I thought I had heard it all until I was the camp cook last weekend for 65 men from the Reno Christian Fellowship at Camp WeChMe (Where Children Meet) in the Sierra Nevada.
It was a gathering of young and old, including elders and pastors. "Brother Dan" led the music with a guest appearance Saturday night by self-proclaimed "Porch Singer" Dan Whittemore.
I had the great opportunity to hear all these men sing. WOW! How wonderful was that?
Over the years my husband, Dan, and I have donated our gifts of music and cooking to a number of our local parks to support them, so we have been able to get to know a few of our local forest rangers.
While at this camp last weekend, we were reunited with rangers Colleen and Kelly, and met the new guy, Steve.
In planning the menu for these men, I paid special attention to proper nutrition, in order to avoid the afternoon nap which is so often brought on by less healthful food choices.
Avoiding high-fat, high-carb, high-starch breakfast items is not always popular when a bunch of men get together, but, I took a deep breath and made Jarlseberg Cheese and Ham Frittata with Fall Vegetable Hash and a Horseradish Cream sauce.
Quite a few of the men were skeptical of the vegetable hash, and were wondering where the sticky cinnamon rolls were.
They all seemed to be converted, though, when to their surprise, they discovered how good the hash was and how over the top the horseradish sauce pushed it.
Some of the men from the group helped with prep and dishes. Some had never helped in the kitchen before, so that was fun.
One of them found out what dishpan hands were. He ended up searching for lotion, and eventually took our advice to rub a little olive oil on them. All in all it was a great time of music, food and fellowship.
My own palate was expanded thanks to ranger Kelly. While kibbitzing in the kitchen with me and some of the guys the topic of Yule Gibbons came up. (For you youngsters out there, Gibbons was a pretty radical proponent of healthy eating and was famous for the quote "Some parts of a tree are edible.")
Ranger Kelly proceeded to inform us that there are 100 edible plants in the Sierra Nevada. Then she went on to tell us that she can't figure out why people go hungry when lost in the woods. She went out and picked some pine needles and had us chew them until their citrus-like flavor was released, and she told us that you can make tea with them.
So keep that in mind when you are in the woods. If pine needles aren't to your liking, here is the Vegetable Hash & Horseradish recipe to wake up your breakfast or to accompany any meal.
5 oz. hard squash - like butternut and acorn
5 oz. potatoes
5 oz. carrots
5 oz. onions
garlic to taste
1-1/2 tsp. Herbs de Provence
Dice them all the same size so they cook equally) and garlic.
Lightly coat with olive oil. Roast preheated 425 degree oven for one hour until nicely brown.
1 T. Horseradish
1/2 Cup sour cream
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Pinch ground pepper
Cream horseradish with whisk into the sour cream and season with salt and pepper.
n Michelle Palmer is a consultant and "chef for hire." She owns Artisan Eats in Carson City. Reach her at 884-FOOD, Absolutely Michelle's in Reno at 849-2333 or www.absolutelymichelles.com.