Chef Camp Holiday Recipes

chef-camp-holiday-bookThis post is sponsored by Chef Camp.

’Tis the season of a thousand small plates. Try something new this year with these three distinctive dishes from the new Chef Camp cookbook.

Chef Camp is a Northwoods food retreat where campers take wilderness-themed cooking classes over open fires from some of the most talented local chefs, sip artisan coffee and cocktails, participate in classic camp activities (think archery, canoeing, and crafts), and feast under the stars in an open-air mess hall.

Courtesy of Chef Camp
Courtesy of Chef Camp


by Tippy Maurant of the Northern Clay Center
It’s fresh. It’s got a bit of heat. And it’s pretty healthy for a winter food.

1 small jalapeño, trimmed and seeded
2 tablespoons packed fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
¼ cup sugar
1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced an inch or two up into the greens
12 ounces fresh cranberries

In a food processor, pulse jalapeño, cilantro, ginger, lime juice, and sugar until the texture is fairly smooth, but not quite pesto consistency. Add the cranberries, and pulse until pieces are consistent in size and resemble the texture of pickle relish. Pour into a bowl and fold in sliced onions. Serve with tortilla chips.

Notes: Green onion slices are considerably more successful than green onion chopped bits. Don’t be tempted to pour them into the food processor. You may omit the sugar or substitute it with agave if you wish, but it serves a purpose in this dish beyond sweetening. It macerates the cranberries, which in turn, creates a ruby-colored glaze that makes people fall in love with this salsa they never heard of before.

Courtesy of Chef Camp
Courtesy of Chef Camp


by Northern Waters Smokehaus
These delicious small bites are sure to up your holiday snack game!

½ cup soy sauce
½ cup mirin
1 tablespoon fermented pepper paste (if you can’t find this, sambal will work)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 bunch scallions, julienned lengthwise
½ pound asparagus, trimmed
1½ pounds pork loin cut into ½-pound chops
Peanut oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put soy sauce, mirin, and pepper paste in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Cook until bubbling, 3 to 4 minutes. Turn off heat, and let cool slightly. Add scallions and garlic, and let steep for 10 minutes; then remove scallion mixture to a separate bowl, reserving soy mixture.
  2. Prepare pork by placing each chop between two sheets of plastic wrap and pounding with a meat mallet until about ¼-inch thick. If you have a gracious butcher, they may cut the pieces for you and run them through their tenderizer if you ask. Tell them that the chops will need a minimum of two passes through the tenderizer, and possibly three passes to achieve desired thickness. Your butcher is awesome!
  3. Place tenderized pork on a flat surface with the widest edge closest to you, and make a row of the scallion mixture and asparagus lengthwise about an inch from the edge, dividing the mixture and asparagus evenly between all chops. Roll chop away from you. Chop should resemble a cigar with the vegetables as the tobacco in the center. Tie chops around the center and near each end with butcher twine to secure.
  4. Prepare charcoal grill for medium heat. Stack coals on one side of grill, making a hot and a cool zone. Lightly oil and season pork rolls with salt and pepper. Grill to sear, for about 10 minutes, occasionally brushing with reserved soy mixture. Move pork to cool side of grill to finish, occasionally brushing with soy mixture until fully cooked.
  5. Serve either hot or cold. Negimaki can be sliced into medallions or left whole. Serve over rice, noodles, kimchi, stir-fried vegetables, etc. The medallions are nice cold with a dab of honey and a dash of Japanese Furikake seasoning.
Courtesy of Chef Camp
Courtesy of Chef Camp


by Bittercube Bitters | Text by Marco Zappia

The Uncommon Nonsense is an ode to the Mad Hatter of Alice in Wonderland. Beer purists are almost as bad as cocktail nerds, and when we first developed this for Oktoberfest a few years back, the reaction was completely binary. One side of the malt heads were cheering it on, and the other side could only express sheer horror. I forget what we originally called the drink, but it’s now the Uncommon Nonsense.

The Jamaican #2 bitters are grapefruit dominant and share a lot of polyphenols with hops. It’s one of those perfect pairings like strawberry and rhubarb or pineapple and vanilla — grapefruit and beer are just great. Going from there, we went to lime and lemongrass to fill in the acidity and body. The Crooked Water Abyss gin is one of the closest expressions to a true London Dry juniper bomb, and we can drink it without having it shipped from over the pond. The cocktail itself is playful and contradictory on the palate; bitter and drying while simultaneously light and refreshing. If you dig deep, you could argue that it makes a superdope fruit loop shandy.

1 ounce Crooked Water Abyss gin
⅛ ounce lime juice
1 ounce lemongrass syrup
3 ounces Fulton 300 West Coast IPA
1 eyedropper Bittercube Jamaican #2 Bitters

For garnish: Dehydrated hop flower with 7 drops of Jamaican #2 Bitters

Build in collins glass, add ice, garnish, and enjoy.


Looking for a last minute gift idea?

Because a Chef Camp ticket is so much more memorable than a pair of socks, the camp counselors are sweetening the deal this holiday season with a discounted pre-sale pricing starting at $600, which includes all food, beverages, lodging and activities.

Through the end of the year, tickets will also come with a beautiful print copy of the 2016 Chef Camp cookbook. The cookbook includes recipes like:

Check out a free preview of the cookbook >

Becca Dilley / Heavy Table
Becca Dilley / Heavy Table