Cooking with Calley P: Bonfire Blowout

Calley Prezzano is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained Chef who has made a career in fine dining cuisine, emphasizing fresh & local products from the area. In this new blog for The Nicaragua Dispatch, Chef Calley will share a few struggles, triumphs, and recipes that make cooking in Nicaragua an adventure for all five senses. This week: Bonfire beach blowout.

Here in Nicaragua, we live in what one may consider a “simpler world.” For example, here, Tupac is only found in 2-D. Also, dinner doesn’t always need to be fancy or fine dining… let’s take it outside!

We miss you, Tupac

For my bonfire dinner, I premade some foil pouch dinners and packed them on ice with a few other goodies. The pouches took me about 15 minutes to put together. The key ingredients, besides farm-fresh veggies, are fresh chorizo sausage from Bavaria (they have 4 locations in Managua) and amazing, tasty, sweet Nicaraguan Bee Gee Shrimp.

What to Pack for Your Bonfire:

in a dry bag:

lighter

flashlight

towel for sitting on

plastic silverware wrapped in napkins

honey cookies

marshmallows

on ice:

5 limes cut into wedges (for drinks and for shrimp)

rum

mixer of choice

cans of beer

foil dinner pouches (recipe below)

foil dessert pouches (instructions below)

chocolate bars

more rum

**bottles of water (I forgot to bring these, but I recommend it for goma prevention)

Once you get to the beach, follow these simple steps for an incredible beach bonfire dinner!

 

Step 1: Cut a hole in the box.

okay, no.

Real Step 1:

 

finished dinner ready to eat, squeezing on lime

Build bonfire out of dry wood, light it up and make a cocktail. Enjoy the sunset like a true Chele, while you wait for flames to turn to a hot coal cooking surface.

Step 2:

Spread out embers and coals for a hot cooking surface. Leave some fire going on the side to rekindle later (for light and roasting marshmallows).

Place foil pouches on hot coals for 15 minutes, rotate & cook for 15 minutes more. The potatoes should be soft and the shrimp pink.

Step 3:

Remove pouches, let cool on the sand for a minute, untwist foil, fold into a bowl shape, squeeze lime over the top and serve warm.

Step 4:

For dessert, I made roasted bananas. To do so doesn’t really require a recipe. To prepare, cut each banana (with the skin on) like a hot dog and fill with chocolate chips and walnuts. Seal with foil. After dinner, roast over medium-hot coals for 7-9 minutes, until warmed through. Unpeel the foil and dig in!

dessert!

We also gorged on s’mores. I haven’t found graham crackers in Nicaragua, but the Posh brand Galletas de Miel are a close & tasty substitute. Mateo educated a Canadian and Nicaraguan about this American favorite! Mateo’s tip: be patient roasting the marshmallow; slow and low for even toasting. He also likes to eat the “skin” before smushing the cooked ‘mallow into the s’more, for some reason like better ‘meltability.’ I don’t really get that one.

My tip: keep the chocolate on ice before dessert so that it doesn’t melt.

This blog theme was inspired by a bonfire hosting by some amazing friends a few weeks back, especially on what is the best technique to wrap the foil for roasting and serving!

Shrimp & Sausage Dinner Pouches

1 1/2 pounds potatoes, washed & sliced thin

don't forget to have a drink and enjoy the view

20 pieces chilote, peeled

4-6 small chiltoma, sliced

2 links chorizo sliced

1 tbsp. chopped garlic

1 tbsp. chopped basil

3 tomatoes, sliced

1 onion, sliced

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 Tbs. salt

1 tsp. freshly cracked black pepper

12 each 15/under peeled Bee Gee shrimp (a little under one pound)

 

  1. In a large bowl, mix all vegetables together with oil, salt and pepper.
  2. Place 2 sheets of tin foil on a table to create a double-layer. Place vegetable mixture in the center of the foil and lay three shrimp on top. Don’t season the shrimp: because this is a “make-ahead” recipe, they may start to denature before you get to cook them.
  3. Fold and twist foil into a large, entreé size ‘chocolate kiss.’
  4. Store in refrigerator until you head to the beach!

Calley Prezzano was classically trained in San Francisco, California. She has cooked in Michelin Star Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area and was the founding Executive Chef of Jicaro Ecolodge in Granada, Nicaragua. She is the founding Executive Chef of La Finca y El Mar Restaurant in Rancho Santana in Tola, Nicaragua. (www.lafincayelmar.blogspot.comwww.ranchosantana.com,www.probablycooking.blogspot.com)

  • Mahmoud

    Step 2. Put your dinner pouch in the box

  • Ben

    I keep sending your recipes to my wife in Maryland. She’ll be here in 4 weeks & is dying to try them out. She is a great cook & I always wanted her to become a chef. But where do you get Bee Gee shrimp? Keep those recipes coming!

  • Ben

    Thanks, Calley for a very informative article. Makes me happy to see someone persevere and succeed. I live in Masaya. I do not see the brand in Pali or Colonia. Is there a local outlet you could suggest? This reminds me of the Pops ice cream dilemma. We used to drive into Managua 33 years ago to get it when Julia had “Cravings”.

    • Calley

      I am not sure where to get them, actually… because I use them in such large quantity at our beach restaurant here, we buy them in bulk directly from the purveyor. Best wishes and buen provecho!