Monday, July 15, 2013

Camp Cooking

We've been on vacation. Well, we're still on vacation, actually, but we're at home... but if you ask me to do anything, I'm going to say no. :) Last week was our 8th wedding anniversary, and also the 10th anniversary of the night on the sand dunes by Lake Michigan when, during a romantic starlit walk, Keith said "Well, I guess we're dating now." Happy anniversary, us.

So, in celebration, we went on an exotic island vacation to two small islands off the northernmost tip of Hokkaido. I should perhaps mention, perhaps, that the location was quite remote, cold at night, and we camped. Also, not much in the way of grocery stores or restaurants, except for shops selling kombu seaweed and uni-don (raw sea urchin on a bed of rice).

So... camp cooking was in order! And I have to say, we ate pretty well. Here are some highlights.

The first is uniquely Japanese, although I don't think many Japanese have this meal while camping. However, I'm sure this will be the new wave in camp cooking. You can have delicious rice, meat, and vegetables all in the same little pot! It's called kamameshi.

Thanks for the mini-kama (the little pots with cooking stand) and camping table, Mom and Dad! We used some of the anniversary money. :)
We have it several times on our trip, but this time it had poached and marinated chicken (this recipe with chicken breast substituted for the pork), daikon, and slivers of local kombu seaweed, with homemade radish pickles on the side. Delicious! (On this particular day, we had hauled all our gear to a park by the ocean to watch the sunset... which was underwhelming... although the previous night and the following night were both spectacular. Oh well.)

Waiting for the kamameshi to cook, with Mt. Rishiri in the background
Kamameshi, ready to eat!

We also had aluminum foil wrapped packets cooked in the coals of the campfire. The first time it was potatoes, but the second time was daikon, chicken, carrots, and furikake made with some greens from the garden. It's a cooking technique Keith's been using for ages, but with a bit of a Japanese twist using local ingredients--we got the daikon from one of our neighbors at the farm!

Keith's favorite part of camping: making a fire and cooking over it.
Meat and vegetable packets over the fire!
Not cooking fast enough; Keith put the packets right in the coals.
Ready to eat! Served over rice cooked in the mini-kama.
Right when we came back, we went for an overnight retreat with our church, so of course there was Japanese-style barbeque--"Jingis Khan," which is a Hokkaido specialty of lamb and vegetables cooked on a cast-iron pan over the fire.

Jingis Khan! (The zucchini came from our farm--a bit of an unusual ingredient, but delicious!)
Keith with the youth group boys
Everyone helps when cooking Jingis Khan!

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