Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dutch Oven - Sunday Roast


In Utah, part of the predominant Mormon culture is the Sunday roast. At many homes on a Sunday in Utah you will find a roast cooking, because when you have 3 hours of church, you can start the roast in a crockpot or oven and leave it, coming home to a cooked dinner. Growing up in a devout Latter Day Saint family, we had roast many times. I love the smell of roast slowly cooking in the oven, it truly is a "comfort food" of mine, and it brings back a lot of memories.

Yesterday, we cooked roast for our friends Eric and Heather. I've been friends with Eric since high school, and he's a great guy. We have a lot of fun together.

Recipe:
350 degrees
Broasting
12" Dutch oven
60 minutes

Beef roast
Season salt
Pepper
Onion soup mix
2 cans Cream of Mushroom soup
Water
Oil
Onions

Cornstarch
Water

Rub the roast in the season salt and pepper. Sear on all sides on high heat. Add soup mix, soup, water covering only half the roast, and onions. Move more heat to the top and broast for 60 minutes. Skim out onions and thicken gravy with cornstarch and water. Serve with mashed potatoes and Mom's Crescent Rolls and Maurine's Sweet Carrots.


5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

So Easy A Caveman Could Do It

Tonight we had my best friend and my other best friend Eric & Heather over for dinner. It seems every time we cook for them, we cook roast. So we did again. But I'm not talking about the food right now. When Heather wanted to know what to bring, I texted her to bring "dessert yummies", because she bakes really good food. She texted me back and said her dessert yummies required a fire. So I gathered some wood, an old magazine and some twigs. Eric and Heather arrived and we had a great time, dinner was great (but not talking about the food right now... tune in tomorrow.) After dinner, we tried playing card games outside in the wind. Not such a good idea. We bagged the games and got the fire started. Eric said "I wish I had my flint and steel, we could start it without matches." Dangerous words Eric, as I have 4 flint and steel sets. I got a few out, including a roll of jute twine and a pack of fine steel wool. We made a small nest of steel wool, jute and dryer lint. The jute didn't go in sparks as much as I thought it would. The steel wool flames instantly. We literally had a fire in the nest in 20 seconds. Getting that little fire to catch the big magazine and twig teepee, was another matter. It took only 3 tries to get the fire sustainable, but not a single match was harmed in the making of the fire. Try it, it really was so easy a caveman could do it.

Once that fire was lit, there was the biggest sense of accomplishment. As one of my Assistant Scoutmasters can attest, I don't take the time to make good fires. I usually rely on liquid accelerants to stoke the blaze. It was really cool to make fire with sparks. A real manly thing. Making the fire with my best friend was pretty cool too. When two people work together they can do some pretty cool stuff.

What about you, any cool experiences making do with what you have? Sound off in the comments.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Grill - Smoked Chicken Stir Fry

I kinda cheated here. I used my kitchen stove. Sue me. The format of the blog is changing a little, I feel that a full back porch experience should be documented here, so I am including gardening tips in the Twitter feed (twitter.com/dutchoventips) and I've started a "Wordless Wednesday" with gratuitous food shots or cool outdoor shots, and no words. My life has been a little busy with other things- robotics, scouts, and I'm writing a novel. So any time I can log some back porch cooking, I don't care if I use my kitchen; it's attached to the porch.


Recipe:

Grill
Smoking
Low heat

Chicken
Teriyaki sauce
Rice vinegar
Olive oil
Fish sauce
Stir Fry vegetables
Rice noodles

Smoke chicken on low heat until medium rare. Slice into strips. Saute chicken with oil, vinegar and fish sauce. Add teriyaki sauce and vegetables. Saute with softened noodles. To soften noodles, soak in warm water for 30 minutes.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wordless Wednesday - Aspen Meadow



Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Home Canning - Dante's Inferno Salsa

This weekend, we put the Dutch ovens aside and did some long overdue home canning. We were waiting for the time when tomatoes were abundant, so we would have the most fresh ingredients. This salsa was actually hotter unprocessed, which means the salsa we saved as fresh and didn't seal in jars was hotter than the salsa we processed. We've already consumed a jar and a half, so you know this recipe is good. I got mixed reviews from the family. Most said it was good, and a few wussies said it was too hot. Some were cautiously optimistic. I thought it rocked. I can't wait for a few weeks when we have a boatload of tomatoes again.

Since making mistakes in home canning can kill you, it is best to follow a recipe from the Department of Agriculture, a University Extension Service, the Ball Blue Book, or FreshPreserving.com. We used a recipe from the Utah State University Extension Service. It is available here.

Instead of duplicating the recipe here, just go grab the link. The recipe is for generic salsa, and to make it your own, you can change the different peppers, onions, and dry spices that you put in. We used about 4 jalapenos, and 3 serranos and it was gentle at first, and then bit you at the end, but the heat didn't linger long. To spice it, we just used Ball's "fiesta salsa" seasoning packet. We used two large white onions, and it was almost a little too onioney for me. So, in a few weeks, we'll do it again, and we should have some garden peppers to use this time.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Free Book!

Now that I have your attention, I've posted a copy of my first "book", Camp Cooking, by Scoutmaster Andy Johnson on the web. This was a project that I took on for my Wood Badge training with the Boy Scouts. In the training, you learn the skills to have a successful troop, and after the week is over, you set 5 goals or "tickets" to accomplish at your troop back home. One of my "tickets" was to compile a cookbook and present it to other scout leaders at our monthly Roundtable training. Feel free to download a copy here. It contains the best recipes and primers from the Back Porch and a few helpful tips. I plan on publishing a paper book at the end of the year. This will be a great stocking stuffer, so check back for the release.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Condiment - Salsa Fresca

Recipe:

Tomatoes
Onions
Cilantro
Chives or Green onions
Lemon or lime juice

Chop all vegetables into centimeter cubes. Chop cilantro finely. Toss all ingredients in lemon/lime juice. Serve fresh. Refrigerate, can be stored for up to a week.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven Challenge - Fiesta Pork Chops

These turned out pretty good, but not quite the 'fiesta in the mouth' feeling that I am used to. Basically, it is like a floured fried chicken. It was pretty good though, and now I want to try and make my own KFC style chicken. Cleanup was a snap, since the oil was pretty thick. We served these with some homemade salsa fresca with ingredients from our garden. Salsa recipe to follow.

Recipe:

12" Dutch oven
Roasting
350 degrees
30 minutes

Pork chops
Flour
Cumin
Paprika
Salt
Pepper

Mix flour, cumin, paprika, salt and pepper in a zip top bag. Coat pork chops in mixture. Preheat Dutch oven with approx 1/8" of oil in the bottom. Fry 15 minutes on a side turning once. Serve with rice and salsa fresca.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven Challenge - Spanish Rice

Lately my hobbies have been battling each other. It's hard to be a family man, scoutmaster, and have time to do hobby things. I tend to go overboard and push things too the extreme. Like when I cooked Asian food for 6 weeks just to get it right. Lately I've been working on building a small robot platform that will simply avoid obstacles. I am finding out how challenging robotics is. Check out my adventures at my new technology blog.

I finally got around to cooking my Dutch oven challenge entry. If you haven't done yours yet, get it cooked up and contact me so I can post a link up here! The original challenge is here.

The 4 ingredients are:

Pork
Cilantro
Rice
and my wildcard:
Chives

The challenge called for a two dish meal, this is the side of rice, the main dish will follow.

Recipe:

12" Dutch oven
350 degrees
Baking
30 minutes

Rice
Tomato soup
Onions, diced
Garlic, chopped
Cilantro
Cumin
Green chilies
Water

Saute onions and garlic in 12" dutch oven. Add remaining ingredients and cover. Bake for 30 minutes until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.

*Unrated

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!


*Neither I or my wife really like spanish rice. We thought we would try it again to see if we liked it. Who knows, this may be a 5 star recipe, but since we are biased, we leave the dish unrated.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Dutch Oven - Maurine's Sweet Carrots


Tonight we went to Silver Lake at the top of Big Cottonwood Canyon. I love Utah, because you can be in the woods within 30 minutes of the largest city in the state. We've made this trip a tradition each summer with our friend circle. We always go up to Silver Lake and have a cook off. Years past have involved close encounters with moose, a guy trapping squirrels and an inside joke regarding Richard Geere. It is so fun to go up and be in the mountains. This year, I took my ham radio and wanted to test to see if I could get into the new radio repeater on Scott's Hill. The repeater had problems, but what was cool is that my buddies Clint and Gordon were on Scott's hill doing some maintenance, and radioed back to me: "Where are you guys again?" "Silver Lake." "Turn around and look at Scotts." He used a signal mirror and we saw the signal at the top of Scott's Hill. It was really cool.

These carrots were a staple at Grandma Maurine's every time we would go have dinner at her house. This is one of my favorite comfort foods. My own Mother would often make them for Sunday dinner as well.

Recipe:
350 Degrees
12" or 10" Dutch oven
30 minutes

Carrots
Brown sugar
Salt
Pepper
Butter

Slice carrots. Add butter, brown sugar, and spices to carrots in Dutch oven. Bake for 30 minutes until the carrots are tender.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Reminder: Dutch Oven Challenge

If you remember in Mid-July I challenged you all to a internet duel. I'll be cooking up my challenge this weekend, so stay tuned. If you're just tuning in, you can check out the challenge and all the rules here. Get your ingredients together, and lets have a cookoff.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Brick Grilling - Spicy Mustard Chicken


What is Brick Grilling? You wash, cover in aluminum foil and heat a brick in your grill. Then, you press the meat with the hot brick and it cooks it George Foreman style. I learned about the brick grilling technique here. Chris at Nibble Me This is a BBQ genius. I read his posts daily and he is
an awesome chef.


So tonight I came home from work, washed a couple of bricks, wrapped them in foil and lit some coals. I put the bricks on my warmer rack and closed the lid, propping it open with a broken brick to allow air flow. This heated up the brick, but not much. If I were to do this again, I would heat the brick directly in the fire.

The nice thing about the brick, is that it pushes the meat down, giving nice deep grill marks. It kept the meat juicy, as well. I would imagine keeping weight on the chicken's cells kept the juices from coming out.


While the coals were burning, I tended to my garden and found that I had ripe corn, so I picked four ears and prepped them for the grill. The tomatoes are due tomorrow, and I picked some carrots. My only surviving cucumber plant yielded 2 cukes already, so I'll pick them tomorrow. Can I just say it is really nice having a produce department at the Back Porch Gourmet? I am a firm believer of growing your own produce. I haven't used an ounce of bug killer on the garden, and no commercial fertilizers. I guess that means my food is organic, so I can charge more for it. Too bad. Not for sale.

Recipe:
grill
high heat

chicken breasts
garden spice mix
garlic powder
spicy mustard

bricks
aluminum foil

Wash and cover brick in aluminum foil. Heat brick on the grill. Cover chicken in spices, placing on grill. Cover chicken with bricks. Turn chicken after 10 minutes, grill for 10 more on the other side. Turn meat 90 degrees and grill 5 minutes more on a side or until done. Remove bricks. Baste with mustard and let bake on for 5 minutes, ensuring the meat doesn't burn.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Dutch Oven - Bacon-Taters


Alright internet. I get it. Once I find something I like, it would seem that I cook it into the ground. Like the Asian kick I was on recently. This may be my second potato post in 2 weeks, but I just don't care any more. I am cooking the same things over and over to perfect them.

Our church had a 'linger longer' yesterday. Everybody cooks part of a meal and brings it to share. A potluck right after church. It's a great way to get to know your neighbors better, and try some new food.

I decided to do some Dutch oven potatoes, kicked up with bacon. I brought the oven in the church about 10 minutes late, and set it on the table, and got in line. Literally 10 minutes later, my dish only had about 1/4 left. It was funny to see a lone dutch oven standing among the various casseroles and crockery.

Recipe:
350 degrees
12" dutch oven
40 minutes
Baking

1/2 bag potatoes, cubed 1/2"
4-5 slices bacon
cheddar cheese, shredded
2 cans cream of mushroom soup
fresh parsley, chopped
salt & pepper
parsley garnish

Fry bacon, remove and chop, saving grease. Add potatoes, bacon, cheese, soup, spices. Bake 40 minutes until potatoes are tender. Garnish with parsley.


5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!