Saturday, July 26, 2014

Four Can Baked Beans

     From Progresso, the hardest part about making this bean recipe is opening the cans.  Ideal for camping, after the flavors meld, these rich and spicy beans taste like they were simmered all day.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, the beans baked for 50 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 20 briquettes on the lid.  You can monkey around with the flavors, I used bake beans with onions and chile beans with cayenne and cumin, although I would avoid the sweeter maple flavored baked beans.  Allow them to rest for 15-20 minutes before serving so the beans will have time to absorb some of the zesty juices. 

Four Can Baked Beans
1 16 oz can baked beans, undrained
1 15 oz can spicy chili beans, undrained
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 14.5 oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In large bowl, combine ingredients well, pour into prepared oven.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes or until bubbling and flavors have blended.
     Allow beans to sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Combine all ingredients in well oiled dutch oven

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes

Simple to make but loaded with flavor

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Mom's Cocktail Meatballs

Camping with Mom when we were young

     We buried my mother this week.  After a long illness and a year of dialysis, she passed away peacefully at home.  Thankfully, I was able to take care of her, it was an amazing gift and I treasure every minute we were able to spend together.  
     My mother was an incredible cook.  Some of my earliest memories are of her standing over the stove making rosette cookies for us.  She'd dip the batter covered iron into the bubbling oil and in minutes would pass us a platter of the light,  crispy cookies covered in powdered sugar.  For Christmas Eve she'd make pressed pork and molded jellied veal loaves from recipes handed down to her from her Swedish relatives.  It would take days of preparation and I still have the meat grinder she'd clamp to the kitchen table and crank furiously until the cooked veal was the right consistency.  We rolled and cut cookies every holiday and to this day I use her Mirro cookie press from the sixties.  When Julia Child introduced American housewives to French cooking, my mother was glued to the tv, taking notes during every episode of The French Chef.  In her new enameled, cast iron cookware she prepared many wonderful meals, educating our palettes along the way.  While the other kids in the neighborhood were eating franks and beans on a Saturday night, Mom was whipping up platters of Coq au Vin and Boeuf Bourguignon.  She came home one day from her Chinese cooking class with bags of exotic ingredients, shiny new cleavers and a wok that she seasoned and used faithfully. 
     Mother was fearless, daring and her adventurous spirit in the kitchen spilled over into all aspects of her life as well.  When arthritis got the best of her and she could no longer stand at the kitchen counter, she continued to devour cookbooks, voraciously reading them from cover to cover, still enjoying armchair meal planning and finding new recipes for me to try.  I am so grateful for her never ending, unconditional love and for all the wonderful smells, sounds and flavors that emanated from her kitchen, she continues to be my inspiration and I aspire to be more like her every day. 
     Food and mealtimes create some of our best memories, I hope you'll think of my mother when you make these meatballs.  I'm not sure where she found the recipe but friends and neighbors flocked to the Crock Pot every holiday to load up on them before they disappeared.  In my 12 inch dutch oven, they baked for 40 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 26-28 briquettes on the lid.  Bake them anywhere from 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the size of your meatball.  It's a great party recipe, they freeze well too and if you can't make them in your dutch oven, bake them in a 9 by 13 inch pan in your conventional oven, I hope they become a classic at your holiday table as well. 
Mom's Cocktail Meatballs
2 lbs lean ground beef
1 cup packaged cornflake crumbs
1/3 cup dried parsley flakes
2 eggs
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/3 cup ketchup
3 Tblsp instant minced onion
1 14 oz can jellied cranberry sauce
1 12 oz bottle chili sauce
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp lemon juice

     Lightly oil or spray 12 inch or larger dutch oven.
     In large bowl, combine beef, cornflake crumbs, parsley, eggs, soy sauce, pepper, garlic powder, ketchup and minced onion.
     Form into small balls about the size of a walnut and arrange in a single layer in prepared oven.
     In medium sized saucepan, combine cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice.
     Cook over medium heat, stirring, until smooth and cranberry sauce is melted.
     Pour sauce over meatballs.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Form meatballs and place in a single layer
in prepared dutch oven

Cover with sauce

Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes

Mom loved sharing her recipes and this one's a keeper

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Easy Ranch Biscuits

      I chose this recipe because it looked so simple and except for the cheese, none of the ingredients require refrigeration.  From the Hidden Valley Ranch website, these drop biscuits can be mixed in a jiffy and quickly baked in a hot oven.  In my 10 inch dutch oven, they baked for 15 minutes with 10 coals in a ring around the bottom and 26 briquettes on the lid.  You can definitely taste the dressing mix. They aren't quite as flaky as other biscuit recipes I've tried but they're quick and easy and made darned good ham and cheese sandwiches while they were still warm.

Easy Ranch Biscuits
1 1 oz packet ranch salad dressing mix
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1/4 cup diced green chilies
2 1/4 cups Bisquick baking mix
2/3 cup beer

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven.
     In large bowl, combine dressing mix, baking mix, cheese and green chilies.
     Add beer; stir until well-blended.
     Drop by spoonfuls into prepared dutch oven.
     Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.
     Makes 12 small biscuits.

Plop 12 spoonfuls of batter into your well oiled oven

Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes

If you like the flavor of ranch dressing you'll go for these
tangy beer biscuits

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pesto Mushroom Pizza

      In no time flat you can enjoy this hot and bubbling, presto Pesto Mushroom Pizza from Buitoni.  Unless you use a 14 inch dutch oven, you may have to shave a little off of the 12 inch crust for it to fit completely in your smaller oven.  In my 12 inch dutch oven it baked for 25 minutes with 12 coals in a ring around the base of the oven and 24 on the lid.  It's a good, lickity split camping recipe and with so few ingredients won't even take up much room in your cooler.

Pesto Mushroom Pizza
1 12 inch premade pizza crust (like Boboli)
1/2 cup jarred OR refrigerated pesto
8 oz white mushrooms, trimmed and thinly sliced
2 cups (8 oz) mozzarella cheese, shredded

     Lightly oil or spray dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     If necessary, trim pizza crust slightly to fit in bottom of 12 inch dutch oven.
     Spread with pesto.
     Top with mushrooms and cheese.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until cheese has melted and is lightly brown.
     Makes 4 large slices.

Top premade crust with pesto, mushrooms and mozzarella

Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes

Don't forget to pack a good sharp knife or pizza cutter


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Peachberry Buckle

     What better way to celebrate the birth of our nation and the seemingly endless bounty of fresh summer fruit than with this Peachberry Buckle from King Arthur Flour.  It takes a bit of preparation but if you follow the steps and light your coals right before you assemble the cake you'll find it very easy to make.  In my 10 inch dutch oven the buckle baked for a total of 50 minutes with 10 coals around the base of the oven, 16 briquettes placed in a ring around the outside of the lid and 6 spaced evenly in the center.  I didn't even raise the lid to check on it until the 45 minute mark when I smelled cinnamon wafting from my oven.  You can substitute any one of your favorite berries for the blueberries, if you use strawberries, just be sure to cut them into smaller pieces before adding them to the batter.  This buckle is so worth the extra time it takes to put together, as a coffee cake, dessert or midnight snack, I know this light and buttery cake will definitely become one of your summer favorites.  Happy Independence Day!

Peachberry Buckle
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1 cup blueberries (unthawed if frozen)
1 cup sliced fresh peaches, peeled or not, your choice
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp almond OR vanilla extract
pinch of salt

     Lightly oil or spray 10 inch dutch oven; line with parchment paper.
     To make the cake: In a medium-sized mixing bowl, beat together the butter and sugar.
     Beat in the egg and vanilla.
     Stir in the baking powder, salt and nutmeg.
     Add the flour in three additions, stirring it in alternately with the milk, beginning and ending with the flour.
     Set the batter aside while you make the topping.
     To make the topping: Mix all of the ingredients until crumbly, don't over mix or you'll get a smooth paste, rather than crumbs.
     To assemble the buckle: Spread half of the batter in prepared dutch oven.
     Layer with peach slices.
     Fold the blueberries into the remaining batter and using two tablespoons, dollop it on top of the peaches.
     Sprinkle the topping over the batter.
     Bake at 350 degrees for 50-55 minutes or until it's deep golden brown and a tester comes out clean.
     Cool in dutch oven for 45 minutes before lifting out with parchment paper.
     Serve warm or at room temperature.

Spread half of batter in parchment lined oven then
top with peaches

Mix berries with remaining batter then drop by
spoonfuls over peaches

Sprinkle with crumbly topping

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes

Wait 45 minutes before lifting from oven

Serve warm with ice cream for a luscious summer dessert