Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cookfire Day Three : Easy Side Dishes

If you can boil water, you can make these side dishes. And if you can stick a pot over the fire, you can boil water.

First--Garlic Smashed Potatoes. I love using tasty red potatoes, because they don't need to be peeled. And when you're using a knife rather thtan a handy vegetable peeler, this means even more. Let's not even go into the times when it's very cold out and peeling wet, frigid potatoes makes ones hands feel like they're on fire--until they go totally numb. Easy stuff: Wash the potatoes, then boil. This is one of those time you can put the whole pot right into the fire. Meanwhile, mince a few cloves of garlic--to taste. Apparently my taste is too garlicky for most--so don't take my advice of half a head of garlic. Once the potatoes are what I've heard termed "fork tender," drain the water. Then add liberal doses of butter, some salt and pepper, and the garlic, and smash with a large fork or a masher. The raw garlic cooks a little in the hot potatoes, but not too much, so it keeps some bite, just mellower.

Second--Bacon-Almond Green Beans. I missed most of the cooking on these because I had to go run powder for a cannon crew. Figures--the eighteenth-century double-shift, work all day on the battlefield, then home to cook dinner. I digress. Again, easy. Prep the fresh green beans (I break the ends off and break larger beans in half). Then, cook the bacon in the pot you'll cook the beans in. Remove the cooked bacon and reserve; drain most of the grease (leave a touch for taste). Fill the pot with the beans and either cover with water and boil or add just a little water and steam them (I prefer steaming, but they were boiled while I was away and this worked fine). Drain any remaining water off, crumble in the bacon, and sprinkle with slivered almonds. Divine.

My favorite comment of the meal--an incredulous, happy male member of our unit: "Whose idea was it to put bacon in the green beans?!?"

And a belated photo of the roast, swiped from a friend with a camera. Also shows the nice coals in the fire pit:

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