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September 2004

The Best Recipes: REI/BACKPACKER Camp Cook-off

The best gorp, breakfast, entree, and dessert recipes from our cooking contest: 200 contestants, eight finalists, one culinary king

Pretzel GORP
First Place Gorp Contest
Derek Sullivan, Seattle, WA

Combine 1/2 cup each in zipper-lock bag:
dried tart cherries
spicy cashews
Reeses pieces
dried edamame

Mix with:
1 cup Snyder’s Honey Mustard & Onion pieces

Blue-Apple Pancakes
First Place Pancake Contest
Christine Woo, San Francisco, CA

4 ounces pancake mix (Krusteaz or other add-water-only brand)
1 ounce water
4 ounces applesauce
1 tablespoon granola, plus extra for garnish
1 teaspoon chocolate chips, plus extra for garnish
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
2 ounces maple syrup
pecans for garnish

In camp
Combine pancake mix, water, 1 ounce applesauce, granola, and chocolate chips. Melt butter in a skillet and cook three small pancakes on one side of the pan. Use the remaining pan space to make topping. Cook blueberries in butter until soft. Add rest of applesauce and stir. Pour sauce into bowl and add syrup. Plate the pancakes, top with blueberry mixture, and garnish with pecans, remaining granola, and chocolate chips. Serves one.

Angry Red Lentil Tortilla Soup
First Place Entree and Overall
Chris Gilliam, Greenwood Village, CO

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced onion
1/4 cup minced carrot
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 habanero pepper, minced
1/3 cup red lentils
2 cups water
salt and pepper to taste
2 6-inch stale flour tortillas
2 tablespoons dried chives
6 tablespoons grated Manchego cheese
2 lime wedge

In camp
Heat oil in a saucepan. Saute onion, carrot, garlic, and pepper until caramelized. Add lentils and cook for about a minute. Add water, cover, and simmer (stirring occasionally) for about 15 minutes until lentils are soft. Mash the lentils with a fork. Add salt and pepper. Rip tortillas and place them in the bottom of two bowls. Add soup, then garnish with chives, cheese, and lime. Serves two.

High Country Beef Curry
Second Place Entree
Derek Sullivan, Seattle, WA

2 cups water
1 clove garlic, chopped
1/2 cup beef jerky, cut into small pieces
2/3 cup dehydrated veggies (like mushrooms, onion, and carrots)
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 beef bullion cube
1 2-ounce packet powdered coconut milk
1/4 cup raisins
1/2 package (6 ounces) vermicelli rice noodes or angel hair pasta

In camp
Place all ingredients, except pasta, into a pot and bring to a boil. Cover and remove from heat. In another pot, cook pasta, following package directions. Drain pasta and add to curry pot. Return pot to stove, reduce heat, and stir until well mixed and bubbling (if it seems too dry, add water). Cover and let stand 5 to 7 minutes to thicken. Serves two or three.

Drunken Choco-Berry Fondue
Third Place Entree
Rick Mickelson, Minneapolis, MN

10 ounces mixed berries
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/4 to 1/2 cups chocolate chips
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon cornstarch
11/2 cups water
Assorted dried fruit (figs, bananas, apricots, pineapple)
1/4 cup sugar (optional)
1 tablespoon rum
Graham crackers, favorite cookies, rice cakes

At home
In a blender, puree fresh or frozen mixed berries with as little water as necessary to liquefy. Dehydrate puree until crispy. Combine dried berries, sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, cayenne pepper, and cornstarch in an airtight bag or bottle.

In camp
Boil water (if reconstituting dried fruit for dipping, add an extra cup water, then remove it from the pot after boiling). Add dry berry-cocoa mixture to remaining water. Stir and cover. Let set 5 minutes off heat. Pour extra water over dried fruit, add sugar, and cover. Let reconstitute. Bring berry mixture to a boil, then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from heat, pour in rum. Return to heat, tilting pot into flame to flambe fondue. Stir. Dip with fruit, crackers, cookies, or cakes. Savor.

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