I’m in the midst of reading Michael Pollan’s new book, “Cooked”, and I am now totally transfixed by the science behind cooking — a hobby I clearly love.
Before getting into the gritty behind several recipes, however, Pollan provides us with an overview of cooking as an anthropological necessity and keystone of culture, and shares that, unfortunately, scratch cooking has become a rarity in our country.
Upon reading this sad fact, I felt fortunate to know so many home cooks who are not letting the art of cooking die. Between numerous potlucks, farmers markets and foodie events, our small community is among a number of countrywide efforts to keep this aspect of our culture alive.
And like everything Jackson, we take our passions to the extreme, many of us cooking from scratch even from a high altitude campsite.
So in honor of making Michael Pollan proud, home cooking at its best and our adventurous Jackson community, I offer a recipe to take into the woods. Cook on Jackson!
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup dried rice (you’ll want quicker cooking rice if you’re backpacking, like instant, white, basmati or jasmine, but brown or wild rice will do from a car camping site)
- 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
- 1/2 tablespoon red chili flakes (go lighter if spice is not your thing)
- 1 clove chopped garlic
- 1/4 tablespoon sugar
- Protein of your choice (a packet of tuna, cubed salami or handful of chopped cashews works well in the backcountry, while any other perishable meat or freshly caught trout works well for car camping where a cooler is accessible)
- Other vegetables of your choice, dehydrated or fresh (I especially love cauliflower and peas in this)
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Hot sauce as you like it
- At home: If you’ll be cooking on the trail, combine rice, curry powder, red chili flakes, chopped garlic, sugar and dehydrated vegetables in a zip lock bag. Keep the chopped green onion and protein aside.
- At your campsite: If you’re backpacking, heat olive oil in your largest, tall sided pot. Add rice mix and sauté quickly, toasting the rice and cooking the chopped garlic a bit. Add 2 cups of water (make sure you adhere to the rice cooking directions of your particular rice choice, especially with instant rice) to the pot and boil until rice is cooked and water is absorbed. Add protein of your choice and chopped green onions. Salt, pepper and hot sauce to your taste.
- If you’re car camping, cook your rice separately and sauté your vegetables and protein in the olive oil with the red chili flakes and chopped garlic. Combine rice with sauté mixture, add sugar, green onions, salt, pepper and hot sauce to your liking.