Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Upside Down Fresh Fig Cake


     I have always loved Fig Newtons and fig jam but I am  ashamed to say, today was the first time I have ever eaten a fresh fig.  Where have I been all my life?  All these years I have been denying myself the pleasure of eating this sweet and juicy fruit.  Not only delicious, they are loaded with fiber, calcium and potassium as well. 
     This recipe came from The Times Picayune newspaper via Food.com.  In my 10 inch, parchment lined dutch oven it baked for exactly 35 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom, 14 in a ring around the outside of the lid with 5 briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  After 20 minutes I removed the center coals as the cake was rising and browning quickly and left it to bake for 15 more minutes.  Be sure to test the center with a toothpick before taking it off the coals and let it sit in your oven for a good 45 minutes before lifting it onto a plate. 
     Some of you may be lucky enough to have a fig tree in your backyard, substitute with any one of your favorite varieties if you like, you can even reconstitute dried figs by soaking them in water if the fresh ones aren't in season.  For a change of pace, leave the canned pineapple on the shelf and give this light and buttery cake a try.

Upside Down Fresh Fig Cake
12 Tblsp (1 and 1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature, divided
1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
2 Tblsp honey
14 fresh Mission figs, stems removed, cut in half
1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 cup whole milk OR buttermilk

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     Melt 4 tablespoons of butter; pour evenly into parchment lined oven.
     Sprinkle evenly with brown sugar and honey.
     Place figs, cut side up, in concentric circles over brown sugar mixture.
     In medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
     In another bowl, with electric mixer on medium speed, beat the remaining 8 tablespoons butter with granulated sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
     Add eggs, one at a time, beating until well combined.
     Beating on low speed, add dry ingredients, alternating with milk until just combined.
     Spoon thick batter evenly over figs.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until cake is golden brown and tester comes out clean.
     Allow to cool in dutch oven for 45 minutes before lifting out and inverting onto plate.
     Serve warm.

Place fig halves closely together over brown sugar mixture

Carefully cover with thick batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until
tester comes out clean

Allow to cool before lifting out and inverting onto plate

This honey flavored cake is very light and buttery

Sunday, September 14, 2014

No Boil Baked Ziti with Sausage and Basil


     I'm always on the hunt for no boil baked pasta recipes, when you're camping or cooking outdoors it's so much easier to toss everything in your dutch oven and let it bake.  I added Italian sausage and fresh basil to this recipe from Ragu but you can easily omit them and still have a tasty dinner.  If you don't feel like browning the sausage, slice up some pre-cooked sun-dried tomato chicken sausage and toss that in instead.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the pasta baked for a total of 55 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 28-30 spaced evenly on the lid.  This is a dish that needs no tending, however, before you add the final topping of mozzarella, give the pasta a good stir to help the cheese distribute evenly.  This is pretty darned good for such a simple meal, the ziti was tender, not overly dry and the sausage gave it some heft, a definite campfire keeper.

No Boil Baked Ziti with Sausage and Basil
1 jar (1 lb 8 oz) pasta sauce
2 cups water
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese (about 8 oz)
2 Tblsp grated Parmesan cheese
12 oz uncooked ziti pasta
1 lb. Italian sausage
1/4 cup fresh basil, torn into pieces
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Remove Italian sausage from casings, crumble and cook over medium heat until browned and cooked through; drain on paper towels.
     Combine pasta sauce and water in large bowl.
     Stir in ricotta and Parmesan cheeses, then uncooked ziti.
     Add sausage and fresh basil, stir until well combined.
     Evenly pour ziti mixture into prepared oven, making sure all of the pasta is completely submerged.
     Bake for 50 minutes at 400 degrees.
     Stir pasta and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
     Continue cooking for 5 minutes or until cheese has melted.
     Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.
     Makes 6 servings.

Pour ziti mixture into prepared dutch oven making
sure pasta is completely submerged in sauce

Bake at 400 degrees for 50 minutes

Give pasta a stir before adding final topping of cheese

A simple and hearty one pot rustic dinner 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Apple Raspberry Cookie Cobbler


     Here's a simple cobbler from Pillsbury made with refrigerated sugar cookie dough.  Another very good camping recipe, all you need is a dutch oven, a spoon, a can opener and a medium mixing bowl to prepare this home style dessert.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the cobbler baked for 55 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 24 briquettes on the lid.  The apples and raspberries are an especially good combination but the cookie dough topping would work with any one of your favorite canned pie fillings for a quick and easy camping dessert.

Apple Raspberry Cookie Cobbler
2 21 oz cans apple pie filling
1 12 to 14 oz bag frozen unsweetened raspberries OR 3 cups fresh raspberries
1/4 cup sugar
1 16.5 oz roll refrigerated sugar cookie dough, at room temperature
1 cup quick-cooking oats
2 Tblsp sugar
Ice cream, if desired

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Mix pie filling, raspberries and 1/4 cup sugar and spread evenly in prepared oven.
     In medium bowl, break up cookie dough.
     Add oats; mix well.
     Crumble cookie mix evenly over fruit mixture.
     Sprinkle 2 tablespoons sugar over top.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
     Cool slightly before serving.
     Top with ice cream.
     Makes 8 servings.

Sprinkle cookie dough topping over fruit mixture then
sprinkle with sugar

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

Another very good camping cookie cobbler

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake for a Crowd


      I've had my eye on this recipe for a while and was waiting until I had company to make it.  Conveniently made with Pillsbury Grands Cinnamon rolls, the prep work only requires melting a stick of butter, snipping the dough into quarters and rolling it in the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Keep your refrigerated rolls as cold as possible until you're ready to assemble them, otherwise the warm dough will become sticky and hard to handle.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, the coffee cake baked for a total of 30 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 18 briquettes placed around the rim of the lid with 10 spaced evenly in the center.  When you can smell the cinnamon it's probably done.  Lining your oven with parchment will make for an easier clean up while you're camping and be sure to serve this unbelievably good monkey bread-like cake warm so you can scoop up all the gooey caramel from the bottom.

Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake for a Crowd
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp grated orange peel (1 large orange)
3/4 cup chopped pecans, divided
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 17.5 oz cans Pillsbury Grands refrigerated cinnamon rolls with icing

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     In medium bowl, mix butter, brown sugar and orange peel; whisk until well combined.
     Pour butter mixture into prepared dutch oven.
     Top with 1/2 cup of the pecans.
     In small bowl, mix granulated sugar and cinnamon.
     Separate dough into 10 rolls.
     Cut into quarters.
     Place dough pieces in sugar mixture; toss to coat.
     Arrange dough in single layer in dutch oven.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and no longer doughy in center.
     Drop icing by teaspoonfuls over top of coffee cake; sprinkle with remaining pecans.
     Cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.
     Serve warm, makes 10 servings.

Spread brown sugar mixture in bottom of well oiled
oven then top with pecans

Roll cinnamon roll pieces in cinnamon sugar then
arrange in single layer in dutch oven

Bake at 375 degrees for 25-30 minutes

Add icing and remaining pecans

Be sure to serve this yummy pull-apart coffee cake while
still warm

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Goat Cheese


     For a light and easy dinner or lunch, give this Roasted Summer Vegetables with Goat Cheese salad a try.  From Williams Sonoma, your dutch oven serves as the perfect vessel for roasting the vegetables and keeping your kitchen cool in the summer heat.  In my 10 inch dutch oven the vegetables roasted for a total of 35 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and the lid completely covered with 24 briquettes.  The crispy lettuce combined with the warm vegetables and creamy goat cheese creates a culinary match made in heaven and is a great way to use up your bumper crop of garden vegetables.

Roasted Summer Vegetables with Goat Cheese
4 Tblsp olive oil, divided
1 lb red or orange bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 red onion, cut into slices
1 lb slender eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 lb zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 tsp ground cumin
3/4 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
3 Tblsp sherry OR red wine vinegar, divided
1 romaine lettuce head, separated into leaves
4 oz fresh goat cheese, crumbled

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Pour 2 Tblsp olive oil into prepared oven.
     Add the bell peppers, onion, eggplant and zucchini.
     Sprinkle with garlic, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper.
     Stir until well combined.
     Roast at 400 degrees, stirring halfway, for 35-40 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
     Drizzle vegetables with 1 Tblsp vinegar.
     In a large bowl, whisk together the remaining 2 Tblsp olive oil and 2 Tblsp vinegar.
     Add the lettuce and toss to coat.
     Divide the lettuce among 4 plates, stacking the leaves slightly to make a bed for the vegetables.
     Spoon the warm vegetables evenly over the lettuce.
     Sprinkle 2 Tblsp goat cheese over each salad.
     Serve immediately, makes 4 servings.

Toss vegetables with olive oil, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper

Roast at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes

Tender summer veggies on crispy greens, a perfect combination

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Plum and Blueberry Galette


     At first I wasn't sure I was even going to write up this recipe.  After seeing the finished product, with it's leaky juices and uneven crust, I didn't quite think it was worthy of posting.  Well after tasting this sweet and tart rustic pie, I decided to share it with you.  It was very delicious, a perfect summer dessert.  The pie crust mix came together easily, you'll need flour on your rolling pin to prevent it from sticking and if you roll it out and fill in on the parchment paper you'll have no problems transferring it to your dutch oven.  Pie crusts are not my forte so many of you more experienced pie bakers will probably do a better job of forming the crust than I did.  I'm sure you could make this with a ready made refrigerated pie crust and it would be equally as good.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, it baked for 35 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom, 18 in a ring around the outside of the lid and 10 spaced evenly in the middle.  Serve it while it's warm, top it off with some vanilla ice cream and savor the flavors of summer.

Plum and Blueberry Galette
Filling:
4 large plums, black or red, pitted and cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1/2 cup blueberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
4 tsp cornstarch
Crust:
1 11 oz box pie crust mix
3 Tblsp granulated sugar
Pinch ground ginger
1/3 cup water
1 egg lightly beaten

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     Cut 15 inch circle of parchment paper.
     In a medium size bowl, toss together plums, blueberries, 1/2 cup sugar and cornstarch; set aside.
     In a large bowl, combine pie crust mix, 3 Tblsp sugar, ginger and 1/3 cup water.
     Stir until mixture begins to come together.
     Roll out to a 13-inch circle on parchment paper.
     Spoon filling onto center of crust, leaving a 3-inch border all around.
     Fold edge of crust partway over plum mixture.
     Brush pie crust with beaten egg.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is browned and bubbly (some juices may leak out of the crust).
     Cool in dutch oven for 20 minutes before lifting out with parchment paper.
     Makes 4-6 servings.

Roll and fill pie crust on parchment paper before
transferring to dutch oven

Fold crust over fruit and brush with beaten egg

Bake at 375 degrees for 35-40 minutes

A rustic but very delicious summer dessert

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Cheesy Chicken Casserole


     From Sargento, this Cheesy Chicken Casserole is one of those comforting kind of dinners that is also a good way to sneak some green vegetables into the picky eaters in your family.  I added the broccoli straight from the freezer but if you're camping, allow it to thaw in your cooler.  The casserole baked in my 12 inch dutch for 40 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven, 16 placed around the outside of the lid with 8 briquettes spaced evenly in the center.  If you can't use fresh bread crumbs, try it with Panko.  Turn a leftover rotisserie chicken into an elegant and creamy casserole that is assembled in minutes and everyone will love.
 
Cheesy Chicken Casserole
2 10 oz. packages frozen, cut broccoli or asparagus, thawed, drained
4 cups coarsely chopped, cooked chicken
1 10 3/4 oz can cream of chicken soup
1 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided
1/2 cup soft bread crumbs
1/4 cup butter, melted

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch dutch oven.
     Arrange broccoli and chicken in bottom of prepared oven.
     Combine soup, sour cream and pepper; mix well.
     Stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese; spread mixture over the chicken and broccoli.
     Combine remaining 1/2 cup cheese, bread crumbs and butter.
     Sprinkle crumb mixture evenly over soup mixture.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until brown and bubbly.
     Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Arrange broccoli and chicken in well-oiled dutch oven

Spoon soup mixture over chicken then sprinkle with
buttered, cheesy, crumb topping

Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes

An excellent recipe for the beginning dutch oven cook