Monday, September 28, 2009

Half-Assed Camping

Summertime is always a good opportunity to get out of town and make a home away from home by setting up camp somewhere out there. I grew up in Southern California where the annual camping spot was to go to the beach. I know, it’s not exactly roughing it, but was always fun, nonetheless. One of my favorite things about camping has always been the creation of a meal by coming together with a group of your family and friends to prepare food within limitations of space, utensils, and resources.  My last camping trip was not exactly pressed with these limits, but was still a tad constrictive even though we were half-assed camping.

My mom lives in Oregon and had come to the bay area for some work she had to do. Instead of crashing at my pad, she decided to bring the RV down for some half-assed camping right outside of Oakland. We camped at Anthony Chabot National Park, only about 30 minutes to get to downtown Oakland. All I had to do was show up with my backpack, a few missing ingredients for our meal, and a couple bottles of wine, sans tent, sleeping bag, Coleman stove, etc…hence, the half-assed camping. Since my mom has an RV, she already had the majority of the goods to conjure up a couple of great meals. The best of her contributions were the fresh veggies she brought from her garden in Oregon. She brought an array of bell peppers and cherry and heirloom tomatoes, just a sample of the produce she cultivates.

For our dinner, we threw the tomatoes and peppers in with some green onions, lime and a jalapeño for a simple salsa to go with some quesadillas and salad. The beautiful thing about these homegrown veggies is you don’t need much to make a masterpiece. We had plenty of salsa leftover to make a hearty scramble in the morning. Scrambled eggs/scrambles is a breakfast that I have mastered. Yes, I am aware that this is a very basic dish, but I have a particular technique to make my eggs extra fluffy and super tasty. And we did it with just using the leftovers from the night before.

After chopping the vegetables, I prepared the eggs. This is where the magic happens. The eggs are cracked into a bowl mixed together with a fork until the yolks have just liquefied with the whites. At this moment, I add a bit of salt and pepper, and a tablespoon or two of water. I am a strong believer that adding water makes a fluffier scramble than milk. Once the bubbles start to accumulate, it’s time to start cookin’. A dollop of butter melted in the pan, and the sautéing begins with the vibrant orange peppers along with some spinach left from last night’s salad. After those had softened, I threw in the tomatoes and green onions just for a hot second to brown the edges. This is the moment of truth. Since the eggs have been sitting for a minute, it’s time to fluff ‘em up again until there are a bunch of big and small bubbles. Continue stirring as the mix is pored into the pan, and you can see that the air bubbles will stay there, adding that extra fluff that is so necessary in a dense scramble like this one.

I like to leave this to set for a few minutes before I start stirring. As soon as the edges start to curl up is when I start stirring. Leaving the stirring to a minimum allows the air pockets to stay rather than crushing them by over-stirring. When the eggs still have a bit of liquid to them is when I turn the stove off. The pan stays hot enough to allow the eggs to finish cooking without drying them out too much. What is a scramble with out cheese? So I topped the whole thing off with some finely grated cheddar. If it doesn’t melt quickly enough for your taste, just throw a lid on the whole concoction for a minute, and the cheese melts right down. We served it up with the leftover salsa making for a fine way to start off our Sunday.


Gregory said...

Loved the tip about the water. Looks yummy!!!!

Bev said...

The pics really show how good everything looked and tasted!