I didn't really go camping, but I believe that anytime there's a fire and the great outdoors involved, a pie iron is justified. There's just something about cooking dinner over hot coals and a open flame that's just so very Laura Ingalls Wilder and we never get enough Laura.
My weekend in the mountains was a fantastic little getaway. It started off with a bit of a freak gasoline fight accident (Zoolander anyone?). While filling up the tank during a little Denver spring snowstorm
extraordinaire, I heard the gas pump click signaling the tank was full, and then watched the gas come flying out of the tank. It took me a good bit of time and many gallons of flying gas while I was flinging the pump around (Zoolander, seriously) to figure out how to manually force it to stop. Needless to say, the drive up was a smelly nightmare but it only got better after that.
This isn't the cabin I stayed at but every time I drive by I kind of want to stop and go inside. That's the sometimes elusive Longs Peak behind the cloud.
Someone at work asked if I was snowshoeing into a cabin. Ha, ha. HA. I knew I wasn't traveling light but even I was a little surprised at my ability to fill up my cargo area. Yes, I love my Lands End monogrammed canvas totes and storage totes. Life feels more organized when there's a specific tote for everything...no packing and unpacking...just grab the tote you need. They also make crazy sturdy market bags for those of us who would choose to load up one extra-almost-impossible-to-carry-heavy large bag over making multiple trips from the car to the house with the groceries. I like the Lands End one a bit more than the LL Bean version because there are pockets galore inside of the LE totes.
In my defense here, some of this is food, firewood and snow clothes. Snow clothes, boots and snowshoes take up a lot of room.
And oh yeah, there might be a pie iron somewhere in here. I have the sturdy cast iron ones and the lightweight Coleman aluminum ones. While the cast iron ones feel better and are higher quality, I often grab the Coleman ones. You need lightweight when you take a 4 day weekend with as much stuff as I packed up.
The Coleman pie irons are a perfect weight for sandwiches or something that cooks up pretty quickly.
I probably don't need to really explain how to make these little Croque Madames, but you just butter the bread, lay it buttered side out, top with gruyere (the absolute best cheese in the world), sliced ham, another slice of gruyere and then another slice of buttered bread, butter side out. Close and clamp the pie iron and cut all around to remove overhanging bread. I like to use bigger bread here so there is overhang to crimp together and cut off.
When the sandwich is all toasty brown and the cheese melted through, you just top it with a fried egg. Or if you prefer your croques to be monsieur's instead of madames, and you camp with béchamel sauce, well Mazel Tov. Top that sandwich with some béchamel.
If you've never had a Croque Madame, it's not dissimilar to some Eggs Benedict minus the hollandaise. And poached egg. And with the addition of cheese. So really the same at all, but yummy nonetheless. While it's not as schmance as a Croque Madame served in Paris cafe by a fantastically chic waiter, it's not so bad served up with a cappuccino and eaten in the clean cool mountain air.
This was one of my favorite spots of the trip. Why are adirondack chairs on cabin decks so darned comfortable? It was the perfect spot for a little quiet time in the morning, and to unwind with a book after a day of hiking and snowshoeing.
And with this view? Seriously, PERFECT.
This one didn't find it as relaxing as I did, as she was on full lookout for her nemesis.
They were all around us. The elk were indeed terrified of my little 20 lb terror.