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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

Ravioli Frijoles Negros with Cashew Lime Cream Sauce (vegetarian)
Raili Taylor, Salt Lake City, Utah

Filling (can also be used as dip)
1/4 cup black bean flakes OR 2 tbsp black bean flakes + 2 tbsp powdered hummus
dash of salt
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 teaspoon oregano
4 teaspoons cilantro
1/3 cup boiling water
2/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 cup + 1 tablespoon water (may need to add a little more as it is kneaded)
1/4 cup raw unsalted cashews (ground to powder)
dash of salt
dash of garlic powder
2 tablespoon lime juice (about 1 lime)

At home
Mix all dry ingredients at home; carry in separate zip-locked bags.

In camp
Stir water into flour/salt mixture. Knead dough for about 4 minutes. Do this in the cooking pot to cut down on dishes, then remove. Boil water in cooking pot. While water is boiling, cut lime and squeeze juice into mixture of mashed cashews, salt and garlic powder. This is best done in the bag that everything was mixed in at home. Make little round circles with the dough (about 2-3" across and about the thickness of a penny). Add some of the boiling water to the bag of black bean flakes, salt, cumin and oregano. Stir and let sit for about 5min.

When the black bean mixture is ready, stir in cilantro if you are using it. Place a mound of the black bean filling in the center of one of the pieces of dough. Moisten the edges of the dough with your finger and stick the top piece on. Seal it with your fingers or a fork to make a decorative edge. Drop in boiling water. It will sink to the bottom, when it starts floating, in about 3 min, it is done. Cook 3 to 4 at once. Serve with cashew lime cream sauce, and a beer. Serves one.

Thai Altitude Two-Course Meal
Christina Woo, San Francisco, California

8 fresh spring roll appetizers, and Spicy Phad Thai
8 rice dried paper wrappers
1/4 cup dried bean vermicelli
3 cups frozen precooked shrimp (will serve as ice pack)
3 cups water
2 cups dry rice noodles
1 cups bean sprouts
2 tablespoon cooking oil
2 stalks spring onion
2 cloves garlic
20 fresh basil leaves
1 cup fresh coriander
1 medium carrot, cut into thin strips
4 tablespoons peanuts
4 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons oyster sauce
2 1/3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon white vinegar
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 lime
1 teaspoon small finely chopped red chili (remove seeds for less lethal dose of spice)

At home
Before departing, prepare chili dipping sauce and pad thai cooking sauce. Store in small containers. Chili dipping sauce: Add 1 tablespoon brown sugar to 1/3 cup cold water and stir, adding 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, 1 tablespoon chopped coriander leaves, and 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped red chili. Spicy Pad Thai cooking sauce: Chop spring onion into small pieces, crush garlic, and mix with 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 tablespoons oyster sauce, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 2 teaspoons soy sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped red chili.

In camp
Soak the dry rice noodles and dried bean vermicelli in 2 cups water while setting up camp stove.

Spring Rolls
Dip paper wrapped into water. Place 2 thawed, cooked shrimp in center of wrapper. Top with 2 basil leaves, 1tablespoon coriander. Add some carrots, a squeeze of limejuice, noodles, and chili sauce. Press filling down, fold in 2 sides, and roll up the parcel. Sprinkle with water. Repeat for all wrappers. Garnish with sauce and coriander leaves.

Spicy Pad Thai
Heat oil in largest frying pan you’ve brought over medium heat. (Approximately 2 minutes.) Add shrimp, noodles, and 1/2 cup water. Stir until soft. (1 minute) Turn heat to low and add pad thai cooking sauce. Add a few squeezes of limejuice and stir. Turn up heat to medium and add bean sprouts and chives. Cook for another minute. Remove from heat and serve with crushed peanuts. Serves two hungry hikers.

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