As promised, here are recipes for the food we carried on the Long Trail.
I purchased most of the ingredients for these recipes from the Brattleboro Food Coop, which runs a fabulous bulk department of grains, legumes, nuts, dried fruits, seeds and spices.
I bought shelf-stable cheese tortellini, and prepackaged foods like pasta sides, coffee-creamer, and instant brown rice from a conventional grocery store. I trolled the shelves everywhere for lightweight, calorie-dense, quick-cooking ingredients, and I dehydrated food at home, including a fair number of homegrown herbs, greens, plums and tomatoes.
I also made tomato leather from homemade tomato sauce, and I turned a pint of commercial salsa from a glass jar into paper-like sheets that weighed almost nothing. I also purchased other dehydrated and freeze-dried ingredients from Harmony House, an on-line supplier.
Jan arrived five days before we left on the trail, and we spent two of them mixing, sealing, and organizing our meals.
Yes, this was a labor-intensive enterprise, but good food usually is.
1 c. bulgur
1 c. dried green onions
2 c. dried parsley
1 t. cumin
¼ t. cayenne
¼ t. dried lemon peel
¼ c. freeze-dried garbanzo beans
Optional: dried vegetables; dried currants; nuts & seeds.
Mix all ingredients well; seal in plastic bag.
To prepare: Bring a generous two cups of water to a boil, add ingredients, boil for a minute, then remove from heat and let sit until done. Serves two.
1 c. French couscous
½ t. salt
1 t. Ras el Hanout (a North African spice mix)
1 T dehydrated carrots
1 T dehydrated diced potatoes
1 t. dehydrated onions
2 T dehydrated diced tomatoes
1 t. dehydrated green pepper
1/3 c. diced dried apricots
½ c. freeze-dried garbanzo beans
Bring 3-4 cups water to a boil; add mix; return to boil; cover and let sit until ready.
2/3 c. quick-cooking barley
2 T. dehydrated onion
1 t. dehydrated celery
½ t. garlic granules
½ t. marjoram
½ t. thyme
1 oz. dried mushrooms
1 packet or 1 cube beef broth seasoning
2 T. freeze-dried peas
CURRIED LENTILS WITH COCONUT
1 c. red lentils
1 T. dehydrated onion
1 T. curry powder
1 hot dried chili pepper
½ c. unsweetened dried coconut
1 T dried cilantro
1 c. dried zucchini (added for the last 5 minutes)
1 bag instant jasmine rice*
Extra coconut for garnish
*Cooking the rice with only one pot proved challenging; we immersed the cooking pouch in with the lentils, then fished the pouch out, opened it, and let the rice cook right in the stew. I’ve never been a fan of cooking in bags, so I’ll be sticking to instant brown rice, which comes loose in the box, until I can figure out a different solution to instant jasmine and basmati, which is supposed to be cooked inside the bags they’re packaged in. Ew.
CHEESE TORTELLINI IN RICH BROTH
To 3-4 c. water add:
1 oz. dried porcini mushrooms
2×4 inch piece of tomato sauce leather
1 T olive oil
1 t. salt
When water boils and tomato leather becomes sauce add 6 ounces Barilla shelf-stable tortellini. Boil until done. Serve pasta with broth sprinkled with Cabot Powdered Cheddar.
We created two different salads for lunch, which we rehydrated in a plastic, screw top jar at breakfast, so it would be ready at lunch.
All these ingredients came from the Harmony House Backpacker’s Sampler. Right after a resupply day, we added tuna to the slaw for lunch with crackers. ½ c. dehydrated green cabbage
2 T dehydrated carrots
2 t. dehydrated celery
½ t. caraway seeds
salt & pepper
Rehydrate with ½ c. water and soak for several hours. A dash of vinegar adds flavor, if you have it.
Later on in the week, we ate slaw with rehydrated Fantastic Foods hummus, which we bought in bulk at the Coop and doctored as follows:
½ c. mix
1 T Za’atar
2/3 c. warm water
1 T olive oil
VARIATION #2: Substitute the Za’atar with lemon peel, powdered garlic and cayenne.
For this, we used Karen’s Naturals freeze-dried vegetables, also from the Coop. These were pricey, but well worth it when we craved something that passed for “fresh.” We used freeze-dried corn and freeze-dried mixed vegetables that came both plain and with hot peppers.
½ c. freeze-dried corn
½. C. freeze-dried hot vegetables
Rehydrate with ½ c. water and soak for several hours. A dash of vinegar adds flavor.
DOCTORED PASTA SIDES
One of my favorite meals was a cheddar and broccoli pasta side, which we made with olive oil where it called for butter, and with coffee creamer where it called for milk. To this, we added a foil packet of salmon and some powdered cheddar for a rich, warm, nourishing stew.
We boiled water with spicy seaweed and some dried shitake mushrooms, then added salmon jerky Jan brought from Alaska and instant buckwheat ramen from the Coop. A packet of soy sauce would have been good, too.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEALS
Our meals probably provided us with only half our daily calories; the rest we derived from high-calories snacks. But meals structured our day: At breakfast, we reviewed our plans; at lunch, we rested – often with a view; and at dinner, we enjoyed a sense of accomplishment. Meals helped us establish a sense of normalcy and routine. With good routines, good nutrition, and great companionship, we were able to complete our end-to-end hike of The Long Trail in twenty-five days.
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