blue marble adventure
Food in the Wild

Food in the Wild

 

Think about trekking to some remote canyon or mountain area, and enjoying a professional culinary experience amid the rocks.

That’s the type of opportunity that we offer at Canyons and Chefs. As an outdoor company, we guide our guests on awe-inspiring tours of some of the area’s best natural landscapes. As a company founded by chefs, we offer these adventurers high cuisine in the outdoors, with a backcountry kitchen well-equipped for turning high-quality food far from the electrical grid or the shelter of a conventional kitchen.

An Excellent Primal Experience

When you think about it, enjoying food in the wilderness is the way that we have lived for millions and millions of years.

In the modern era, you can think about all of those cowboys and cattle movers and other couriers who routinely camped out, cooking over a fire: how did they do it?

The answer shows you how appealing it is for people to outdoors and enjoy well-cooked meals far away from the bells and whistles of human civilization – out in the open, under the sun, moon and stars!

Refining Outdoor Cooking

As we brainstormed how to set up this trail-blazing business, we invested in specific equipment that gives our portable backwoods kitchen the ability to really shine. Whether it’s using a double oven for roasting or searing over a campfire grill, our experience and investment in tools allow us to really bring a new level of flavor to the campfire side.

In a way, it’s exciting to deal with the limitations and challenges of cooking on the open road. When you don’t have a lot of the comfort of city living to fall back on, you rely on your own ingenuity and expertise. Turning out excellent tastes and textures in the wild is a challenge we’re proud to embrace.

Merging Two Great Companies

How did this get started?

When Red Rock Culinary met Blue Marble Adventure GeoTours, a new kind of company was born.

Previously, the chef business was responsible for elevating food for diverse audiences, while Blue Marble’s outdoor tracking service focused on introducing guests to natural wonders. We took these two businesses and threw them together, and the wonderful result is a new kind of company that you rarely find anywhere. Check out the web site for more on how we delight guests, and ask us any questions about logistics or anything else! There’s nothing else like this around, so if you’re coming by here, be sure to look us up!

Top 5 Reasons to Go Glamping

Top 5 Reasons to Go Glamping

As summer comes close to an end, you may be looking to take one more vacation before the colder weather starts. How does camping with all the luxury of home sound? If you are wanting to get away from it all, without getting away from it all completely, glamping may be just the thing for you. Glamourous camping, most popularly known as glamping, involves traditional camping with all the comforts of home.  Here are a few other benefits of glamping to keep in mind:

       1. You take home with you

Glamping means you are camping without the challenges of regular camping. It means no more sleeping in a tent that has no room. No more sleeping on the ground. No more awkward bathroom trips. With glamping, you can camp in a real bed so you can get a good night’s sleep. You also get way more space with all the everyday conveniences (such as outlets) on hand. 

       2. Beautiful locations

If you have resisted the idea of camping because you prefer the luxury of a hotel, you may love the idea of glamping. Why? You get to experience the outdoors in a way that a hotel can never give you. You will be steps from a private beach or mountain range overlooking a scenic view. You will be immersed in nature in a way you would never get with a hotel. 

       3. You won’t break the bank

Although it sounds like it can be more expensive, glamping is much less costly than staying at a resort or hotel. There are way more overhead costs with a resort, but with glamping, you are more likely to support the local community. Also, with glamping, you will want to stay longer. Thanks to the comforts of home, you won’t have to worry about undercooked food, cold showers, and smelly bathrooms. 

       4. You reduce your ecological footprint

Glamping gives you a new appreciation for nature. Large resorts are difficult to build and often destroy surrounding land in their construction phase. When it comes to glamping, it can happen anywhere. It also has minimal constructions and requires fewer resources. It leaves a smaller footprint because the cabins, tents, yurts, and huts don’t have as much assembly. 

5.  You take something great, and make it even better

The outdoors are great, camping is a fantastic activity.  But sometimes, you just want to chill, and real camping can be quite a lot of work, especially if you don’t have it down to a science.

What better way to vacation this summer than by glamping in the outdoors. You get to immerse yourself in the nature around you without having to rough it. Contact Canyons and Chefs for our chef-driven luxury expeditions. 

Most Amazing Outdoor Experiences To Give Yourself, Your Family, Or Someone You Love

Most Amazing Outdoor Experiences To Give Yourself, Your Family, Or Someone You Love

Not all gifts are created equal, and some of the most memorable and life altering gifts are not contained within the confines of a neatly wrapped box. As we find ourselves searching for ways to connect with ourselves, our family and friends, and to the world around us, it makes sense that we turn to idea of giving experiences, rather than objects, as perfect gifts for any occasion.

Gifts of experiences are completely customizable, can fit any budget, and provide highly personalized activities that can be singular or group oriented. Whether you choose to give a hobby related excursion or provide a new adventure altogether, you can rest assured that your gift will be one of a kind.

Wine & Food Tasting

No matter where you live in the country, there is food to be explored in your area. In Seattle, its a Pike Place Market food tour, in Baltimore is a food and wine pairing by a local chef, in a coastal southern town it may be tasting fresh catches from the sea dockside. Wherever you, or your loved one lives, there is undoubtedly a food exploration excursion to be enjoyed. This type of gift creates a deeper appreciation of the local area, and can inspire future outing ideas for everyone involved.

Fun In Learning

Oftentimes people have interests that they would love to become involved in but fail to follow through with the steps necessary in order to do so. Providing the course, or a class, or participation in an educational experience can open many new doors and fulfil lifelong dream. A class in flyfishing, cooking, sailing, music, and any hobby you can think of can be turned into a thoughtful gift that can even be shared with others in a group event.

A Special Touch

Upgrade your family or friend’s weekend getaway by elevating your outdoor experience. While glamping and guided tours have become increasingly popular ways of hitting the trails, many times you are spending your time with others who have also booked the trip. For a truly personal and inspiring adventure, consider taking a tour of the beautiful Grand Canyon with Canyons And Chefs for an experience of our beautiful country like no other. These guided tours culminate with professional chef prepared meals, meaning all that you and your guests have to do is take it all in and enjoy. This type of experience is perfect for girls trips, family vacations, or couples romantic excursions.

The Gift That Keeps On Giving

Creating memorable, one of a kind moments for ourselves and the ones we love provides us with more opportunities to strengthen bonds and develop lifelong memories. Almost any experience can be turned into a gift for anyone and for any occasion, it is the ultimate gift that keeps on giving.

How to Make Your Glamping Experience Amazing

How to Make Your Glamping Experience Amazing

Glamping is a popular buzzword in the outdoor realm, and for good reason. It’s the hottest new trend in getting out and enjoying nature.  For decades proceeding, camping had a rather vast spectrum that ranged from minimalists who slept on the ground in remote areas to RVers who took advantage of the many RV parks available. Glamping is now pushing the envelope when it comes to a posh experience and luxurious camping accommodations.  Now, you and a group of your best friends, lovers, or revelers can access the remote, spectacular areas while still enjoying some of the creature comforts you can find at home, or even upscale hotels and resorts.

Follow along as we delve into the wondrous world of luxury, style, and comfort, all in the wondrous world that is our natural backyard!

What is Glamping?

The word itself really isn’t surprising. It is a mash-up of the words “glamour” and “camping.” Just like traditional camping, glamping has a spectrum. On one end, you have elevated campsites that feel more like home than a tent, and on the other, you have uber-luxe settings that are actually more like five-star hotel suites found in the great outdoors.

Much like regular camping, glamping is essentially what you make it.  For some, glamping may be as simple as bringing along a subwoofer for your Ipod, while for others glamping may be essentially an actual five-star resort adjacent to a wooded area, with perhaps a fire.  However, true glamping is simply an ultra-elevated outdoor experience.

Glamping vs. Camping

One of the biggest differentiators in these two experiences is your overall comfort level. With glamping, you are semi-roughing it. With that being understood, there are no hard-and-fast rules. If you decide to book a glamping getaway, the provider you go through may provide you with a campsite and offer you various luxuries, such as a private shower, closet to hang your clothing, and even a private chef for amazing meals.

However, if you take the DIY approach to glamping, it may just mean a larger tent, more luxurious mattress, or even using gourmet cookware. More decorative campsite touches are also a part of the fun of glamping. You can think of it as decorating buy using an outdoorsmen’s sensibility. If a string of LED flamingo lights, an elegant camp chair, an artsy rug, or even a French coffee press is what speaks to you, then it is a definite candidate for your glamping experience.

A First-Timer’s Guide to Glamping

If glamping is something you want to try, there are several options to consider. For example, you can choose an all-inclusive glamping getaway. If you go the all-inclusive route, you may find it’s expensive; however, having a professional plan all the details of the trip reduces the stress on you.  There are numerous resorts and purveyors of glamping experiences.  Glamping resorts tend to be more of closed-in experiences closer to staying at a hotel in nature, whereas expedition outfitters tend to take inspiration from resorts and take that into private backcountry surroundings.

Another option is to book a glamping rental. You can think of this as a rental service for yurts, but you can find other options, too, such as tiny houses, trailers, and tents. Chances are there are more glamping options in your area than you realize.  Indeed, simply booking a yurt close to a National Park or natural beauty is sort of a hybrid between full-scale galmping and DIY glamping.  Your Yurt and experience is basically what you make it.

You can also become a DIY glamper. This means that you take the entire experience into your own hands and take steps to elevate and glam-up your camping excursion. This may take some careful planning, but it will be worth it in the long run.  Fancy tent?  Cheffy meals?  Trailer-towed backcountry hot tub?  The choices are yours!

Are You Ready to Go Glamping?

As you can see, there is quite the appeal to glamping. If you want to make the most of your adventure, be sure to keep the tips and information here in mind. It will pay off and ensure that you and your entire family have a great experience, regardless of where you go or what you do.  Straddling the two worlds of wilderness adventure and front-country creature comfort is the very essence of human evolution: from survivalist to tourist!

Guided Glamping Expeditions

Hiking and exploring our National Parks or any beautiful landscape is a special experience.  Although it is possible to see these places yourself, hiring a guide outfitter is a great idea.  For instance, guiding services provide logistical support, and plan everything for your best possible trip.  They provide a great safety net on the trail, and are trained in backcountry medicine. Above all, they provide a depth of knowledge of the region that turns a walk into a true adventure.

Canyons and Chefs provides all of the support you need, and pairs that with professional chefs and expert geologist/guides.  Our meals use fresh ingredients and are inspired by local farms, culture, and cuisine.  We utilize a mobile professional kitchen as a backbone for cooking over the fire.  Furthermore, we provide top-of-the-line gear and passion for the places we explore.  Summed up, you can explore these wild places, but going with Canyons and Chefs can create an even more memorable experience.  Don’t be shy, and call us!

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For adventure Chef-Driven Outdoor Experiences, see our epic tours in Grand Canyon, Utah, and Arizona!

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The Fireside Chef’s 5 Most-Loved Campfire Recipes

The Fireside Chef’s 5 Most-Loved Campfire Recipes

Canyons and Chefs Most-Loved Backcountry Recipes

camping cooking dutch oven recipes

A word from the Fireside Chef

In my years of travel and travail through mountains, deserts,Michelin- starred restaurants, backyard barbecues, culinary schools, canyons, parks, summits, and walk-in refrigerators, I have learned one thing:  Cooking matters.  This is an overarching idea that covers many different philosophical subsets:  good food matters, good company matters, happiness matters, smell matters, taste matters, sight matters, texture matters, memories matter.  All of this coalesces into why food is so important in our lives.  It is not simply a vehicle for sustenance.  The renewed farm-to-table food movement of the past decade has proven that human nature rises above TV dinners and microwaved hot dogs.  Internally, we are all chefs, and we all crave to cook and eat food that is fresh and has some measure of humanity within it.  Being phased out are the days of the industrialized food conglomerate of processed “cheese” and mystery meat patties, and back are the days of fresh produce, locally sourced meats, artisan breads and cheeses, and the rekindling of the Farmer’s Market.

Nowhere can this movement be found more evident than when one cooks in the outdoors.  Gone are the days of beanie-weenies and food-on-a-stick, and in is the day of the Fireside Chef: a person who cares about the food they are serving, a person who has a deep connection with their surroundings, a profound respect for nature, and an understanding of how the stars have aligned so that we may be here to create and enjoy gorgeous and delicious food.  If you can, take some time to ponder the profundity of geologic time and the steps that were necessary throughout the course of history to put this power into your hands.  Cook on my friends:  May your coals be hot, your drinks be cold, your company welcome, and your experienceunforgettable.

dutch oven camping recipes

Enjoy our 5 most-loved campfire/dutch oven recipes!

*House Seasoning = 1 part Kosher Salt, ¼ part coarse-ground black pepper, Dash of mesquite

>Beer-Braised Beef Short Ribs with Caramelized Apples, Bacon, and Sage

 

Short ribs are the second pair of ribs on a cow that lie justbeneath the main pair.  They have a rich flavor and tender nature, with an extravagant amount of meat for such a small bone.

1 lb. bacon, chopped

3 lbs. (12) short ribs, trimmed

½ cup bourbon

1 yellow onion, peeled and chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped

4 apples, peeled, cored, and chopped

4 cups beef stock

1 cup apple juice

¼ cup cider vinegar

1 12 oz. can lager-style beer

10 leaves fresh sage, chopped

 

Crisp the bacon in a dutch oven until golden brown.  Remove from the pot, and reserve ½ of the fat in the pot, discarding the rest (it’s great to save for later).  Season the short ribs with house seasoning, and add to the pot, searing until browned on all sides.  Remove ribs from pan, and deglaze with bourbon, reducing by ½ .  Add more fat, and add onion, carrots, garlic, and apples.  Saute slowly until golden brown, add back bacon, and cover with beef stock, apple juice, and vinegar.  Add chopped sage leaves, cover the dutch oven, and place in the simmer pit for 4-5 hours.  Remove from the pit and take out the ribs.  With a slotted spoon, fish out apples, carrots, onions, garlic, and sage and spoon over ribs.  Pour a small amount of braising liquid over the ribs and serve.

 

>Sonoran BBQ and Pepper Bacon Burger

This one could really be called the Sonoran Smokehouse, as it is truly our high desert version of a burger that can be found on burger joint menus.  Smoky, delicious, just what you need.

 

For the Burger:

1 lb. 80/20 Ground Beef

1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

1 tbsp. Dijon mustard

 

For the BBQ Sauce:

1  c. Good-Quality Ketchup

½  c. Apple Cider Vinegar

⅔ c  Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed

¼ c worcestershire sauce

¼ whole-grain mustard

2 Chipotle Peppers in adobo, finely minced

1 c. beef stock

House Seasoning, to taste

 

Combine all ingredients, whisking together.  Pour into a saucepan and simmer over low heat heat until it reaches a thickened, saucy consistency.  Cool.

 

Toppings:

2 Jalapeno-Cheddar Burger Rolls

8 slices pepper bacon

2 Poblano peppers, roasted, skinned, and seeded

4 slices smoked gouda

2 leaves Romaine lettuce

4 slices Roma tomatoes

6 pickle chips

 

Fry the bacon until golden brown and crispy.  Liberally season the patties with house seasoning and place on a hot, oiled grill directly over the coals.  Rotate for grill marks, and flip when edges are crispy and browned.  Place peppers, then bacon on patties, and top with smoked cheddar cheese.  While cheese is melting, toast buns until crispy, then remove from the grill and slather with sauce.  When cheese is melted, place the patties on the bottom bun, and garnish the top bun with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles.  

 

>Grill-Blackened Halibut with Roasted Garlic and Chile Salsa

Blacking spice is typically used when searing fish or meat with oil.  Halibut is a flaky whitefish that stands up well to the bold flavors in the blacking spice and salsa.  The salsa for this recipe takes some time, so it is wise to plan ahead.

 

For the Blacking Spice:

2 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. cumin

1 tsp. chili powder

2 tsp. House seasoning

1 tsp. onion powder

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. Mexican oregano

 

For the Fish:

 

4 6oz. Alaskan Cod fillets, skinned, scaled, and pinboned

Blacking Spice

 

Apply desired amount of spice to cover the entire fillet.  Add to hot, very well-oiled grill (cod may stick if grill is not properly heated and seasoned) over the coals, turning to obtain deep grill marks until the blacking spice is black.  Transfer to indirect heat side, and cook through.

 

For the Salsa:

1 whole head of garlic, cut off bottom so that cloves are exposed

1 tsp olive oil

2 poblano chilies, roasted, seeded, and chopped

2 tomatoes, halved, grilled, and chopped

1 small red onion, halved, grilled, and chopped

2 limes for juicing

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

House seasoning to taste

 

Enclose garlic with oil in aluminum foil, place on the grill over low heat for 45mins-1hr.  

While garlic is roasting, roast chilies according to procedure, and grill onions and tomatoes until blistered with grill marks on all sides.  Remove everything from the grill, and let cool slightly.  Remove garlic from foil, and squeeze cloves out of skins onto a cutting board and chop roughly.  Chop your remaining vegetables, and place in mixing bowl.  Finish with lime juice and chopped cilantro, and season to taste with house seasoning.  The salsa should be chunky.  Spoon over cooked fish.

 

>Spicy Pistachio-Rubbed Elk Tenderloin with Savory Cactus-Blueberry Compote

This is a dish we sold quite a bit of at an acclaimed restaurant in Vail, CO during ski season.  The tart spicy-sweetness of the compote cuts nicely with nutty, spicy pistachio rub, and the unctuous, earthy flavor of elk.

 

4 8oz Elk Tenderloin Steaks

 

Pistachio Rub:

 

1 C. Pistachios, shelled and ground into a semi-fine powder

1 tsp cumin

1 tsp brown sugar

1 tsp chipotle powder

1 tsp ancho powder

½ tsp mesquite powder

2 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

 

For the Compote:

12 oz. organic blueberries

3 fresh nopal cactus paddles, spines removed (have the butcher do this), chop to size of berries

1 chipotle pepper in adobo, minced

2 tbsp sugar

1  c. beef stock

1 tbsp lime juice

 

Begin the compote first.  it will take at least one hour.  Roll the blueberries in the sugar and set aside.  Place your small dutch oven over the fire and heat until a drop of oil produces smoke. Add the cactus and peppers, season and saute until beginning to brown.  Add sugared blueberries, reduce heat (move away from coals/flames), and saute until blueberries begin to break down and turn slightly syrupy.  Add in beef stock and simmer until mixture becomes slightly thick, coating the back of a spoon.  Add lime juice, and season to taste.  Set aside, but keep warm.

 

Rub the elk steaks liberally with the pistachio spice.  Be sure your grill is hot, and your coals are gleaming.  Oil the grill, and place steaks directly over the coals flat-side (butchered-side) down.  Rotate 45 degrees to obtain grill marks, then flip, obtaining grill marks on the other side.  Cook to desired temperature (120 is rare, 160 is well done).  Dress with compote.

 

>Desert Canyon S’mores

Whoever conceived of this toasted mallow and chocolate sandwich should be given the Congressional Medal of Honor.  Spoiler alert, it was me!  This recipe makes it true canyon country-style with a sweet and spicy prickly pear sauce, which is slow-simmered and used to dress the chocolate-marshmallowy goodness.  

 

Stash of Graham Crackers

Stash of Chocolate Bars

Stash of Marshmallows

 

Prickly Pear Sauce

 

1/2 c. Prickly Pear Syrup (Cheri’s Desert Harvest is our go-to)

2 mangoes, peeled, cored, and rough chopped

1 c. pomegranate juice

1 tsp dark brown sugar

1 habanero pepper, seeds removed, finely minced

House seasoning to taste

 

Over low heat add mangoes to dutch oven or small saucepan with a small amount of oil.  Add sugar and stir until begging to brown.  Add pepper and continue to saute until brown and caramelized.  Cover with pomegranate juice and simmer until reduced by ½.  Add prickly pear syrup, season to taste.  Enjoy! 

 

Bonus Side Dishes

 

>Dutch Oven Cauliflower au Gratin

This is an incredibly flavorful, comforting and easy dish; especially under the stars, by the fire with a glass of wine or snifter of fine scotch.  Be careful of heat control, you do not want to burn the bottom.

 

2 heads fresh cauliflower, broken into reasonably-sized pieces

2 cup heavy cream

2 cups good-quality cheese (none of that yellow stuff; I like a blend of smoked gruyere and parmigiano-reggiano)

House Seasoning, to taste

Good quality hot sauce to taste (Arizona Gunslinger is quite tasty)

Oil for cooking

 

Place dutch oven over the fire and heat.  Toss cauliflower in oil, and season with house seasoning.  Place in the duthc oven and cook slowly, until caulilfower florets have begun to take on a deep brown (this will take 30-45 mins).  Pour cream over the cauli, and the cheese, and cover with top.  Put on a relatively cool part of the grill, so as not to burn.  Check and stir, if necessary.  The gratin is done when all the cheese is melted and has thickened the cream, perhaps 30-40 minutes depending on the grill temperature.  Season to taste and serve.  

 

Marinated and Grilled Asparagus

Simple, easy, and delicious.  Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables, and grilling it gives a wonderful, smoky flavor that pairs well with almost anything. 

 

3 Bunches Asparagus (good, fat ones), trimmed

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 tbsp soy sauce

1 “inch” of ginger, grated (this should equal 1 tbsp)

 

Combine all ingredients and let stand for at least 30 minutes, but no more than 4 hours.  On a good, hot grill, lay down the marinated stalks, do not allow them to overlap.  Grill for 5-10 minutes depending on thickness.  The stalk should be tender, still snap when bent.