Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Camp mixed bery cobbler

I adopted this recipe from in Sunset Magazine in May 2009. The recipe was developed for use in a 12-inch camp-style Dutch oven by Chef Guy Fiere of Diners, Drive Ins and Dives fame. He "loves to make this treat on a camping adventure."

After reading the article, I figured it would make a great dessert for camp. It was a hit at the Christian Chefs International 2012 Annual Conference in Canby, Oregon, where it was showcased alongside a Dutch oven meal. Since then I've discovered campers enjoy the "rich, sweet treat."

When you prepare camp berry cobbler, a nice crunch in each bite impresses campers. The juicy berry goodness is topped with a crunchy cake-like crust. As the cobbler bakes, juices from the berries are released and absorbed by crust. Telltale pools of thickened berry juice seep through the crust. Each bite contains an impressive mix of fruit and crust.

Serve camp berry cobbler with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh whipped cream. An almond or coffee-flavored ice cream will complement the cobbler as well.


CAMP MIXED BERRY COBBLER

2 pounds all-purpose flour
1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) baking powder
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 ounce cinnamon
1/2 ounce cloves
1/4 ounce nutmeg
1/4 ounce ground ginger
1 pound unsalted butter
2 pounds 7 ounces granulated sugar (divided use)
5 pounds frozen mixed berries

In a food processor, pulse together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and ginger. Add butter; pulse until mixture is very fine. Add 2 pounds of the sugar and pulse to combine. If preparing topping ahead, transfer to a storage container and chill until ready to use, up to 2 days.

Place partially thawed berries in a large bowl. Stir in 7 ounces of the sugar. Pour berry mixture into greased a 12 by 20 by 2-inch hotel pan. Spoon half the cake mixture evenly over berries.

Bake cobbler in 425o oven for about 20 minutes. Spoon on remaining flour mixture. Continue baking until topping is golden brown and berry juices are bubbling to the surface, 15 to 25 minutes more; let cool at least 20 minutes before serving.

'The Road Not Taken'

This reminds me of Robert Frost's poem, "The Road Not Taken," 1920. The picture was taken at the Camp 5 Boat Launching Facility on the west shore of Lake Davis, California, near Portola.

Friday, July 12, 2013

What happed to AM salads?

Campers and staff at Oakland Feather River Camp have a longtime tradition of inscribing their names on the lumber walls in the Chow Palace. Thousands of inscriptions -- many newer signatures written on top of older ones -- adorn  the walls and ceiling. The tradition dates back 40 years or more. I've seen signatures that date from the 1970s.

While most recorded their name somewhere below the six-foot line, those written above the "ladder line" intrigue me the most. Written in 18-inch block letters on the ceiling near the main entrance are the letters "ARMY EOD 1986." The only way to manage the inscription would've been to bring a tall scaffolding into the Chow Palace, a difficult task when camp is in session.

The headstone in the photograph caught my eye when I first walked into the Chow Palace last May. Nailed onto the rafters high above the wall in the northeast corner of the dining room, the grave marker apparently commemorates the burial of the morning salad shift in the kitchen in 1985. One wonders what happened during the long summer of cutting and filling tubs with romaine and iceberg lettuce. Maybe it as a summer of torture for a less than enthusiastic salad maker.

I may never know the circumstances that led to such a morbid inscription. My prep cook assigned to the salad shift seems to enjoy her job. Maintaining the salad bar for lunch and dinner is a key position in the 2013 Oakland Camp kitchen. I doubt you'll find "RIP A.M. Salad 2013" next month when the kitchen crew departs.