Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dutch Oven - Beef & Biscuits


This is a really easy dish. It can have as few as 2 ingredients, or if you make the stew by hand, several ingredients. We cooked this Sunday night with the leftover roast, potatoes and carrots that we cooked on Saturday. It is a really hearty dish that will warm you through and definitely stick to your ribs.



Recipe:
350 Degrees
Baking
12" Dutch Oven

Beef Stew
-Beef roast
-Celery
-Potatoes
-Carrots
-Onion
-Mushrooms
-Beef stock, thickened
-Beef stew seasoning packet
Bisquick

Grease a 12" Dutch oven with oil. Add beef stew. If you are not making the stew from scratch, or already have it prepared, skip to the end. To make stew: Braise beef chunks, add vegetables and stock. Mix seasoning in. Roast until meat is done and vegetables are tender. Mix bisquick according to directions for biscuits. Top stew with bisquick and bake for 30 minutes.


5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Dutch Oven - Classic Peach Cobbler

This weekend has been a good weekend of "Cooking Zen". Last night I cooked the best food, I was definitely on 10. This is part III of last nights dinner party with Eric and Heather. I've been friends with Eric since high school and we've had a lot of fun together.

This is my best cake yet. The other two flops had too much liquid, or didn't mix well so it was a pot of cake mix. Avoiding the second problem, I mixed the cake mix ahead of time. It turned out so awesome! The cake was nice and fluffy, and the fruit mixed with the cake mix in the bottom and it was kinda creamy, like a pudding cake.

Recipe
350 degrees
Baking
10" Dutch oven

Oil
Yellow cake mix
2 cans peaches
Water
2 eggs

Mix cake mix according to package directions, withholding one egg. I found it best to mix the cake in a plastic zip top bag and then you have no mixing bowl to clean. Dump peaches including liquid in bottom of 10" oiled dutch oven. Top with cake mix. Bake for 60 minutes at 350 degrees until the cake is golden brown and passes the toothpick test.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Spicy Potatoes and Carrots


This is part II of last night's 3 pot meal. We bought so many vegetables, that they wouldn't fit in a single 12" dutch oven, so I added a second 12 incher to cook these veggies.

Oil
Potatoes, cubed
Carrots
Italian salad dressing mix
Paprika

Oil dutch oven and add potatoes and carrots. Mix well with salad dressing mix and generous shakes of paprika. Toss in oil, coating vegetables and bake for 60-90 minutes until potatoes and carrots are tender. Serve with a roast or other meat main dish.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - The best roast ever


Last night we had our friends Eric and Heather over for dinner. We scheduled dinner at 5, and I found out later I had a commitment at 6, so I said hello and eat with out me and left. When I got back at 7 they had waited for me! It had turned out that the roast needed to be cooked longer anyway.

Recipe:
350 degrees
Broasting
12" Dutch Oven

Oil
Garlic, crushed
Beef roast
Au Jus mix
Powdered beef bullion
Celery, chopped
Mushrooms, sliced
Onion, quartered
Season salt
Onion powder
Paprika
Salt
Pepper
Sage

Rub roast with spices and sear. I used a frying pan and a little oil on my stove, but you could definitely use the dutch oven or a cast iron skillet. Saute garlic, onion and celery in a 12 inch dutch oven. Pull to the side and add the roast and mushrooms. Add au jus packet and beef bullion. Add a glass and a half of water. Cover and broast for 60-90 minutes. Check with a meat thermometer and you may want a side fire going to keep the coals hot. Remove roast and vegetables. Strain juices and add cornstarch and water mixture to make gravy.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Sriracha Embroidery


I couldn't resist reposting this one! Found on Flickr by the great Make: Magazine podcast, this rendition of the Sriracha label is amazing. If you haven't used this hot sauce yet, you need to pick up a bottle. It showcases the pepper flavor, without too much vinegar taste that you would find in cajun style hot sauce. The original context on Make: Blog-

This really belongs on CRAFT, in fact, in was on CRAFT, posted by the inimitable Brookelynn Morris, but also being addicted to this stuff (and knowing many geeks who also have the habit), I couldn't resist posting it here. A friend of mine, a real ethnic food connoisseur, turned me on to Sriracha hot sauce decades ago. He spoke about it in such rhapsodic tones, I just had to try some. Endless bottles of it have since rotated through my cupboard ever since. They must put crack in it or something, because soon, you're putting it on everything, for an instant party in your mouth, a very spicey party in your mouth.

Brookelynn writes:

One of my flickr contacts, christ(ine), posted this perfectly rendered sriracha embroidery. This is the only hot sauce in my house, and its sweetspicy is addictive. In fact, it has an almost cult-like following. I'm not surprised one bit that she felt compelled to stitch this up, but I am shocked at how well she created the complicated characters. and details. Art imitates life, and in this case, craft imitates food.

http://blog.makezine.com/archive/2010/02/sriracha_embroidery.html




5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

New Domain Name!

The Back Porch Gourmet now has a new permanent home! Please update your bookmarks and feed readers to http://www.backporchgourmet.com. The new RSS feed is: http://www.backporchgourmet.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

Update your readers so you can continue to receive the latest in back porch cooking in your inbox!

The author would like to thank the readers for their continued loyalty and we are optimistic about the coming weeks. Keep coming back, we've got some cool stuff planned, such as podcasts and weekend projects to make your back porch kitchen the envy of the Jones's.

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Dutch Oven - Onion Soup Chicken


We cooked this last Sunday as a simple dish with a few ingredients. We have been refinishing our kitchen table, so we had to eat on TV trays. The nice thing is once you get everything in the pot, you can just kick back and relax while it cooks.

350 Degrees
Broasting
12" Dutch Oven

Oil
Garlic
Chicken breasts
Onion Soup Mix
Parsley
Au Jus mix
Pepper
Red Onion, chopped
Potatoes, cubed
Carrots

Saute onions and garlic in oil. Shake chicken in a zip top bag with soup mix and parsley. Add chicken and braise the meat. Add potatoes, carrots, black pepper and au jus mix. Add 1/2 glass water and cover. Broast for 30 minutes until chicken is fully cooked and tender. Gravy may be made from the sauce using the roux technique.

3 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Foodista.com Recipe Contest

I received an email invitation to enter the Foodista.com recipe contest. The winners will have their recipes featured in a cool recipe book, and will get free copies. I entered my Chicken Paad Thai recipe. This is a tasty dish that is so easy it will make your head spin. So do me a favor, and go vote for my recipe in the contest:



Tell your friends and family to go vote too! The results will come out this August.

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Primer: Spice Rack Essentials


Without spices, life would be bland and tasteless, much like C-SPAN. This primer will show you what you need to have food that is better compared to MTV- flashy, flavorful and with pizzazz. Let’s say you are a new cook, and you want to round out a good spice rack. First I would start out with the 5 essentials:

  • Salt & Pepper
  • Parsley
  • Garlic Powder
  • Italian Seasoning (Mixture of basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, etc.)
  • Season Salt

After the Big 5, I would add the following:

  • Curry
  • Powdered Ginger
  • Dill
  • Cayenne Powder
  • Chili Powder
  • Celery Salt
  • Onion Powder/Salt
  • Ranch Dressing Mix (Hidden Valley sells it in shaker jars now!)
  • Cinnamon/Sugar
  • Basil
  • Bay Leaves

Make sure you get a good store of the "Scarborough Fair" spices:

  • Parsley
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme

I actually have a very large container of parsley, and it has come in really handy. (I use it in everything from eggs to steak to paad thai!)

Some specialty spices are really versatile, and very tasty:

  • Fajita Seasoning (this commercial mix is heavy on the garlic and spices)
  • Jamaican Jerk Spice rubs
  • Montreal Steak seasoning
  • Zatarrain’s Crab boil bag (a bag of spices geared to boiling live crustaceans such as crab, shrimp or crayfish.)
  • Italian Salad Dressing Mix (this is the closest thing known to man to match the Colonel’s 12 herbs and spices at KFC)
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Lemon pepper
  • Powdered chicken and beef bouillon

Next, get a few pepper grinders and put peppercorns, sea salt and dried garlic in one, peppercorns and dried lemon and lime chunks in another, and sea salt and crushed red pepper in another. This will give you 3 fresh grind spice mills that you can use in a variety of applications.

Don’t worry about taking out a second mortgage for all the spices. Just start with the big 5, and add others as they are on sale. Try mixing and matching flavors with your new spice arsenal and see what you come up with!

Bon Appetit!

The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Dutch Oven - Klondike Chili

We took the scouts on their annual Klondike Derby camp, and we cooked chili for lunch. This is a very mild chili, but very hearty. The boys had fun, even though they were covered in snow.

Recipe
350 degrees
Roasting

1 pound ground beef
1 pound sausage
1 slab bacon
4 cans beans, various
1 package chili season
1 can tomato sauce
Cheese shred

Brown meat in dutch oven. Add beans, tomato sauce and seasoning. Simmer for 15 minutes until warmed through. Serve with shredded cheese.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Sauce - Jalepeno Cilantro Ranch Dressing

I know this post isn't entirely outdoors, in fact, I prepared it all in my kitchen. However, this would go great with outdoor meals like chili dogs, tacos or just tortilla chips. I was craving some cheese fries, and a visit to the freezer revealed that all we had were tots. So I baked the tots and topped them with cheese. I wanted a dipping sauce with a kick that would have a good flavor. This is what I came up with:

Recipe:
1 Packet ranch dressing mix
1 cup Mayonnaise
Milk
2 Jalepenos, chopped
Cilantro, chopped

Mix ranch dressing according to package directions, withholding milk. Add chopped jalepenos and cilantro. Mix well with a metal spoon. Add milk until desired consistency is achieved.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Primer: Cooking Sans Recipe


Since I was a child, I have loved to cook. Most of all, I loved to experiment. This is mostly attributed to my mother. She loves to cook, and we grew up with full stomachs and plenty of leftovers. She would say, "if it is gross, we can always go to McDonald's". We never did. Her spirit of experimentation passed on to me. I can only count one time living at home that my cooking warranted a trip to the local fast food chain restaurant. I can count only 2 times during my married life that warranted a trip to McDonald's. The first time during my married life, my cooking was so spicy that it gave my wife gastritis. The second time was a Dutch oven Ham Hock and Beans that was completely inedible. Other than that, I've created (mostly) delicious food, most of which was done without a recipe.

Cooking sans recipe can be a bit daunting at first, but if you follow some basic rules at first, it will become much easier for you.

Rule #1: At first, modify existing recipes. Don't like the parsley in the cream sauce? Try some dill or oregano. Take an existing recipe that is proven and tested and modify it to suit you. Many great recipes can be had at sites like Allrecipes.com. I like this site because it not only is a storehouse for great recipes, but also has visitor ratings. You know on a scale from 0 to 5 stars if a recipe is going to taste good. Remember to modify safely; don't change the cooking time for meats, for example. Nobody likes food borne illness.

Rule #2: Do your homework. If you want to create authentic italian, research italian cooking. You wouldn't put bananas in spaghetti, so find out what core ingredients are in the type of food you are cooking. Many times, the regional food tastes are based on what ingredients grow locally. At first, stick with the local tastes. For tex-mex, you would see spices like chili powder, cumin, cayenne, cilantro, etc. You would see limes, black beans, cheddar cheese and tortillas. You wouldn't see pasta. However, a tex-mex pasta with chicken wouldn't be too bad. (See rule #1.) Try it!

Rule #3: Combine 2 tastes. This is where it starts to get risky. You may be eating at McDonald's a lot during this phase. That curried ice cream did not taste so good. Get back on the horse and try it again. If done successfully, this can really be good and totally break all the rules. This is where foods like Barbecue Chicken Pizza comes from.

Rule #4: Throw away your measuring cups. Ok, don't actually throw them away, because you will still need them to cook recipes. You will notice in my recipes, I don't often post quantities. If I do, it may be something like "1/2 the parsley" only because it is reserved for 2 parts of the recipe. You will commonly see this as "divided". (1 cup parsley, divided) When I cook, I estimate the amount of each ingredient. Even when I use a recipe (gasp!), I greatly estimate each portion. You see the pros do this on cooking shows. 1/4 cup oil becomes a few seconds drizzle, or something the size of a pancake. Estimating your ingredients and "winging it" are the first steps in become a recipeless cook.

Rule #5: Grab a few ingredients and just go crazy. The Dutch Oven Duel was a great example of this. Mark Hansen and I challenged each other to use 3 core ingredients that were picked by the other competitor to create a dish and the results were awesome. This is the final stage, the "enlightenment" of cooking sans recipe. The ability to create something completely original is sought after. This is how I cook most of the time, and I love it. This is why I write this blog, to share my cooking experience with our 6 readers.

So get out there and try the 5 steps, you might be surprised. Just remember to be safe and have fun! Post up in the comments if you've had any experience cooking sans recipe!


Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!