Camping and RV Recipe of the Week
Secret Ingredient Sweet Potato Chili
Chocolate in chili? You betcha! This flavorful vegetarian/vegan chili is a snap for the camp stove, solar cooker, pressure cooker, Dutch oven or a kettle hung over the campfire. No salt is listed because the canned beans and tomatoes probably contain all you need. Add pepper if you like and/or pass the hot sauce. Serves 6.
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons ground cumin
Large onion, peeled and diced
4 to 6 cups peeled, sliced sweet potatoes
Large red sweet pepper, seeded and diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
30-to 32-ounce can diced tomatoes with juice
1 cup water or broth
2 cans red beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup uncooked rice
Optional garnish: minced cilantro or parsley
Mix cocoa powder, chili powder and cumin, then toss lightly with dry vegetables before adding wet ingredients.
Slow cooker method: Spray or grease the upper sides of the cooker. Add ingredients except rice and beans. Cook on High one hour. Stir in rice, turn heat to Low and cook 5 to 6 hours more, adding more water if needed. Stir in beans to heat through.
Solar cooker method: Follow instructions above, adding rice after mixture is hot. Continue cooking until rice and vegetables are tender.
Pressure Cooker method: Assemble ingredients as above and bring to a boil. Stir in rice and raise to full pressure. For white rice, cook 2 minutes and brown rice 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let pressure return to normal. Stir and serve.
Dutch oven method: Spray sides of Dutch oven with nonstick spray. Then proceed as above, adding rice after mixture is hot. Top and surround with well-started coals for an hour until rice is tender.
Stove Top Method: In a roomy skillet or kettle over high heat, sizzle diced onion and pepper in 2 tablespoons hot vegetable oil, gradually stirring in spices, garlic and sweet potatoes to coat. Add tomatoes, water and beans. Bring to a boil, stir in rice, cover and reduce heat. Cook 20 to 30 minutes without stirring until rice and vegetables are tender. Stir and serve.
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Tips for the Camp Chef
* Learn to use a wand blender. Make smoothies, sauces, purees, mashed potatoes. A “stick” blender stows in little space, uses little electricity and is easy to clean.
* Know your galley materials. A plastic of fiberglass galley sink will be etched by acids and scratched by abrasives such as kitchen cleanser.
* Instead of pot pie, make Tot pie. Warm canned stew or chili in a skillet. Top with Tater Tots in an even layer. Cover and heat through.
* Make a light supper with a mug of hot cream soup and your fill of the Whirlagigs shown below.
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Campground Potluck Recipe of the Week
Everyone loves finger foods for camping. Here’s one to make ahead. Use regular or flavored tortillas such as tomato basil or spinach.
2 bricks cream cheese, 8 ounces each
1-ounce envelope dry ranch seasoning mix
½ cup each finely chopped green onion, green pepper, celery, well-drained black olives and red sweet pepper
1 tablespoon drained capers (optional)
5 12-inch flour tortillas
Soften cream cheese at room temperature and stir in seasoning mix well. Then fold in remaining ingredients. Spread on tortillas, roll up and wrap tightly. Chill. Slice one inch thick. Makes about 30.
FREEZE-AHEAD RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Condensed Tuscan White Bean Stew
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 ounces deli baked ham or pancetta, chopped fine
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 large onions, diced
Large carrot, diced
1 cup diced fennel bulb
1 cup diced celery
4 cups water
6 bouillon cubes (chicken or vegetable)
1 teaspoon freshly ground peppercorns
1 pound washed and chopped kale (about 6 cups)
½ teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/4 cup dried parsley flakes
14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cans drained and rinsed white beans such as Great Northern or cannellini
In a large kettle heat oil and stir-fry meat over high heat while gradually adding garlic, onion, carrot, fennel and celery. Add water and dissolve bouillon. Add kale and keep pressing down into boiling water until it wilts, then add remaining ingredients except beans. Cover and simmer over very low heat until vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and stir in beans. Do not add salt. Mixture will be very thick and salty. Cool and freeze, allowing 1 ½ cups per portion.
To serve: Thaw and heat with ½ cup water per portion. This makes a two-cup serving. Top each with 1 teaspoon dry white wine and a generous sprinkling of grated dry cheese.