When most people think of camping, they think of two things. Either you are a hard-core back-country aficionado, who packs in and out all of their food, wares, water, and sleeps amongst the rocks and twigs underneath their tent on the floor, hoping the lions, tigers, and bears (oh my! those actually DO live in this state), won’t come along. OR, you cheater camp. As in roll up in your fancy schmancy trailer, with a bathroom, boom-box, grill, stove, and hey, maybe even a jacuzzi. You like to live the high life, even when in the “wilderness”. I get you.
In reality though, there is a third group of campers. Those who are enthusiasts about getting to know the outdoors, pack a tent, sleeping bag, cute lil camping stove and kettle, and you know, the rest of the regular stuff: tea, dark chocolate, milk (ok… I will admit it, it was UHT, but Clover no less), ratatouille, Swahilii stew, Belgian beer, Sherry, salami, Manchego, Acme bread… what? This doesn’t sound like your normal wilderness nosh? Obviously… you have not gone on an outdoorsy trip with a food nerd just yet. You will eat better (and it will taste better due to being outside, hungry, cold, and ready for nutritious, deeeelicious goodness). Or, have it your way, you can eat the freeze-dried astro delights if you so choose. I am sticking with my gourmet camping.
So we gouramped. Yes, that’s right, we gouramped – gourmet camped. New words for new times. Anyways, we stayed in a tent, we didn’t shower for 3 days, we slept on the ground with the most splendid invention called a Therm-a-rest, and it was incredible. It rained, a lot, and the sound of rain on a tent is pretty awesome. We deserved our tasty nibbles, we hiked 16 miles in one day (3,000 ft of elevation gain in 4.5 miles, starting at 5,000 ft)! And with little old me carrying along a cold too. Oi.
Ah Yosemite. You were amazing. Even in fog, and rain, and a few flicks of sunlight. With that in mind, let’s just say, this fruit and nut goodness was our lifeblood. Its salty. Its sweet, soft, a bit malty, crunchy, and just the right amount of fruit and nuts, with some tasty thin layers of spiced cake here and there. Its way better than any of the granola, energy, or raw bars I have seen around, or eaten, in ages. You should give it a go. Find the bliss in eating gourmet while camping!
Do you have any advice for my next gourmet camping trip? Soon its going to be all hike in and out!
Dried Fruit and Nut Cake
(adapted from Pure Dessert: By Alice Medrich)
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup dried apricots, flame raisins, plums, and figs (roughly chopped into 2 or 3 pieces if large, left alone if not)
3/4 cup turbinado sugar
2 cups dates, pitted
1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup pecans
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a loaf pan with butter, and lightly flour. I a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and powder, and salt. Add the sugar, dried fruit, and nuts, and mix well with hands.
In another bowl, beat the eggs with the vanilla until light and fluffy. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and nut mixture, and mix with your hands or a non-metal spoon until all bits are coated with batter. Scrape the batter into the cake tin, and bake until firm, and the bread begins to pull away from the pan and the top is golden and crisp, about 1 hour. Let the cake cool completely in the tin, then turn out, and enjoy! This cake can be kept, if wrapped well, for up to 3 months in the fridge, and at least 6 in the freezer.