Friday, September 30, 2011

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread

     I am finding it hard to type this entry because at this moment I am experiencing the most incredible high (and maybe a bit of an upset stomach)  from having just gobbled down two thick slices of this warm bread slathered with butter.  Like Dale Evan's horse Buttermilk, this bread is creamy and white.  Trust me, this recipe from Fleischmann's is not difficult and what makes it that much easier is that it does not require a second rising.  The one thing you do need to have is a good thermometer to test the temperature of the buttermilk mixture before adding it to the dry ingredients.  The recipe makes two loaves so once again I lit a full chimney of coals and baked one loaf in my 12 inch regular oven and the other in my 12 inch deep model.  I placed 10 coals around the base of both ovens and covered the regular oven with 24 coals and the deep oven with 26 coals.  After 15 minutes, without peeking, I moved the coals from the center of the regular oven to the outside of the lid.  I did not do the same for the deeper oven, subsequently that loaf did have a hot spot in the center, next time I'll know better.  After 30 minutes I checked the loaves and lo and behold they were cooked to perfection.  I never knew until I started dutch oven cooking just how gratifying baking bread from scratch can be.  It takes a little work but when you bite into the crisp crust and soft center of this wonderful bread you will feel well rewarded for all your efforts.

Old Fashioned Buttermilk Bread
5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
3 Tblsp sugar
2 envelopes Fleischmann's Rapid Rise Yeast
2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup water
1/3 cup (2/3 stick) butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

     In large bowl, combine 3 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast, salt and baking soda.
     Heat buttermilk, water and butter until very warm (120 to 130 degrees Fahrenheit).  Butter does not need to melt; mixture will appear curdled.
     Stir into dry ingredients.
     Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
     Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
     Cover; let rest 10 minutes.
     Lightly oil or spray dutch ovens.
     Divide dough in half; roll each to 12 by 7 inch rectangle.
     Beginning at short end, roll up tightly; pinch seam and ends to seal.
     Place each loaf, seam side down, in prepared dutch ovens.
     Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 30-45 minutes.
     Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until done.
     Remove from dutch ovens; cool on wire rack.

After mixing dough let it rest for 10 minutes

Roll dough into 12 by 7 inch rectangle

Roll dough tightly from short end and pinch off seams

Cover and let dough rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk

After 30 minutes at 375 degrees in 12 inch regular oven

Manatee shaped loaf baked in 12 inch deep oven

Soft on the inside and crispy on the outside

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Chicken Quesadilla Pie

      From Real Simple Magazine, this shortcut version of Chicken Quesadilla Pie can easily be made at your campsite.  Prepare the ingredients at home, assemble in your dutch oven and bake until heated through and the cheese has melted. You could even eliminate the cream and pour the sauce directly from the can.  If you're a vegetarian substitute the chicken with corn or black beans.  In my 10 inch oven I baked the pie with 8 coals in a ring around the bottom and 18 on top.  It was bubbling away and melted all the way through in 30 minutes.  Let it sit for a few minutes before slicing into wedges so the tortillas can absorb the sauce.  Topped off with creamy avocado and fresh cilantro, indoors or out, it's easy and filling.

Chicken Quesadilla Pie
1 oz. can green or red enchilada sauce
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 8 inch flour tortillas
2 cups (8 oz.) grated Monteray Jack or Cheddar Jack cheese
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 cup salsa
1 avocado, diced
fresh cilantro leaves

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In a small bowl, combine the enchilada sauce and cream.
     Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture into bottom of dutch oven.
     Top with 1 tortilla, 2 Tblsp sauce, 1/2 cup of grated cheese and one third each of chicken, onion, and zucchini.
     Repeat twice to form a total of 3 layers.
     Top with remaining tortilla and sauce mixture.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.
     Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup of cheese and bake 5-10 minutes more until cheese has melted.
     Slice into wedges and serve with salsa, avocado and cilantro.  Makes 4 servings.

Layer tortillas then pour remaining sauce over top

Bake for 20 minutes then cover with remaining cheese

Let pie rest before serving then garnish with fresh toppings

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tomato Gratin

     This Tomato Gratin recipe from Women's Day is an easy and different way to layer and bake tomatoes in your dutch oven.  The orange zest and honey combine to give the tomatoes a light, slightly sweet flavor.  Saute the onion over a full spread of coals then stir in the honey, zest and juice.  Move the coals to a ring around the bottom of your oven then layer the onions and tomatoes and top with the bread crumbs and cheese.  I used my 10 inch oven with 10 coals around the bottom and completely covered the lid with 22 coals.  Check it after ten minutes, you may have to move some of the coals from the center of the lid to the outside, mine did brown a little too much in the middle.  I never thought of pairing oranges with tomatoes but it's the perfect combination in this flavorful and fragrant dish.

Tomato Gratin
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1/2 tsp grated orange zest
3 Tblsp orange juice
2 Tsp honey
3 lb tomatoes, sliced 1⁄2-in. thick
salt and pepper
2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven.
     In bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, thyme and 1 tablespoon olive oil.
     Heat remaining olive oil over a full compliment of coals. 
     Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender.
     Stir in orange zest, orange juice and honey.
     Remove half of onion mixture and set aside.
     Arrange tomatoes, overlapping slightly, over the onions and season with salt and pepper.  Repeat layers.
     Sprinkle bread crumb mixture over tomatoes.
     Bake for 20-25 minutes at 400 degrees or until golden brown and bubbling.

Saute onions until soft, add honey, orange zest and juice

Layer tomatoes and onions

Cover with bread crumbs, cheese and thyme mixture

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until brown and bubbly

Sweet, orange scented, crunchy topped tomatoes


Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Apple Pie Rustica

     If you're craving a homemade apple pie but don't feel like going to all the trouble of making one, try this Apple Pie Rustica from Comstock.  All you need is a can of apple pie filling and a pre-made pie crust and you're in business.  Prepare the pie on a sheet of parchment paper, it's the best way to get it in and out of your oven.  In my 12 inch oven, the pie baked in 25 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with 28 coals.  A cinch to make outdoors and everyone at your campsite will be drooling over the smell of cinnamon and apples wafting from your dutch oven.

Apple Pie Rustica
1 refrigerated pie crust (half of a 15-oz. package, or pastry for one 9-inch single crust pie)
1 21 oz. can Apple Pie Filling
1 lemon
1 Tblsp butter or margarine cut into small pieces
1 Tblsp sugar

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place pie crust on piece of parchment paper large enough to fit in your oven.
     Place pie filling in center of pastry, leaving a 2 inch border all around.
     Grate 1 tsp of lemon peel; squeeze 2 tsp of lemon juice from the lemon.  Sprinkle both over pie filling.
     Scatter butter over top.
     Fold pastry back over pie filling to make an uneven edge of 1 1/2 inches, leaving center of pie filling exposed.
     Sprinkle sugar over pastry border. 
     Bake 20-25 minutes until filling is bubbly and the pastry is golden brown.
     Cool slightly in oven before removing.  Makes 4-6 servings.

Fold edges of crust up over pie filling

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 450 degrees

A sweet tart...

Easy as pie

Monday, September 26, 2011

Oven Roasted Broccoli

     This recipe for Oven Roasted Broccoli from Alton Brown will have even the pickiest eaters going back for seconds.  The broccoli is roasted until crisp tender with olive oil, garlic and crunchy bread crumbs then tossed with a handful of Parmesan cheese.  In my 10 inch oven with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and the lid completely covered with coals, the broccoli was ready in 15 minutes.  You need a hot oven and a good blast of heat to properly roast the broccoli.  Loaded with vitamins and flavor, this healthy side dish is a great addition to your dutch oven buffet.

Oven Roasted Broccoli
1 pound broccoli, rinsed and trimmed
2-3 Tblsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan or sharp Cheddar

     Cut the broccoli florets into bite sized pieces; cut stalk into 1/8 thick round slices.
     Place the broccoli into a mixing bowl and toss with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper; set aside.
     Spread panko bread crumbs in bottom of dutch oven.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 5 minutes or until crumbs are toasted and lightly browned.
     Add broccoli mixture; stir well to coat broccoli with crumbs.
     Cover and bake for 15 minutes or until broccoli is tender.
     Remove from heat, toss in the cheese and serve immediately.

Toast panko crumbs in dry oven until lightly browned

Stir in broccoli, olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper

Roast for 15 minutes in a hot oven or until broccoli is tender

Parmesan cheese is the perfect finishing touch

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Taco Twist Soup

     From the Texas Beef Council's website, this simple soup is like eating a taco in a bowl, the only thing missing is the lettuce.  Brown the beef over a full compliment of coals, stir in the spices, bring the broth, water, picante sauce and tomatoes to a boil then add the pasta.  The original recipe called for one cup of pasta but I doubled the amount because I wanted to make it a bit thicker and more substantial.  I made this in my 10 inch oven and once I added the liquid I completely covered the lid with coals to bring it rapidly to a boil.  Top with sour cream, cilantro, shredded Cheddar and you've got yourself an easy week night or campfire supper that the kid in all of us will love.

Taco Twist Soup
1 lb. ground beef
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) beef broth
1 cup water
1 cup picante sauce
1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes in juice
1-2 cups uncooked corkscrew pasta
sour cream for garnish

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Brown beef over a full compliment of coals; drain.
     Stir in cumin and chili powder
     Add beef broth, picante sauce, tomatoes and water.
     Cover and cook with as many coals on the lid as you need to bring it to a simmer.
     Stir in pasta; cover and cook for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally.
     Makes 4 servings.

Brown beef with chili powder and cumin

Add tomatoes, beef broth, water and picante sauce, cover and bring to a boil

Stir in rotini pasta

Cover and cook until pasta is tender

Garnish with your favorite taco toppings

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Oh-So-Easy Salmon

      Salmon has become one of those super foods that we should all be eating on a regular basis.  I often bake it in my conventional oven and was anxious to try it in my camp oven.  This recipe from Grey Poupon is about as simple as it gets.  Spray or oil your dutch oven well, add the fish, cover with dijon mustard, sprinkle with crumbs and bake in a hot oven.  The secret is not over cooking your fish.  I was surprised at how quickly the salmon cooked, be sure to check it after 10 minutes, there is nothing worse than rubbery fish.  I used crushed Ritz crackers for the topping but you could use any brand you like.  Add a little dill or lemon pepper to boost the flavor.  I baked it in my 12 inch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and 24 on top.  Super easy to make, with a nice, tangy bite, this one's a keeper.

4 salmon fillets or a 1 pound piece of salmon
3 Tblsp Grey Poupon regular dijon mustard or Harvest Coarse Ground Mustard
16 crackers, crushed (about 1/2 cup)

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Place salmon fillet in prepared oven.
     Spread mustard evenly over fish.
     Sprinkle with crushed cracker crumbs.
     Add a little dill weed or lemon pepper if so desired.
     Bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
     Makes 3-4 servings.

Place salmon fillet in well oiled oven

Spread with mustard

Sprinkle with crumbs

Moist salmon bakes for 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees

Friday, September 23, 2011

Johnny Appleseed Cake

     Johnny Appleseed, born Sept. 26, 1774 in Leominster, MA, was a horticulturist, conservationist and traveled throughout Ohio, Indiana and Illinois establishing vast acres of nurseries protected by fences.  He led a simple life filled with purpose and lived to the ripe, old age of 80. 
     One cool autumnal night, while lying by his camp-fire in the woods, he observed that the mosquitoes flew in the blaze and were burnt. Johnny, who wore on his head a tin utensil which answered both as a cap and a mush pot, filled it with water and quenched the fire, and afterwards remarked, “God forbid that I should build a fire for my comfort, that should be the means of destroying any of His creatures.” 
     Now that apple season is upon us this recipe for Johnny Appleseed Cake uses all the best flavors fall has to offer.  Chop the apples and macerate them in the fridge for two hours.  The honey, sugar and cinnamon flavor the apples and create the most delicious sugary liquid.  Mix the rest of the ingredients in the same bowl and pour into your dutch oven.  Mine baked for a full 45 minutes in my 10 inch oven with 10 coals around the bottom and 22 on top.  Allow the cake to cool in your oven for a good 30 minutes before removing.  Serve this luscious, apple laden cake with whipped cream or your favorite vanilla ice cream.  Honor one of the our country's great folk heroes and celebrate his birthday by making this sublime dessert.

Johnny Appleseed Cake
3 to 4 Braeburn, Gala or Fuji apples, peeled and diced
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup apple cider
1/2 stick of butter, softened to room temperature
3 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour

     Lightly oil or spray a 10 inch dutch oven.  Line with parchment paper.
     In a large bowl, mix apples with sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and honey.
     Refrigerate mixture for two hours.
     To the apple mixture, add apple cider, butter, eggs, oil and vanilla; mix well.
     Add flour, 1/2 cup at a time, mixing well after each addition. 
     Pour mixture into prepared oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes or until tester inserted into the center of cake comes out clean.
     Allow to cool for 30 minutes before lifting from oven.
     Serve warm.

Chunks of flavored apple floating in a spiced batter

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes

Serve while still warm

Dense, moist cake with a blast of cinnamon in every bite

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Peppery Baked Onions with Sage and Gruyère

      If you like onion soup you are going to love these Baked Onions from Cooking Light.  Cutting into this delicate side dish is like eating the best part of a crock of cheesy onion soup.  Brush the onion halves with olive oil, bake for 30 minutes in a hot oven, pour in the broth, cook for another 30 minutes and top off with cheese.  Use Vidalia onions if you can, baked in a dutch oven they're as sweet as candy.  I baked these in a 12 inch oven with 12 coals in a ring around the bottom and completely covered the lid with briquettes.   An excellent, elegant side dish and inexpensive too, serve them with a slotted spoon and watch them dissapear.

Peppery Baked Onions with Sage and Gruyère
4 medium yellow (Vidalia) onions, peeled and halved
2 tsp olive oil
3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 cup less-sodium beef broth
2 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
1/4 tsp dried rubbed sage
1/2 cup finely shredded Gruyère or Swiss cheese

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Trim about 1/4 inch off top and bottom of onions so that halves sit flat on a plate.
     Cut onions in half crosswise and then peel them. Arrange onion halves, cut sides up in prepared oven.
     Brush tops of onions with olive oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper.
     Cover and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
     Mix beef broth with soy sauce.  Pour over onions.
     Bake for 30 minutes more or until onions are brown and tender.
     Sprinkle sage and cheese evenly over onions; cover and bake for 5 minutes or until cheese melts.
     Makes 4 servings.

Brush onion halves with olive oil, season with salt and pepper

After 30 minutes cover with broth and soy sauce

Bake for 30 minutes more then top off with cheese

Like French Onion Soup on a platter

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Chicken Curry in a Hurry

      How can you pass up a recipe named Chicken Curry in a Hurry?  From Real Simple, this recipe has all the elements of an easy, quick meal and finds a good use for that leftover rotisserie chicken sitting on the shelf in your refrigerator.  Over a full spread of fresh, hot coals, in my 10 inch oven, I sauteed the onion, stirred in the curry, added the rest of the ingredients and in 15 minutes, voila, lunch was ready.  You can always turn up the heat with a hotter curry powder, I used a relatively mild version from Trader Joe's.  Might not measure up to the curry you're used to having at your favorite Indian restaurant but a fast and dutch oven friendly, outdoor dinner.

Chicken Curry in a Hurry
1 cup white rice
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons curry powder
1/2 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
meat from 1 rotisserie chicken, sliced or shredded
1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped

     Cook rice according to package directions.
     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     Heat the olive oil over a full spread of coals.
     Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent.
     Sprinkle with the curry powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.
     Add the yogurt, cream, salt, pepper, tomatoes and chicken.
     Cover with enough to coals to keep it at a steady simmer. 
     Cook for 15 minutes or until sauce is bubbling and chicken is heated through.
     Serve over cooked rice and sprinkle with cilantro.  Makes 4 servings.

Saute onions over high heat, stir in curry powder

Stir together yogurt, cream, seasonings, tomatoes and chicken

Cook for 15 minutes or until bubbling and heated through

Spoon over rice and crown with chopped, fresh cilantro