First, some background. I run a camp located at 8000' elevation. This means there is usually snow on the ground 9 months of the year, and it can (and does) snow 12 months of the year. October and November days can hit a high of 84 degrees, as it did last weekend, or a high of 38 degrees, as it did the same weekend in 2012, pictured below.
In this part of the country, fall means two things: wildfires, and burn parties. The two are only minimally connected -- burn parties are meant as a way to eliminate or at least lessen the likelihood of wildfires, not celebrate them. We spend the summer gathering excess fuel (branches, dead trees, etc.), and when the Forest Service removes burn restrictions, we get our permits and spend a weekend burning the piles. I'm explaining this here, because in the coming weeks many of the recipes, menus and stories on this blog will most likely center around burn parties, and I don't want folks to get the wrong idea. It's not like hurricane parties, where people get trashed while the hurricane approaches; not at all.
With that said, I recently spent a weekend with fourteen other die hard volunteers at camp, preparing the site for a future burn party (which is nowhere in sight, thanks to all the fires and lack of snow out here right now). While they hauled logs, I cooked. And cooked, and cooked, and cooked. It was awesome.
So here's a menu for a cool-weather camping weekend. While we have no cars and all our food must be carried or rowed into camp, this menu is perfect for a fall car camping trip. With certain modifications, it will also work for an October kayaking, snowshoeing or backpacking getaway. This menu assumes you are leaving ridiculously early Saturday morning and will grab breakfast on the way.
This is a vegetarian menu, and both soups and the taco filling are vegan to boot!
African Vegetable Peanut Soup
Wine assortment. Thank you Corison Winery in Napa, CA!
Manchego with Homemade Quince Paste
Port Salut with Fig Jam
Olive & Pepper Antipasti
Mixed Salamis and Cured Meats (the only non-vegetarian item!)
Sweet French Bread and Sourdough Baguettes
Chipotle Red Pepper Tomato Soup
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Sweet Potato, Black Bean & Corn Tacos
Assorted Artisan Chocolates
Assorted Bagels with Cream Cheese, Pumpkin Butter, & Cherry Jam
Coffee, Tea & Hot Chocolate
Find the recipe for the African Vegetable Peanut Soup here. Sign up for our next burn party here!