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Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit
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Benjamin Smith
(bugbomb) - F - M

Locale: South Texas
Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit on 01/09/2007 23:32:05 MST Print View

Companion forum thread to:

Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit

david fausnight
(rckjnky) - F
Thanks Mike on 01/10/2007 00:18:35 MST Print View

That was a great article! Im definately going to try some of your recipes!

(dealtoyo) - F

Locale: Mt Hood
Re: Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit on 01/10/2007 02:29:34 MST Print View

Great article. Very creative method for steam baking.

I'm surprised to find out titanium that is hot enough to boil water will not melt Evazote. Is it really that tough of material?

Kevin Pietriyk
(pietriyk) - F

Locale: Northeastern PA
great on 01/10/2007 06:43:15 MST Print View

Very nice, thank you. Finding information about backpacking meals for vegans/vegetarians is very challenging. Finding good, lightweight vegan gear is tougher sometimes. (no down, etc.)

Even my non-veg friends beg for meals, there are a lot of recipes out there that either are already veg or beg to be "converted".

Charles Melton
(tmelton) - F

Locale: Southeast
Groovy_Biotic cooking! on 01/10/2007 07:15:34 MST Print View

Great ideas and presentation. All I can add is that another good item for constructing pot cozies is the foil covered heat shields that you put up in your windshield to keep the sun out. I found some at Big Lots for 99 cents that had a foam core with foil laminated to both sides. It made several pot cozies and the left overs made a nice little warmth reflecting pad to sit on or to put under my back on chilly nights.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Straws for condiments & spices on 01/10/2007 08:08:47 MST Print View

Instead of little zip lock baggies for spices I've started using folded straws:

It's a bit easier to control the pour and you can size them exactly to the size you need.

Douglas McCoy
(dmccoy) - F

Locale: Spokane Wa
Yes, but on 01/10/2007 08:08:47 MST Print View

Great article. As I am a vegitarian, I ditto the quest for finding high calorie veggie food for the trail. Most of my food is all MYO and therefore I keep espense down. In addition much of it is "regular" meals with the meat portion replaced with a dehiydrated veggie meet. I would like to add however, the above "muffin how to" can only work for those that actually take a pot and mug. Where-as I only use a single wall Sp 600, and use it for double duty, both boiling the amount of volume of water for my meal and having the remainder be for my hot beverage. Then I eat my meals out of a already prepared at home freezer bag that gets placed inside a reflectex cozy. I find this treatise (for me any way) to work really well, and the best part is no dishes or clean up. Not to mention the weight and bulk saved of nothavign to carry another pot of some sort.

Joe Kuster
(slacklinejoe) - MLife

Locale: Flatirons
Re: Re: Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit on 01/10/2007 08:16:43 MST Print View


I don't believe the cozy is in use when steaming, but instead only used in the prior section; look carefully at the illustration.

Mike Clelland
(mikeclelland) - MLife

Locale: The Tetons (via Idaho)
Groovy-Biotic Cooking on 01/10/2007 08:42:31 MST Print View

(from the author)

Thanks for the feedback!

Here's a few replies in no particular order:

1) Pot cozy from windshield reflectors. YES! It sounds perfect, I have seen these and thought they looked great. I had a pal with a mug cozy built from this stuff.

2) Evazote is the BEST for durability. It's super! It's available only thru MEC in canada. That said - Any ol' scrap of sleeping pad will work.

3) I LOVE the folding straw idea, and that link is awesome! Who put this site together? It's EXACTLY how my mind works, I wanna give the creator a hug!

4) Doug McCoy wrote: "my food is all MYO" What's MYO?

5) All of the techniques were used on a NOLS course, and we purposely had extra mugs and bowls in our team of 10 folks with the dual purpose of an eating vessel and as a steam-baking bowl.

6) No, the cozy is NOT used when steaming or cooking. It gets used after the pot is off the stove - because (yes) it would melt.

7) Also - Don Ladigin (author and guru) was the guy who introduced me to steam baking

Steve .
(pappekak) - F

Locale: Tralfamadore
Kitchen Challenged on 01/10/2007 09:20:20 MST Print View

Great job Mike. Do you have sauce ingredient ratios for the kitchen challenged?

If you get to Lander say hi to Drew Leemon (NOLS). I knew him in my biking life.

James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Groovy-Biotic Cooking: Quick, Healthy Meals with an Ultralight Cook Kit on 01/10/2007 09:44:55 MST Print View

Wonderful, wonderful article! I love cooking on the trail outside the freezer bag and prepared meals. Any ideas like this are not only welcomed but cherished. I gaurantee you I'll be trying the yams very soon! Thank you for the hard work it took to produce an article of such quality.

Edited by jjpitts on 01/10/2007 10:10:35 MST.

Sarah Kirkconnell
(sarbar) - F

Locale: In the shadow of Mt. Rainier
Re: Groovy-Biotic Cooking on 01/10/2007 09:59:16 MST Print View

MYO is, I believe, Make Your Own. I have hiked with Doug on the PCT and he even showed me some new tricks on eating vegetarian.

A nicely doen article, love the drawings! My only question is, why didn't you take any dried or freeze dried vegetables? They are a great source of greens-and are very light.

Edited by sarbar on 01/10/2007 11:08:03 MST.

Jane McMichen
(jmcmichen) - F

Locale: Maine, DownEast Coast
Great ideas! on 01/10/2007 11:02:24 MST Print View

Thanks for this article! I'm not a vegetarian, but I do try to eat organic foods. I am starting to explore the make-your-own world of hiking cuisine, and great ideas like these make it so much easier!

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
cooking time on 01/10/2007 12:20:19 MST Print View

Very interesting article with delicious-sounding recipes.

I have a couple of questions. I've been trying your recipe for steamed biscuits all morning. I'm getting cooking times that are >30 minutes. (Actually I haven't yet cooked one that wasn't raw in the middle!)

Are you cooking your batter in very small amounts? I have a 3-cup pot inside of a 2-quart pot, and I'm cooking the whole wheat biscuit recipe. It nicely fills the 3-cup pot to about halfway up, and the whole thing seems like it should work perfectly.

Are you cooking with a lid on the small pot as well? I have tried both and don't seem to get much of a difference.

If you are using smaller amounts of batter, how much is the right amount? What size of bowl/inner pot are you using?


Edited by bjamesd on 01/10/2007 12:21:33 MST.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
Update on 01/10/2007 12:39:39 MST Print View

Update: I finally turned one out. I used the original recipe, in a butter-greased AGG 3-cup pot with the lid *on*, sitting in a AGG 2-quart pot with the lid on an a weight on the lid.

Cook time was 42 minutes, and it came out light and fluffy to the core. Weight of the finished loaf was just about exactly a pound. I'm eating it right now with butter and maple syrup (going snowshoeing this afternoon so it's ok ;]) and it's heavenly. I can't imagine how good this thing would taste after 4 days on the trail; probably better than sex.

I have a theory about why my cook time is so high. Yes, I'm cooking too much batter at once. But more significantly, on my electric range I'm not using a windscreen! I think that the windscreen on a backpacking stove heats your pot from the sides a great deal, and that's probably integral to baking properly in a "stove-top" pot!

More data after I try this in the field. Cheers!

Richard Stein
(buckaroobanzai) - F
Re: Update on 01/10/2007 16:01:04 MST Print View

Brian- I bet your theory is right.

From the article: "small titantium mug...Fill the small bowl about half way with batter. About 4 ounces of dry mix should be plenty."

You say the finished weight was 1 pound, I'm guessing that is the problem. I can't see the recommended 4 oz of dry mix making anywhere near that much finished product. Baking a full loaf of quick-bread in a conventional oven takes upwards of 45 minutes like what you experienced on your last reported test.

I'm looking forward to trying this one. True baked goods on the trail - YUM!

Edited by buckaroobanzai on 01/10/2007 16:01:52 MST.

Brian James
(bjamesd) - F

Locale: South Coast of BC
critical reading skills on 01/10/2007 17:02:02 MST Print View

Yowza; that's what I get for reading the article with too much enthusiasm (haste!)

Still, though, the 1lb loaf was beautiful and would have made a nice treat for 2 hungry people or for 4 as a side-dish to breakfast or dinner. If it weren't for all the fuel it used, I wouldn't be averse to making the same thing as a frosty-morning treat. I'd definitely do it on a canoe trip.

There's something about the psychology of shared sustenance; it's such a different experience from wait-your-turn meals. I hate it when someone is sitting there starving and watching me eat while their dinner is cooking.

Edited by bjamesd on 01/10/2007 17:04:12 MST.

Don Ladigin
(dladigin) - F - M
Re: Steam Baking on 01/10/2007 18:44:47 MST Print View

Great article, Mike! I'm glad many who read it will have a chance to try steam baking and discuss it here.

Some tips: the amount of time needed to cook batter will be directly proportional to the mass of the batter. In short, if you cook a small amount of batter, such as the amount in a mini-muffin, it will cook quickly. Just a few minutes after you put the lid on the pot and start generating steam in the pot, the batter shoud be cooked all the way through.
No pre-heating the oven, etc, like with conventional baking.

The good news is that you can cook LOTS of mini-muffins in your pot all at the same time and they'll all cook fast, and they'll disappear into your friends or yourself just in time to start another cycle of steam for making another batch!

Test doneness like grandma used to do, poke a toothpick into the middle and see if it comes out clean. Then give it a couple of more minutes of steam just to be sure. It shouldn't take long.

Don't try to cook a massive amount of batter in a single lump, unless you're having a rest day in camp and can do it with a wood fire and not deplete your carried fuel, because that big bunch of batter will take a lot of time and fuel.

Ordinarily, steam baking should _save_ you fuel and give you and your companions a fresh unexpected trail treat, it shouldn't cost you a lot of fuel!

A couple of other won't be able to _brown_ foods with steam baking. So for instance, angel food muffins come out looking really white and anemic, with no lovely browned crust. They still taste good, but it's better to cook other things with this method, things that _will_ look appealing when you're all done.

Finally, only fill your cooking container(s) about half full, because the mix will expand as it cooks. And if you're using an off-the-grocery-shelf mix, look for the magic words "add only water", those are the simplest mixes to deal with in the woods.


James Pitts
(jjpitts) - F

Locale: Midwest US
Re: Re: Steam Baking on 01/10/2007 21:42:15 MST Print View

I am sure altitude will play a role in cooking time as well using this method. I don't know a darn thing about baking but I do know there are special instructions on the side of a cake mix box for this situation. Even I can make a cake mix!

David Stenberg
(dstenberg1) - F

Locale: South
baking suggestion on 01/10/2007 21:59:20 MST Print View

I saw once (I think backpacker magazine) that you can use the bottom of a cut coke can to bake in. This would allow those with small pots to also bake.