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