Thursday, August 8, 2013

Dutch Oven - One Pot Rosemary Chicken & Potatoes with Corn

- 8 chicken pieces, thighs and drumsticks, skin on
- 2 pounds red potatoes, quartered
- 4 ears corn, halved
- 4-6 sprigs fresh rosemary 
- black pepper
- seasoned salt
- butter

- 12" deep Dutch oven
- 15 coals below
- 20 coals above

Light the charcoal. While that is heating, Quarter potatoes, chop half the rosemary and place potatoes on the bottom of an oiled 12" deep Dutch oven, dust with chopped rosemary and liberal shakes of pepper and season salt. Shuck the corn, break in half and arrange radially in the pot. Place chicken skin side up in one layer above the corn, and dust liberally with pepper and season salt. Place a pat of butter or two on the top of each chicken piece, and cover with the lid. Put 15 coals on the bottom and 20 on the top; you want a nice crust on the chicken. Pour a cup of water into the bottom and let it cook until the chicken has reached 165 and the potatoes are tender, about 30 or 40 minutes. Serve with biscuits or cornbread.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dutch Oven - Herbed Game Hens & Vegetables

Breaking radio silence to bring you this easy one pot meal. We were going to ride up the canyon yesterday with our besties, but when we looked across the valley to the mountains and couldn't see them through the fog, we decided that spending the night in our car on the side of the canyon road was not ideal, so we went to the store and picked up a few staples.

I've never really had a great cornish game hen meal, and this one didn't break tradition. The problem is that one or more birds does not cook fully for some reason. I was grateful that my bird was semi-raw instead of my friends, but still, come on! Gimme a break! They tasted great, but I think my bird didn't fully thaw before cooking, so it didn't temp up like the rest. I probed them, and it registered green which is near 165, but I didn't check the lcd on each one, so I think mine was a little low.

The problem with game hens is that you have a mini whole chicken to eat. It's a lot of meat and you have to butcher it yourself. Thanks to alton brown, I knew how to quarter it and trim off the breast meat, but it is a bit unwieldy.

2 - 12" deep dutch ovens

6 cornish game hens
3 pounds potatoes
1 pound carrots
4 onions
1 bunch fresh parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced

Thaw the hens in warm water and chop the vegetables into quarters. Oil the dutch oven and layer the vegetables in the bottom of each dutch oven, shake liberally with salt and pepper. Add the minced garlic to each pot. Chop the parsley and mix with 1/2 cup of oil and liberal shakes of salt and pepper. Coat the hens in the oil & herb mix and place radially with the feet inside on top of the vegetables, breast side up. Cover and place on 12 coals in a ring, place 12 coals on the top, place the second oven on top and place 12 coals on top of it. Keep a side fire going for coal replenishment. You'll want to keep a ring of coals active on all ovens at all times. Check every 20 to 30 minutes and rotate and replenish coals as needed. Serve hens with a heap of vegetables on the side. Your guests may appreciate steak knives. This dish matches well with green kool aid and no dessert-- trust me, you'll be too full.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Appetizer - Spring Rolls

Eating lunch out with the guys at work has introduced a lot of new flavors to my palette. Our office is situated on the outskirts of downtown Salt Lake City, and we are in the epicenter of two enclaves-- little "southeast Asia" and little Mexico. This means that most ethnic restaurants near the office are either Thai, Vietnamese or Mexican. These spring rolls are a favorite of mine, and when I first had them, I wondered if they forgot to cook them. Using thin rice paper, the rolls have no shame-- they show off their insides like a politician trying to win votes, except their only hidden secret is good taste.

If you're in SLC, some of the best restaurants for Vietnamese are: La Cai Noodle House, South China House, and Cafe Trang. Some great Thai places are: Thai Siam, Thai Basil, and Thai Delight. 

large sheet pan
something to weigh it down
9" pie or cake pan
tea towel, damp


1 pkg round rice paper
1 head green leaf lettuce
3 green onions, cut on the bias
1 cucumber, julienned
5 oz thin rice noodles
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 carrot, grated
3/4 cup thai basil or mint, chopped
3/4 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
1 pound extra firm tofu, drained

Tofu marinade:
1 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Dipping Sauce:
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sugar


Drain the tofu, wrap in paper towels and press using a sheet pan, weighted with a large fruit can or something similar. Let press for 1 hour. Slice tofu into 1/2 inch sections and marinate 15 minutes per side. Slice into 1/2 inch sticks and flash fry in an oiled pan. Set aside to cool. Soak rice noodles in warm water for 10 minutes to soften, then boil in water and season with 1/4 cup soy sauce. Once cooked tender, drain, rinse and let cool. Mix green onions, cucumber, carrots, and herbs in a mixing bowl.

To assemble: Soak rice paper in hot water in pie or cake pan for 10 seconds. Evacuate to a plate and place a small tender leaf of lettuce, followed by a 1/4 cup of rice noodles, followed by a 1/4 cup of vegetable mix, and top with 2 pieces of Tofu. Roll burrito style, ensuring a taut fit. This can be accomplished by applying back pressure when rolling forward. Place on the sheet pan and cover with a moist tea towel. Serve immediately.

Yield: 16 rolls, 4-8 servings

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

2012 West Jordan Stampede Cookoff

Yesterday I was invited to judge the Stampede Cookoff! It was a great honor and a lot of fun. Having never judged a food contest, I was really nervous. I wanted to be fair and unbiased but it is very difficult to decide which food is best, when they are as diverse as chimichangas to smoked turkey breast. Having competed before, I know what it is like on the other side of the judging table-- waiting in anticipation with your stomach in knots hoping and praying that you do well. I can tell you on the judging side, your stomach is in knots and you are hoping and praying that you make the right decision. You are assigned to literally tear apart the dish, ensuring that it cooked evenly, has a pleasant aroma, is visually stunning, and most importantly, tastes delicious. If I were to offer advice for competitors it would be this: avoid foods that cause common allergies like nuts and shrimp, shy away from foods that are not widely liked (not everyone loves mushrooms), make your presentation visually stunning, stay away from meats that dry out easily (pork roasts and poultry breast) unless you can ensure they will stay moist, and have fun cooking!

Alright, now to explain to my loyal reader why I haven't posted since April. Life's been very busy doing a remodel in preparation for our third child. I am tapping away on my smartphone waiting in the hospital hoping she will come soon. And yes, the remodel is nearly done-- as soon as the carpet guy comes on Monday. I think we'll see some posts coming soon, I've still got to deconstruct a PB&J and now a Hamburger.

Live Right | Eat Well.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Dutch Oven - Restaurant Yellow Curry

One of my favorite foods is Thai yellow curry; Missla and I will find good local Ma & Pa hole-in-the-wall restaurants and she'll order one of her many mainstays off the menu, but I always stick to the curries- Yellow, Red, Massaman. There's something about a curry that excites me. Maybe its the spice, maybe the variety of flavors, or maybe its because its such a simple meal-- just a sauce that is served over rice with meat and veggies. Yet curry somehow transcends its simplicity and becomes more than food. Curry just wants to be loved, and one thing is for sure, I love my curry. This recipe is my latest attempt to get restaurant quality curry at home. And it is close. If you want to take it over the top, add a teaspoon of sugar and don't use curry powder, use prepared curry paste. The best curry is in the curry spice. Garbage in-- well, I think you know the rest.

Served with white rice. To shape the rice into discs, mold it into a 1/2 cup measuring cup.

12" Dutch oven
12-15 coals below
15-18 coals above

4 large russet potatoes
4-6 chicken tenders, sliced across the grain
1-2 tablespoons curry powder
dash garlic powder
dash ginger
1 can coconut milk
1 cup milk
salt & pepper, to taste
3 large carrots, sliced on the bias
1/2 onion, quartered and sliced
3-4 green onions, sliced
canola oil
white rice, steamed

Brown chicken in oiled dutch oven, adding curry, garlic powder and ginger. Add vegetables and stir well. Add coconut milk, milk and let boil. Add top coals and bake for 30 minutes. When potatoes are tender, season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over steamed white rice.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Dutch Oven - One Pot Pork Chops

Hello again, Internet. It's been a while. It seems I've been very busy all week and left the cooking on the weekends simple. I decided I wanted to cook something up nice today outside, and it was snowing today in Salt Lake. It hit me in the shower- I would create a bed of vegetables and lay pork chops on top for an easy one pot dinner.

I prepped the entire pot before lighting coals, so in theory, you could prep your vegetables at home and take them to camp precut in zip top bags. I cubed potatoes, onions; chopped green onions and carrots, and used presliced mushrooms. Basically dumping them into a well oiled dutch oven, seasoning the vegetables and topping them with a little oil and my favorite prepared sauce, then placing pork chops on top in a single layer. I seasoned them and then lidded the pot and put in on heat. Easy peasy.

For something that was so simple to make, it tasted really great. The spice on the vegetables was simple and flavorful. This truly was chuck wagon cooking! I've been lacking the desire to push the envelope and make really complicated meals with lots of dishes and steps, because I've been so busy lately. I think I got burned out trying to push the envelope so far, that I forgot why I started this blog-- to have fun! So for the next little while, expect simple meals that don't require many steps or fancy things. It will still taste good though.

12" dutch oven

  •  4 large russet potatoes, cubed
  • 1 onion, cubed
  • 3 green onions, diced
  • 4 large carrots, julienned
  • 1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
  • Alabama barbecue sauce
  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • ground black pepper
  • kosher salt
  • seasoned salt
  • garlic powder
  • 5 bone in pork chops
  • 1/4 cup water
Prep vegetables and place in the bottom of an oiled 12" dutch oven. Drizzle with oil and coat with spices to taste. If desired, add 1/4 cup water to bottom of oven to aid in steaming. Drizzle with Alabama barbecue sauce (a white barbecue sauce) or your favorite sauce. Place pork chops on top of vegetables in a single layer making sure none are overlapping. Arrange to get a good cover over the vegetables with few holes as this will help the vegetables steam. Place lid on oven and add about 10 coals on the bottom and 15 on the top. This will help brown the pork chops. Broast for an hour, rotating the lid and bottom half way.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Dutch Oven - Chicken Ticca Masala

Tonight we took a culinary trip to India but we didn't leave our back porch. Having tasted Indian food a few months ago at a restaurant, I wanted to bring the flavors of India home. This curry is easy to make, but has quite a few spices in it-- some I presume you don't have in your spice cupboard. Garam Masala can be easily made at home with this recipe.

This turned out tasty, but it wasn't the spicy flavorful dish I had at the restaurant. Not bad for a first try though! With the tomatoes, I would use much less water than is below. 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup at most. Even letting it reduce it was very soupy. I prefer a slightly thicker sauce. Also the spices were milder that I like, so I would probably double them. All in all it was tasty and the flavors were layered and subtle. I'll enjoy eating leftovers for lunch Monday.

12" dutch oven

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup ginger root, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala
  • 3 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • cilantro, chopped
  • long grain rice, steamed
Heat olive oil in 12" dutch oven. Brown onions in dutch oven and add ginger and garlic. Add spices and blend well. Add tomatoes and water. Bring to a boil and add yogurt and chicken. When chicken is cooked, add salt to taste and reduce liquids by half. Serve over long grain rice and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Bread - Indian Garlic Naan

A few months ago, my wife and I had Indian food for the first time. We ate at this little strip-mall restaurant nearby. The server asked what we were ordering, and after we ordered (I had Chicken Ticca Masala) she asked if we would like some Naan with our dinner. Having never had Indian food, I wanted the whole experience, so we said yes and had what has to be the best bread I've ever had... until now.

Naan is typically served with Indian dishes like curries and tandoor cooked meats.

Since I don't have a tandoor on my back porch (I just have a glass door... tut tut tut), this is not 100% true to the source bonafide Naan. It is still Naan and still very very tasty. In order to replicate the intense dry heat of a tandoor, I placed a large heap of coals on my patio surrounding a dutch oven lid stand (3 bricks could be used, arranged radially) and placed a 12" dutch oven lid upside down on the lid stand. If I had a big gas stove, I would put the lid on the stove burner and crank it to high.

A few tips I learned-- The lid needs to be very very very hot, so I'd almost start a chimney just for the lid. I had about 12 coals for the lid and it started to cool down too much. I pulled some coals from my main dish and it worked out okay. The other thing, is that the Naan needs to be rolled very very very thin. The intense heat makes the bread rise a lot, so a dough that is 1/8 inch will rise to 1/2 inch really quick. Only do one Naan at a time, since the lid will stay hot better. When turning the bread, put it on new real estate so it stays scorching hot. I turned them with my hands, and got burned a few times. You might want a spatula that handles high heat.

12" dutch oven lid
lid stand

  • 1 1/2 teaspoon active dry yeast
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4  cups bread flour
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced


Mix yeast and warm water to activate yeast in a non reactive container. Mix sugar, milk, egg, and salt and beat with whisk. Add 3 cups flour and mix to a soft dough with a wooden spoon. Fill a 1 cup measuring cup with flour and toss half on a table. Knead until dough begins to become slightly more stiff than soft. This is the glutens dissolving. Don't knead to a windowpane as in other yeast breads. Kneading should only take 8 to 10 minutes. Stretch skin tight, form into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with a tea towel and place in a warm spot. Let raise for an hour. Preheat a dutch oven lid suspended over hot coals with a lid stand. Punch down the dough and pull into a small balls, roll very flat with a greased rolling pin and top with garlic. Press the garlic into the dough and transfer to the hot lid garlic side down. Only cook one Naan at a time. Turn when the dough stops bubbling. Cook until browned on opposite side. Serve with melted butter.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Lodge's Cast Iron Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Butter

Last week I won Lodge Manufacturing's Facebook giveaway for most unique breakfast--Aebleskivers. The prize was a copy of the book, "The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook", which hits store shelves today. I'll do a few more recipes and give a more in depth review soon.

Tonight Missla was busy with our congregation's women's organization, so she and the kids ate before I got home. When I got home from work, I received a kiss and she ran out the door. No worries! It gives me the chance to cook up some steaks using the recipe on page 127 of the cookbook, Cast Iron Grilled Steak with Blue Cheese Butter.

The method is to preheat your oven and then get the cast iron piping hot. Sear the steaks for 2 minutes per side, (and I found that if you move the steak to new real estate when flipping you get a better sear) then finishing in the oven for 2-4 minutes. This is how they cook steaks in fancy restaurants, and it delivers the perfect balance of tender juicy meat on the inside, and tasty sear marks on the outside.

Even with my poor quality steaks that had been frozen, it still was the best steak I've had from my own kitchen. I'm going to quit grilling them on propane and use cast iron. The Blue Cheese Butter was a nice touch, and even though I had only about an ounce of blue cheese, the flavor still balanced out well. I'm going to try it again with all 4 ounces of blue cheese. Adding a baked potato lightly touched with some Blue Cheese Butter and a salad with some of the leftover blue cheese dressing rounded out the meal.

If you want the recipe, run out to the nearest book retailer and grab a copy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook. I highly recommend it!

Disclosure: Aside from winning the cookbook from Lodge, I received no compensation for this post.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Appetizer - Super Bowl Wings

Yes, sports fans! It's that time of year again, and we're here a day late to share with you how to make a great dish to bring to your buddy's Super Bowl party. So unless you drive a Delorien, I recommend you bookmark this page for next year. If you happen to be from the future reading this archived post, please know that this will be a great addition to any gathering, especially a Super Bowl party. Please, future email me and let me know if football is played in a battledome with robot gladiators and humans secretly plotting an uprising. Go human beings!

Uber-nerdy post-apocalyptic distopic robot fantasies aside*, these wings are really good. And yes, the simplicity of the dredge is what makes them so. Coat them well in dredge, on all sides and you'll get a good crispy crust. Science dictates that the crispy crust is going to try to dissolve when you toss them in sauce, so make sure that oil is spitting hot and coat well. Also, don't fry partially frozen wings. They won't cook evenly, the dredge will either burn or won't stick and you won't be pleasing your robot overlords, or guests, as the case may be.

Deep fryer or Large pot

10 minutes prep
10-20 minutes cook time
Serves 4-6


  • 2 quarts canola or peanut oil
  • 2 pounds chicken wings, thawed
The Dredge:
  • 1-2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
The Toss Sauce:
The Serve & Garnish:

Heat the oil until it spits when a light flick of water is applied. Mix the dredge, and toss the chicken in it. Spoon the wings in the hot oil and cook until crust is golden brown and the chicken is cooked through. Remove wings and place in a tossing bowl. Heat the hot sauce and butter until combined and butter melts. Stir to create a combined emulsion. Drizzle the sauce over the cooked wings and toss in the bowl. Let rest 3 minutes and toss again. Serve with blue cheese dressing and celery.

*Just try saying that 10 times fast.

Back Porch Gourmet | Live Right. Eat Well.