In The Kitchen: Gourmet Camping

Cooking while camping doesn’t have to be straight hot dogs and beans out of can.  Being creative with limited kitchen tools and refrigeration can be a daunting challenge.  While in Jackson Hole this summer I took on planning and preparing two meals that went above and beyond a campers expectations.  With nothing but a man-made fire, a grill grate, tongs, and a few other purchased supplies we dined on a gourmet dinner, both nights.

TIPS:

  • Select recipes that don’t need to many ingredients.
  • If you’re using a cooler for refrigeration avoid things like milk, sour cream, etc.
  • Freeze you meats, cheeses, etc before hand, they can act as ice blocks in the bottom of your cooler
  • If your planning meals for a couple of days make sure you think through what ingredients need to remain best kept and plan to prepare those meals first.
  • Take small plastic bags and fill with any combined spices you might need to make your recipe.
  • Cooking with a wood fire is unpredictable, make sure you give yourself extra time and cut through your meats to ensure they are cooked to your standards
  • The less dishes the better!

Shrimp Tacos

Recipe originated from Kristen’s Recipes and improvised by me.

  • 4 Corn tortillas (double up each taco to prevent breakage)
  • 8 medium or large shrimp, peeled and deveined (buy frozen & already deveined, or buy fresh, deveine at home and freeze)
  • 1/4 cup cilantro still on stems
  • 2 slices of lime for garnish
  • skewers (place in a zip lock bag with water to soak for 24-hours)

Slaw

  • 1/2 c shredded cabbage (pre-shredded bag is easiest)
  • 1/4 c light sour cream (first night camping recipe, as sour cream should really be cold as possible)
  • 2 tbsp chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper

Marinade

  • 2 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp hot sauce (for a kick if you like it hot)

Directions:
Mix cabbage, sour cream, cayenne, salt & pepper, lime juice and chopped cilantro, set aside.

Skewer marinated shrimp and place directly on the grill grate, cook until shrimp is pink on both sides.  Heat your corn tortillas over the fire until soft and flexible.  Build your taco by lining up two corn tortillas.  Place a spoonful of slaw and then a couple of shrimp, top off with some fresh cilantro.  Add hot sauce of your choice for a little spice!

Tri-Tip Kebabs – 2 Different Marinades

Recipes from:  Food Network Magazine’s 50 Kebab Recipes

Pineapple Chili Beef Kebab (improvised by me!)

  • tri-tip, cut into large 1 1/2 inch – 2 inch cubes
  • 2 jalapenos, halved, seeded, and then halved again
  • 1 can pineapple chunks

Toss cubed beef tri-tip with:

  • 3 tbsp brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Skewer with jalapenos and pineapples  and grill, basting with a mix of 1/4 cup each cider vinegar and brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon chili powder.

Steakhouse Kebabs

Marinate cubed beef tri-tip:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • chopped parsley
  • chopped thyme
  • salt and pepper

Skewer with onion, mushroom, red and green pepper and grill.

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Travel Guide: Jackson Hole, WY (3 of 3)

Scenic Float Trip on the Snake River

On a crystal clear summer day in Jackson Hole, there are endless possibilities when deciding what you would like to do for the day.  Every which one is more inspiring than the next.  Mountain bike up or down (or both) the local ski resort, hike the local trails, run up to base camp of the Grand Teton (people actually do this) and then of course there is always the endless river activities:  scenic float trips, kayaking, canoeing, tubing, white water rafting, booze cruise kayaking, and surfing.

Surfing in Wyoming?  Yes!  People actually surf the rapids of the Snake River.  Having not grown up anywhere near a river this may seem normal to some– but blows my mind!

Seriously check this out….  Surfing the Snake River Rapids

I would suggest not trying this as something to do when in Jackson Hole, unless you have surfed all your life, or have some serious skills.

Sands Whitewater & Scenic Raft Trips

A little less extreme, but still blood pumping is taking on these rapids in a raft with 10 other people and a paddle.  Snake River during the summer hosts some pretty decent Class III rapids, although if you are in town in May and June you are in luck — high season.  All the snow from the mountains is melting and the rapids become even bigger to set out to conquer.

Preparing for our Drop In to the Snake River!

The whitewater trip is a decent 8 mile stretch with a dozen or so rapids giving you some time to take some breaks in between.  As Dad is not a true swimmer the 6 of us enrolled our fellow rafters to take charge and paddle their hearts out.  Goal =  keep Dad in the boat no matter what!

Why not jump into the 50 F Water 🙂

Conquers -- Chris too he is behind the camera!

Dining-In at Couloir

I have an infatuation with food.  The border-line obsession has plenty to do with taste buds and it continues its development as I grow older, but mostly it’s what food/cooking brings to my life.   It provides endless possibilities and a constant sense of adventure.  Gives color and significance to everyday life.  And mostly it brings those around me together.  Whether its cooking in my kitchen, someone elses, or sharing a meal at a restaurant it brings life to a table of friends, family, and significant others.

A recently shared meal, stands out.  A 18th birthday shared with my small nuclear family and our significant others.  A meal atop a mountain in a kitchen far from home.

Couloir

Couloir, located at 9,095 ft of elevation, in the Jackson Hole ski resort provides a truly unique dining experience.  They offer a chef’s table, located within the madness of a 5-star award winning kitchen.  Executive Chef, Wes Hamilton serves up a seasonal menu, with delicately paired wines.  Adhering to his own sustainability policy all ingredients come from a 250 mile radius, to insure taste, quality and color.

Chefs Table at Couloir

Couloir Executive Chef, Wes Hamilton

Dining-In

Dining at a Chef’s Table is a foodie dream — the action behind the scenes, both raw and inspiring.  As each pristine dish is placed in front of you and the flavors burst or melt in your mouth, you are entertained by a sautee flame and friendly arguments over the choosen tunes (or ipod playing) playing in the kitchen.

Check out the pirates flag

The experience — as overwhelming as it is — takes nothing to the food.  A menu full of local delacies with creative twists.

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If you asked us all the finest part of the experience, I believe in uniform we would say, watching Chris practically finish a whole buffalo.  After 3 course and an entree, Chris simply states in half seriousness and half completely oblivious — “are you going to throw that away?” pointing to a butt end of the cut of buffalo.  Smiling, chef brings over the butt of buffalo — another two entrees and Chris savors each and every bite as we all watch in amazement!

Chris Finishing off Entree #3 of Buffalo

Cleansing your Palette

The Family & Chef in the Couloir Freezer

Travel Guide: Jackson Hole, WY (2 of 3)

Morning Hikes at Signal Mountain Campground

Signal Mountain & Jackson Lake in the Early Morning

This time of day is further than remarkable — quiet, calm, and colorful.  It brings a certain peace to your being watching the sunrise over this scenery.  Jackson Hole is an extraordinary landscape that strikes a different cord at each time during the day.  Wake up early and take a morning walk — no matter where you live, you’ll see the difference.

Dad & I - Morning Walk & Coffee In Hand

The Alpine Slide – Snow King

Having been to Jackson another time in my life, I have no recollection of this memory — however a little sister awaiting the arrival (from a mountain peak) of a sister and father remembers each and every turn and bump.  The Alpine slide is and alternative attempt at the use of a ski resort in the summer.  A concrete luge is truly the best way to describe it as it is just as dangerous.  The Jones family over the years has been drawn to mountains in the summertime and therefore every Alpine Slide that has gone with those mountains.  Injuries as big as broken arms and major concrete burn have been endured.  Do not take this experience lightly!

Bottom of the Snow King Alpine Slide

Bri always knows when shes on camera!

The Course

Reliving the Dream

The view from the top

Snake River Brewery

Snake River Brewery

Local Craft Brew Pubs are always a promise of two things.  Awesome & uniquely designed meals, often local and beer infused, as well as hoppy, warm and refreshing beers.  Snake River Brewing does a delightful mix of brews for every taste bud.

Snake River Brewery - Jackson, WY

Travel Guide: Jackson Hole, WY (1 of 3)

Signal Mountain Campground

We arrived at Signal Mountain campground after taking a gander around the infamous Jenny Lake campsites, in which all the open spots were already claimed by 7am.  Hit the campground EARLY in the summer months, as spots are hard to come by.  Signal Mountain Campground has about 90 spots, both tent and RV, a small convenience store, and bathrooms.  The campsite backs up to Jackson Lake over looking Signal Mountain.  Beware:  Bears tend to frequent this campground — we have video proof.

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Moose to Jenny Lake Bike Loop

Moose is a teeny-tiny town just outside of the Grand Teton complete with a few gas pumps, convenience store, bike rental shop, fly fishing shop, a chuckwagon restaurant, wine shop and a pizza place.  Located just 8 miles from the infamous Jenny Lake its the perfect place to stop, grab some snacks and a bike rental.  The ride from Moose to Jenny Lake runs parallel with the Teton Mountain Range, with constant breathtaking views.

Completion of the 16 mile Loop

Bike along this View

Jenny Lake

Jenny Lake – Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point

Once at Jenny Lake you have the option to either hike 2.0 miles or take a speed boat across to the trailhead for both Hidden Falls & Inspiration Point.  Both must see sights.  Hidden Falls is a gorgeous 100 foot waterfall and Inspiration Point literally speaks for its self.

Hidden Falls, Jenny Lake

Hike up to Inspiration Point

7200 ft elevation - Inspiration Point

7200 ft elevation - Inspiration Point

7200 ft elevation - Inspiration Point

Grand Teton from Inspiration Point

More to come tomorrow…

Ascent of The Grand Teton

Tallest Center Peak = The Grand Teton (Dad & I's Mountain Aug. 02')

8 years ago, almost to the month — Dad, Rich, Chris and I stood staring at this mountain in utter amazement.  Amazed by it’s size, it’s beauty and the commitment we had all made to climb to the top.  At 16, I took on the challenge to climb to the top of this 14,000 foot peak as an opportunity to complete something I would remember for the rest of my life.

Today, 8 years later I stand before it — full of emotion.  A rush of accomplishment, a remembrance of terror, a bond strong enough to hold each other’s lives in our hands and a view so incredible it is ingrained in my mind forever.

August 2002

Amy from Exum Mountain Guides lead us to the top of the Grand Teton in August of 2002.  I was a 16 year old girl with no idea what she had gotten herself into.

The climb began at Lupine Meadows at the base of the Teton Mountain Range.  The seven-mile hike up 5,000-feet in elevation winds through hillsides blanketed in wildflowers, past gorgeous waterfalls, with breathless views of Jenny Lake leading to the Lower Saddle Hut at 11,620 feet.

After 8+ hours of hiking — we reached base camp, the Lower Saddle.  My mind, my body were completely muted with exhaustion and  fear of what was to come next.

Once at the Saddle our priorities were simple– food, water, sleep.  We climbed into a metal hut and lay to rest the bodies that ached so badly.  As I laid there 12,000 feet above sea level, I became terrified.  Terrified of what was next.  I spent that night sandwiched between the support of my father, my uncle, and my cousin and cried myself to sleep.

At 3am we woke from restless sleep and began our final ascent of the Grand Teton in the pitch black night.  Our headlights in tact and are pace set, we began to climb.  Hours later as the sun began to peak over the horizon we got a glimpse of where we had come from and where we were headed.  My terrified thoughts became actions.  My body and mind gave up, I could not do this.  Amy sat me down and asked me and only me, if I thought I could reach the top.  From this point on there would be no way we could turn around.

The inner struggle I felt at that moment was something so real, I felt it through my body.  I had to make a decision that would not only forever affect me, but also my family.  Dad, Rich, and Chris had set this goal too.  I could not be the one to hold them back.  I looked at Amy, with confidence and said I was committed to stand on top of that mountain.

Weather permitting we climbed the Upper Exum route to the top of the Grand Teton.  (see below route in Red)

Grand Teton Climbing Routes

Dad, Rich, Chris, and I stood atop a mountain that day.  With a great hold on what it takes both mentally and physically to accomplish an extraordinary goal.

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

A unannounaced, unexpected lighting, snow, hail storm hit the Grand Teton around 10am, the time in which climbers typically reach the peak of the mountain.  Below excerpt taken from the Jackson Hole Daily:

“We could start to hear the air buzzing with all the electricity,” Walker said. Then came the first big strike.
“It was extremely jolting, extremely painful,” he said. “You just kind of lost momentary use of your limbs.”
The four huddled, standing or crouching on their climbing ropes in an effort to insulate themselves from the mountain.
“We could hear sparks and strikes up above,” he said. “Then we got struck again.
“That one was a lot more of a blast,” he said. “It kind of put us on our butts. It was extremely loud, like you were in an explosion.
“I just remember screaming in pain,” Walker said. “One of the images burned in my brain is looking at my friends and seeing the anguish in their faces. Nobody could figure out what to do.”
A third blast hit the group and then they took stock. Rescue, it seemed, would be impossible so they decided they had to move or die.

Dad and I read this article in shock at the vastly different experience and dangers these 16 climbers faced on Wednesday.  This story brought back to life, both the fear and accomplishment we achieved, by facing the Grand Teton head on 8 years prior.

All climbers were rescued and brought to recovery at St. John’s Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah.