As I see the summer slipping away I have different feelings. Sadness that the warm days will soon be over. Gratitude that we had a great summer and we got to do road trips, picnics, and camping all over Wisconsin. The strangest feeling is this sense of relief that it is over, hear me out: once kids are back to school, the house goes back to a normal routine, dinner time, shower time, and bed time is back, yes! Now I will finally have time to sit down and download all the pictures from our summer trips, and with that I’ll be able to share some of the yummy recipes we also enjoyed this summer.
One of my favorite activities in the summer is camping. Wisconsin have so many beautiful state parks to visit, some of them are far from Madison and going for just a day is not ideal. That’s when we book a campsite, pack our tent and camping boxes and away we go. We try to visit new places every now and then, although we also enjoy just going back to the places that we love and enjoy to camp at. One of those places happens to be a piece of paradise hidden in Wisconsin. We drive about 6.5 hours up to Bayfield, take a short ferry ride to Madeline Island, drive another 15 minutes to Big Bay State Park, and then we submerge ourselves in the natural beauty of Lake Superior for 10 days.
There is so much to do in Madeline Island, we have been visiting now for three straight summers and we never get to do or see everything there is. I love the hiking trails along Lake Superior, as well as the walking path between the Big Bay Park Beach and the Town Park Beach. Watching the beautiful sunsets, kayaking, watching the night sky with millions of stars, and simply enjoying nature and silence just makes me happy. Well, silence only last until the kiddos start fighting over a sand bucket, but I have to say that there is also a lot of laughter going on during our time there. As always, cooking dinner almost every night while camping is one of my vacation joys, call me crazy, it is what I like to do.
This year we had my mom and two sisters with us. We had to drive two cars, pack an extra tent, and plan for bigger meals. We also counted with some extra hands when it was time for dinner, bonus! This recipe is as simple as cutting all your summer vegetables, dressing them with fresh herbs and olive oil, wrapping them in tin foil, and throwing them over the campfire. Nothing gets better than that! There is no secret, there is no special ingredient, there is not even specific amounts (but I’ll list what we used), just have a good time and enjoy cooking outdoors, but most importantly enjoy your family! 🙂
You’ll need aluminum foil.
2 lb. Favorite Sausage (we buy ours at Underground Butcher, this time they had quince & spices, and cheese & bacon)
1 package Spanish chorizo
5 large carrots
2 medium size sweet potatoes
1 lb. fresh green beans
1 large zucchini
2 medium onions
3 bell peppers
3 cloves garlic
Fresh thyme (small bundle)
Fresh chives (about 3 tablespoons, when chopped)
Fresh mint (about 10 leaves)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt & pepper
Start your fire with enough time ahead of cooking so that the coals are hot and the flames are down when you are ready to cook. That part is my husband’s contribution to dinner. Cut the aluminum foil in long pieces (about 15 inches), you’ll want to double it up, you’ll need as many pieces as pouches you want to make. We made 2 big ones, but you could also cook individual meals.
Start by peeling the sweet potato and carrots, Cut the green beans in halves, cut all the vegetables into 1.5 inch pieces, add to a big bowl. Mince the garlic and all the herbs, add to the bowl. Season with salt & pepper, add olive oil and toss gently to coat all the vegetables, I use my clean hands for better results
Spread the vegetables on aluminum foil making sure they are in one layer for even cooking, crumple the edges to form a 1-inch wall. I double the bottom to make sure it doesn’t break while cooking or transferring. Nestle the sausages within the vegetables, making sure that they are touching the bottom of the foil. They’ll need the most heat to cook. Transfer carefully to the campfire grill grate. Cover with more aluminum foil. After 10 minutes or so, check the sausage, when the bottom is cooked turn them carefully, toss the vegetables to make sure they are cooking evenly.
Since you can’t control the heat of the fire, you’ll have to continuously check the sausage for doneness, as well as the vegetables. Our fire was really hot and it cooked in about 25 minutes. Make sure that the sausages are cooked all the way through, the vegetables should be tender but it’s ok if they have a little bit of a crunch too. When you are cooking outside no one is looking for perfection, just have a good time. Transfer to plates and enjoy with a cold beer!