B. and I went camping at Peter Lougheed Provincial Park in K-Country for August long weekend. It was gorgeous.
We went on two hikes; both were fairly short but strenuous - one was to Ptarmigan Cirque where we saw wildflowers, mushrooms, and lots of Rocky Mountain Sheep.
Our second hike was to Rawson Lake, and part of the trail takes you around the beautiful Upper Kananaskis Lake and past a waterfall. We had lunch by the lake, where we saw many people fly fishing. We saw some people fishing up at Rawson Lake too, but they have a zero catch policy in place - I am still trying to wrap my head around the appeal of catch-and-release.
I also decided to try my hand at tone mapping/HDR, and I learned the hard way that it is nearly impossible to align images taken without a tripod. Photomatix to the rescue! I only have a trial version now though; don't know how often I'll be using this technique to buy it in full.
Of course, we also ate. We decided to not pack the camp stove and simply cook everything over the fire, which resulted in quite a bit of trial-and-error in terms of trying to get the timing right. My only regret is that B. convinced me that we didn't need to buy marshmallows because it would be too much for the two of us and we forgot to pick up Jiffy Pop! So instead of entertaining ourselves around the campfire with marshmallow torches and s'mores, we ate pretzels, made makeshift tongs and cracked macadamia nuts with rocks instead. Never again.
We learned the hard way that baked potatoes do overcook, rendering the outside edge crusty and inedible, but the soft flesh in the middle stays intact, which is perfect for scooping out to include in your breakfast hash the next morning (along with some Spolumbo's chicken apple sausage, vegetables, and way too much rosemary.)
My favourite meal was the one we made the last night there - we brought chicken and chopped red peppers and mushrooms marinating in bottled Korean BBQ sauce in separate ziploc bags in the cooler. B. skilfully skewered the chicken and vegetables, and we roasted everything over the fire - so good.
We rounded out the meal with a pasta salad, which I'd made before heading out on the trip, allowing the flavours to sit and mingle in the cooler for a few days. I'd originally saved it on my Reader from Serious Eats, but when we got around to actually making it we ended up going with an adaptation of the same source recipe from Aud Monster's Kitchen. It's a fun twist on traditional pasta salads - B. took one bite and described the flavour as, "what you'd expect as 'Asian' from a chain restaurant like Moxie's or Earls". I like the mix of vegetables in it and appreciate that they are lightly sauteed before adding them to the salad to really bring out their flavour. The only change that we made was we used honey roasted almonds instead of peanuts just because we couldn't find the latter, and they add a very pleasant crunch. I must warn you though, after eating this salad for several meals straight it is easy to get sick of it! I personally will have to wait a while before pulling this recipe out again...
Spicy Asian-Style Pasta Salad
Adapted from Aud Monster's Kitchen, who adapted it from Epicurious/Bon Appétit
Makes 4 servings
- ½ lb (227 g) whole-wheat rotini, or other short pasta
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) sesame oil, divided
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) honey
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) soy sauce
- 1½ tbsp (22 mL) balsamic or red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon (2 mL) cayenne pepper, or more to taste
- 1 large red bell pepper, seeded, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups (375 mL) sugar snap peas, trimmed
- 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup (60 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
- ½ cup (125 mL) honey-roasted almonds or peanuts, coarsely chopped or left whole, depending on personal preference
Nutrition Info (per serving): 429 calories, 16 g fat (2 g saturated), 62 g carbohydrate (9 g fibre, 11 g sugar), 13 g protein, 370 mg sodium. An excellent source of vitamin C, thiamine (vitamin B1), folate (vitamin B4), iron and magnesium. A good source of riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and copper.
- In a large saucepan, cook pasta according to package directions until al dente. Drain well and transfer to a large bowl.
- While pasta is cooking, whisk 1½ tbsp (22 mL) sesame oil, honey, soy sauce, vinegar and cayenne pepper in small bowl to blend. Set aside
- Heat remaining ½ tbsp (7 mL) oil in large wok or skillet over medium-high heat. Add bell peppers, peas and onion and sauté until just beginning to wilt, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add to pasta.
- Add cilantro and dressing to salad. Toss to coat. Add nuts immediately before serving.