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Thread: Camping:cornmeal...pancakes?

  1. #1


    We are going camping this weekend & the food theme is Mexican. We love my cornbread recipe...but only when they are fresh out of the oven. I do not have a bake oven to take w/ me, & am wondering if there is a skillet version that can be done on the camp stove top. I also do not have a cast iron skillet, so I'm thinking there has to be an old Johny Cake recipe out there that I can mix up like pancake batter, keep in the cooler, & "fry" up hot & fresh each night. All you campers out there...any ideas? I'm loving the thought of a hot, puffy, cornbread pancake w/ butter melting on top alongside a helping of chicken verde, or chilie, or brunswick stew.
    I won't be able to check back in until tomorrow...hope all you camping cooks have an idea of what I am looking for!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    I think what you're talking about are actually Hoe Cakes as Johnnycake is really oven baked cornbread. The pioneers use to make hoe cakes in the fireplace or over the camp fire. The recipe I have calls for
    Hoe Cakes
    1 cup white cornmeal
    1/2 tsp salt
    boiling water
    some type of fat (use to be lard or bacon grease but any type of oil will do)

    Mix the cornmeal and slat in a bowl. Add enough boiling water, stirring constantly, unti mixture resembles a soft biscuit dough. Drop by spoonfuls into a small amount of hot oil in a skillet and cook until brown. Turn and cook until other side is browned, add oil as needed. 2-3 servings.

    You could probably just use a regular recipe (maybe sans the baking soda) and add enough liquid to make a softer dough than regular cornbread.
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    North of the ocean, South of the Freeway, Mississippi Gulf Coast
    I've tried cornmeal pancakes from time to time, and find that I get the best result when I use slightly more flour than I might for my regular cornbread, (i.e., slightly lower proportion of cornmeal than usual), more liquid to make the batter and cook them at a slightly lower temperature than a regular pancake, so that the cornmeal can have longer to cook, without burning.

    I found 'corn cakes' with mostly cornmeal to be a lot softer (and harder to turn) than regular pancakes. I think the flour tends to help keep them from being so crumbly, as well.

    I've never attempted this on a camping trip, hope it works for you!
    A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money.
    Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine,
    something Brussels sprouts never do.
    P. J. O'Rourke, humorist

  4. #4
    Rosen - what a great idea! If you're planning to keep the batter mixed for a couple of days, I would worry about the leavenings losing their juice. Could you perhaps mix the dry ingredients and then put them into individual plastic bags or containers to mix up just before cooking?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2000
    Chicago, IL USA
    Sounds to me like you want something called Fritters. Here is a recipe I found on epicurious (and of course, you could just omit the salsa), but it sounds just like what you describe, except it calls for fresh corn....

    If you’re bored with corn on the cob, this is an excellent way to use fresh corn. The fritters alone would also be delicious for breakfast, topped with maple syrup, or as a side dish for a ham dinner.

    Active time: 25 min Start to finish: 35 min

    For salsa
    2 plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
    1/3 cup chopped white onion
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
    1 to 2 tablespoons chopped pickled jalapeño chiles
    1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

    For fritters
    2 ears corn, shucked
    1 large egg
    1/2 cup milk
    1/3 cup yellow cornmeal
    2 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    2 to 3 tablespoons vegetable oil

    Accompaniment: sour cream

    Make salsa: Stir together all salsa ingredients and season with salt.

    Make fritters: Cut corn kernels from ears and scrape cobs to extract juice, then discard cobs. Whisk together egg and milk until smooth and stir in cornmeal, flour, and salt. Stir in corn, including juice.

    Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then drop in 2 tablespoons batter each for 4 fritters. Fry until lightly browned, about 2 minutes per side, and drain on paper towels. Make more fritters in same manner, adding oil as necessary.

    Serve fritters with salsa.

    Makes 2 (brunch or lunch main course) servings.

    September 2000

    You might try searching some of the other recipe websites for fritter recipes. I checked my CL software, and found a fritter recipe, but it called for sweet potatoes too - didn't sound much like the cornbread you are envisioning. Good luck and have fun on your trip!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Columbia, SC

    camping cakes

    I agree that mixing up the dry ingredients in baggies or tupperware is the best way to go. I use a tupperware container, add the wet ingredients and then shake it all up. Very convenient.
    As for the cast iron skillet, once you make cornbread in one you'll never go back. They are so versatile, and they are great for camping. And, they are so cheap. Go to your area K-Mart, Wal-Mart type store with $10 -- or better off, find a well-seasoned one at a garage sale -- and you'll be a happy camper. Oh, that was a bad pun.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2000

    I have a Cornmeal Pancake recipe for you that I think is quite good.

    If you're going camping the easy way, (in a car, and in a campground,) then carrying the Butter and the Buttermilk will be easy for you.

    If, however, you're backpacking and portaging in a few lakes off the beaten path, I would suggest powdered Buttermilk, and packing the butter in a leak proof container, and keeping it in some cold lake water as you paddle the canoe.

    (My preferred method for this is packing the eggs in Olive oil and using the olive oil for the ingredient and for frying instead of packing the butter, although this will definetly give a different flavor to the pancakes, but when you're having a good time a little different taste is a good thing from time to time.)

    While I prefer the backpacking and portaging a few lakes to get away from the masses, Sharon prefers camping out at a nice Hotel.

    She never has learned to appreciate the finer things in life, like camping, and portaging from lake to lake, and living in the woods for a few weeks.

    Oh well, I did get her into a cabin once in the BWCA (Boundry Waters Canoe Area,) She was a good scout about it, but she sure was anxious to canoe back to the car once our time there was up.

    So here is the recipe.


    * Exported from MasterCook *

    Buttermilk Cornmeal Pancakes

    Categories : Pancakes

    Amount Measure Ingredient -- Preparation Method
    -------- ------------ --------------------------------
    6 Large Eggs
    2 1/2 cups Buttermilk
    2 1/4 cups yellow Cornmeal
    1 cup all-purpose flour
    1/3 cup Sugar
    1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
    1 teaspoon Baking Soda
    3/4 teaspoon Sea Salt
    1 stick Butter Melted (8 Tablespoons Divided) -- 6 & 2 Tablespoons
    Syrup for pouring over pancakes

    Pre heat oven to 250° to use to keep cakes hot while frying the rest of them

    Beat Eggs in a large bowl to blend.

    Add the Buttermilk, cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt.

    Mix in 6 Tablespoons of Melted Butter.

    Add 1/2 tablespoon of melted Butter to a large non-stick skillet over medium heat.

    Working in batches, pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet, spacing apart. Cook pancakes until golden brown on the bottom and some bubbles begin to break around the edges, about 2 minutes.

    Turn pancakes over and cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes.

    Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; place in the oven to keep warm. repeat with the remaining batter, adding more melted butter by 1/2 Tablespoons to skillet as necessary.

    Serve Pancakes hot with Maple Syrup.


    NOTES : George Washington's favorite pancakes were Cornmeal Pancakes.
    Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Nashville TN
    Ive always wanted to go to the Boundary Waters and stay in a secluded cabin with Scott

    Nashville Restaurant Examiner - check out my page
    Check out my blog: Zen Kitchen

    "Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza."
    Dave Barry

  9. #9
    Little Bit & Ed: Your sugestions & recipe look do-able for this trip! DH has requested we take our regular baked cornbread so we have a "back-up" if the corncakes do not pan out (pun intended)!
    They tend to get stale quickly, but if you cut the muffin or square in half, butter lightly, & heat in the skillet, they turn into a sort of toast & aren't so bad. (Great way to heat up a bagel in the morning!)
    Ed: we tent camp (love that smell of musty canvas!) & have also resorted to sleeping in our Caravan when the weather has turned rainy. My only cooking equipment is an ancient Coleman 2 burner stove. I prefer to keep the equipment as simple as possible as we both hate to clean up, but also want to keep the camp as clean as we can...(bears!) I usually depend on one skillet or one pot meals.
    Thanks to all who answered!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    My DH and 3 DSs spent a week this summer on the Boundary Water and canoed and portaged from lake to lake. They had a wonderful time! I nejoy camping in the winter (here in Texas, anyway) and don't camp in the summer, anywhere-too hot!
    Thanks for that recipe and I'm sure DH will be adding it to his outdoor cooking collection (that's another good thing about camping-DH does all the cooking).
    Well-behaved women seldom make history!

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