 3 limes, a Tbsp of chili powder, and about a half cup of olive oil for a couple hours, up to overnight. Drain and grill over medium heat until cooked through, about 5 minutes preside. Slice thinly and add to the tortillas between layers of cheese.

*Note: if you can’t find chipotles, feel free to use diced fresh jalapeño. There are endless variations you can do here. We can add tomatoes, bell peppers, fresh diced garlic, avocado slices, blah blah blah… You get the idea. You can even use store bought salsa or guacamole. The point is to get in there and try some things and find what you like. This whole process takes about 10 minutes for two quesadillas. These are perfect for that late night snack or serve them up at a party or at the campsite. Score.

Cooky Jason’s July Recipe: Camping Scalloped Potatoes

Who doesn’t love scalloped potatoes? These can be prepped ahead of time and transported to the campsite in zip-top bags or plastic storage bowls. Once again we’re “pouching” here. So this can be done on a grill, over an open campfire, or at home in the oven. This is the basic recipe, but feel free to experiment with different cheeses, combinations of cheeses, and fresh herbs.

Major Players

· 6 large russet potatoes, sliced into 1/8 inch thick slices
· 6 green onions, sliced
· 1 ½ cups shredded cheddar
· 1 ½ cups heavy cream
· 1 cup diced mushrooms (note: you can substitute the cream and mushrooms with 1 10oz can cream of mushroom soup)
· ½ cup butter
· ½ cup crumbled bacon (cooked crispy)
· 8 to 9 garlic cloves, finely chopped
· 1 cup parsley, finely chopped
· ¼ cup olive oil
· ½ cup butter
· Salt and pepper to taste

Down to business:

Combine the potatoes, green onions, cheddar, garlic, parsley, heavy cream and mushrooms (or 10oz can cream of mushroom soup), bacon, salt and pepper, and olive oil in a large bowl or zip-top bags. (It may take more than one zip-top bag. That’s also a perfect way to transport this.) Tear off 6 to 8 squares of aluminum foil. Add a pad of butter to each and then evenly distribute the potato mixture among the foil squares. Seal the foil squares and place on medium heat for about 20 to 25 minutes. Serve…

How about a game changer?

Combine all ingredients but leave the potatoes out until ready to cook. When ready, brush the potatoes with olive oil and grill on each side for about 3 minutes, until you see grill marks. Then add them back to the cheese mixture and proceed as before. Add a few pinches of cayenne pepper. Done.

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

Cooky Jason’s Camping Recipes

Cooky Jason’s World Famous Steak Fries

These are a constant favorite, winter or summer. Indoors or out. They’re perfect for the campsite and simple to make. There are, of course, countless variations. This is how I like to do them. Enjoy!

Major players:

  • 5 t0 6 large russet potatoes
  • 4 good-size rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
  • ½ cup finely chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 1 Tbsp garlic/onion powder (I like to use a combination)
  • ½ tsp ground cayenne powder
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup flour
  • 1 cup yellow corn meal
  • ¼ cup melted butter
  • salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes in half length-wise then cut each half into 3 wedges. You should get 6 wedges per potato. Toss wedges in olive oil until well coated, set aside.

Next, combine flourcorn mealsaltrosemarygarlic/onion powder, and cayenne powder in a large bowl. Add potato wedges and toss until well covered. Bake at 375 for 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown. If you are doing these on the grill, leave out the flour and cornmeal. On the grill, these will take about 20 minutes as well, turning 2 or 3 times to make sure each side of each wedge sees it’s fair share of the heat.

Remove to a large bowl and toss with the butterparsleycumin, and pepper (fresh ground is always preferred) We add the butter, parsley, cumin, and pepper at the end because those particular items don’t stand up well to dry heat, and adding them at the end when the wedges are still steaming releases the wonderful aromatic properties (the essential oils) of the parsley and cumin. Can’t beat ’em…

Questions/comments/requests? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.