A 20-year employee of Upper Wabash Interpretive Services near Andrews, Teresa Rody is no stranger to outdoor cooking classes – but she is hoping this year will be berry special.
“(It) will be the weekend of National S’mores Day. We’re going to use strawberries,” she says of Campfire Cooking on Aug. 9.
Rody hopes to have 30 participants for the class and already has 10 registered. She will have two assistants helping her, including Jessica Grady.
This is the first class for Grady, a recent graduate of Purdue University, but not so for Rody. She says there have been outdoor cooking programs for as long as she has worked for the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.
“We do an outdoor cooking program every year,” Rody says.
The method for teaching children outdoor cooking is different from showing adults how to cook a meal or dish in a coffee can or in a paper cup, Rody says.
“We do novelty cooking here,” she says referring the paper-cup campfire cooking shown to adults.
“Kids are the quick cooking, on a stick,” she says.
Speaking of the upcoming class, Grady says, “We’re doing mostly over-fire stuff.”
“Foil and a camp fork,” Rody adds.
One recipe Grady says they plan to show is baking a muffin in an orange in the coals of a campfire.
Asked if she foresees any challenges with the class, Rody says with a laugh, “Going home too full?”
She adds, “Usually it takes a little bit for people to pitch in. It’s a hands-on (class). And it starts conversation, like how to bake a cake in the Dutch oven.
“My biggest challenge is to keep the lid on it. I want to peek.”
The rewards coming from taking class are practical, according to Rody.
“It’s a lot less expensive to cook in a Dutch oven rather than using packaged food. And it’s a family event. You have to negotiate on what goes in the (Dutch oven).
Rody and her husband, Brad, have three children. She says her love for cooking outdoors originated with Brad when they were married about 20 years ago.
“It’s Brad’s fault that I’m doing outdoor cooking. Even on our honeymoon, we cooked in a Dutch oven,” she says. “It’s more fun (cooking) together than by yourself. Sometimes when you’re in a kitchen, it’s a solo thing, or if you’re cooking in a camper – same. We’re so busy with sports and work, camping time is our precious time together.”
Bacon and Egg in a Paper Sack
1 paper lunch sack
3 slices bacon
1 or 2 eggs
Coat hanger or stick
Cover bottom of lunch sack with bacon. Crack and drop egg in bag on top of the bacon. Roll the top of the sack down in 1-inch folds and shove a coat hanger or sharp-pointed stick through the sack. Hold over coals. The grease from the bacon will coat the bottom of the sack and help to cook the egg. Note: Do not allow the bag to touch the flame.
This will take 10 to 30 minutes to cook, depending on the heat of the coals. Makes 1 serving.
Muffin in an Orange
1 large orange
1 blueberry muffin mix
Dash of almond extract
Slice orange in half and remove fruit from both halves. Prepare muffin mix as directed. Pour muffin mix into one half until about half full. Cover with the other half of the orange and wrap in foil. Nestle orange halves in coals. Watch closely, cooking time will vary with the heat of the coals, about 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 1 to 2 servings.
Easy Peach Cobbler
2 quarts or 2 (30-ounce) cans of sliced peaches, drained
1 (181/2-ounce) box dry cake mix
1 can Sprite or 7-Up
Line Dutch oven with aluminum foil, if desired. Spoon peaches into the Dutch oven. Sprinkle cake mix over the peaches, then pour soda over the cake mix. Stir to blend ingredients. Cover and place around 8 coals (or charcoal briquettes) under and 12 on top of Dutch oven. Bake until crust is golden brown, about 40 to 45 minutes, rotating oven and lid. Serves 5 to 6.
Salamonie’s Mountain Man Breakfast
1 pound bacon
1 pound sausage
1 large sweet onion, diced
2 cups sliced mushrooms
3 cloves garlic, diced small
1 (32-ounce) bag of tater tots, shredded or 10 medium potatoes diced
1 dozen eggs, scrambled in a zip-close bag
4 cups grated cheese
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
Heat a 16-inch Dutch oven using 24 coals. Cut bacon into small pieces and fry with sausage. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic; sauté until onions are translucent. Drain excess oil. Stir in potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Move all but 8 coals to the top and bake for 30 minutes. Pour eggs over the mixture and bake 15 minutes, gently stirring every 5 minutes. Fold in grated cheese and cover top with cheese. Bake for up to 5 minutes more to melt cheese. Serve with picante sauce, if desired. Makes 10 to 12 servings.