Monday, April 19, 2010

Dutch Oven - Cheesy Potatoes and Carrots

We made these potatoes and carrots to go with the brats we had last night. They turned out really good, and were tender to the touch. The trick is to have very little bottom heat, and heavy top heat.

12" Dutch Oven
Broasting (Almost broiling!)
400 degrees
30-40 minutes

Potatoes, cubed
Carrots, baby
Green onions, chopped
Yellow onion, diced
1 can Cream of Chicken soup
1 can cheese sauce
1/2 pound cheddar cheese, grated
Season Salt
1/4 cup Milk

Mix all ingredients in 12" dutch oven except half the cheese. Top with cheese and broast for 30-40 minutes. Serve with a main dish such as bratwurst or ham.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Stick Cooking - Bacon Bratwurst

We had my wife's parents over for dinner tonight. We decided to cook over the camp fire, since it has become my favorite cooking method since I built my fire pit. The best way to cook anything, is to cook it with BACON! Bacon makes everything better. Even bacon. If I had no regard for my health, I would make bacon spaghetti, bacon lasagna, bacon pancakes, bacon crusted bacon. In fact, I used to buy 3 sides of bacon and 2 sides of sausage at the commissary for breakfast every morning for a month! Thats 9 pieces of bacon and 2 sausage patties! My blood pressure skyrocketed, and I got pretty sick of bacon, so I cut back. This is a great way to dress up a bratwurst, sausage or plain old hot dog.

Stick Cooking
Hot Fire
10 Minutes


Hot dog bun or deli roll

Wrap bratwurst in bacon and secure with toothpicks. Put on hot dog stick and roast until bacon is cooked. Serve in a bun with mustard and sauerkraut.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dutch Oven - Southwest Buffalo Wings

I love Buffalo wings. I love mixing local flavors, so the Southwest Buffalo wings were born. These are super easy, and they taste great. We made these for dinner on Sunday in our new fire pit. I burned some pallets to try to use wood coals instead of charcoal, and pine burns fast, hot, and then goes immediately cold into a mess of soot. Don't use softwood when trying to cook on the coals. I luckily had some charcoal and got them lit and heated up the food until they were done. We also put some potatoes whole into the dish, just make sure to poke holes in them with a fork so they don't explode. (If you don't believe they will, I challenge you to put one in your microwave for ten minutes.)


12" Dutch Oven
400 degrees

Chicken wings
Southwest marinade mix
Hot sauce

Mix chicken and marinade mix in oiled dutch oven. Bake for 60 minutes until tender. Toss in hot sauce for the Buffalo flavor. Serve with celery sticks and Bleu cheese.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Mushroom Quiche

I told my coworkers on Friday that I was going to wake up and cook Dutch oven breakfast. They didn't believe me. I told my family that I was going to wake up on Saturday and cook Dutch oven breakfast. They didn't believe me either. So, I fooled them all and cooked breakfast anyway. Take that!

This is super simple, and can be made with what is in your fridge and freezer. In fact, it was made with what I had already. It's really tasty and the rich mushroom flavor is very savory.

12" Dutch oven
350 degrees

Hash browns
Cream of Mushroom soup
Mushrooms, fresh
Cheese, shredded

Mix all ingredients except cheese in oiled Dutch oven. Grate cheese on top about an inch thick. Bake for 20-30 minutes until cooked through. Serve with salsa and ketchup, if desired.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Easy Corn Bread

We made this cornbread to share at the Easter dinner we had at my folks last weekend. It turned out really good, and got rave reviews. It is super easy, and if you premix a bunch of the dry ingredients together, you can store it for probably up to 6 months or more.

12" Dutch oven
400 degrees

1 cup flour
1 cup cornmeal (grind up popcorn in a wheat grinder)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil or melted butter

Combine eggs, buttermilk and oil. Mix dry ingredients and liquids together, stirring only 20 times. Bake 15-20 minutes

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sauce - Homemade Sriracha Sauce

Food blog Serious Eats posted how to make your own Sriracha Sauce. They experimented in making a fresh sauce and a fermented sauce in the same method as Huy Fong Foods. Sounds yummy! I can't wait to try it myself!

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gourmet S'Mores

I want you all to stop what you are doing to rethink your paradigms. Typically, S'Mores are the trifecta: Graham crackers, chocolate and marshmallows. That is so childhood. We're living in an age where they have not only put a man on the moon, but worthless drivel can be broadcast to the entire world in less than .0002 nanoseconds. Wait a minute... Anyways, S'Mores should be as exciting as watching that cat spin around the ceiling fan!*

Rethink your S'More. And then stop to think S'More. Hah! Couldn't help myself on that one!

Stick Cooking
5 Minutes

Keep the three in the mix, but instead of regular chocolate bars, try one of the following:

- Peanut butter cups
- Toffee candy bars
- Super expensive german or dutch chocolate
- Dark Chocolate
- White Chocolate
- Crunch bars
- Caramello
- M & M's
- Uno
- York Peppermint Patty's
- Thin Mints
- Etc...

For the mallow, just stick to the classic.

To hold the thing together, you can always go classic, but why not try-

- Chocolate grahams
- Oreos
- Chips ahoy!
- Pop tarts
- Newtons
- Nilla wafers
- Etc...

Now the real paradigm changing begins-

Try slicing fresh fruit such as strawberries, peaches, plums, apples, etc.

Or heat up some peanut butter and spread it on.

Nutella or similar hazelnut chocolate is good on everything. Even hot dogs!

Put on a slab of ice cream and mush it together. Mmmm good!

Try to do new things and you will not only be making good food, you will become a recipeless cook.

What's your favorite S'More? Share up in the comments!

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

*I do not endorse animal cruelty in any way, I care for a cat and dog myself, so please refrain from sending me hate mail. Just love me. You have to admit that video is pretty darn funny. Poor kitty. He'll never do THAT again!

Weekend Project - Stone Fire Pit

Cost ~$100
Difficulty: Intermediate
Shopping list:
12 12" interlocking castle stone
24 9" flagstone wall blocks
3 tubes Liquid Nails or similar
weed barrier
elbow grease

Lay stones in a circle on ground level and mark a line around the outer perimeter of the stones. Dig down on highest part of ground first, measuring depth with 3 stones piled on top of each other. You will want the stone to be halfway buried at the highest point. Dig remaining area keeping hole level. Tamp any loose soil with the back of a shovel. Lay castle stone in a ring in the bottom of the pit. Dry fit the first layer of flagstone centering the stone over the crack between stones in the bottom layer. When pleased with the layout, remove stones one at a time and cement with liquid nails. Take care not to get glue in the cracks between stones as this will look unsightly. Dry fit the second layer of flagstone as before, and glue in place. Let cure overnight. Dig 4" into soil around the pit following a continuous radius. I did just under 3 feet and it seemed to work well. Lay down weed barrier and fill with gravel. Fill center of pit with gravel.

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Weekend Project - Simple Stripe Patio Bench

I'd like to take a detour from cooking to show you how to make simple, elegant patio furniture with some simple lumber and a box of screws.

I built the above pictured patio bench last weekend, after building a garden fence and had leftover timber. The darker wood is pressure treated 2x4's and 4x4's and the light stripe is redwood. This particular piece of redwood had a nice white color on one side, so I chose to use that as a good contrast. It is super sturdy, and comfortably seats 3. Dimensions are 5' X 12" x 22" and I found the height to be very comfortable. If you would like to make your own, download the sketchup document (google sketchup required) and grab the measurements here.

The cost of materials is about 30 dollars, depending on availability and pricing in your area.

I plan on building a second bench to match and a matching picnic table. Stay tuned!

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Dutch Oven - Cookie Cake Part II

For the third course last week, I cooked a "Cookie Cake". Mix up cookie dough and press in the bottom of a 10" standard dutch oven. Bake for 20 minutes. Repeat: BAKE FOR ONLY 20 MINUTES!

This flopped bad. I have only cooked inedible food a few times, and this one is now on that list. Luckily, Heather saved the day with little mini cheesecakes that they had brought. So, we still had a third course.

The cookie had burned all the way through. When I went to dispose of it, it burned through the trash bag and I had to take it to the trash outside because it was so hot. However, it came out in one piece and didn't burn or stick to the bottom of the pan. Talk about a good patina! Dutch oven is truly better than teflon.

1 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Cinnamon Nutmeg Potatoes

Last week I cooked up the Dutch Oven Challenge, and these are the potatoes that we had for a side dish. They are easy to make and are very tasty.


12" Standard Dutch Oven
350 Degrees
60 minutes

White Onion

Scrub and quarter potatoes. Skin onion and quarter. Mix with spices and bake for 60 minutes until potatoes are tender.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit!
The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!