Fine Dining By The Campfire

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Imagine waking to the sound of birds singing just outside the tent. You step out into the sunshine, breathe in the glorious fresh air, then sit down to a campfire breakfast of banana stuffed French toast.

Stuffed French toast? On a campout? Absolutely! More people are moving beyond traditional camping food and are going gourmet. Hot dogs and sun tea are being replaced with things like herbed salmon, couscous and good wine.

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Red Wine and Garlic Marinated Beef Skewers

The key to gourmet camp cooking is preparation. Do as much prep as possible before you leave.

-- Chop fresh vegetables and store in plastic containers in the cooler.

-- Bring your favorite herbs and spices in small, resealable bags. Curry, cumin, dried orange peels, ginger, cinnamon and fresh garlic add gourmet flavor to just about anything.

-- Mix up favorite sauces or marinades ahead of time to dress things up. Try fresh pesto, or spicy dry rubs.

To complement your delicious campfire meal, choose a good wine. To help you pair wines with your menu, there is a food and wine matching tool at www.rosemountestates.com.

You may want to transport your wines in an insulated carrier to keep them at the appropriate serving temperature. And keep the entire experience gourmet by serving your wine in elegant stemless tumblers.

There's no need to completely rough it when you're camping. Fine dining is possible anywhere, even by the campfire.

Red Wine and Garlic Marinated Beef Skewers

Makes 4 servings

3/4 cup Rosemount Pinot Noir

1/3 cup top quality balsamic or olive oil vinaigrette

1 tablespoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon crushed rosemary, basil or herb blend

1/2 teaspoon pepper

3 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced

1 pound boneless beef, cut into very thin bite-size strips

Combine all ingredients except beef in a large resealable plastic bag. Remove 1/4 cup mixture and set aside. Add beef to marinade; seal bag and chill for several hours or overnight. Thread beef onto skewers and grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes on each side. Place in shallow dish and pour reserved marinade over the top.

Make ahead tip: Prepare marinade at home and store in a large resealable bag in the cooler. Beef may also be sliced and frozen and stored in another resealable bag in the cooler. It will be ready to add to the marinade once it's thawed, making this dish a snap to prepare on site.

Gazpacho Salad

Serve with some good crusty bread to soak up the delicious juices of this salad.

Makes 4 generous servings

3 large tomatoes

1 small green bell pepper, seeded

1 medium cucumber, peeled and seeded

1/2 small red onion

2 cloves garlic

1/2 cup Rosemount Shiraz

1/4 cup top quality balsamic or olive oil vinaigrette

Salt and freshly ground pepper

Very finely chop 1/3 of the tomatoes, bell pepper, cucumber and red onion with all of the garlic. Place in a medium bowl and stir in Shiraz and vinaigrette. Dice remaining tomatoes, pepper and cucumber and cut onion into slivers; add to bowl. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour for flavors to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Make ahead tip: Finely chop 1/3 of the vegetables in a blender or food processor at home. Add vinaigrette and store in a tightly sealed container in the cooler.

Foil Wrapped Potatoes Au Gratin

Makes 4 servings

2 (1.6-ounce) packets Alfredo sauce mix

1 cup Rosemount Chardonnay

1 1/4 cups milk

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

1 (5-ounce) package shredded Swiss cheese blend (or 1 1/4 cups shredded Swiss cheese)

1 1/2 pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and sliced

Sliced green onions and black pepper

Whisk together Alfredo sauce mix, wine, milk and mustard in a medium saucepan until smooth. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened; stir in cheese. Place equal amounts of potatoes onto 4 large pieces of lightly buttered heavy-duty foil. Top with equal amounts of cheese sauce then fold in top and sides of packets to seal, leaving room for air to circulate. Place on a grill or near a fire over medium-low heat and cook for 30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning packets occasionally to avoid hot spots. Top with green onions and black pepper.

Make ahead tip: Prepare cheese sauce at home and store in a tightly sealed container in the cooler. Warm slightly before pouring over potatoes.

Campfire Crepes

Makes 8 small crepes

1 cup all fruit berry preserves

1/3 cup Rosemount Pinot Grigio

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Campfire crepes

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Fresh berries (optional)

1 (8-ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese

2 tablespoons honey or sugar

1 cup just add water pancake mix

3/4 cup water

Butter

Simmer preserves and wine together in a small saucepan for about 10 minutes; let cool to warm. Stir together cream cheese and honey in small bowl until smooth; set aside. Stir together pancake mix and water in medium bowl until smooth. Melt about 1/2 teaspoon butter in 7-inch skillet. Add 3 tablespoons batter to skillet, tipping so that it coats bottom of skillet. Cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes or until crepe is golden brown on the bottom. Remove to a plate and cover to keep moist. Repeat with remaining batter. Spoon equal amounts of cream cheese filling into each crepe and fold into quarters. Place 2 crepes on each plate and serve with warm topping and fresh berries, if desired.

Make ahead tip: Prepare fruit topping and cream cheese filling at home. Store in tightly sealed containers in the cooler. Warm fruit topping before spooning over crepes.

Leftover tip: For an ultimate s'more, top a soft oatmeal or molasses cookie with a piece of white chocolate and a toasted marshmallow. Add a drizzle of leftover fruit topping and top with another cookie.

All materials courtesy of Foster's Wine Estates

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