Put a delicious spin on your summer adventures with these easy recipes from three outdoors-loving chefs.
“Outdoor cooking is just fun,” says Carlo Lamagna, the chef of Magna restaurant in Portland, Oregon.
Lamagna camps and hikes – a lot. For him, Portland is the ideal place to nurture his love of the outdoors with his two young sons in tow. And here’s what he knows: Family outings are that much better with good food enjoyed under the sun or stars. What’s more, the food you pack doesn’t have to be limited to trail mix, even if you and your loved ones are far from professional chefs. The key is putting in a little prep work before your trip.
We asked Lamagna, along with fellow chefs and outdoor enthusiasts Celina Tio and Jason Pfeifer, for easy-to-make dishes to enjoy while boating, hiking and camping. The perfect complement to a great outdoor family adventure, after all, is great, healthy eats.
Photo: Briana Balducci
Chef Carlo Lamagna
S’mores and a campfire go without saying. But before dessert, chef Carlo Lamagna, of Magna in Portland, Oregon, suggests this hearty dinner cooked fireside in a foil packet. It’s what he remembers eating as a kid on camping and fishing trips with his uncle in their native Philippines, with banana leaves standing in for the foil. To cut down on prep, mix and pack the rice and liquid mixtures in separate containers ahead of time.
Chef Carlo Lamagna’s Filipino Chicken and Rice recipe. Photography and Set Styling by Jena Carlin, Food Styling by Jim Rude
Chicken and Rice
Makes: 2 servings
6 (12x12-inch) sheets heavy-duty foil
1 cup uncooked long grain rice, basmati or jasmine
1⁄4 cup shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. ginger, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup chicken stock
1⁄2 cup coconut milk
1⁄4 cup fish sauce (found in most grocery stores in the international section)
1 bone-in chicken leg quarter, cooked
1 Thai chili pepper, optional
Mix rice, mushrooms, garlic, ginger, salt and pepper in a small bowl. In another small bowl, mix chicken stock, coconut milk and fish sauce.
Layer three sheets of foil, giving each sheet a quarter-turn to set the corners. Spoon the rice mixture in the center of the foil, creating a 1⁄2-inch layer. Place chicken on top and gently push down. Turn the sides of the foil up to form a bowl; add the mixture of wet ingredients and the chili pepper, if desired. Pull the ends of the foil in to seal the packet and then wrap the remaining sheets of foil around the packet.
Place on the embers of a fire, not directly on the flames, and then place more embers on top. Cook 30-45 minutes or until the rice is tender.
Photo: Liz Clayman
Chef Jason Pfeifer
Hiking and foraging along the Appalachian Trail inspired Jason Pfeifer, now the chef of New York City’s Maialino, to pursue a career in cooking. It also taught him about traveling light but eating well. “I always carry some supply of fresh ingredients to keep me happy and feeling strong,” he says. These granola bars are easy to make, store well and far outshine the store-bought kind.
Chef Jason Pfeifer's Homemade Granola Bars. Photography and Set Styling by Jena Carlin, Food Styling by Jim Rude
Homemade Granola Bars
Makes: about 36 (2x3-inch) bars
2 1⁄4 cups quick oats, toasted
2 cups crispy rice cereal
3⁄4 cup dried unsweetened coconut
1⁄2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
1⁄2 cup pistachios, toasted and chopped
1⁄2 cup pumpkin seeds
1⁄4 cup dried apricots, diced small
1⁄4 cup dried cherries, chopped
1⁄4 cup golden raisins
3⁄4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. honey
3⁄4 cup light brown sugar
1⁄4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. molasses
1 1⁄2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. kosher salt
Preheat oven to 325°F. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine wet ingredients and stir over medium-low heat until smooth. Pour over dry ingredients and stir until everything is well coated.
Press mixture into a half-sheet (18x13-inch) pan. Bake for 9 minutes, then rotate pan and bake for another 7 minutes.
Cool before slicing. Bars should remain reasonably soft and chewy.
Pack bars into a resealable plastic bag and slip into your hiking backpack.
Photo: Adam Kaleikau
Chef Celina Tio
“This is the perfect food to eat while listening to the water lapping against the side of your boat,” says Celina Tio, chef of The Belfry in Kansas City, Missouri. Use the freshest tuna you can find – make sure you confirm at the supermarket that it’s sushi-grade – and store the dish in a cooler.
Chef Celina Tio’s Tuna Poke. Photography and Set Styling by Jena Carlin, Food Styling by Jim Rude
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
3 scallions, sliced on an angle, white and green parts separated
2 Tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 Tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce
1 Tbsp. ginger, grated
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
Sriracha to taste
1 lb. sushi-grade tuna, diced into 3⁄4-inch pieces
1 Tbsp. toasted sesame seeds
Crackers and/or butter lettuce leaves
At home mix together the white parts of the scallions, sesame oil, soy sauce, ginger, vinegar, garlic and a squeeze of Sriracha, depending on your spice preference. Just before heading out on the high seas, stir in the tuna.
Keep the poke chilled in a thermos or in a zippered freezer bag placed inside another freezer bag on ice in a cooler. (Don’t forget to bring along the green parts of the scallions and the sesame seeds.)
When ready to serve, top the poke with reserved sliced green scallions and sesame seeds. Serve with crackers and/or lettuce leaves.