Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Long time, no eats!

Love that brilliant blue of Georgian Bay Water at the Flowerpots!
August has turned into a vast wasteland for AMFAS, and for that I apologize. There are many reasons, mostly work-related, plus some time away from home that interferred. And oh, did you know I have a new novel being released in less than a month?

But I have been thinking about food – and cooking it! With tomato season in full swing, there have been lots of things with those red beauties. We also made some more bacon a couple of weeks ago, maple smoked this time, and it turned out beautifully. So beautifully, in fact, that my sons absconded with all of it after we’d cooked them a few slices for brunch!

This past weekend, we were in the wild woods of Muskoka, just north of Toronto, for an annual get-together with some friends from our days in Montreal at university (and after). Actually, we were at a very nice cottage, not roughing it in the slightest, but while we were out for some walks in the woods, Vicki and I discussed the times we used to take our then-young sons camping on Flowerpot Island, a few miles off the tip of the Bruce Peninsula.

One of our first times at Flowerpot back in the ’80s.
It is an amazing lovely and wild-feeling place. There are six rough campsites and because of the island’s rockiness and in consideration of the very fragile soil layer, each site has a large platform upon which you can pitch your tent. Cooking used to be done in fireboxes down near the beach when we first were going there (firewood supplied, but you had to cut the longer logs into suitable lengths – which we’d also split it for easier starting and more consistent cooking heat).

Later on, fires were banned because idiots would make bonfires on the cobble beach, and it was clear that sooner or later they’d set the woods on fire and this beautiful little gem of Canada’s Fathom Five National Marine Park would be lost. Now you can only use camping stoves, a bit of a bummer, really, but I concur with the reason things are this way.

Anyway, this post is about a recipe we all used to love whenever we were out on Flowerpot for a few days: camp biscuits! Neither Vicki nor I can remember where it came from, but we tweaked it a bit over the years until it became a “must-have” inclusion into all our camping trips. They’re quick, tasty and good for you with all that wheat germ. We can’t taste one of these without thinking of our picnic table out on the rocks with a view across the waters of Georgian Bay to the coastline of the Bruce Peninsula, about 2.5 miles away. The memories wonderful days and nights (the stars are jaw-dropping) we spent there with our sons are really precious to all of us.

This recipe is set up for cooking at home and they’re simple enough for even a young child to make. If you want to enjoy them while out hiking or camping, use milk powder which cuts down on weight and which means you only have to carry lightweight dry ingredients and oil. We’ve found that mixing the milk powder and water separately (following the directions on the box!), then adding this to the flour, etc. gave better results than mixing the milk powder in with the flour and then adding water.

Camp Biscuits
Makes 8

1-1/2 cups stone-ground whole wheat flour
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 Tbs baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup oil (we use canola)
2/3 cup milk

1. Mix together dry ingredients.

2. Beat the wet ingredients together then add them to the dry. Mix lightly but thoroughly.

3. Knead the dough for a minute or two right in the mixing bowl.

4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces. Flatten in your hands to make patties about 2" across and of even thickness.

5. Heat a skillet over a medium/low flame. Grease it lightly then cook the biscuits (covered) turning once. It takes about 5 minutes per side depending on thickness (and the heat of your camp stove if you’re cooking them that way. Check them for doneness by poking each with a knife. The blade should come out dry. Eat these puppies hot!


Rick Blechta said...

I just thought of something else we used to do with this recipe. If we were making it early on in the week, we'd take some finely grated old cheddar cheese or Parmesan and mix that in with everything else. Both are sons are real cheese hounds. About a half-cup should do it. If you live in Vermont, try Cabot’s old cheddar. Excellent!

HelenL said...

I too love camp biscuits -- what those of us who eat them more often call flatbread. No dairy for me but fruit juice instead of milk adds another dimension. Apricot in particular is tart/sweet and tends to colour the biscuits slightly. Yum!

Rick Blechta said...

Now that sounds good. We'll have to try that. I love apricots!