Freeze the leftovers and pack the frozen box into the esky. Depending on the weather, it will take a day or two to defrost, and given that we were camping in winter it wasn’t until the Monday lunch that we used the pasta for a campfire picnic.
We had a wonderful time, camping on a friend’s farm, and is something we try to do every winter as it is a great way to reconnect to the land. It’s so quiet out there which is obviously such a huge contrast to the opening story, and we spent four days with not a single siren and hardly a car sound.
The other wonderful thing about the country is that the night is properly dark with all the stars high above us. The great joy of winter camping is that there is no fire risk to our friend’s crops, and we could build a massive fire to cook on (yum, camp oven roast pork and jacket potatoes with garlic butter). We could roast marshmallows and keep warm. The farm is a big cropping farm that produces wheat and canola, as well as having a few cattle. There is a bit of a trend among city dwellers to overlook the fact that farmers feed them, and to worry excessively about animals from a human perspective.
But if you look at human history, agriculture has played such a huge part in our development. We wouldn’t have cities unless humans had become farmers, settling down to produce food rather than chasing it around the wilds. And without our relationship with domestic animals, we wouldn’t have advances in transportation which ultimately leads to the internet, modern medicine and many other ‘creature comforts’ that we tend to take for granted. In terms of evolution, domestic animals have fared the best, by working in partnership with humans to produce more of themselves. Compare that to the many species hovering on extinction, who have failed to cope with habitat change, or have been hunted out before our society understood the broader impacts of all species.
I am an avid believer in animal welfare, and spending time on a farm reminded me of that balance, and how we are raising these animals with a purpose. The better we treat them, with the best welfare, feed, shelter and veterinary care, the better their lives will be and the better they will taste which is their ultimate purpose. Chefs talk a lot about produce sourcing, and this is what they mean. If an animal is grown in top health, it will become a tastier product. Welfare benefits everyone, especially the animals who get much better care and attention than wild animals.
The vegetarian quesadillas can be cooked over the campfire if you have a grill rack that can be balanced over the fire. Do this by wrapping each quesadilla in foil and placing on the rack above the coals. I don’t have one of those, so made them the basic traditional style in the fry pan on the camp stove. With locally produced tortillas, there is a chance that some of the flour used to make them came from the area that we were staying in. A neat idea.
Heat up some oil (or butter) in the pan on a medium heat. I used the leftover garlic butter that I’d pre-made and frozen before camping so that we could make jacket potatoes for dinner.
Take two tortillas and fill each with a small handful of leftover pasta as well as a good amount of cheese. I used the same quantity of pasta to cheese, but it was very cheesy, so if you don’t like that, you can adjust the ratios.
Fold the two tortillas in half and place into the pan. Cook one side, then turn and cook the other side. Easy, done, yum.