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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

Green River Dumplings
Fourth Place Entree
Kate Allen, Westfield, WI

2/3 cup Bisquick
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/4 cups water
2 large Macintosh apples

At home
In a zipper-lock bag, combine the first three ingredients. In a second zipper-lock bag, combine the next two ingredients. Shake the bags until ingredients are well mixed.

In camp
Add 1/4 cup to the bag with Bisquick and knead gently in the bag until well mixed. Boil 2 cups of water in a pot over medium-high heat. Seed, peel, and cut the apples into 1/8-inch slices. Add apple slices to the boiling water. Stir in contents of the cinnamon-and-sugar bag, and bring to a boil. Cut the bottom corner of the Bisquick bag, and squeeze 1-inch chunks (like using a pastry bag) into the pot. Try not to let the doughy dumplings touch. Cover and cook at a moderate boil for 10 minutes, gently pushing the dumplings back under the water every 2 to 3 minutes. Lower heat and simmer uncovered 3 to 5 minutes, stirring gently while making sure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot. Serve when the liquid has thickened. Serves two.

Smoky Mountain Paella
John Combs, Louisville, Kentucky

2 1/2 cups Water
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 package dry Spanish Rice Mix (5.6 oz.)
1/2 cup sun dried tomatoes, quartered
1 can smoked oysters, do not drain (3.75 oz.)
1 can medium size shrimp, do not drain (6 oz.)
1 pouch pre-packaged, chopped chicken breast (7 oz.)
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 teaspoon oregano

In camp
In a 2 quart pot, bring 2 cups of water and oil to a boil. Add rice mix, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients including juices from the oysters and shrimp, simmer approximately 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cook a few minutes longer if rice needs it. Add remaining water a little at a time if sauce becomes too thick. Be careful not to overcook the rice to where it becomes pasty. Tear off a piece of french bread, pass the Sangria.

Sierra Sushi
Kelly Ogle, Columbia, California

2 cups short grain sushi rice
1/4 cup rice vinegar
dash salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package kanpyo (marinated gourd strips)
1 tin unagi (broiled eel)
1- 4oz. pack smoked salmon
4 inari skins (fried tofu pockets)
2 sheets nori (dried laver seaweed)
1- 10 oz bag spinach
3 tablespoons miso paste
4 packets soy sauce (from Chinese takeout)
1 tablespoon wasabi powder
1 small packet bonito flakes
wild onions (if available)
1 small bottle saki (of course!)

In camp
Rinse rice, place in pot, cover with enough water to almost reach one knuckle length (index finger, held perpendicular) above rice. Boil until water is dissolved, remove from heat, set aside. Boil another pot of water. While water is heating, rehydrate wasabi, gather and chop wild onions, send friend to find 4 downed twigs for chopsticks (after a hard day on the trail you need time away from each other). When water boils, blanch spinach for 10 seconds, remove from boiling water, leaving a few bits to add interest to miso. Add miso paste and wild onions. Cover, set aside. Place unopened bottle of saki right in the soup to warm. Mix vinegar, salt, and sugar; add to rice, fan frantically while stirring rice. Set pan in snowbank or river to cool quickly. Then form rice into sushi rice balls, top with sliced salmon and eel. Fill inari skins, roll kanpyo in nori. Cut and arrange. Squeeze as much water from spinach as possible. Pile loose clumps (artistically) of spinach, pour on soy sauce, top with bonito flakes. Serves two.

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