Friday, February 20, 2009

Camping & Rafting : Tri Tip Roast

The guy is bonkers about food. He's our camp chef on the American River trips in California. Steve can be found squeezing avocados at dawn at the local markets for the best of the squishy delight or gathering melons from the local farmers markets for the best quality flesh. Either way, he is passionate about all things food. (I even heard that he watches the Food Channel for grilling and cooking tips!)

Steve's been beta testing recipes again and all of us at the office have been guinea pigs to his gourmet treats. Here's one that we all loved and hope to see on the next river rafting camping trip on the South Fork American.

1 large tri-tip
Marinade to cover tri tip (salad dressing is easiest; add other ingredients)
head of garlic (peeled, cut in half; see below, save a few cloves)
1/4 diced scallions
handful of herbs (use your favorite; rosemary, thyme, etc)
soy sauce (splash or to your taste)*optional
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup diced onions
whole onions (cut in half)
10 small yukon or red potatoes (cut in half)
splash of wine (*optional)
6 large carrots cut into thirds
2 cups of cleaned brussel sprouts (make a small cut x at the bottom to cook thoroughly)

Marinade the tri tip in a ziplock baggie with your favorite marinade. Add garlic cloves (add a whole head or just part of it), green onions and any herbs to the baggie. Add a splash of soy sauce (*optional). Set aside for at least an hour or overnight in the refrigerator or cooler. Add 1/4 cup of olive oil into a roasting pan or heavy dutch oven. Heat to high. With tongs, add meat and sear on all sides helping to seal in juices. Take meat out and set aside onto a clean plate. Add the rest of the olive oil into pan. Heat to medium high and add diced onions and garlic. Heat until onions are slightly browned. Add halved onions & potatoes. Add meat with all juices. Add a splash of wine*. Roast in 450 degree oven or dutch oven for approximately 30 minutes. Add carrots and brussel sprouts at the end. Continue cooking until done to your liking for approx 10 to 15 more minutes. Serve after letting the meat rest for 10 minutes. Serve with an additional salad or crusty grilled baguette... but the potatoes are already in it so it really is a one pot meal!


Variations: for vegetarians or vegans just separate the meat from the vegetables into two roasting pans. Prepare vegetables and add olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs. Toss well, coating all vegetables. Roast at 450 degrees as instructed before. Serve when potatoes are done. Add a meat substitute like grilled tofu to complete this vegetarian or vegan dish. Groups rafting with us will love this hardy meal!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Mushrooms are plentiful at the farmer's market in California. I look for large caps that are still connected to the stems. What I like to do is use leftovers when making this easy dish. Use leftover bread ends, mushrooms and other veggies in your fridge. Keep it simple and you will make this easy recipe at least 3 or 4 times a month. If you are river camping, try this same dish in the dutch oven.

12 large whole mushrooms (button, crimini, etc)
1/4 olive oil (split into two portions)
1 head of garlic chopped and minced
1/2 yellow onion diced
1 cup chopped mushrooms (stems from the whole mushroom)
1/2 cup of spinach (cooked, chopped & drained)
thyme, rosemary, oregano (variety of herbs that you like)
salt, pepper
1/2 cup of dried out bread crumbs
handful of cherry tomatoes

Brush and clean mushrooms. Break off stem carefully leaving cap whole. Chop stems and set to side. In a large skillet, place 1 portion of olive oil into skillet. Add garlic to flavor the oil. Add diced onions and carmelize slowly (translucent w/ dark brown edges). Add chopped mushrooms and saute until all moisture is gone. Add spinach. Add herbs, salt & pepper. Add bread crumbs at the end. Mix well and let cool. Rub each mushroom cap with a little olive oil (use reserved 2nd portion of oil). Place cap side down onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Add a dollop of mixture to each mushroom cap. Add a tiny bit of tomato (I use 1/2 of a cherry tomato to top each cap). Drizzle left over olive oil over the entire platter of stuffed mushrooms. Broil until tomato is totally wilted and mushrooms look cooked (dry and dark). (approx 10 min or less depending on size of mushroom).

Variations for non-vegans or non-vegetarians: add cooked Italian sausage to the mixture prior to the chopped mushrooms. Omit seasonings due to sausage seasoning. Add a sprinkle of parmesan cheese before you broil. Another great variation is to add ricotta cheese to the mix and then prepare as outlined above.

Serves 4 to 5 people as an addition to the main course. Stuffed mushrooms are also a great hors d'ouevres at room temperature! Try different mixes and don't be afraid to experiment!