Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dutch Oven - Elephant Ear Scones


Today we cooked soup and scones, one of our favorite meals. I didn't want to heat up the kitchen, since its about sixty degrees. So we made the soup inside, and cooked the scones in cast iron, since it not only tastes better, but gives you super powers.

Recipe:
By Laura Johnson
2 cups milk, scalded
1/2 cup shortening

2 pkg yeast, dissolved in:
1/2 cup warm water

3 eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
6 cups flour

Preheat 1/4 inch of oil in bottom of 12" Dutch oven. Beat ingredients together and wait at least 10 minutes. Roll dough then slice or cut with cookie cutters. Fry in hot oil, 2 minutes per side until golden brown.


5 Stars
Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Spices - Spicy Garden Steak Rub

This is a tasty and spicy rub that can be made fairly easily, the hardest part being growing the vegetables for the spice. Use on steak, chicken, pork, fish, just about anything. This is a kind of "Mrs. Dash" kind of spice mix that can be used on just about anything. You also can leave it coarse and put it in a pepper mill, using pepper corns and sea salt instead of fine granules.

Recipe:
Green Onions
Radishes
Bell Pepper
Tomato
Salt
Pepper

Dehydrate all vegetables. Combine all ingredients in food processor, chopping until fine powder is reached. Put in spice jars for ease of use.

5 Stars
Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Serving Others

A few months ago, my wife participated in a service auction for the women's association in our church. Basically, each person allocates points based on different things they do, such as serving others, prayer, etc. Then the points are totaled, and they can use the points at the auction. Each woman offers a few services to be auctioned off. I, of course, was elated to offer some Dutch oven cooking as one of our services. We finally were able to cook for the winners of the auction. We gave them the choice of either the beef and biscuits, or chicken pot pie. They chose the chicken pot pie, and we got to cooking. I'm not going to repost the recipe here, but you can get the original recipe here. What I do want to talk about is how I was able to deliver the food from my house to 5 houses down the road on foot. My wife said, "Why don't you just take your Dutch oven to them and then get it back?" To which, I responded, "Why don't we give our kids to some strangers?" I had heard about foil liners, but couldn't get over to the sporting goods store, and at 9:00 PM at Wal-Mart with screaming kids, this seemed like a good idea:


They are 9 inch foil casserole dishes. They worked perfect, possibly even too good, because the bottom burned a little. Just drop it in a 12" Dutch oven, and cook as normal, then pull out and deliver the food. That way, you only have to wipe out your Dutch oven. (With a good patina, you will only need to just wipe out your Dutch oven anyway.) So, next time you need to cook for a crowd, or need to transport the food, throw in a foil catering pan. Works perfect!

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Snack - Spicy "Sushi" Trail Mix

I took this tasty mix to wood badge training, but hadn't blogged it yet. Such is the curse of being busy. This has varied flavors, and when they mix together they don't taste bad. Great for the trail or a spicy party mix, this packs a wallop of flavor.

Recipe:

Candied ginger
Wasabi peas
Corn nuts, spicy
Wasabi almonds
Gold Fish

Mix all ingredients and store in a zip top bag. Enjoy on the trail or at parties.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Product Review - GSI Fair Share Mug


The Fair Share mug got its origin from students on a ski tour. When dinner time came, the students that had a 4 cup capacity bowl found that they seemed to get a larger portion than the students with a 2 or 3 cup bowl. The ration for each student was 2 cups, but when the cooks saw a half empty bowl, they showed pity on the hungry students and gave them their fair share, thus the fairshare mug was born.

It is constructed of heavy duty lexan, able to be cleaned with soapy water or on the top rack of a dishwasher. The convenient side handle and screw top lid allows the lid to be opened very easily.

We used it on our trip to mix powdered milk in and then store the leftovers in a small cooler. It worked well for that purpose, and I look forward to many uses to come.

It has gradations on the side, but our model only has metric and ounces, not cups. Knowing a cup is 8 ounces solved that problem, and the cup easily fits its full 4 cups plus a little head space for mixing.

Pros:

Durable construction
Large capacity
Clearly marked gradations
Able to get my fair share at the dinner line
Easy to clean

Cons:

A little bulky
Handle does not collapse
Gradations may fade with time (as I've seen with other products printed in the same fashion)
Gradations only in ounces and metric (some models have cups)

Full disclosure: Recreation Outlet of Murray, Utah gave me (and many other scout leaders) the mug at our monthly round table training, but did not give it to me with the intention of me reviewing the product for any compensation.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Grill Basket - Mozzarella Wings


If the chicken wing and the mozzarella stick had a baby, this is what the little mutant would be like. Think chicken wing, but battered in bread crumbs and topped with sizzling mozzarella. Tasty.


Recipe:

Chicken wings
Italian seasoned bread crumbs
Mozzarella shreds

Light a cooking fire, and thaw wings if necessary. Shake wings in plastic bag coating with bread crumbs. Load into grill basket and roast 10 minutes to a side. Top one side with mozzarella shred and roast 5 minutes more. Serve with marinara sauce if desired.

The first salad of the season! Fresh radishes, spring onions and greens from our garden

3 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Stove - 4 Can Chili


It can't get any easier than this. If you don't know how to open a can, you can't cook this. This chili recipe only requires 4 ingredients, but I added a fifth for a little kick.

1 can ground beef
1 can enchilada sauce
2 cans beans, various
Optional:
1 pouch chili season
1-2 cans vienna sausages or hot dogs

Open all packages. Dump all ingredients into a medium sauce pan. Warm over medium heat until chili is warm. Eat. Enjoy.


4 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Stove - Chit on a Chingle


We decided to cook solely on our Coleman stove at the dunes last weekend, in fact, I left all my Dutch ovens home. This is a tasty dish that my Dad used to have in the coast guard. Now, I know, that sounds like a contradiction in terms- "Tasty food" and "military" don't go together, but it actually is really good. It is basically a white sauce with chip beef over toast. Yeah, I know it sounds gross, but it is my favorite breakfast- every saturday my dad would cook breakfast, and I really looked forward to the chit on a chingle days. (I didn't like pancakes, or "hotcakes" as he called them.)

Recipe:
1 bag chit on a chingle mix:
-4 tablespoons flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-2 dash pepper

4 tablespoons butter
2 cups milk (can use powdered)
2 packages "chip" beef
toast

Cut chipped beef into squares. Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, blend in chit mix. Add all the milk at once stirring mix into roux. Add cut chipped beef. Cook quickly until mixture thickens. Make toast while cooking mixture (see below for outdoor options), and serve completed mixture over toast.

To make toast outside:
There are a few options. One, the stove-top toaster:


Available for about ten bucks at your local wally mart, this collapses flat and pops up for toast making. Just remember to rotate the toast to cook both sides.

Two, put the bread directly on hot coals for a few seconds. Rotate, dust off and enjoy.

Three, put the bread directly on your stove burner on LOW heat, or barbecue grill. Watch closely so it doesn't burn.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sand Crusted Soup Powder

The author, his family, and beloved canine companion as they are about to leave the wilderness after a fun but quite exhausting weekend!




So last weekend my family loaded up our provisions, beds and dog and headed for the deserts of Utah. In the bible, the "wilderness" that is referred to is in fact a desert, not the paradise our nation's many national parks, forests and recreation areas provide. Wilderness in that context is likened to a purifying vessel, or a refiner's fire. That is why Moses's Israelites wandered in a desert for forty years, not a paradise. I actually didn't learn of this comparison from Church, but from a wilderness ethics class I took at the University of Utah. What do you picture "wilderness" being like? For centuries, man has desired to tame wilderness and bring order from the chaos that is our natural world-- hence, the garden. In castles around the world, what do we find in the center surrounded by (sometimes) crumbling walls? A garden. What is contained in your castle, your fenced lawn? A garden, maybe? So internets, what is your wilderness, where is your favorite place to be?

Now to the real story. At the Little Sahara sand dunes outside Delta, Utah, we camped near the dunes. Our tent is damaged, so we decided to camp in our minivan. Now, if you've ever camped in an RV, it is nothing like camping in a minivan. First of all, to camp in a van, you need to get all of your stuff that you put in the van out somewhere else, so you can lay down the seats to sleep. This includes the dog crate that you brought, taking up 1/4th of your effective storage capacity. This also means that the dog will likely need to sleep outside. And, if the temperatures get cold and the wind blows, he will need to come in the van to warm up. Now, since all of your 'stuff' is outside, and you are inside, your stuff is exposed to wind and rain, and you are warm in your mobile castle. Now picture dinnertime- sunny, warm, windless? A family gathered at a picnic table, the Dad dressed in flannel like the brawny guy, mother in a lovely sun dress, the wind gently blowing her hair and 2 children being angels and behaving themselves? Nope. Try windy, cold and raining, with sand blowing into your food by the inches. Kids screaming, wife giving the husband the look of "why exactly did we come out here?". Actually it was that bad, but not really. We had a fun time. That is what camping out of doors is about. Adapting to dire situations, making the best of what you have, and not relying on the fact that if something goes wrong, you can easily go inside or pick something up at the local fast food joint. You just have to plan ahead a little. The adventure is having to skim your soup that was boiled in haste from a powder mix, because you didn't have room for a big cooler, because you couldn't leave the dog home. That is why I like the out of doors. Adventure.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Grill - Mesquite Sweet Chicken


For those local to Utah, there is a Chinese restaurant in SLC on Redwood Road called Golden Seas. It is your typical Chinese restaurant, enveloped thick in incense fumes, Koi fish tanks and Chinese decor. However, it is a good kept secret. They have a chicken there called "Paper Wrapped Chicken" which is basically a foil wrapped barbecue chicken tender dripping in barbecue goodness. (I also recommend their ham fried rice and egg drop soup!) What is your favorite Chinese restaurant? Sound off in the comments!

This Mesquite Sweet Chicken is VERY close to Golden Seas' paper wrapped chicken. It actually brought me back to my childhood, eating at Golden Seas or getting take-out. It was a nice memory. I find it interesting that of all the senses, smell and taste seem to bring back the most memories. Think of that warm bread cooking in Mom's kitchen growing up? You can still smell it, right? I love that our brains connect the senses together so interactively that we are able to experience these memories again and again.


Recipe:

Charcoal Grill
Mesquite wood chips

Chicken
Weber Grill Creations Sweet n' Tangy BBQ Seasoning

Soak 2 handfuls of wood chips for 30 minutes and light charcoal. I find it best to build a charcoal pyramid in the grill instead of a chimney. The heat lasts longer that way. Spread the hot coals and add drained wood chips. I didn't actually soak my chips and they worked okay, because we only did 3 chicken breasts. Grill chicken adding season to both sides. Turn as few times as possible, thus sealing in the juices. Grill 15-20 minutes. Serve with baked potato and salad.



5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Product Review - Shark Brand Sriracha Sauce


Last week, we picked up thai takeout from our favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. We didn't phone ahead, because we couldn't find the takeout menu, so we had a few minutes to kill. We decided to go to the asian market 2 doors down and have a look around. We picked up some rice vinegar, sweet chili sauce and this sriracha sauce that I haven't had before. I decided to give it a fair chance and then review it here. Full disclosure: I am not being compensated for reviewing products on the Back Porch Gourmet, however I am not opposed to it, so if you are a product salesman that wants a fair review of your outdoor product or food, email me to get details.

If you regularly read this blog, you will know that I love the Huy Fong Foods' Sriracha Rooster sauce. This has a nice flavor, while still knocking your socks off with heat. I want to be as unbiased with this sauce as possible.

The nice thing about the Shark Brand, is it gives percentages of the ingredients right on the label:



Since 20% of the sauce is sugar, this is a really sweet sauce, and it is not very spicy. It went great with the thai curry, to spice it up a little, but I didn't like it on my eggs this morning. The flavor is full without overpowering you with spicy. For egg rolls, it goes great with a little soy sauce and garlic chili paste to make a great dipping sauce. I haven't tried it in an American chili, but the twist of sweet would be a nice change to the traditional chili flavor. They give you a full 25 ounces of sauce, and I only paid $2.49 at the Asian market.

In summary, this is a great sauce for Asian use, but I didn't like it on eggs. Try it in chili, but it may not be very good on pizza. Not bad for $2.49.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Dutch Oven - Southwest Chicken Alfredo


Oil
Garlic
Chicken breasts, cubed
Fajita seasoning
Salt
Pepper
Paprika
Tomato Sauce
Cheddar Cheese Sauce
Egg noodles
Water

Saute garlic and chicken in oil, mixing in some of the fajita season, salt, pepper and paprika. Add tomato sauce, cheese, noodles and enough water to cook noodles. You will want to look at the package directions, and then estimate how much liquid is already in the pot. Bake until noodles are al dente. Serve with sour cream.


4 Stars
Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Stove - Elk Fajitas


At Wood Badge (an adult leader training course for the Boy Scouts of America) our patrol was required to plan and cook a meal together Friday night. Dave volunteered to bring some elk steaks and cook fajitas, so we were thrilled. These are easy, and you can substitute any kind of meat for the elk.



Stovetop cooking/Dutch oven
350 degrees
Sauteing
20 minutes

Oil
Elk Steaks
Fajita Season
Green Pepper
Red Pepper
Yellow Onion
Red Onion

Slice all ingredients into spears. Saute all ingredients in a small amount of oil. Add fajita season for flavor. Serve in tortillas with cheese, rice & beans, sour cream, salsa, etc.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Primer - Cut an Onion Like a Pro!

A few weeks ago, I got the great opportunity to experience a leadership training from the Boy Scouts called Wood Badge. This is a great course and you truly make friends there to last a lifetime. Our patrol's Chaplain Aide, Neil, was tasked during dinner to cut an onion, and he was going to peel the onion before cutting, so I jumped in for a quick intervention. Thus became our impromptu primer on onion cutting.

Everybody hates cutting onions, that is a fact. Anyone who tells you otherwise is selling a direct to consumer product that will break after its warranty. Cutting an onion is easy, as Neil will show you below.

Step 1. Cut off the ends.


Step 2. Cut it in half.


Step 3. Peel the skin off.



Step 4. Cut the onion into desired size.




Enjoy!

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Pineapple Upside Down Cake


10" or 12" Dutch oven
350 Degrees
Baking

Yellow Cake Mix
Oil
Eggs
Water
Pineapple rings
Maraschino Cherries

Mix cake mix according to package directions, withholding one egg. Place pineapple rings and cherries in the bottom of a greased dutch oven. Spread cake mix over top and bake for 30 minutes until cake is light and fluffy and passes the toothpick test. Do not burn! Invert the cake out of the dutch oven on to a plate or cardboard covered in foil.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!