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On the Go in an Airstream: Outdoor Living with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks

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On the Go in an Airstream: Outdoor Living with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks

July 17, 2023

If you’re looking for Heidi Swanson this summer, chances are you’ll find her tending a pot or wielding a watercolor brush in an exalted outdoor setting. Last month, when we caught up with Heidi and her husband, Wayne Bremser, they gave us a tour of their home away from home: a 23-foot Globetrotter trailer that they use to strike out from their LA base to live in nature: see The Art of Airstream Living.

A plant-based diet expert (and a photographer and artist), Heidi shares captivating recipes for vegetarian and vegan everyday meals on her site, 101 Cookbooks. Since acquiring the trailer three years ago, she’s learned how to cook and create inventively on the road. Here’s how she does it.

Photography by Heidi Swanson (@heidiswanson).

the couple seek secluded spots to park b. balena, their &#8\2\20;baby whale 17
Above: The couple seek secluded spots to park B. Balena, their “baby whale.” This one is at El Capitan State Beach north of Santa Barbara.
a perch at big bear lake in the san bernardino national forest. &#8\2\20;wh 18
Above: A perch at Big Bear Lake in the San Bernardino National Forest. “When you’re camping in natural environments, it means you get to cook there as well. And, for me, that is magic,” says Heidi.
three for the road—wayne, heidi, and polly, their cocker spaniel. 19
Above: Three for the road—Wayne, Heidi, and Polly, their cocker spaniel.

Camp Cooking

&#8\2\20;if we&#8\2\17;re not being pelted by rain, wind, or cold tempe 20
Above: “If we’re not being pelted by rain, wind, or cold temperatures, I’ll always choose cooking over the firepit or on a picnic table to staying in,” says Heidi. “Here, I’m just using twigs and sticks. I’m always trying to get things going with a single match. Lol. That said, using a couple sticks of 100 percent natural fat wood is extremely helpful if it’s windy or damp.”

Admiring her dress? We were, too, and discovered Heidi sews her signature uniform herself: “Every year I make a number of dresses that I work in. Between cooking all the time, camping, and having a dog, I’m so hard on clothes. I’ve probably made five or six versions of this dress in different fabrics; I do a bit of a hack on this Vali Dress.

&#8\2\20;camping gear on the cooking front can get out of hand fast, so i&# 21
Above: “Camping gear on the cooking front can get out of hand fast, so I’ve tried to wrangle what we bring to a reasonable amount that allows a range of deliciousness,” says Heidi. Shown here: A ceramic Mushi Nabe donabe, $220, is one of her favorite on-the-road pots for making soups and stews, and, in this case, tamales.

The donabe is shown here on a grill over a campground firepit, but Heidi often uses it on a single-burner Iwatani Rugged Camp Stove; $149.99. “When not in use, the donabe sits in the box it came in to protect it while we’re driving.” Also cooking in a de Buyer Blue Carbon Steel Frying Pan, $50: blistered vegetables to be served with a salsa negra (“it’s a version of Gabriela Cámara’s Salsa Negra from Kitchn”).

the ooni pizza oven is for varsity level camp cooking. &#8\2\20;this is a r 22
Above: The Ooni Pizza Oven is for varsity-level camp cooking. “This is a real wildcard and a bit of a pain if I’m being honest,” reports Heidi. “It takes some time to get to know—but it’s pretty amazing once you stop burning things in it.”

“If the weather is set to be beautiful, on occasion we load up the Ooni. We have the Ooni 16 Gas-Powered Oven [$599], which collapses down flattish. It’s great for cooking pizzas, roasting veggies, making bean dishes and flat breads, and I love it for paneer veggie kebabs. If you bring the pizza oven, you also need a peel, tongs, extra flour/cornmeal, and a plan for dough (here’s my go-to pizza dough recipe and grilled pizza pointers). Pro-tip: A large-enough cutting board you can be used as a peel.”

a picnic table at san elijo state beach campground set with heidi&#8\2\17;s 23
Above: A picnic table at San Elijo State Beach campground set with Heidi’s camp essentials: “If it’s at all windy and I’m cooking outside, I’ll use the Coleman 1900 Collection Propane Stove [$229.99]. It’s a classic workhorse with wind guards. It also has a small grill/griddle plate. I could talk forever about different outdoor cooking configurations, but this is a good, simple option.” (See also the single-burner Fore Winds Iwatani mentioned above.) The Coleman Reunion 54-Quart Steel-Belted Stainless Steel Cooler, $239.99, Heidi notes, is “the right size to do double duty as a sturdy bench and step stool.”

Camp Dining

heidi makes tablecloths and napkins from remnants, such as this seersucker, fou 24
Above: Heidi makes tablecloths and napkins from remnants, such as this seersucker, found in the LA fabric district and on Etsy. The Crate & Barrel Faux Bois Plates start at $7.95 and are melamine—”they’re nice because they’re light and won’t break while traveling. But, I prefer enamelware and might swap them out.”
heidi says she always brings along a few favorite nonessentials, including voti 25
Above: Heidi says she always brings along a few favorite nonessentials, including votive candles and farmer’s market flowers.
a travel day lunch packed in tiffins. heidi&#8\2\17;s feel good lunch ideas 26
Above: A travel day lunch packed in tiffins. Heidi’s Feel-Good Lunch Ideas put leftovers to great use and include her Pickled Cauliflower, Chili-Dusted Hardboiled Egg, and Spicy Sesame Coleslaw. Packing a picnic enables the couple to avoid the en route options (after all, you can’t just park a trailer anywhere).
recipes for the road is heidi&#8\2\17;s downloadable collection of &#8\ 27
Above: Recipes for the Road is Heidi’s downloadable collection of “meal-in-a-jar and just-add-water recipes for road trips, camping, and everyday life”‘; it’s $7 at 101 Cookbooks. Also see her 12+ Recipes to Make Camping Meals No Big Deal, which includes her list of essential camping gear.

Heidi’s Outdoor Studio

heidi&#8\2\17;s studio at big bear national park. &#8\2\20;i primarily  28
Above: Heidi’s studio at Big Bear National Park. “I primarily use watercolors in Moleskine notebooks of various sizes. I like to paint impressions of places we’ve been—an ongoing visual journal.”
camping amid cacti. 29
Above: Camping amid cacti.
joshua tree is one of the the couple&#8\2\17;s favorite destinations: & 30
Above: Joshua Tree is one of the the couple’s favorite destinations: “Our aim is always to thread the needle: to get there after the scorching day temperatures drop off, but early enough that we don’t completely freeze at night.” Tour the inside of B.Balena, including kitchen closeups, in The Art of Airstream Living with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks.

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Frequently asked questions

Who is Heidi Swanson?

Heidi Swanson is a renowned cook, cookbook author, and the creator of the popular food blog 101 Cookbooks.

What is the focus of the article?

The article focuses on healthy outdoor cooking and features tips and recipes from Heidi Swanson.

Why is outdoor cooking considered healthy?

Outdoor cooking allows for better ventilation and can help reduce exposure to indoor air pollutants. Additionally, it encourages people to spend more time outdoors and engage in physical activity.

What are some essential outdoor cooking tools mentioned in the article?

Some essential outdoor cooking tools mentioned in the article include a grill or barbecue, tongs, spatula, skewers, and a chimney starter for charcoal.

What are some tips for grilling vegetables?

Some tips for grilling vegetables mentioned in the article include marinating them before grilling, using a grilling basket or foil packets, and cutting them into uniform sizes for even cooking.

Are there any recipes shared in the article?

Yes, the article shares three recipes: Grilled Romaine Salad, Grilled Vegetables with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce, and Grilled Stone Fruit with Honey and Almonds.

Where can I find more recipes by Heidi Swanson?

You can find more recipes by Heidi Swanson on her food blog, 101 Cookbooks.

Can I use a gas grill instead of charcoal for outdoor cooking?

Yes, you can use a gas grill instead of charcoal. It offers convenience and quicker heat-up times compared to charcoal grills.

Is outdoor cooking suitable for all seasons?

Yes, outdoor cooking can be enjoyed in all seasons. However, it may require some adjustments and adaptations depending on the weather conditions.

What are some safety precautions to consider when outdoor cooking?

Some safety precautions to consider when outdoor cooking include keeping a fire extinguisher nearby, avoiding loose or flowing clothing, and practicing proper food handling and grilling techniques.

Product summary  Item 6 164Item 7 165

On the Go in an Airstream Outdoor Living with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks portrait 4
Dresses

Vali Dress

$22.00 USD from Pattern Fantastique
On the Go in an Airstream Outdoor Living with Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks portrait 5
Small Kitchen Appliances

Mushi Nabe

$220.00 USD from Toiro

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