After years of big family meals around a big bird, we treasure our new tradition, Thanksgiving for two (not counting the cat) in the trailer in the middle of nowhere.
In our 1956 vintage Shasta trailer (commonly known as a canned ham,) we are home for the holidays, wherever we’re parked–this year, on BLM land just outside Goblin Valley.
The thing is, as much as I love camping, I don’t love making any culinary concessions to it. No freeze-dried food for me. The Shasta has a tiny oven and 3 propane burners in its Princess stove, and I use it all. With a minimum of at-home prep, I dish out a pretty full feast-day menu–this year, loin of pork stuffed with herbs and nuts, mashed potatoes with garlic, roasted sweet potatoes, blistered peppered green beans, green salad with balsamic vinaigrette and slivered apple, and hot rolls. A sip of High West Boureye before, Simonnet Febvre cremant and Meiomi pinot noir during.
The only tricky part is the hot rolls–and fresh bread is essential to any meal even pretending to mark an occasion much less merit the name of “feast”– but my second favorite biscuit recipe gets me through that, and provides fresh cinnamon rolls for breakfast, too.
My favorite biscuit recipe is of course my mother’s–proper, very short, flaky biscuits that are fantastic when they’re hot but turn to clunkers overnight. I need something hardier to bake on the road and I use this Dallas Junior League cookbook standby, called “angel biscuits.” With three different leavenings, they’re bound to rise, and the yeast means you can keep the dough, chilled, for a day or so. I make a batch of dough, divide it in three, stuff it in Ziplocs, and pack it in the icebox.
When it’s time to eat, just pat it out, cut it in squares so there’s no scraps, and bake. For cinnamon rolls, I pat it out, sprinkle it with brown sugar, nuts and cinnamon, roll it up and slice it. Bake these in a buttered pan, so the sugar doesn’t stick. You can also put a pat of butter on a square or round of dough and fold over for pocket rolls.
1 package active dry yeast
2 cups buttermilk
5 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar (I use a little less)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon salt
1 cup chilled shortening (I use butter)
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, yeast and salt. Cut in butter or shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal, with some small pea-size pieces of fat. Stir in buttermilk, blending well. Knead lightly. Pat out to about 1/2-inch thick. Cut in squares or with biscuit cutter or proceed for cinnamon rolls. Place cut out biscuits on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for about 15 to 20 minutes. Makes about 2 to 3 dozen biscuits, depending on size.