Doctari’s Tuna Casserole
Tuna Noodle Casserole
Cooking Seafood on the West Coast Trail
1. COWBOY PAELLLA Serves 4
At home: 1 red onion, 1 green pepper, 1 medium fennel bulb coarsely chopped, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp saffron threads, 2 sprigs fresh thyme—chopped and bagged
Also pack: 1 package Chicken of the Sea whole baby clams and juice, 1 small cup Spanish olives, handful fresh parsley, pepperoni, rice, bouilion, Platypus full of dry white wine.
In camp: Saute 1 inch chunk pepperoni cut small dice in olive oil in pan a minute. Add 2 cups instant rice, sauté another minute. Add vegi/herb mix and saute another 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and 2 chicken bouillon (or substitute half the water with wine), bring to boil, cover and simmer 5 minutes or until rice is cooked. Add clams and artichokes and cover until heated.
Garnish with olives and diced parsley.
2. DOCTARI’S TUNA CASSEROLE
At home: Make casserole ready for dehydrating.
Boil 3 cups water, 1 tsp. salt, add 1 cup basmati rice covered for about 45 minutes or until tender. Add two 6-oz. cans water-packed tuna drained (or salmon), 1 (10 . oz.) can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom Soup, 1 can sweet peas, drained, 1 (10-oz.) package frozen chopped broccoli. Stir and simmer for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp. dried parsley, 1 (13.2 oz.) can mushrooms, chopped with juice. Simmer 10 additional minutes. Stir in 1 cup shredded cheese until melted. 1 tbsp. cayenne pepper (optional)
Dehydrate one serving or 2 cups of casserole on each tray. When dry, store each serving in zip lock.
In camp: for each serving, bring 1 cup of water to a boil, then add one
package of casserole. Stir frequently. For a bit more flavor, carry an extra can of tuna and add toward the end of the cooking time. Serves 2.
3. TUNA NOODLE CASSEROLE
Discard the flavor packet before you go to save sodium and crud. The plain noodles cook quickly in boiled water. Drain the excess water and add in a package of tuna, chicken or salmon. You can find all three in easy-open foil packets that are lightweight and easy to pack out. Chili flakes or your favorite hot sauce (the little packets from Taco Bell are great!) give good flavour. If space and weight aren’t an issue, a can of peas ups the caloric intake and flavor. Bring everything you need for this meal in a Zip-lock bag that can double as a sealable trash bag for the hike out.
4. TRAIL SUSHI
At home: In a quart freezer bag put: 2 cups instant rice. Also take: 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar, 1 package nori (seaweed sheets, about 10), 1 cucumber, 1 avocado, 2 ounces sesame seeds, 1 can or preferably, pouch of shrimp or crab meat. Soy sauce packets or prefered dipping sauce. Ginger and wasabi in tubes (Get at an Asian food store or online.)
In camp: Add 1 3/4 or so cups boiling water to rice, and let sit in a cozy for 10
minutes. Add vinegar to the rice to make it sticky. Let the rice cool completely before rolling sushi. Place a nori on top
of a sushi mat, and layer rice, veggies, sesame seeds, and seafood on top, then roll and cut to your desired length. Serve
with soy sauce, reconstituted wasabi, and ginger. Serves four as an appetizer.
5. COOKING SEAFOOD on the WEST COAST TRAIL
Assuming you’re hiking South to North, at the Nitnat narrows ferry crossing (kilometer 32), you can find fresh seafood on offering, along with a few side dishes and beer. Most people opt to have their seafood cooked up on the spot but if you take it to go and cook your way.
One of the great things about the West Coast Trail is that open fires are allowed, even in the warm summer months. An open fire, of course, is perfect for fresh seafood, especially salmon.
Get your fire going. For this recipe you’ll want a large amount of hot coals, which can take awhile.
Next, prep your fish. If you had to catch it yourself you’ll need to do some scaling and gutting, but for those lucky enough to buy it fresh the prep work is probably already done. Next, coat the salmon in whatever fat you have. I really like coconut oil, especially for taking backpacking, because it stays solid at room temperature and tastes great on fish. Olive oil and butter are also great options for salmon. Next, sprinkle liberally with salt, pepper and your spices of choice. For salmon, dill is my personal favorite, but fennel, lemon pepper, thyme or some combination of the above also make excellent choices.
Lastly, wrap everything up together in tin foil. Getting the whole package covered in coals is ideal, but flipping your fish halfway through is an option too. Cooking times will vary, depending on how hot your coals are and how thick your fish is, but you’re probably going to aim for something like 10 to 15 minutes.
After that you eat.
6. PUMPKIN – SHITAKE MUSHROOM RISOTTO with SHRIMP
3 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup water
2 slices bacon
2 cups sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 1/2 cups chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup uncooked Arborio rice
2 teaspoons chopped fresh sage
1C peeled raw shrimp, 30-50 count, cut in half or thirds
1/2 cup dry white wine (I use inexpensive cooking wine)
1/2 teaspoon salt (I use good sea salt)
1 cup canned pumpkin puree (can substitute home-cooked pumpkin or winter squash)
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
At home: Heat the stock with the water in a medium saucepan and hold at a low simmer.
Meanwhile, fry the bacon until crisp, then add the onion, garlic and sage and saute on medium heat until the onion is softened. Add the dry arborio rice to the pan with the raw shrimp and shiitake mushrooms and stir until moistened, and then add the wine. Cook, stirring, until the wine is absorbed. Then add the hot stock to the pan with the rice mixture about 3/4C at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed before adding the next shot. Once all the moisture has been absorbed, turn off the heat and add the pumpkin and mascarpone, salt, chives and red pepper. Adjust the seasoning to taste.
Dehydrate. Prepare by puree them briefly in the food processor until the pieces are small and fairly uniform. Measure out the number of 1.5-2C servings on the solid plastic ‘fruit leather’ tray for this.