Experiencing the great outdoors firsthand has always been important to Jessica Brent and DeAnna Cooper.
“But because these adventures usually involved anywhere up to four children, we have to get pretty creative in planning things,” Brent said. “At the same time, we noticed that a lot of our peers, who were in similar family situations, had kind of left the adventuring part of their lives behind.”
That was the inspiration for Homma Camp Co., the business that Brent and Cooper have run for the past four years.
Homma is a luxury camping service, offering fully outfitted outdoor experiences for people who may not have the time, expertise or equipment to pitch so much as a pup tent.
“We do all the set-up and break down,” Brent said. “We provide everything from tents and beds to rugs and lanterns — pretty much anything people might need to spend time with their family and friends and enjoy a bit of the natural world.”
For the first three years, Homma Camp Co. would go wherever the client wanted, whether it be a family outing, a children’s outdoor birthday party, or accommodations for a wedding under the stars or a festival.
Beginning this year, the company has its own private camp space at Mesa Diablo on Skiatook Lake, which is outfitted with tent sites and Airstream trailers.
“We’ll still go where the client wants to go,” Brent said, “but we’re also directing more of the local campers to this site.”
One of the most important parts of any outdoor experience is the food.
“Early on, we worked with a local chef who created a menu clients could choose from, and we’d have that delivered when we were setting up, so it would be ready to go,” Brent said. “We also have done what we call ‘Fireside Chef’ events, which are upscale, seated dinners that are prepared mostly over a camp fire.”
This past fall, Homma hosted a Fireside Chef wild onion-themed dinner with chef Bradley Dry, a member of the Cherokee Nation.
“We’re a native-owned business and we’re located on Osage land, so we like to highlight Native American traditions,” said Brent, who is Choctaw. The company takes its name from the same Choctaw word for “red” that is part of the word “Oklahoma.”
When it comes to food, however, Brent said many clients like to bring their own. And the food that gets prepared when Brent and her family head out into the wilderness does not quite meet the criteria of “glamping.”
“We have four kids, so if we cooked hot dogs three times a day, they’d be happy,” she said, laughing. “But what I try to focus on is breakfast. I may make up some breakfast burritos that can be ready to go on a grill or put together a pancake mix that doesn’t need much to get it ready. It’s all a matter of planning.”
One of the best ways to plan ahead for outdoor cooking is with dishes that can be prepared ahead, wrapped in foil and then cooked directly on the grill or woodfire.
Here are a few recipes to give your campfire cooking a flavorful boost.
Garlic Steak with Potato and Mushroom
2-2½ pounds top sirloin steak, trimmed of fat and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 pound baby yellow potatoes quartered (or halved if they are already less than 1 inch in size)
8 oz. cremini mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Fresh thyme or parsley for topping (optional)
1. In a large bowl combine steak, potatoes, mushrooms, olive oil, salt and pepper, garlic, and seasonings and toss to combine.
2. Divide steak and potatoes between four 12-by-12-inch sheets of heavy-duty foil; wrap the foil tightly around the contents.
3. Grill over high heat for about 10 minutes on each side or until steak and potatoes are cooked through.
3. Garnish with fresh thyme or parsley and serve immediately.
Roasted Parmesan and Herb Zucchini
¼ cup unsalted butter, melted
¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 zucchini, cut into ¼-inch thick rounds
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1. Whisk together butter, Parmesan, basil and oregano; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
2. Divide zucchini slices into portions and center each portion on a sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil.
3. Spoon butter mixture over zucchini. Bring up foil sides. Double-fold top and ends to seal packet, leaving room for heat circulation inside.
4. Place foil packets on a hot grill and cook until just cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
5. Serve immediately, garnished with red pepper flakes and parsley, if desired.
Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
4 tablespoons butter
4 slices pineapple, about ½-inch thick
4 shortbread shells
1. Tear off four sheets of nonstick foil
2. Place 1½ tablespoons of brown sugar in the center of a piece of aluminum foil. Top sugar with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place pineapple ring on top of butter and put one cherry in the center. Top pineapple with shortcake shell.
3. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Wrap all packages tightly.
4. Cook over medium-high heat for 12 minutes.
5. To serve, flip cake over onto a plate and top with any juices.
Blue Coast Juicy Seafood takes over the space that housed Mimi's Cafe on 71st Street.