Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Roses in Forest Grove, Oregon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Time to cook!

One last thing you WILL need for your Dutch Oven cooking is actually VERY important...

You are going to need an ash bucket and scoop! While shopping at Sportsman's Warehouse, I found a metal scoop, or shovel (small sized) but didn't find a metal ash bucket. Both MUST be metal! The "spent" charcoal you take away from your oven (replacing it with fresh hot charcoal) will still be hot and will melt right through plastic.

OK so... here's the first recipe I made. It's from a book called 101 things to do with a Dutch Oven. I have added a couple of personal notes at the end of the recipe)

White Chili

Dutch Oven size: 12-inch

1 pound dry white beans
4 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 medium onion, diced
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon granules
2 tablespoons salt
8 to 10 cups water (plus enough to cover the beans)
2 cans (6.5 oz each) chunk chicken
2 cans (4 oz each) diced green chiles
1 container (16oz) sour cream

Rinse beans, cover with water and set aside. Melt butter in dutch oven using 10 coals on the bottom. Add onion and cook until translucent. Drain beans and add to onion with bouillon, salt and 8 cups water. Cover and cook 2-3 hours, or until beans are tender, using 30-40 coals on the bottom only. Add chicken and chiles and cook 30 minutes more. Add sour cream and simmer until serving time. Check water level often and add more water as needed. Remove enough coals to achieve simmer. Makes 12-14 servings.

NOTES:  I was a bit intimidated to use dry beans, and I actually put them to soak a couple of hours before cooking time. They could have been a bit more tender, but for my first time it turned out pretty good! I also found it odd that coals were only used on the bottom, but the recipe only needed to simmer, and coals aren't needed on the top for that. I put too much water in, so mine was more of a soup than a chile. I think next time I'll start with 7-8 cups and keep an eye on the water level.

Next time... I'll post a new recipe I'm cooking this week!

If you want to join other Dutch Oven cookers, look for a group in your area! Mine is called
Central Oregon Dutch Oven Society.  There may be a small yearly cost for you to join in your area.  The CODOS fee is minimal, and it covers all the charcoal needed for our monthly D.O.G. That stands for Dutch Oven Gathering. DOGS are fun to attend, as you get to socialize with other enthusiasts, as well as eat wonderful foods prepared the "old fashioned" way! I encourage you to find a group, club, or what ever it's called in your area! Many members are very willing to share their recipes. The recipe  I'm making this week is from a CODOS member and it sounds perfect for our Church summer camp fire night!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Well howdy!

Today we'll discuss cast iron care.  Taking good care of your cast iron will ensure you have it around for MANY years.

Most cast iron products come "pre-seasoned" from the factory. This means it's not "really" necessary to season it before you start cooking in it.

What I'm about to tell you is steps to maintain the seasoning, and keeping your cast iron in good shape.

After you've used your cast iron for cooking...

LET IT COOL DOWN! Wipe any food remnants out of the pot/pan. If there is food stuck on, DO NOT... I repeat... DO NOT use anything like steel wool to scrub. You can purchase plastic scrapers, OR you can sprinkle salt in the pan to act as an abrasive to get the stuck food off. Use really warm water to wash the cast iron

Next, let it dry. Thoroughly. There are several things people use to "condition" the cast iron after it's been washed. Some use Pam or some brand of spray. Both Lodge and Camp Chef sell a conditioner. Some use crisco, or liquid vegetable oil.  I use either crisco or a spray. This basically "coats" the cast iron and keeps the nice black color. I do this after EVERY use, inside and out.

If the Cast Iron becomes dull looking, wash and dry it, and put a thicker coat of whatever you condition it with. THEN... place in in your home oven at 400 degrees. BE AWARE that the cast iron will smoke as the seasoning "bakes in" to the cast iron. I haven't had to do this yet, but I've read that around 45 min. is good. Open windows, turn on your over the stove fan. CAREFULLY remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

Store your cast iron in a dry, clean area, (don't forget to condition it first) It will be ready for use next time you are ready to cook in it!

Avoid locations that have a wide fluctuation in temperatures.

Next time... we'll start cooking!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

This Blog is geared toward beginner Dutch Oven cooks, like me.  I will share info as I learn it, as well as camping tips and GREAT "Camp Oven" recipes.

So... away we go!  Above is my Lodge 12" Camp Oven, purchased at Cabela's. I have a camp cooking mentor, someone who has been camp cooking for many years.  I've bent his ear on many occasion (already!) and have learned much from him. Most of what I'll write about I've learned from Ernie, or read on other Blogs or in books.

I'm sure there are several brands of Cast Iron cookery.  Two that I have read about and researched are Lodge Mfg and Camp Chef.  Now everyone has their own reasons for WHY they like one particular brand over another.  My brand of choice is Lodge.  They have been in the Cast Iron business for a very long time, and that is their main focus. Cast Iron. I sat and talked to Ernie in length about this subject. He has a number of Cast Iron cookers, Lodge and Camp Chef are among those he has. While he likes, and cooks with both, he feels that Lodge is just more well made. Period.

The main thing I learned in shopping for my first Camp oven is:

     1) What will I use it for? Why are there so many sizes??

     2)  How well does the lid fit?

1)  How do you plan to use your Dutch Oven?  There are two types of Dutch Oven.  There's the CAMP oven and the STOVE oven. AND there are deep and shallow ovens. Deep ovens are geared more for "cooking" and shallow are more for "baking", but keep in mind that both can be used any way you like! Plan on purchasing liners for your ovens...  easier clean up!

The CAMP oven is what I'll be using. It has three legs on the bottom, so it sits directly over the coals, and the lid has a lip around the outside so the spent coals don't spill into what you've so painstakingly cooked.

The STOVE oven has NO legs on the bottom and NO lip around the outside of the lid. This type is meant for stove top or oven cooking.

I have read that the CAMP style can be used in place of the STOVE style, but it's a bit more tricky to use the STOVE style in place of the CAMP oven.

As far as the sizes... there are several! The most popular and the one you'll find in "sets" that are sold, are the 10" (5 qt) and the 12" (6 qt). Again, it's a lot of personal preference here, as well as thinking about how large a crowd you'll be cooking for.  As you can see in my photo, mine is a 12". 

2)  How the lid fits is actually very important.  If the lid has too much "wiggle room" it probably won't hold heat as well as a tighter fitting lid.  I'd suggest when you are shopping, give the Cook ovens the "wiggle" test.  You will find a difference in the brands. Lodge tends to have a tighter fit (although I think they all have just a BIT of "wiggle") Please consider purchasing a "lid lifter" and/or a pair of HEAVY DUTY (leather) gloves. Lids are heavy and they WILL be HOT!

Please keep in mind that I'm learning all this just as you may be. If you are a seasoned Cast Iron cooker, please feel free to chime in, and please help me if I'm incorrect in any of my posts here.

Next time I'll give you tips on caring for your Cast Iron!

Happy camp cooking!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

A New goal for my Blog

I have new goal for this Blog!

This summer I am beginning a new hobby! In fact, THIS Thursday June 5, 2014 I'm purchasing my first Lodge Dutch Oven!  This is something I've been wanting to do for a while now, and the plan is to get some great dutch oven experience for when my Hubby and I purchase our tent trailer and start doing some summer traveling.

So, my Blog will now contain tips, tricks and recipes for Dutch Oven cooking.  I hope you'll stick around for some delicious fun and I also hope you will contribute your own tips, tricks and a recipe or two if you have any!

I'm REALLY excited to get started! Are you ready?  Let's cook together!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Posting issues

I haven't posted in ages. I'm having issues posting through Safari so I'm trying firefox and it looks like I'm able to post.  Anyone else have these issues? I'll keep you posted on my issue and if I find a solution. Just know I'm still around!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Exciting news!

Wow! I'm so thrilled... I submitted three photos to IDG, organizers of Macworld/iWorld. I got an email early last week telling me one of them was picked to be on display at the Conference in January 2013!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Homemade Caramels

I thought I'd start sharing some of the recipes I love to make, starting with this easy recipe for homemade caramels!

1/4 C BUTTER (not margarine)
1/2C white sugar
1/2C Brown Sugar
1/2C Light Karo Syrup
1/2C Sweetened Condensed Milk

Combine all into either a glass bowl (if you're making this in a microwave)
OR a small pan (if you're this on the stove top)

Cook for 6 minutes, (microwave- stir every two minutes) (stovetop stir constantly)

Pour into lightly greased square pan, and cool completely. (I put mine outside on a cold day,
then finished cooling it in the fridge)

Cut into squares and wrap in WAXED PAPER.
These caramels are much softer than the store bought, so I keep mine stored in the fridge.

Next time I make them I'll coat in chocolate and sprinkle coarse sea salt on top!