Overland Chef: Summer 2009 menu

The Menu:

Starters & Drinks ~ Icy cold Tecate and limes, fresh vegetables and salsa dip

Dinner ~ Tacos made from dried ground beef, on flour tortillas with black beans, squash, cheese, and cabbage

Dessert ~ Seared watermelon


Tacos (made with dried ground beef; see Summer 2009 issue for method)

Serves: 4-6 | Time: 30 minutes | Equipment: large cast iron or other type fry pan, and one large saucepan | Recipe adapted for camp by Roseann Hanson


Simmer three cups of dried meat in three cups of water, covered, for about 20 minutes (keep testing until meat is tender; you may need to add more water). While the meat is simmering, chop up a two or three cloves garlic, an onion, and several small squash or zucchini (chayote travel well) in small dice and saute in light olive oil until al dente. Add a can of black beans, season with salt and pepper. Season the meat with salt, pepper, maybe a little chipotle powder or curry for bite. Serve on warmed flour (or corn) tortillas with salsa and chopped cabbage, and if you can find it, queso seco, a dry Mexican cheese.

Seared Watermelon

I found this recipe in a magazine ages ago (possible Sunset?) and I’ve made it with varying degrees of success. The key is that the watermelon slices (rind removed) need to be sweet and very dry. Sear over a grill or on well-oiled cast iron – serve with a little honey.

Overland Chef: Winter 2008 Menu

Winter 2008′s Overland Chef menu centers around freshly baked bread – an especially delicious and easy version that involves no kneading. It’s true. You have to try it to believe it.

The Menu:

Starters & Drinks ~ Chipotle popcorn and micro brew ale

Dinner ~ Ribollita with freshly baked bread and butter

Wine Pairing ~ For white, a vouvray or white burgundy; for red, a chianti classico or a new beaujolais

Dessert ~ Pumpkin cobbler

No-knead Bread

Serves: 4-6 | Time: 4½ hours to rise, 40 minues to cook | Equipment: Large Dutch oven (10+ quart, preferably 7” depth or more), small trivet for inside oven, and 8” pie or cake pan | Recipe by Mark Bittman; adapted for camp by Roseann Hanson

3 cups flour
1 packet (¼-ounce) instant yeast
1½ teaspoons salt

Combine flour, yeast, and salt in a large bowl or pot. Add 1½ cups water and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy (more like batter than dough). Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rest undisturbed for about 4 hours at around 70 degrees (the warmth is important for the yeast to grow and develop flavor; if it’s cold, use a hot water bottle or two).

After 4 hours, use a wide plastic bowl scraper to lift and fold the dough over onto itself several times; it will still be loose and sticky. Cover again and let sit 30 minutes.

At least an hour before dough is ready, get your fire going (if using charcoal briquettes, start them in a chimney 20 minutes or so before). Put the trivet and cake pan in the Dutch oven and pre-heat the oven over coals until it is very hot—at least 10 minutes with very hot coals (if it’s too cool the crust will stick to the cake pan). When ready, dump and scrape the batter into the cake pan (which helps contain it, since it is still pretty goopy) and replace the lid; add coals on top. Keep the heat pretty high but check every 10 – 15 minutes by quickly lifting the lid; it’s easy to burn. Cook 40 minutes or so—it should be nicely browned and hollow-sounding when thumped. Remove from oven (I use pliers to grab the cake pan), tip out of cake pan, and let cool on a rack; the trivet works well. Notes: I burned the outside of my first loaf, but the inside was still tasty; the second loaf I didn’t have a hot enough oven and it browned nicely but stuck to the cake pan. If you have a small but deep oven, you can try pouring the batter right into the oven but reduce direct heat on the bottom, to avoid burning the crust.

While the bread is baking, prepare the rest of your menu. Crack open some micro-brew ales, and make some chipotle popcorn:

Chipotle Popcorn

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a medium heave pot (with lid) over medium-high heat – place one popcorn kernel in the middle and close the lid. Use good-quality fresh, organic popcorn and a good corn oil – it makes a difference. When the kernel pops, pour in 1/4 cup kernels and put the lid back on. Give the pot a shake every minute to keep it from scorching. Kernels will start popping furiously. When the popping nearly stops remove from heat and keep shaking. Salt with sea salt and sprinkle with chipotle powder (from Penzeys.com).


This is a classic peasant dish from Italy – it means literally ‘reboiled’ and was a way to use up leftove minestrone and other dishes. Since we won’t be making minestrone from scratch, this is a ‘jive’ recipe I developed using canned goods that’s great in camp. If you have dried beans, use your pressure cooker to make short work of them (see Overland Chef Fall 2008).

  • 2 cans cannellini (white, Navy) beans, drained, reserve
  • 2 Italian sausages
  • 1 leek, chopped (or onion)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup savoy cabbage, chopped (any cabbage will do)
  • 1 bunch kale or greens, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 3/4 cup carrots, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 1/2 bunch sage, shredded
  • 1 12-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 1/4 cups stock
  • fresh oregano

Cook sausages in bottom of large heavy pot in oil. Remove, keep warm. Saute leek or onion in oil in pot. Add cabbage, kale, celery, carrots, garlic, half of sage, tomatoes, 3/4 C stock. Cover and cook until wilted/soft but not mushy -about 5 minutes. Test. Add rest of stock. Mash a couple of spoonfuls of beans (about 1/3 of
total) and add. Simmer for about 20 min. Slice sausages into bites. Add rest of whole beans, sausages, lots of salt/pepper, more sage, fresh oregano, and heat through. It’s better the longer it sits, for the flavors to blend.
Pumpkin Cobbler

This dessert is a kind of pumpkin cake-pie hybrid, not really a true cobbler, and it’s kind of odd to make. But the result is what I call ‘stupid-good.’ Ignore the fact it has a boatload of butter, evaporated milk, and several cups of sugar. It’s good for you when camping. And it’s got vegetables in it. See? (Recipe by Shepherd’s Seeds; if you are overlanding in Centrall or South America or Africa, you’ll have lots of access to squash and pumpkin – wrap some in foil and cook over your fire.)

For the batter:

  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups cooked mashed pumpkin or squash
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger, cloves, nutmeg, each
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup butter

For the crust:

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons sugar

Filling: Combine eggs, milk and pumpkin; add the rest of the ingredients, mix well.
Crust: melt butter in medium Dutch oven. In another bowl, mix remaining crust ingredients until just combined, and pour into Dutch oven on top of butter.
Combine: Spoon the filling batter carefully over the crust batter. Do not stir. Yes, this is odd, and it looks like a mess, but trust me it works. Dot the top with the remaining butter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake 1 hour over medium heat (approximate 350 degree-oven).

Share your menus, recipes, and overland cooking tips with us at editor at overlandjournal dot com.

Reader’s recipe: Green Bean Casserole

Overland Journal reader Corey Tando, whose forum Yotatech.com is one of the best resources out there on all things Toyota, sent us this note after reading about the new Overland Chef column. 


This recipe my mother use to cook for us back in the 70s.
Someone left it on her office desk way back then, she never did find out who left it.
It is very good though, and makes for a great side dish.
This is the info on the card they left on her desk:
Margaret K’s Swiss Green Beans
1 cup of sour cream
4 cups cooked French cut (or canned) green beans, drained
1/2 lb Swiss cheese
2 Tablespoons butter or margarine
2 Tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon grated onion
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper (you could substitute these two with seasoning salt of your choice)
2 cups of crushed Cornflakes
In a mixing bowl add the two tablespoons of melted butter, stir in flour, onion, sugar, salt and pepper.
Add sour cream, mix until blended.
Fold in the drained cooked beans.
Put in a greased 1 1/2 quart casserole dish.
Grate the Swiss cheese and sprinkle on top.
Spread the Cornflakes over the top of the rest.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes.
This may be made ahead of time at home and baked later when at camp.
I am  not familiar enough with Dutch ovens if you could have this already in it and kept in the fridge before a trip, then take it out of a fridge/cooler while in camp to cook.
I can tell you though, there were never any leftovers from this when my mother use to make it for dinner for us long ago.
Corey Tando
YotaTech.com Administrator


This is a great, very old recipe that has an interesting past. There is a 1950s version, made with Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup and canned onion rings, that was developed and popularized by the Campbell’s “test kitchen” to further increase the popularity of their convenience foods. But Corey’s mom’s version actually hints that this recipe has its origins in classic French cooking – vegetables in a cream sauce, topped with a gratin and cheese, then broiled. Delicious! Thanks so much Corey. (Oh, and regarding the Dutch oven idea – cast iron reacts quickly to any acidity in foods, so it’s probably best if you pre-mix in a Tupperware, then add to a pot to finish it at camp.)

Corey’s fantastic FJ camp setup:



Overland Chef: Fall 2008 Recipes

In the Fall 2008 Overland Journal, we debuted the new Overland Chef column, a celebration of good camp cooking, equipment, and tips on useful things like storage and nutrition for long trips. Each issue will feature a menu and one recipe, with the rest of the menu’s recipes posted on the blog. (To search future recipes, use the Overland Chef category link at left.) 

Fall 2008 featured this delicious menu:

Starters & Drinks ~ Spiced Nuts and Dried Fruit, Dawas for sipping

Dinner ~ Chicken en Adobo with Tropical Lentil Salad, Grilled Zucchini and Green Chile

Wine Pairing ~ For white, a soave or vernaccia di gimignano; for red, a rioja

Dessert ~ Grilled Mango with Honey

Equipment for this menu: Two-burner stove (one-burner will work as well); pressure cooker (I use the GSI 3.5-quart hard-anodized model, only 4 pounds, is compact, and cleans up easily); grill for campfire



Recipe from: African Kitchen by Josie Stow

Serving Size: 4

  • Crushed ice
  • 1 lime, cut in wedges
  • 8 tots vodka
  • Clear honey

Put a lime wedge in each glass and fill 3/4 full with crushed ice. Pour 2 tots vodka into each. Dip the sticks into honey and coat. Place sticks in glasses and serve.


Spiced Nuts and Fruit

Recipe adapted from: African Kitchen by Josie Stow

Serving Size: 4

The recipe calls for tossing mixed nuts (macadamia, cashew, almond, pecan, etc.) and dried fruit (prunes, apricots, cherries, etc.) in hot olive oil in a big fry pan over an open fire and then sprinkling with freshly chopped cilantro and chile and grated lime or lemon peel. If this sounds like a bit too much work, I’ve had good luck heating oil with chile to get the heat going, then tossing the nuts and fruit and sprinkling with fresh lime juice. Alternatively, sprinkle with a spice flavor mix like Penzeys Cajun Seasoning or Vindaloo curry (very hot!). I usually stock a snack bag of good-quality nuts and dried fruit mix from our Sunflower natural foods market (untreated, no salts, no coconut or cereals) that make this dish really easy.


Tropical Lentil Salad

Bananas and beans sound weird? Trust me, this is great.

Recipe adapted from African Kitchen by Josie Stow 

Serving Size: 4

  • 1 cups green lentils
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 2 bananas, semi-ripe, cubed
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 – 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt and pepper

Lightly sauté onion, bell pepper, and garlic in a saucepot; add lentils and briefly saute. Add water, bring to boil, reduce heat and cook until done. Cool. Stir in bananas, vinegar, and cilantro (to taste). Chill if possible. 

Notes: If you don’t have cilantro, substitute with a dash of curry powder or cinnamon spice. Red wine vinegar works if you don’t have balsamic.


Grilled Zucchini and Green Chiles

Serving Size: 4

Grilled vegetables are easy and incredibly delicious. For four people, slice three medium or four small zucchini lengthwise, about 1/4″ thick. Lightly coat with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill until lightly colored with grill hash marks but not so soft they wilt. For the green chiles, toss Anaheims or similar on the grill and cook, turning often, until blackened. Put them in a covered pot or ziplock bag to steam for about 15 minutes, then the skins will slide right off. Use unpowdered nitrile gloves to handle them or tongs and forks. Slice into strips and serve with the zucchini.


Pressure Cooker Chicken en Adobo

Recipe by: Roseann Hanson

Serves: 2

Time to cook: 12 minutes plus 10 – 15 to cool down 

  • 4 chicken thighs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, scant
  • ½ onion, sliced or diced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 dried chipotle pepper (smoked jalapeño)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • ¼ cup vinegar (cider or white wine)
  • ½ cup water 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

In the pressure cooker, brown the chicken in oil and remove to a plate; sauté the onions until translucent, then add the garlic, chipotle pepper, and bay leaf and sauté for just a minute or two more, until the garlic is aromatic. Pour in the soy sauce, vinegar, and water, then return the chicken. Secure the lid, following instructions for your cooker. The GSI over medium-high heat cooks at about 12 PSI. Bring to full steam, and cook for 12 minutes (less if higher PSI). While the chicken cooks and fills the air with the maddening, piquant aroma of adobo broth, finish making the salad, and slice the zucchini and toss them on the grill with a couple of green chiles. You can let stand 10 minutes or more to let off the steam and deepen flavors. Remove the chicken, add a tablespoon of cornstarch to the sauce (dissolve it first in a little water, to keep it from lumping) and simmer until thickened. Serve with warmed flour tortillas (rice is also excellent; I prefer not to have to cook too many items).

Note: after making this a couple more times, I recommend taking the skin off all but 1 of the chicken thighs, to reduce the fat. I’m not anti-animal fat, it’s just that it can be too oily tasting with full skin-on thighs. Alternatively, use breast meat or legs.


Grilled Mangoes with Honey

Serving Size: 4

Slice the sides off 2 large mangoes (the 2 hemispheres around the hard core) and then score the insides of each all the way to the skin (but not through the skin) in a grid. Paint with a little oil, then grill over a fire until nicely colored but not too dark or burned. Drizzle honey on each and serve.



Share your menus, recipes, and overland cooking tips with us at editor (at) overlandjournal (dot) com.