Cragmama "Not all who wander are lost…" JRR Tolkien

Gourmet Camping (aka Ode to Jetboil)

If you have ever been camping with me, you have heard me sing high praise  for the Jetboil system.  For those of you unfamiliar with the term, the Jetboil is NOT a communicable skin disease transmitted on airplanes, but rather, a portable, personal cooking system.  According to their website, the Jetboil is a “complete food and beverage multitool.” 

Steve cooking ramen noodles by moonlight (and headlamp) on our chickee in the middle of the Everglades.

Steve cooking ramen noodles by moonlight (and headlamp) on our chickee in the middle of the Everglades.

Steve and I received our Jetboils for Christmas in 2006 in anticipation of a backcountry canoe/hiking trip to the Everglades for New Year’s 07.  Since then, we have never been camping without it!  For a long time we stuck to the tried and true classics – oatmeal and grits, tea, hot chocolate (MUST HAVE items when the nighttime temps on a climbing trip hover in the 30’s), ramen noodles (PERFECT backcountry food!), and boxed mac n cheese (when is this NOT a good option?!?).  Then we added some ultralite camp pots and pans to our setup.  We got a little more adventurous, adding in the occasional fried egg sandwich, and boiled corn on the cob.  I even tested out the pancake waters once while on a bike trip with my old college roomie (the pancakes didn’t work out so hot, but it was the wind’s fault, not the JetBoil…). 

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Lundon and I trying to warm-up with some oatmeal on a chilly morning in the Outer Banks.

But recently, we’ve found ourselves back at the tent after climbing all day either too lazy, too cheap, or too remote to go out to eat.  We wanted something that was tasty and filling, not breakfast-y, easy to pack with minimum waste, and most importantly, able to be safely eaten after sitting out in the sun all day.  Our answer – (drum roll please) – PESTO PASTA!!! 

Grits were no where to be found in Utah, so Steve settled for oatmeal on a sunny morning in Maple Canyon.

Grits were no where to be found in Utah, so Steve settled for oatmeal on a sunny morning in Maple Canyon.

Here’s what you need – (for 2 people)
– a big “pouch” of chicken, salmon, tuna, or whatever you want for protein (You can find the pouches in the same aisle as the canned tuna.  In fact you could use the canned tuna if you want, but I think all the juice in the can is gross, plus its a lot more trash.)
– a small to medium jar of pesto sauce (Buitoni’s is my favorite, but you need to have a cooler for that one)
– a small to medium bag of penne, rigatoni, or your favorite pasta.  (If we don’t have meat, we go for a cheese-filled tortellini or ravioli…or sometimes we splurge and do it even if we do have meat.  🙂 ). 

Enjoying some hot tea on a rainy morning in Squamish, British Columbia.

Enjoying some hot tea on a rainy morning in Squamish, British Columbia.

Directions –
1.  Bring water to a boil in a pot.  Add pasta and cook until it is ready.  During the last couple of minutes or so, add the chicken or fish.
2.  Using the lid for the pot, drain the water from the pasta and and split the pasta evenly into 2 bowls.
3.  Mix half the pesto into one bowl, and half in the other. 

Pesto Pasta after a great day climbing at Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge

Pesto Pasta after a great day climbing at Hawksbill Mountain in the Linville Gorge

And there you have it!  Three ingredients are all you need for a simple and fast way to satisfy your hunger and feel sophisticated even in the backcountry!

Yum Yum, PESTO PASTA!

Yum Yum, PESTO PASTA!

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“Not all who wander are lost.” —JRR TOLKIEN