On the Trail With the Amazing Gourmet Girls
by Martha Esersky Lorden
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.
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.
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/.
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
Buttonwood Farm and Winery in the San Ynez Valley hosted authors Gail Kearns and Denise Woolery for a book signing with sample appetizers.