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On the Trail With the Amazing Gourmet Girls

by Martha Esersky Lorden

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https://www.gourmetgirlsonfire.com

When Gail Kearns, Lindsey Moran, and Denise Woolery go camping, they dine in style– and so can you. Now with an innovative cookbook by the Gourmet Girls, you can leave the hotdog-on-a-stick approach to campfire cuisine in the ashes and embrace fine dining al fresco with 140 fabulous recipes offered by these temptresses in a tent.

While the cooking technology featured in these recipes includes cast iron skillets, dutch ovens, and grills, there is no chuck wagon or cowboy cuisine here. The Gourmet Girls have raised the bar, adapting campfire recipes for the gourmet palate.

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Denise Woolery (executive chef),  Lindsay Moran (writer/illustrator), Gail Kearns (editor)

Using techniques that go beyond the backyard barbecue, the GGs are inspired by gourmet classics like coq au vin, escargot, or scallops on the half shell with a buttery Bernaise sauce. There’s tagine-braised lamb shanks with quince and a filet mignon dressed in a reduction of red wine. And how about a breakfast of eggs Benedict or French toast made with brioche smeared with mascarpone, swimming in a buttery, brown sugar peach sauce?

Pretentious, you say?  Not in the least. These ladies accomplish all this with wooden spoons, cast iron, and fire, right?  Okay– they want you to bring a bottle opener for the wine as well as whisks, zesters, and milk frothers. But as avid foodies with sophisticated tastes as well as a love of hiking and the outdoors, the women who developed and contributed these recipes take their culinary adventures and celebrations seriously. So you’ll find a dozen creative and quite festive cocktails along with many ooh-la-la appetizers from these campers-who-cook.

Many recipes are inspired  by the Cali cuisine that focuses on vegetarian or paleo-friendly options. There are several sections devoted specifically to this fare: Vegetarian Vittles, Savvy Salads, Very Veggie, and Groovy Grains. Forget the canned baked beans!  Opt instead for grilled brussels sprouts roasted in maple syrup, a medley of grilled market vegetables topped with romesco sauce, or quinoa with cauliflower and walnuts.

Cast Iron Ratatouille prepared over hot coals

There are riffs on burgers, grilled sandwiches, tacos and wraps; curries, chili, and ribs, too. Over 20 sauces will dress up any dish, and for the sweet finish, there are plenty desserts such as strawberry shortcake, lemon ricotta crepes, chocolate fondue, and campfire cobblers. The desserts go way beyond, but include, those iconic and gooey marshmallow, graham cracker and chocolate s’mores which are revisited in a number of creative twists.

These gals don’t mess around in this guide to dining in the great outdoors. Serious camping requires serious gear, and the GGs cookbook provides excellent lists and guidelines for setting up a well-equipped traveling kitchen and campsite. Packing and preparation are achieved by creating bins. There’s advice on the best tools for fire-building, ways to store ingredients away from heat and moisture, what’s needed  for clean up, and more. The Tips and Tricks section explains efficient cooler use, options for heat sources, and cooking methods along with a chart on how to achieve proper cooking temperatures using a dutch oven. Echoes from that  old  Boy Scout motto  “Be prepared” resound; their sage advice is based on years of experience and plenty of scorched marshmallows.

So, the next time you prepare for a camping trip, you just might want to swap out those acrid citronella candles for some tapers and an elegant candelabra. With the Gourmet Girls’ cookbook as your trail guide, you will be on your way to a fine dining outdoor adventure.DSC00006.JPG

Gail Kearns and Denise Woolery at a recent book signing at We Olive in Ventura 

The GGs are currently taking their book on the road to wineries, gift shops, and bookstores in the Santa Barbara area. There will be cooking demos, so don’t miss a chance to sample appetizers and talk recipes. You can also catch them in late April at the SB Business Expo . Then they’ll be getting their grill on in LA in June. They also have plans to pitch a summer campsite in Oregon.

To buy a copy  of The Gourmet Girls Co Camping cookbook please visit https://www.gourmetgirlsonfire.com/shop/.

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Here’s a link to events for the spring and summer 2017 tour: https://www.gourmetgirlsonfire.com/our-spring-summer-book-tour/

Please check the link for updates for future book signing events.

  • April 15, 2017 • 1-3 p.m. @ We Olive • 294 E Main Street #B, Ventura, CA 93001
  • April 29, 2017 • 8 a.m.-2 p.m. @ 2017 Santa Barbara Business Expo • Fess Parker’s Doubletree Hotel, 633 E. Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA
  • June 3, 2017 • 12-2 p.m. @ The Garden Market • 3811 Santa Claus Ln, Carpinteria, CA 93013
  • June 10, 2017 • 12-2 p.m. @ Buttonwood Winery • 1500 Alamo Pintado Road, Solvang CA 93463
  • June 17, 2017 • 11 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Adventure 16 • 11161 W. Pico Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90064
  • August 19 & 20, 2017 • 12-8 p.m. @ Dancin Vineyards • 4477 South Stage Road, Medford, OR 97501

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Buttonwood Farm and Winery in the San Ynez Valley hosted authors Gail Kearns and Denise Woolery for a book signing with sample appetizers.

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Spirits of New Orleans? We’re Talking Cocktails!

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Forget taking a ghost tour when you go to New Orleans.  If you want to get in touch with the real spirits that inhabit New Orleans, try some of the original cocktails that were born in The Big Easy.

Guest poster, Kit Wohl offers a peek into her newest book from her Classic series called New Orleans Classic Cocktails. 

 

“CIVILIZATION BEGINS WITH DISTILLATION”       —WILLIAM FAULKNER

THE FIRST COCKTAIL

by Kit Wohl

The oldest known American cocktail is credited to an enterprising pharmacist, Antoine Amédée Peychaud, who devised Peychaud’s bitters. Not surprisingly, it became an ingredient in his 1870s concoction. The French native established a pharmacy in the Vieux Carré, serving his libations in a coquetier, a French egg cup. Localization of the word resulted in mispronunciation — cocktail. This tale could be true, perhaps not.

The word cock-tail was noted for prior to 1870 in a newspaper north of the Mason-Dixon line. Earlier it had been used in a different context, and rudely so, in London. It didn’t refer to our spirited coquetier. There, it was simply a word. Here it’s a tradition.

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A coffee bar down the block from Peychaud’s pharmacy was quickly renamed The Sazerac House to toast the cocktail. On everyone’s lips, the new drink was wildly popular, creating grins and new Sazerac bars around the city.

While the Sazerac was our first, it was certainly not the last in an ever-evolving array of fancy mixed drinks and cocktails. We’re still smiling.

~ Kit Wohl

SAZERAC  

 SAZERAC BAR, ROOSEVELT HOTEL

sazeracMakes one cocktail

sugar cube

dash Peychaud’s bitters

3 ounces rye whiskey

1/2 ounce absinthe

lemon curl, for garnish

Many Sazerac bars emerged when Peychaud’s bitters was introduced, with only one surviving. The fanciful bar is in residence at the restored Roosevelt Hotel. Ingredients in the original recipe included cognac, absinthe, sugar and Peychaud’s bitters. Pernod and Herbsaint replaced absinthe when it was banned in America in 1912. Absinthe is once again back on the shelf after an evil scheme that labeled it as a poisonous hallucinogen.

In a cocktail shaker, saturate the sugar cube with the bitters and crush. Add ice, the rye and absinthe and stir. Strain the shaker into a chilled Old Fashioned glass. Garnish by twisting the lemon curl over the drink to release the oil then place it over the side of the glass.

OLD ABSINTHE HOUSE

RAMOS GIN FIZZ

One of New Orleans’ most revered cocktails, the drink was created by barman Henry Ramos in the 1880s. As governor of Louisiana, Huey Long often traveled with his bartender so he would always have his cocktail prepared just so. It dates to the Old Absinthe House at the corner of Bourbon and Bienville where a secret room was created to harbor pirate Jean Lafitte. Pirates still hang out in the bar, usually on Friday afternoons.

The Ramos Fizz needs to be shaken like mad, sometimes five minutes or more to properly emulsify the cream, egg, and spirit, producing an exquisitely frothy drink.

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11/2 ounces gin

2 ounces half and half

2 ounces whole milk

1 large egg white

1 tablespoon simple syrup

2 drops orange flower water (available in the baking section of supermarkets)

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


 Using a shaker half filled with ice, combine all the ingredients. Shake as long as you can stand it. Pour into a chilled glass.

Photos by Kit WohlNOCC_jacket

Kit Wohl’s Cookbook Series

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Celebrate New Orleans Cuisine with Kit Wohl’s Cookbook Series
Classic New Orleans

A truly wonderful and informative cookbook series featuring classic New Orleans dishes from the finest of the city’s restaurants and chefs is authored by Kit Wohl, photographer, artist, and food writer.  In six stunning books, she celebrates the best of the best known dishes from The Big Easy. Your mouth will water when you take this insider’s tour of New Orleans’ culture of cuisine. The shimmering photography, rich narrative, and recipes are sure to inspire any home cook.

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How Wohl got the great chefs of the city to spill the secrets of their famous cuisine is a mystery.  Just in time for Mardi Gras, with these books by your side, you will be able to prepare New Orleans Brunches, Appetizers, Gumbos and Soups, Seafood, and Desserts.

Also, at the top of any party planner’s list should be Wohl’s newest release in the Classics series– New Orleans Classic Cocktails.  You’ll be craving a tipple of the “spirited recipes”  after viewing eye-popping photos of each haute couture cocktail.  The book is a mixologist’s delight and presents the history of each drink along with the recipe. These books by Wohl are required reading for Mardi Gras 101.

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For more about Kit Wohl’s work and latest award winning books see:

Kit Wohl Author’s Biography   and  New Orleans Classic Series (Amazon).

For a great Mardi Gras classic recipe from her New Orleans Classic Gumbos and Soupscookbook click on OTK’s Recipes link under the Featured Columns menu.