Cooky Jason’s March Recipe – Pouched Salmon

Jason’s Well-Known Pouched Salmon

Alrighty, campers. I know a lot of the country is still gridlocked in a winter wonderland and most of you won’t be camping anytime soon. So with that in mind I try to write recipes that are just as easily done at home as at the campsite. Pouching is a very efficient way of cooking over a campfire or on a grill. And with fish it’s great because sticking isn’t a problem. You can very well do these in the oven. In my opinion, salmon needs very little help in the flavor department. However, with pouching you’re essentially steaming the food and not getting that charbroiled flavor from open fire. But that’s ok because steaming is much healthier than charring food anyway. And the key to countering that, especially with fish, is a combination of herbs.

Main ingredients:

  • 1 6oz salmon fillet per person (these will be individual servings per pouch)
  • ½ cup of 2 to 3 different chopped herbs. (Thyme, sage, tarragon, dill, marjoram, parsley, etc…)
  • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground pepper (I prefer white pepper here.)
  • Zest of half a lemon
  • 1 tsp lemon juice (This is about half a lemon, so you can do two per lemon.)
  • 1 foot x 1 foot square of heavy duty foil

OK, now for the fun stuff. Put the olive oil down on the foil first. (Put oil on the foil) Then sprinkle a little salt on the oil and also about half of the chopped herbs. Then place the salmon, skin side down, on top of your bed of oil and herbs. Next, place the pad of butter directly on top of the fillet and top with the remaining salt, pepper, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest. The grill heat should be medium…ish. Try to keep it around 325 to 350 degrees. The salmon will be done in about 30 minutes or so. When you get close, you can peel one back and check by cutting one fillet open. And lastly, drizzle the lemon juice over the finished product and serve. If you’re plating, also pour all the deliciousness from the pouch over the salmon and other veggies or pasta. (See below)

I don’t like handling raw meat at the campsite. So what you can do is prepare the pouches at home and just keep them on ice until you’re ready for them. Let them sit out, out of the ice or refrigeration, for about 20 minutes before cooking to take the edge off the chill.

Also, you can throw in broccoli or asparagus right in with the salmon. You can even steam pasta the same way. Take fettuccine or linguine and break it in half so the uncooked noodles are about the length of the salmon. Just place the pasta on top of the salmon and close it up. The pasta will steam and cook just fine. A whole meal all in one pouch. Enjoy!

Questions/comments/requests/suggestions/limericks/thoughts on life/childhood stories? Feel free to drop me a line at jasonr@pahaque.com.

editors note – every month when Jason submits his recipe, its always world-famous this and world famous that.  So for fun, we took the liberty to rename this months recipe “well-known”, since we can only account for about 25 people who actually know this recipe. Hopefully after this newsletter, it will become truly ‘world-famous’!

Celestial Navigator – March 2015

Sky Maps and Smartphone Apps

Stargazing for Dummies

How many among us can look up at the night sky and point out prominent stars, planets, and other heavenly wonders, purely from memory?  Certainly there are some of us who are blessed with the ability to discern patterns and locations in what appears to the rest of as a completely random and endless sky full of white dots.

Even if you are not one of ‘them’, the celestial know-it-all’s, there are still simple ways to enrich your star gazing experience with the use of a few simple, and free, tools available online and elsewhere.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Sky Maps  – There are several sites that offer free downloads of printable sky maps – our favorite is http://www.skymaps.com/downloads.html   We like to use these in remote areas where other cellular or GPS based maps may not be accessible.  Printed sky maps are easy to use – simply hold them overhead, orient it to north, and you can easily sky mapstart to match up stars with your map.  Next thing you know, you’re finding constellations and planets and nebulae, and the sky patterns will begin to reveal themselves to you.

Smartphone Apps  –  These take printed sky maps to a whole new and interactive level. Working on the same principle of holding your phone overhead to align your screen with the stars, these apps can detect your location, zoom in or out, and show outlines of constellations.  The apps we prefer are: Google Sky Map, Sky Safari, and Sky Map. All are available through the App or Play Stores, and are free in their basic versions.  All of them will place more celestial knowledge at your fingertips than Copernicus had on his best day.

Also available to the amateur stargazer are affordable, GPS-guided telescopes, that combine all the functionality of the Smartphone Apps with telescopic power.  Now you can identify celestial objects, and see them up close.  Most of these telescopes start in the $400 range, and can exceed upwards of $4000.  Experience has shown us tetx-at-tchat the less expensive telescopes are more than sufficient.  Unless you want to explore deep-space objects, most telescopes will only turn small white dots into slightly larger white dots, and therefore the extra expense is not justified.  For viewing closer objects such as the moon and planets, smaller and less-expensive is the way to go.  Our favorite for many years is a slightly older version of the Meade ETX80, which starts around $300 (http://www.meade.com/products/telescopes.html?cat=16)