CAMPING FOOD.

There are many perks associated with camping.  Fresh air, connecting with nature, connecting with friends and family, hiking, stargazing and the best thing of all is eating camp food.  Nothing beats cooking a big meal after a long hike.  There’s something very special about the effort that goes into building a fire, chopping up the veggies, marinating the meat all while cracking a few cold beers under the trees.  Cooking a delicious meal in the middle of the wilderness is very special thing that lets us get in touch with our primitive selves.
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Meal times at camp could be the times where people connect the most.  Maybe because of the smell of the food, the collaborative help or just the general buzz of the vultures (your friends) taking bites of food as you try and cook a meal.  Tacos are always a welcome guest at campsites.
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Prepare some chili at home, bring it camping and simply heat it up over the open fire.
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Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, especially when camping.  We all know waking up with the smell of bacon is the absolute best, add that to the smell of fresh air and a dash of campfire smell and we’ve got the holy trinity of smells. The best breakfast recommendation will always be breakfast burritos.  But when you’re in a rush a quick hard boiled egg and some snacks will do just fine.  Get in touch with mother nature, eat Lunchables…..mmm  delicious sodium.
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Tri-tip cooking in its own delicious meat juices.
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Get some frozen hash browns, add cheese and stick on the fire.
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I quick mash of an avocado with a pinch of spices for your starving friends.
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If a simple can of Spaghetti O’s is not your thing, you can always upgrade it by adding spiced sausages, tomatoes, onions and basil to make a semi-upscale meal (ok not upscale at all).  If anything this may qualify as stoner food.  mmm stoner food.
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Eating is no big deal even if you cant (or refuse) to cook.  Simply stick a hot link on the fire.  Or eat a bunch of s’mores.  mmm s’mores.
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LET’S ROAST SOME BACON AROUND THE FIRE!

As a young child I would visit my family in Hungary.  There were certain traditions that we brought back home to America and still practice today.  Some of these traditions make more sense on a farm in rural Hungary but sometimes you gotta make due with whichever setting you’ve got. Plus some food traditions were just too delicious to leave back in the motherland. This pastime is best enjoyed in the countryside, camping or in your garden.
Szalona Sutes‘ or ‘Bacon Roasting‘ is a tradition that is best enjoyed with family and friends.
This is a Hungarian style BBQ!  So instead of one person standing in front of a hot flame cooking, you’ve got several people sweating it out.  This is really fun and builds a since of community.
Before the meal begins everyone enjoys  a shot of Palinka (Hungarian brandy) to celebrate the gathering.  Beers can also be consumed throughout the cookout. Highly recommended!  After all, its a barbecue.

Here’s what you need:
A fire and heavy sharpened sticks (or a long metal skewer will do for all you fancies out there).
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Fresh cut veggies such as tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions and radishes.
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Pork products such as pork belly or thick cut bacon (preferably with lots of fat), Hungarian smoked sausage and some nice smoked pork tenderloin.
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Bread…preferably thick rustic french bread, shepherders bread or if you’re lucky then this delightful Hungarian style bread.
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Put all your meats on the stick and it is rotated on the fire.  You gotta keep spinning or your fat will burn.  You want to make the bacon crispy not charred.
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The key is to get the bacon drippings on your fresh bread and even let them drip on the veggies.   You’ll notice the bacon and sausage drippings will activate the flames as it drips into the embers.
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You cant rush the bacon.   Give it some time.  While you wait and continually spin you can snack on your greased bread.
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After you see you’ve crisped your bacon you can start chopping the cooked bits off.
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This is a great old-fashioned tradition that’s great fun with good people. There’s really nothing better than laughing at the one person that constantly keeps getting smoke in their eyes. Because we all know ‘smoke follows beauty’.
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All photos are taken by me or my cousin Anita from Hungary.
The old timey photo courtesy of
http://lacacseke.hu/

MOTHER OF DRAGONS. NO. MOTHER OF BURRITOS.

Burritos may be the most delicious meal on earth. All your favorite foods all wrapped up in a big warm tortilla.  Sometimes big enough to hold like a little baby or big enough to have a romantic moment with.  Except it wont cry for a bottle or  break your heart and most importantly it wont let you freeze in the Atlantic ocean.  

“There will always be space on my raft for you burrito.”
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The ingredients vary from place to place.
Meat, beans, rice, onion/cilantro and salsa.
Some have guacamole, sour cream, cheese lettuce and other veggies.

this one is from Boca Del Rio
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The California burrito has fries in it. Yes friends, fries.
This one is from Alberts Mexican Food
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All of them have their own charm and endearing qualities.
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I’ve been contemplating my love/hate relationship with rice in my burritos. I think rice may be the evil that breaks your burrito into a exploded mess.

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One side of the tortilla flaps open to dump all the rice right on your lap.  When a burrito explodes we all know it wasn’t a random event. Sure, we can all blame it on Sauron but I’m sure even his beautiful blazoned eye would shed a single tear.  Truly a sad event.  I suppose thats why forks exist.  But still, the “fun” in a burrito has now become defeat.

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Of course I’m not going to be the asshole that tells you the rice is the evil (even though it kinda is).

Lets think about the ingredients.

  • Sometimes its the beans-too much bean water that makes everything soggy.
  • The greasy meat– that not only saturate your arteries but also the tortilla
  • or sometimes its the guacamole and sour cream that makes the whole thing turn into a handheld slip and slide.
  • RICE!!-piece-y. Usually greasy.  Soft and hard to control.

Let’s not play the blame game.  Every burrito has a different personality and should all be treated with respect.

What if YOU are the one to blame for the explosion?
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There are many different ways to eat a burrito.
I like to unwrap and assess the situation (which side looks more stable)  I wrap the foil/paper around the less crazy bulgy side and immediatly consume the precarious side.  The stable side is what will save you.

this burrito from Chipotle was bulgy on both sides. “choose wisely.”
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At a certain point you will be able to sit your burrito down on its own little fat ass.
here’s the burrito sitting down in front me. my date, the burrito.  This ones from Taco Del Rio.
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But when you get to this section of the burrito you know you’re in the clear and you’re beyond the exploded burrito.

And this is the way way you feel.
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So even if you’re the worst burrito eater that immediately goes for the fork and knife (only ok for a wet burrito).  Although I would be mildly entertained by the person that tries to eat a wet burrito with their hands.

Get it girl!
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photo courtesy
http://thesimpsons.com
http://cartoonnetwork.com
http://www.yelp.com/biz/taco-del-rio-la-puente
http://www.yelp.com/biz/alberts-mexican-food-la-puente
http://www.yelp.com/biz/boca-del-rio-la-puente
http://www.buzzfeed.com/kincairm/12-classic-love-scenes-improved-by-a-chipotle-burr-a4wp

LETS BENTO!

Bento boxes are like cartoon foods come to life.   All those adorable little characters, pops of color all placed in tiny little boxes.  Any boring meal could become a work of art.
As I get older it seems as though I am becoming more and more obsessed with everything “cute”.
Kawaii, means “cute” “adorable” and “loveable”.  Seems as though Japanese culture is littered with everything kawaii.   I think if I went to Japan my head would explode from all things adorable. I could hardly contain myself when I go into a Sanrio store and am bombarded with pink and miniature everything.  Too much cute.

Bento boxes that are in the style of kawaii is almost too amazing.  Trying to make food cute?  Yes.  Yes please.   Its like food styling jumped into a big pool of adorable.

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I really respect those moms (and pops) that make little bento meals for their children.  For them to add so much whimsy and creativity into preparing food.  Its really very beautiful.  I really do think this gesture goes deep into the little ones soul more than the parent knows.

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Eating a fun and playful meal that also happens to be nutritious is an amazing gift a parent can give to their child.

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Imagination is such an underused muscle.  Especially if everyone is rushing around this crazy world.  Sometimes its the fine details in life that seep into our subconscious.

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I really respect the art of bento making.   Bento boxes are a sign of care and love. Lots of thought went into the presentation.

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Because we all know we eat with our eyes first.  My kawaii loving eyeballs are already feasting from just looking at these photos.  If I had a meal like this I’m sure I  would enjoy it a million times more if its a little sandwich that looks like Hello Kitty or a rice ball in the shape of Toroto.  S-O    D-A-M-N    C-U-T-E ! ! !

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-i contacted all bento artists for permission to use these photos. you can find them all on instagram or on these sites

@Mdbento
www.flukemonkey.com/bento
@margaret_tatta
margarettata@windowslive.com
@silverleica
www.silverleica.com
@Erikatoh
www.facebook.com/iamerikatoh

MOUTH MURDERS.

There are certain types of foods that merely exist to destroy your mouth.
There are the evil foods that cut the roof of your mouth and there are the bastards that burn the shit out of your tongue.
Both classes of foods are equally as demonic and delicious.
Sometimes you forget how much damage these foods do because but we partake anyway.
I’m sure we CAN wait a few minutes to let things cool down, but I’m hungry NOW!
Plus, I’m sure its fine, right?
Are we masochists? Cocky? Idiots?
As a seasoned eater of foods and drinker of hot beverages I think I have a technique for all food and drinks. But my eagerness and hunger always proves to be my demise.
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Burning your tongue via Pizza is an easy road to pain. Pizza looks so innocent, but underneath that delicious cheese sheet lies a hot steamy devil.
Cutting the roof of your mouth really sucks because if you get it good enough you can taste a hint of blood. Mmmm. Yuck.
Thanks Captain Crunch!
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Crispy bread can be a sonofabitch. Please proceed with caution when eating a ciabatta sandwich. These sandwiches are quite treacherous.
Right when you get your hands on a crispy sandwich you know what you’re in for.
Get ready to go for a ride!
There’s no right way to bite into it and NOT injure yourself.
You gotta dedicate. Think of it as “extreme” eating.
So relax and take a moment to think about the next few days.
Do you need your taste buds?
Are you comfortable having a tore up mouth?
More than likely you can practice a bit of patience or try not to order the crunchiest piece of bread. Sip your coffee or blow on your soup. Lets all try and be responsible adults.
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