Saturday, December 22, 2007


Hello Internets,

I decided to take my gear for a hike last weekend, in preparation for a new season of back country adventure.

I hiked into echo lake with a full load of gear, to practice.

The area was marked "closed", but it look pretty open to me.

Echo Lake wasn't frozen yet, so I walked around it.

Hiking in the snow was really hard, and fairly slow.

I had a blast walking in the snow though, and can't wait to return for some over night adventures.

Be safe out there,

Beef Stew

I wanted to see if I could make a beef stew in a trail friendly format.
I start with big chunks of beef, a sprinkle of salt and dash of black pepper.

Brown the meat over fairly high heat to get a good sear, and begin building some fond on the bottom of the pan.

Set the browned meat aside, lower the heat to a med-high and cook some onions for 3-5 minutes, adding garlic during the last 45s or so.

Deglaze the pan with some wine and chicken broth, add the meat back into the mix and bake @ 225 for an hour or so, with the lid on. I tossed in some more garlic too.

Then we add in the carrots and potatoes, and let it stew @ 275 until they are cooked.

This is what it looks like when I've finished cooking.

I remove the beef chunks and shred them before drying

It dries down into a big sheet.
Done drying. I took out the big potato pieces and busted them up and dried them
further with some more carrots, beans, onions, and garlic to enhance the flavor.

No much to look at, and light on flavor too, which is why I added more onions and garlic to mixture that I took on the trail.

I also added some fresh steamed carrots and green beans to the final trail mixture,
for color and texture.

Um, I don't have my notes handy to write up the exact recipe, but look for it in the future to magically appear in the recipe list. You can pretty much guess the amounts from the pictures. 2 onions, 6 cloves of garlic, 3/4lb of carrots, four potatoes, bay leaf, thyme, half bottle of wine, some chicken stock, 2lbs of beef, a little flour etc.

Happy Holidays,

Lessons in Chili

Hello Internets,

I've given up on trail friendly ravioli for the moment. It's winter time, and I'm moving more and more into instant, cook in the bag, type of foods. I have done some experimenting with stews, soups, and chilies. Lets take a look at what a failure looks like, the beef chili.

I wasn't planning on making this for the trail, so there are no pictures up to this point.

I put some hunks of dried chili into the bowl, already I am thinking this is going to be a pretty nasty treat.

Boiling water was added, and I wait for a few minutes

Yuk, this tastes like something not so fresh from a fast food restaurant.

So, no recipe. I would be very disappointed in this if I brought this on the trail. I'm happy with the beans being nearly instant, but the flavor was flat and bitter at the same time. The meat and sauce was just too fatty to be dried reliably. When I have the time I'd like to make a chili with the intention of drying it down for the trail.

I have a beef stew that I made for the trail, and that turned out good enough that I took it on the trail and ate it all.

happy holidays,

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ravioli :: No Recipe

I haven't posted anything in a while. I got sick with bronchitis, and pretty much took a month off from life. I'm still a little bit depressed, but things are starting to look up again.

I am thinking about making a ravioli for the trail, a nice protein rich packet of flavor wrapped in a high carbohydrate dumpling. My gut instinct says I want beef stew inside a chewy dumpling, with a gravy type of sauce. I'm still thinking about the best way to go about doing such a thing for the trail.

While I don't have a recipe to share yet, I do have some gratuitous photos, just keep scrolling till you find them. I'm still playing with the fake meats, here as a ravioli filling.

Enjoy, and Thank You,

Four egg yolks, some egg white, and a splash of oil are massaged into one cup of flour, wrapped in plastic and set out to rest for an hour at room temperature.

roll it thin, and cut out ravioli halves with metal shot glass

add some filling

put another circle of dough over the filling, and seal with a fork

repeat until you have enough to cook

cook and serve. I ate these with browned butter and a carrot chutney

Friday, October 5, 2007

Lassen VNP Solo trip II

After battling a job change, the flu, and travel for a wedding, I'm finally posting pictures from the Lassen volcanic national park return visit. This trip was a blast, and I used up a lot of my food that had been sitting around for a while.

I will once again be heading towards the lakes in the eastern section of the park

I enter the wilderness at summit lake around 4:00 and began making my way up to badger flat.

Little bear lake was running a little low on water

big bear lake was also low on water

I believe this critter to be an actual badger. I was about 2.6 miles outside of badger flat proper when I startled him. I watched him burrow under the log, and then moved on to my campsite.

illustrated Big Cat
This is a print from a California Mountain Lion. I believe it to be the right front paw. I believe a mom and cub[s?] made a kill very recently from the number of tracks in the area. This was taken about 50 yards from my campsite. I was hoping to catch them coming to the water at night.

Since this was an easy trip for me, I just carried wet tofu. I wasn't packing much water because the lakes were so plentiful in the area. This was dinner. I could have whipped it smooth, but I was feeling more hungry than I was concerned about presentation. I ate it and I liked it.

I laid out on the "beach", silently waiting for visitors to the water. I saw neither bear nor mt lions. I did see two deer, but was honestly hoping for something more interesting.

Morning came quickly and I took a photo before heading out on the PCT across the park.

I walked past several empty lake beds

view of Lassen peak from badger flat

PCT trail marker

I had a very quick lunch of grilled jambalaya I made this before I started the blog. It tastes a lot better than it looks, plus it is almost instant. Add hot water, wait three minutes and chow. Tomatoes, garlic, onions, bell peppers, jalapeno, basmati rice

I passed twin lake on my way to swan lake. It also was a little bit low on water this year.

illustrated bear track
I reach swan lake and setup camp near the animal highway coming to the lake, hoping to catch some large animals drinking in the evening. Here is a bear track I colored in to make the print more obvious.

Dinner was Dahl, black beluga lentils in spicy tomato sauce . . . and apparently some amaranth too. This is one of my favorite trail dishes, but I made this before I had started this blog.

Just before the sun breaks through the forest, whisps of fog float above the water
of Swan lake.

And then the sun breaks through and warmth hits my side of the lake immediately.

I hit the trails early, and was walking in awesome scenery

I made it to corral meadows before the good light was gone. Above was on the left side of the trail, and the shot below was on my right. Just fantastic.

After walking by one dry lake after another, I was surprised to come across a stream crossing that required me to take my boots off. Yes !

I went for a little swim in Summit lake

Clean and ready for the long ride home

Thank you for hosting me, again, I had a wonderful stay.

Cayenne Redmonk