Imagine this scene: You’re on the trail backpacking, mid summer and you have 20 miles or more left in your trip. With two days of solid mountain hiking behind you, you’re Hungry. Capitol H. Heck, capitol everything else – HUNGRY. The kind of hungry that makes freeze dried pouches of nonsense edible, and a Cliff bar for dessert sound good. Hungry. The trail is gorgeous, the weather is great and your companions couldn’t be more fun. But this much exertion requires a good amount of food input and you just can’t stop thinking about it. You think of pizza – thin slice, Brooklyn style – the kind you fold in half to eat. Of tall lovely glasses of lemonade with ice, making condensation drip down the sides of the glass and that sweet / tart liquid that would just make your taste buds sing. You think of thick cuts of juicy red meat topped with blue cheese or sautéed mushrooms or… Well, you understand. You think about Food, all the delicious, delicious food that you’ll have. Just as soon as you leave the trail that is. You look down in your hand at the somewhat sawdust-like nutrition bar your clutching, sigh deeply, choke it down and keep walking.
Just such a scene was deep underway a couple years ago in early August, Green Mountains VT. Day two of a three day trip and four of us were stopped for the night in a lovely little cabin on the Long Trail. Laughing and joking with the others, we were heating water for our pouches of freeze dried Thai while snacking on some hard sausage, cheese and bread Cheryl’s brother Chris had brought. Suddenly Chris breaks out a garlic clove, shallot, and (wait for it…) a 1 oz vial of olive oil?! Wait. What the deuce?! Is this guy seriously sautéing said garlic and shallots and adding it to rice?! Holy cannoli!!! That SMELLS GOOOOD!!!
Graham and Cheryl look at each other in shock – one thought between them. “How could we have missed the boat on this gravy train?” Between us we have over 30 years in kitchens and not once did the thought of a trail side sauté occur. Aspiring trail gourmand Chris now adds bouillon and freeze dried tortellini to his pot, reduces the heat and covers it. Casually leaning back he snags a slice of parmesan and proceeds to pour himself another glass of wine. Our minds blown we sat still in shock. Our Peanut Thai had suddenly lost its appeal.
Fortunately for our tummies and taste buds,once we recovered from our chagrin, we approached that scene with a singular decision, “challenge accepted”. We have since traveled our own food journey that has included hiking and backpacking, pairing food and cocktails, snowshoe adventures (BTW – salad for lunch is a poor choice when the weather under 30 degrees), canoe camping mishaps, and cliff side rock climbing lunches. We have had triumphs and failures but continue to enjoy every adventure.
From these experiences we present to you – Two Hungry Hikers. A diary of sorts, covering the very thing you cant stop thinking about… Food. And how to enjoy the adventure of preparing it outside.
Chris’s Carb Bomb Simmer
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 baby peppers (red & yellow)
- 1 shallot (simply hiker sized)
- 1/2 tube of basil pesto
- 1/4 cup 10 minute rice (select your favorite)
- 1/2 cup Barilla tortellini
- 2 bouillon cubes (I use Knorr vegetable)
- 2 cups water
Directions: In my frying pan I sautéed the shallot, garlic, and peppers in a little olive oil until I got them to sweat. Then add the basil pesto and set aside (you only have one burner…)
Bring the water to boil and add the rice, tortellini, and bouillon. Reduce heat a bit to save fuel and stir every couple minutes to keep the rice from sticking to the thin titanium.
When the rice and tortellini are almost done, dump in the pepper and basil mixture. Cover and let cook until tortellini are done.
Carb bomb. BOOM!