Maybe you haven’t heard this kind of term before – and that’s okay, that’s not unusual.
Casual campers really often don’t think too much about the environment that they’re in. They may read some things on visitor center boards, or remark about some cool-looking stone structure, but some won’t have access to in-depth information about the natural world that they’re walking through.
That’s part of the reason why we put together these geological immersion tours, where we actually bring people into a greater knowledge of what they’re seeing and experiencing as they hike. It’s done in a context that offers “luxury in the outdoors” and many of our guests find this thrilling!
Journey Through Time
Geology buffs know that the study of rock and natural processes is the study of pressure over time. In a sense, rocks tell the story of the land and civilizations that have used it in their own ways.
The stories that rocks tell, though, are only accessible when you have the right kinds of knowledge about how to interpret this aspect of the natural world. You’ll hear how we’ve put together our resources and grown the ability to interpret the surrounding landscapes to be able to guide our visitors through in a more intelligent way. Our tours are chock full of real info about the history of rock structures and the lay of the land, so that when you’re done, you come away with more than just pictures (yes, we know the pictures are important, too!)
Then you also have the other part of this experience – culinary camping, where you enjoy high-quality cuisine out in the outdoors.
Whether it’s an elevated breakfast or a magnificent supper under the stars, Canyons and Chefs has put together some amazing culinary adventures that combine hiking and camping with delicious meals!
For instance, take a look at our pop-up restaurant experience and all that we offer, from specialized lighting and screened in tables to the sunset stroll and backcountry camping option. You can also peruse some sample menus. What about a fire-grilled ribeye with herb butter and fingerling potatoes? Or scallops cooked in a cast iron pan, or trout ceviche? What about high desert tamales with braised local pork, red chili and sharp cheddar?
These are the types of sensations that await your taste buds at Canyons and Chefs. Come and see why we are the best around!
Camping breakfasts are some of the most fun times you’ll have on the trail.
You don’t have to go back to cowboy days to see how a traditional camping breakfast warms the heart, and the gullet. Our camping tours often have these nice spreads laid out as you get your morning cup of camping coffee, and get ready to get up and go.
What are some of the most popular components of camping breakfasts? Here are a few.
Sausages are one of the easiest things to cook on the trail. Unlike bacon, they don’t require quite the precision, and they get a nice golden brown over the fire. For those worried about proper cooking, there are a few options – you can precook the sausage, then warm it on the grill. You can use smaller, thinner links that cook more quickly. Or you can use a food thermometer just to check that your pork or chicken products, or whatever you’re cooking, is fully heated to a safe temperature in the middle.
Toast on the Grill
Do not by any means overlook the appealing quality of grilled toast.
We’re used to slapping two slices of bread in a toaster, but a camping fire can make even better toast. Slather some butter from your cooler, and you’re in culinary heaven.
For the kiddos or anybody who just likes something quick and easy, pour milk over cereal and enjoy. You’ll just have to make sure you have good cleaning equipment for those bowls and spoons.
Fruit is Mother Nature’s way of jazzing up your breakfast with natural foods high in antioxidants and fiber, as well as juices that can help hydrate you and your palate as you awaken. It’s also a good idea to wash your breakfast down with some refreshing cold water, because after all, this is the essential element that you need to survive.
A good roasted potato can be a great breakfast food, too! Again, you can roast these at home, wrap in foil, and then throw near the fire to get them hot and delicious.
That’s just a little about the amazing breakfast that you can put on anywhere in the great outdoors. You don’t have to seek for obscure delicacies when some of the best and brightest tastes around are right under your nose. Check out the blog for more on how we combine culinary expertise and great camping guidance for truly memorable trips.
Stay tuned because the sandwich rock is really a good example of what we try to do here at Canyons and Chefs, where we’re creating something new in the world of outdoor tour services. If you’ve never heard of “glamping” or experienced a gourmet outdoor meal, check us out – you’re in for a treat!
So what do we do?
The Earl of Sandwich
In the culinary world, the sandwich probably needs no introduction.
However, this portable meal is worth thinking about when you’re trying to innovate fine dining on the road.
Aeons ago, the first visionary slapped meat and cheese and whatever else was handy between two slices of bread, and the sandwich was born. Today it’s a billion-dollar industry, with endless permutations and ingredient lists as a major part of our daily diet – you probably have over a dozen sandwich shops within a few miles of wherever you live!
Sandwich rocks are a little different. Like the sandwich itself, they are ubiquitous, but in some ways, that’s where the comparisons end.
How do sandwich rocks come to be? Over time, rivers carry sediment through areas where small bits of stone coalesce on an original rock layer to form neat and interesting patterns that rock hounds can scrutinize to think about the history of a particular geological formation.
What do these two things have in common? Maybe not a lot, unless you’re into culinary camping like we are!
At Canyons and Chefs, we like to haul our dutch ovens and portable cooking gear all over Arizona, Utah and the natural spaces of our region. We like to take people along, too. Our guests can check out the “goat’s favorite hikes” and enjoy some pop-up culinary experiences with fire, food and adventure for couples, or for the whole family.
These specialty trips often feature luxury outdoor living – an innovative concept that you have to experience to understand.
We also have special to trips, for example, going to a nearby site called The Wave where you can peruse special kinds of rock formations and enjoy a hearty meal.
Check out our trip calendar and more on the website, and let us know when you would like to visit. We have got special trips in store for you!
If you are looking for something different to do on Valentine’s Day, break away from the chocolates, and take your sweetheart outside. Spending time outdoors with your special someone, whether it’s your spouse, your best friend, your closest family member, or even yourself, is a great way to build memories, get fresh air, and enjoy this love-oriented special day. We have a few tips to make it one to remember:
Try a new activity.
Although many activities are limited and on lockdown due to COVID-19, there is still plenty you can do outdoors. If you can, select an activity that you’ve never done before. Whether it’s kayaking, rock climbing, or hiking, choose something new for you both. Call in advance to anywhere you’ve decided to plan for any preparations you need to do in advance.
Go for a picnic.
We can certainly say, picnics haven’t been canceled yet. You may have to be flexible with your picnic location choices, but it’s a wonderful way to enjoy tasty food with someone you love. Don’t forget the flowers and the wine, of course! If you can’t find a safe locale to have your picnic, get creative and do your picnic out in the backyard.
Have a luxury campout.
With Canyons and Chefs, you can go on an adventure for a day. You’ll be able to create memories in the outdoors with tasty food made by acclaimed chefs. You can enjoy comfort, solitude, and fresh air with our camping accommodations without skimping on the luxury.
Enjoy the snow.
One wonderful thing about Valentine’s Day being in February is that there is plenty of snow around for those that live near mountain areas. Enjoy the ski slopes or rent some snowshoes and have a day enjoying the crisp cold air. Suppose you don’t live near the mountains but get your share of snow, considering renting a sled for Valentine’s Day and find a nearby hill. It’s a great way to get in touch with your inner child and have a day to remember.
Visit a National park.
Many National Park’s are open right now, so now is the time to have your dream Valentine’s Day vacation. Rent an RV or schedule a road trip to visit the one nearest to you that’s open. Plan to make a special dinner at home or a dinner out in the outdoors, and don’t forget a special bottle of wine to commemorate the occasion.
With Valentine’s Day around the corner, you’ll want to make it a day to remember. Likely we’re all looking for a healthier way to celebrate your loved one, so have a day outside with the fresh air.
Time to step up and and crush it this Thanksgiving. Although this year may not quite remind us of Thanksgiving day’s of yore, it’s still a great opportunity to spend time with those closes to us, watch some football, eat some food, and celebrate the things we (even in 2020) have to be thankful. Also relax knowing that dinner doesn’t have to be some crazy nightmare this year. Follow Chef Billy Woods’ simple step-by step recipes to create the ultimate and impressive thanksgiving feast, with everything from the perfectly moist turkey to a luscious pumpkin cheesecake. You can pick one or two, or go for it and do the damn thing! As always, it makes things easier and more enjoyable to have a friend to cook with, some good music, and a great bottle of wine. Step into Chef’s Kitchen! All recipes serve 8 with great leftovers (the best part of Thanksgiving)
Caramelized Apple and Brie Potstickers — Why not bring a little non-traditional into your tradition? Classic American Thanksgiving flavors with a little eastern flair….
4 Granny Smith Apples, peeled and cored
1/2 C. Brown Sugar
4 tbsp butter
1 Round of Classic Brie Cheese, rind removed and roughly chopped
1/2 C. Chopped Walnuts
1 Package circle-shaped Wonton Wrappers
Small amount of neutral-flavored oil
Melt the butter in a large saucepan over high heat. Add in the apples, sautéing over high heat until just beginning to brown. Add the sugar, toss to coat, and turn down to medium heat. Continue to cook the apples until they are deeply brown, about one hour. Remove from heat, combine in bowl with the brie, and set aside to slowly cool. When cool, add in walnuts and stir until well combined. Take a spoonful of the mixture and place in the middle of a wonton wrapper. Fold the top down and pinch shut, making a half-moon shape. Press down on your work surface, making a flat bottom to the potsticker. Repeat this process until the mixture is gone. Heat small amount of oil in a large saute pan, and place the potstickers flat bottom-side down, cooking over medium heat. Once the bottom is browned, remove the pan from heat and add a small amount of water to create a steambath. Once steamed, serve immediately.
What’s for Dinner?:
Anise, Honey, Apple Cider, and Ginger Brined Turkey
— Worried about your turkey being dry? Brine to the rescue. This delicious brine ensures every bite of your turkey (even the hard-to-deal-with breast), is most and memorable. Another secret? Chef’s Honey and Herb Butter deeply massage into the turkey!
1 18lb, free-range young turkey
For the Brine:
3 gallons water
1/2 gallon apple cider
1c. brown sugar
1c. kosher salt
2 tbsp each of star anise, fresh ginger, black peppercorns
2 large bay leaves
Combine all ingredients in a large stock pot. Bring to boil and let cool. When FULLY cooled, add turkey. Store in a 5-gallon bucket with lid firmly attached. Brine for no less than 24, but no more than 48 hours. When ready to roast, remove from brine, pat dry, and remove any spice fragments that may be stuck on.
For the Butter:
1 lb. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup herb mixture of fresh, chopped parsley, thyme, rosemary, and sage
Whip vigorously until combined. Just before roasting the turkey, insert fingers under flap of skin on breast and massage deeply into breast flesh.
Cooking the turkey
Preheat oven to 375
You will definitely want to truss you turkey for most even roasting results. Watch this short tutorial video to familiarize yourself with the process:
Chop 1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, and 4tbsp unsalted butter and toss into a large roasting pan with a rack. Place the trussed turkey on the rack. For every pound of stuffed turkey cook 18 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 according to your kitchen thermometer.
Chef’s Clutch Pan Drippings Gravy
— Trust us, this is worth the wait. The key is to make it a priority at the start of the day instead of a mad scramble at the end. Frankly, you’ll want this as a condiment for everything!
1 package of liver and giblets from your turkey
1 each onion, large carrot (peeled and chopped), and celery stalk
2c. good-quality chicken stock
1c. good quality sauvignon blanc or other crisp, dry, white wine
Drippings from turkey roasting pan
4 tbsp corn starch, 1tbsp water, combined (this is a slurry)
In a large sauce pot, place a small amount of butter in pan heated on high. Melt the butter, and add in the giblets making sure that a single layer is achieved (do not overload the pot). Brown each side, remove from pan, and deglaze with stock (pour in a small amount and stir until the bits from the bottom of the pan “unstick”). Continue this process until all giblets and such are browned and set aside. When this process is finished, add in the chopped mirepoix vegetables with a small amount of butter and season lightly with salt. Sauté the vegetables on high until beginning to brown, reduce heat to medium and continue to cook until vegetables become deeply brown. Add back in the browned giblets, stir, and add stock and wine. Bring to slow simmer, and continue to simmer until turkey is done roasting and liquid is reduced by half. Add drippings from roasting pan (ALL of them, everything), and continue to simmer until ready to serve. When ready, strain and thicken with corn starch slurry (add slurry, bring to boil). When desired consistency is reached, serve.
Chef’s Disappearing Stuffing
— Seasonal fruits and crunchy nuts are the star of this stock and pan dripping-soaked stuffing
4c. Bread scraps or cubes (French, sourdough, rye, cornbread or some combination are all acceptable)
2 pears, chopped
2 apples, chopped
1 onion, 1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, chopped
1c pecans, chopped
2 c. Good-quality chicken stock
Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and thoroughly combine. While wearing gloves, stuff into body cavity of turkey. Don’t be shy, get in there!
Classic Homestyle Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes — Easy and delicious, a great combination!
5lb bag of Red Potatoes
1/2c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
Kosher salt to taste
Put all the potatoes in a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Salt water liberally. Bring to a boil, reduce to medium simmer, and cook potatoes until a knife slides into them with little to no resistance.
Sweet Potato au Gratin with Chipotle and Gruyere
— Your guests will beg for more of this, and it’s waaaaaaaay better than that marshmallow freak show you’re subjected to every year!
3lb bag of Sweet Potatoes, peeled
1+1/2 c heavy cream
8oz smoked gruyere, shredded
5tsp Dijon mustard
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350. With a mandoline (slicer) slice all of the potatoes into very thin slices, as thin as you can. In a 9×9 baking dish covered with parchment paper (pro-tip: using cooking spray makes it easier to mold the paper into the baking dish), layer the potatoes in this order: potatoes covering the bottom , pinch of salt, small handfuls of cheese, mustard 1tsp at time, cream to cover, press down and repeat until all potatoes are used. Dispense the chipotles into a small bowl. Remove 1 chili and mince, sprinkle on top of the potatoes along with 1-2 spoonfuls of adobo sauce. Finish the top with cheese. Cover the dish with foil, place on baking dish and put in oven. Bake covered for 1 hour. Remove foil and bake for additional 30 minutes. Cool completely, remove from dish and cut into squares.
— I always hear people tell me that they *hate* beets and brussels sprouts. That’s because that canned nonsense is hot garbage. Prepare to eat some real, delicious food
2lb Brussels sprouts, root cut off, halved
2 purple beets, stems chopped off
4 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, halved
1 yellow onion, julienned
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2lb pancetta, chopped
1c walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350. Place beets in baking dish, squeeze lemon and add to beets. Salt liberally, add 2tbsp of the olive oil and add enough water to cover the bottom of the dish half a finger in height. Cover with foil and bake 1.5 hours. Remove from oven and cool. Skins will peel off easily. Dice the beets into 1/2in x 1/2in cubes
Begin the Brussels as the beets are being done. Place halved sprouts in a large mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp of olive oil, and salt liberally. Place “Face down” on sheet pan, put in oven, and roast until faces are golden brown.
Heat a small saucepan and add pancetta. Cook until meat is golden brown and fat has separated from the meat. Strain the meat and add the onions and garlic. Sauté until golden brown, add back the pancetta and turn down the heat to medium-low. Cook slowly, stirring often until onions are deeply brown and sweet.
To finish, combine everything (brussels, beets, onion/garlic/pancetta) and heat. Serve immediately
Velvet Pumpkin Cheesecake w/ Gingersnap crumble
— take a break from the standard pie and slide into this luscious, unforgettable cheesecake made with fresh pumpkin, which makes all the difference.
1 pie pumpkin, stemmed, halved, and seeded
1 tsp canola oil
2 two kosher salt
Preheat oven to 350. Coat pumpkin with oil, salt, and roast until soft, about 45 mins. Remove flesh from skin and puree.
For the custard
2 8oz packages of good-quality cream cheese, room temperature
3/4c white sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 egg yolks, at room temperature
1+1/2c sour cream, at room temperature
All of roasted pumpkin purée
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
10 gingersnap cookies, crushed
Preheat oven to 350. In a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, whip cream cheese with sugar and salt until creamy and well-whipped. Add eggs and yolks one at a time until combined, scraping down the bowl each time. Add the remaining ingredients, running your mixer on high until well combined. Scrape down the bowl for good measure. Grease a springform pan and pour batter into it. Wrap the outside of the springform with foil, covering the sides. Place pan in a large container, and fill container about halfway up the side of the springform pan with warm (not hot) water. Bake for 1-1.5 hours, or until custard jiggles very slightly when shaken. Cool completely. Remove custard from pan, sprinkle with gingersnap dust, and serve.
Now you’ve got all the necessary recipes, time to make a plan and get it done. Here is a basic outline of how your week should progress. Try to do a few small tasks each day do you don’t get overwhelmed. For any overwhelmed times, there’s wine for that! Happy Thanksgiving!
Thanksgiving Day Plan:
Stuff and roast Turkey
Even though Thanksgiving might feel a bit different this year, it actually presents a great opportunity. Many years, we have massive gatherings that might overwhelm a home cook saddled with gigantic responsibility, chaos, and stress. This year, our smaller gatherings might lend us a chance to try something we haven’t before without worrying about the scope of the crowd. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
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.