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The Perks of Camp Coffee

Thursday, August 23rd, 2018

For heavens sake! Nobody wants to hear your generator at zero seven thirty!

You say you don’t like percolated coffee? That is because you are not doing it right.

I never thought I’d using that internet cliche in a bog, but it’s true. I didn’t like it either until I got it right.

We bought an RV upgraded from tent camping to glamping in 2015, my first pot for the rig was one of those enamel ones without a see through thingy-bob on the top and I used the RV sink water. Tent camping and making a large pot of percolated/boiled coffee never bothered me, it was strong and hot, exactly I want after sleeping in a tent. But my first several pots of RV coffee were awful, since then I got it figured out. So now that my delicious cup of percolated coffee is ready I thought I’d jot down the way to make a good cup of camp coffee.

Get the right pot

You spent good money on that electric coffee maker, don’t go cheep with your camp coffee pot. Get one that will double for a camp fire and RV cooktop coffee pot. Mine was a Christmas gift from my husband, he found it at Cabela’s. I found the same one on Amazon, and linked it here.

Material: Mine is a stainless steel pot with high-temp stainless steel handles, I’m not sure if stainless steel over enamel makes a big difference in taste, but the stainless steel ones seem to have a better construction. I wound NOT get an aluminum one, I think it gives a really bad aftertaste. I used one in the 80’s and can still taste it as I type this.

PercView knob: Get one with a glass knob, you want to see when it starts percolating so you can time it, and you don’t want it melting if you put it on an open campfire.

Basket: Find one with a basket assembly with a custom fit and evenly distributes the water while percolating.

Stainless and Glass

Fitted Basket Cover

Fitted basket assembly

Get the right grind and grind it right.

Don’t go cheep and easy just because you are camping, buy what you like when you go out for breakfast. Whether relaxing by the river or vacationing, you deserve the best.

Beans: I start with good whole beans, Starbucks is my favorite for camp coffee. I usually get Italian roast but have used their specialty dark roast coffees as well.

Grind [Important!]: Get it ground for a percolator, not a drip maker. Whenever I ask for this at Starbucks the staff usually looks at me like I have a chicken on my head. These young people have never seen a percolator. Rodger Dudley at the Smiths in Jackson, however, knows exactly what I am asking for and gets it perfect every time. If you don’t have a Rodger, and you get that look ask for the french press grind setting.

Storage:

Keep your ground coffee in a tight fitting container and in a cupboard out of the light. I use a Tupperware container. The small green container contains the filters.

 

Good water:

For a weekend camp I fill a one gallon Tupperware container with filtered water from my house tap. I am fortunate to have good tap water. For longer camps I use bottled water, I buy enough gallon jugs to make coffee every morning.

Filters:

They do make filters for percolators, get some. Put a filter in the empty basket before adding the grounds, then another on top the grounds, before putting the lid on the basket. this contains most the loose grounds and makes cleanup much easier.

Round Filter

Filter on top and bottom

Measure [Important!]:

Tastes vary, I like strong coffee and camp at high altitude. Start with one rounded scoop (tablespoon) per 8 ounces of water. If your coffee has good flavor but is to week or too strong adjust your ratio of grounds to water accordingly.

Lightly tap the grounds so they are even in the basket but you do not want to compress the grounds.

Please reply below with your beans, ratio of water and grounds, percolating time, an altitude.

Time the percs [Important!]:

Use a high flame but not one coming up the sides of the pot. Once it starts percolating, perc for 3 to 5 minutes. No more than 5. I need 5 minutes at high altitude, however if you are camping at sea level 3 minutes should be sufficient.

  • If your coffee tastes watered down it needs another minute or two of percolating time.
  • If your coffee tastes bitter or burnt it needs less percolating time.

Your coffee pot will be hot! Have a hot pad ready when pouring your cup of joe.


Keeping it hot:

You can either put the coffee in a thermos or reheat on stove as needed. If reheating on stove DO NOT boil and especially do not re-percolate.

Cleaning:

Be sure to wash your pot after every use, getting any old coffee grounds and film out of the pot. The filters help contain most of the grounds, I use a paper towel to wipe away the rest of the grounds into the trash, then wash all the parts in hot soapy water.

  • A straw cleaning brush works great to clean the tubes if they get icky.
  • Avoid getting grounds into your gray tank.

Straw cleaning brush

Ready for next brew

 

More tips:

  • Coffee comes out better if I get it ready to put on the fire before I go to bed.
  • Coffee always tastes better when made to drink with a friend.
  • If all else fails, add some Baily’s

Enjoy!

 

Please reply with your beans, ratio of water and grounds, percolating time, an altitude.

 



Mesquite Smoked Salsa Verde

Monday, July 23rd, 2018

Our Local Albertsons has a really great produce department, even for Wyoming. To be fair, the other grocery stores have good produce too, it’s convince items that I like. Pre packaged and/or prepped produce, costing a couple dollars more but my time is worth it. This year they added a new item, prepackaged do-it-yourself salsa verde, with instructions! I was a little nervous about FOUR habaneros but it sounded good so I thought I’d give it a try.

In short, the instruction said to blister at 350 on a grill or oven, about 3-5 minutes, de-seed, and put in a blender, salt to taste. When working with peppers, most recipes do not want the peppers cooked, just blistered so the skin can be removed. This recipe uses the skin, I followed the instructions.

My blender was a 30+ year old low tech blender that could not even make a decent frozen drink, (but that’s another story). I did not want to hassle with it so i put the peppers in my manual food processor, it came out like chunky salsa, but I was happy with the consistency but I think it did not work for this kind of salsa. I gave it a taste… HOLY HOT PEPPER BATMAN! The flavor was there but the heat was through the roof. I could not eat it, it overpowered whatever I put it on.

I looked out the back door at our new Treager Smoker Grill and a lightbulb went off… Cooking the peppers mellows the heat, and adding smoke just sounded yummy. Once we cooked a few meals on the Treager and got the hang of using unit, I tried again. But first I purchased a Ninja Blender, and it lives up to all the hype. It makes awesome frozen drinks, and for this recipe it worked perfectly.




I smoked and grilled the peppers and tomatillos per my recipe below. When I took the lid off the blender, WOW, the aroma blew me away, literally. I had to stand back, the heat from the peppers filled the air. I was a little nervous, I gave it a taste, the flavor was there, it still had heat, but the bite from the heat was gone. It did need salt and I have a variety of salts in my pantry. I smelled my concoction, then smelled the garlic salt, not a fit. I did this with my different salts and the Himalayan sea salt was the best fit. I added the salt to the blender and gave it a few pulses. Winnner winner chicken dinner! The salsa came out perfect, just the right amount of heat, the Himalayan sea salt added a great note of flavor, and the salsa was oddly addictive. So, I thought I better write down the recipe so I can repeat the flavor.

Mesquite Smoked Salsa Verde

Mesquite pellets for the smoker
4 – Tomatillos
2 – Anaheim Chili Peppers
4 – Habanero Chili Peppers
2 – Jalapeño Peppers
3 – Santa Fe Grande Peppers
3 – Serrano peppers
Pink Himalayan sea salt to taste

Wash the peppers.

Remove the husks and stems from the tomatillos, clean, and cut in half.

Bring the Treager to smoking temperature (160º) using the mesquite pellets.

Smoke the peppers and tomatillos for five minutes then turn up the heat to 350º, leaving the lid closed until you turn the peppers. When the temperature reaches 350 cook for an additional 5 minutes, turning the peppers when they start making a popping sound.

If your smoker does not have a temperate gauge, the popping started about the same time the smoker reached 350º.

You want the peppers cooked, with some marks, but not charred.

Take the peppers off the smoker and let them cool for a few minutes. Remove the stems and seeds from all the peppers, and cut the larger peppers in half.

Put all the cooked peppers and tomatillos in a blender and purée. Taste the salsa verde and add the Himalayan sea salt to taste, I used about a teaspoon.

Enjoy!

If you make this with a different wood pellet than the mesquite please comment below and let me know how it turned out.



A Pirate Hat with Style

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Every year the Jackson Hole Community band performs a Halloween Concert and the whole band wears a Halloween costume. The concert is for the children but adults enjoy it as well. In 2014 I decided to be a pirate.

When I started planning my pirate costume, [future post],  I knew I wanted a unique pirate hat to bring it together. I browsed Pintrest for ideas, adding the word “steampunk” to the search terms to find that swashbuckling look I wanted.

Once I had an idea in my brain of what I wanted my hat to look like, I dug through my craft supplies, and shopped dollar stores, craft stores, and yard sales for unique bobbles and scraps that would work in my color scheme.

 


 

 

I needed a plain pirate hat that would fit my head and I could glue and hand sew things onto. I found this hat on Amazon.com, I would not recommend this hat for someone with a small hat size, but it worked perfectly on my medium to large hat size head and it is very comfortable. The price is well worth it.  I gathered my supplies and spread them out to see my palette and went to work.

Junk and broken jewelry and some perfectly good pieces from the 80’s. Funny how the jewelry I wore in the 80’s is now appropriate for a Halloween costume!

Sewing box, buttons, tools, craft flowers, doilies, and some fabric scraps to get me started.

 

The first thing I wanted to do to the plain hat was dress up the smooth top into something more feminine. I had a few lace and crocheted scraps I picked up at garage sales. I dyed them brown to use in various places on the pirate costume, [future post]. Learning from the mess I made dying some things black for my Gray Lady Costume, I used the liquid, not the powdered Rit dye. 

 

I used the crochet scrap with the peacock design and some Tacky Glue to glue the doily to the top of the hat and let it dry completely before doing anything else. I dry brushed the scrap with some gold craft acrylic paint to give it some depth and sewed some old looking buttons to the front to give it a finished look.


For a really great costume remember to add detail as many places as possible. With this in mind, I added bobbles to all three sides of the brim.

On the left brim I stacked some doilies with parts of a burlap flower I took apart. I added an old broken broach to the center and used my jewelry tools to add some dangles. When I sewed it all together I added a couple peacock feathers behind the flowers. Later I added some felt to the back of the dangles because it was making sounds while I was playing my flute.

 

On the right brim I sewed on an old broken bracelet with coins, added a trio of buttons near the front, and a skull and cross bone button above the bracelet.

Fot the back brim I used a fancy Gothic black lace choker i had purchased for another costume but didn’t use. I used a needle and thread to tack the ends down, allowing it some movement. 

To finish it up I added a big set of pink ostrich plumes behind the brim, by the peacock feathers, and secured it by sewing it on with a heavy duty needle and thread, (a thimble on my thumb and finger was a life finger saver for this project). The bottom of the set of plumes is tied with a leather strip so if seen it looks finished, and the plumes stay in place. I found the plume at a garage sale back the 80’s and had used it on a couple other costumes and for decoration over the years.

 



In 2015 I brought the pirate costume, [future post], with me on a trip to to Cabo San Lucas, we planned to attend a Halloween event on the marina. I had to wear the hat on the plane because it would not pack, it made for an interesting flight. While there I was given this mask that gave the costume a less kid friendly look. And when I returned… I was wearing the hat when customs took my photo.




I took the photos with the black background with my new iPhone 8.