Feasting on the Slick Rock Trails....
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By: Mark M. DeNittis 05/26/03

Here comes Jeepy Jeeper Folks; Hoppin Down the Slickrock Trails...

Rolling into town early Tuesday morning there were small Jeeps, big Jeeps and extreme monster Jeeps laying in a peaceful slumber...for tomorrow they ride the trails another day at the 37th Annual Moab Easter Jeep Safari organized by the Red Rock Four Wheelers.

An overcast start on the Flat Iron Mesa 4 rated Trail The skies begin to give way to sunshine. Scenic views could be found in all directions. A great stop for a PB&J.

Before leaving for Moab, as it was a last minute decision to attend, I had planned a menu keeping in mind my wife's mantra; "have a good time...just... don't break the Jeep"! Figuring I would be on the trails and road for two days, leaving Monday night and back in Denver by early Thursday morning, I planned the following menu utilizing stuff that we had in the fridge (recipes to follow) not intending the have the pasta dinner sitting in the parking lot of Moab Off-Road Shop:

Breakfasts: Egg, Steak, Cheese and Potato Burritos
Lunches: APBJ & MF Sandwiches (A la Peanut Butter, Jelly & Marshmallow Fluff)
Evening Dinner 1 Potash Roadside Beef Fajitas with Santa Fe Rice
Dinner 2 turned into lunch day 3 Moab Off-road Shop Parking Lot Pasta Shells with White Beans and Sun-dried Tomato (yup I broke the Jeep.)

On to registration, breakfast, lunch and the trails!

Tuesday morning it was up and at 'em to get to the Spanish Trails Arena for registration. I arrived early at 6:30am with enough time to cook up some breakfast burritos in my lunchbox oven that plugs into the cigarette lighter outlet; otherwise they could be heated on a hot manifold for service. I was signed up for Tuesday on Flat Iron Mesa *(4 rated) and Wednesday on to Metal Masher *(4 rated). * Refer to Red Rock 4 Wheelers trail rating system.

Breakfast Burritos (make ahead at home)

Serves 4

2 Tbs. Whole Butter
1 tsp Olive Oil
1 large Potato, diced or shredded on a grater
1 small Onion, diced small
8 each Eggs, Extra Large cracked and beaten
Salt and Pepper to taste
12 ounces leftover cooked Rib-eye Steak or other leftover steak in your fridge (cut into thin strips)
8 ounces Cheddar Cheese or Cheese of your choice
4 Each 8-10 inch tortillas
4 each Paper Towels
4 Each Pieces Aluminum Foil, Medium-Heavy Duty
These are great to make ahead and freeze for long trips. Getting registered and about to enjoy a steak, cheese and egg burrito.

In a large non-stick fry pan heat HALF the butter and oil over medium heat. Add the potatoes to cook until tender and add the onion. Continue to cook until golden brown color is achieved on the potatoes and the onions are translucent. Pull out of pan and place on a plate with a paper towel to cool and take out excess oil and butter.

In the same pan heat up the other HALF of butter and oil. Add the eggs to scramble until firm. Season with salt and pepper and set aside to let cool.

Lay out the each tortilla on an individual piece of paper towel.

Once all cooked ingredients have cooled divide the all the cooked ingredients amongst the four tortillas. Give each an appropriate amount of cheese and wrap the tortilla around the ingredients like a burrito in the paper towel, and then wrap that in the aluminum foil.

These can be made way ahead and then frozen so as to keep longer in your cooler for extended trips. They heat back up fairly quickly for your eating enjoyment.

APBJ&MF: A la Peanut Butter, Jelly and Marshmallow Fluff Sandwiches

These are actually great for a lunch stop and pick me up on the trails.

I am sure you can manage these without a recipe if not, please feel free to e-mail me with your request at chefmark@4x4wire.com.

Potash Roadside Sizzlin' Beef Fajitas with Santa Fe Rice

Serves 4

For the marinade:

2 Tbs. Cilantro
1 cup Olive oil
cup Lime Juice, Fresh Squeezed or from the plastic lime thingy
1 or more dashes Cayenne Pepper, to your heat liking
tsp Cumin
Kosher Salt & Black Pepper

Whisk all of the ingredients together and pour over the following;
1 Pound Beef, cut into thin strips any cut will do; chuck, round, sirloin or flank.
1 each Small Onion, cut into thin strips
2 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped

Make ahead at home for ease of preparation on the trail, Moab red dirt and fajitas don't mix well. Cooking the rice and heating up the tortillas.

Marinate the beef ahead of time at home so it is ready for easy camp-side cooking. Plan to marinate for no more than 24 hours and for the first dinner meal of the trip for best results. I used a prepackaged and precooked Santa Fe Rice mix that you can get at any camping outfitter store (the just add boiling water kind.)


Mix all ingredients together with the marinade and put into a non-reactive Tupperware container, Ziploc bag or food saver sealer bag to be used later.

Once your stove or fire is set up, heat a skillet over medium to high heat. Take the marinated mixture, shaking off excess marinade, and place on HOT skillet to cook. Adjust seasoning if necessary with additional salt and pepper. Once cooked through place into a flour tortilla and eat away.

This version is more like a Mexican stir-fry; true fajitas would be to marinate a skirt steak or flank steak, grill it, then slice and serve. The recipe above is for ease of preparation and consumption on the trail.

Metal Masher Mashes Metal
Stay to the far right of good ol' Gooney Bird tootsies on the way in to avoid breakage Mine wasn't the only breakage

On the second day everything was going fine, I had eaten well, slept well, and hadn't broken the Jeep yet!

The trail Metal Masher has definitely earned its name, and upon entering the trail head there is the legend that if you run over the toes of Gooney Bird rock…something will break. Now I don't recall running over the tootsies of the Gooney, but I sure did have something break.

With my front tires up on the last ledge coming out of "Mirror Gulch"; I pressed the throttle and heard snap, crackle...POP! I was sure that the little breakfast cereal guys weren't filming a commercial that day on the trail. After being strapped up on to level ground, thanks to the first time visitor from Arizona and great help from the Red Rock 4-Wheel members trail-gunning up from Atlanta, we found that my rear drive shaft was spinning but not turning the tires.

I was able to drive in 4-high all the way back into town to Moab Off-Road. They took a quick look and found a front axle u-joint had also been sacrificed, and wouldn't be able to get to it until Thursday. SO...I had to call my loving, sweet, dear to my heart, goddess (yes I am still in major suck up mode and she just may read this) of a wife to break the news. I told her I had good news and not so good news, I figured that would soften the news. The good news was that I didn't have to get a wrecker to get the Jeep off the trail and into town, the not so good news...; well the spider gears were spent...etc.

I saw and heard many other folks with breakage issues, one that broke both drive shafts on the waterfall coming out of Mirror Gulch.

Moab Off-road Parking Lot Pasta

Serves 4

1 oz. Olive Oil or Salad Oil
1 Small Onion, Diced small (prep at home)
3 cloves Garlic, peeled and chopped (prep at home)
Mix diced onion & garlic together store in Ziploc Bag until needed.
1 Can Cannelini Beans, (leave the tent windows open)
1 lb. Pasta, Shells or your favorite shape, cooked ahead of time at home, cooled and coated lightly with oil (not 10W40) olive or salad oil works just fine. Lightly coating the pasta with oil will keep it from sticking together.
3 Tbs. *Sun-dried tomato paste, regular Tomato Paste, or Oven-dried tomatoes from an earlier Trail Bites article on drying and canning fruits and vegetables.

*Note: Sun-dried tomato paste will be fairly salty, so be sure not to add excessive salt when seasoning

Salt & Pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan Cheese to taste and garnish
Nothing like a heapin' helpin' of pasta to fill 'ya up.. And for dessert; Pumpkin a la mode.

Method of Preparation:

In a skillet or saut pan over medium heat, add the 1 oz. Oil. Add the onions and garlic to cook until soft. Add the can of beans and pasta and bring to a simmer. Stir in 3 Tbs. of tomato paste and incorporate well.

Cook until some of the liquid has reduced to make a sauce and all is heated through.

Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and serve. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese.

Getting Back on the Road
Are they finished and...are we going home, otherwise I'm going back to sleep?

Whatever the case may be, a good time was had and it could have been much worse. The four wheeling and scenery was fantastic. The folks at Moab Off-Road were absolutely great and went above and beyond in my opinion. I arrived at the shop at 8:00am. Thursday morning didn't get a start on my Jeep until around 6:00pm and finished up at 10:45pm that same night to make sure all was done, complete and get me on my way back to Denver.

Those of you veteran "E.J. Safarians" that are familiar with the waiting room there surely know I watched the FULL Rick Russel's Off-road Video Series as well as a really cool one from the 1970's about 4 stock CJ's traveling from the tip of South America to the Northern most point of Alaska "Expedicion de las Americas"

As you can see Rosebud was not all that enthralled after being awoken to get back on the road after being in the shop all day. Homeward bound to Denver...

All the trail leaders and gunners from the Red Rock 4-Wheelers are GREAT and their attitudes are very positive. I was at the Labor Day Campout 2002 with my wife and daughter. We did the Hole in the Rock overnight camp out and trail (4 rated) and had a blast. My wife was extremely impressed with the planning, organization, activism and land use respect of the entire Red Rock 4-Wheelers organization. NO there was no breakage that trip!

Until next time; Enjoy, eat well, wheel well, and always have a "Put it in four-low and get over it!" attitude...responsibly and while Treading Lightly of course.

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