Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Events - IDOS Spring Convention

My dutch oven cohort Mark Hansen, of Mark's Black Pot invited me to participate in the Taste of Dutch at the IDOS Spring Convention in April. So, I've signed up! If any Utah admirers or fans are there, stop by my booth!

Here are the details:

International Dutch Oven Society’s

Annual Spring Gathering and Open House

Legacy Event Center
(Formerly Davis County Fairgrounds)
151 South 1100 West, Farmington, UT

April 8th and 9th
Admission is free

Friday Night
Dutch Oven Gathering ~ 6:30pm
Join us early to cook or bring a Pot Luck Dish to share

Open to the public from 9:00 to 3:30
Dutch Oven Cooking Demonstrations
Vendors Booth Displays and Classes
Taste of Dutch
Youth Cook-Off
Champion's Challenge
Auction at 2:30
Annual IDOS Membership Meeting at 4:00

“Good Food, Good Friends, and Good Fun”

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Grill - Asiago Steak

Tonight we grilled steaks on our gas grill. I have to say, it is so nice to be able to turn a valve and have an instant flame. These easy steaks feature yesterday's rub and topped with melted asiago cheese.

Medium high heat
20 minutes
Serves 4

5 steaks
Andy's all purpose rub
Asiago cheese, shredded

Rub steaks with seasoning. Grill 10 minutes on a side. Top with asiago and pull from direct heat. Cook until cheese is melted.

4 stars

Bon appetit! The outdoors start at your back porch!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Grill - Pick-Me-Up Pork Chops

It may not be a well known fact that there is a difference in grilling and barbecue. Grilling is direct heat on the meat, and only takes about a half an hour. Barbecue on the other hand, is a religion. It takes a long time using indirect heat, and each person will tell you a different story about what is "right" and what is "wrong". I generally don't talk to people about politics, religion, the Great Pumpkin and barbecue.

These pork chops are just the pick-me-up you need on a cold day. A slight kick rounds out this savory dish. Serve with potatoes and salad, and maybe some corn bread too.


Medium Heat
20 Minutes
4 Servings


  • 4 pork chops
  • Andy's All Purpose Rub
  • Alabama barbecue sauce
Andy's All Purpose Rub
  • 1 tbs salt
  • 1/2 tbs black pepper
  • 1 tbs paprika
  • 1 tbs garlic powder
  • 1 tbs onion powder
Rub both sides of the meat with the rub. Grill 5 minutes on a side, rotating to get nice sear marks. Brush with Alabama barbecue sauce and grill 5 minutes again on each side.

4 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Stove - Asiago Alfredo

Served with battered tilapia, topped with bruchetta and a garden salad.

Alfredo sauce is a staple in Italy, and this simple sauce does well in a fine dining arena as well as weeknight table fare. Using asiago as the cheese gives a fresh new kick to this dish. When adding cheese to a sauce, make sure the sauce is at a full boil, and then add small amounts at a time while stirring it in. E Buonissimo!


Medium Heat
30 minutes
6-8 Servings


  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 pint heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup asiago cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 flat sliced mushrooms
  • 1/2 onion
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 package farfalle pasta

Create a blonde roux by melting the butter and mixing in the flour. Cook until just yellow. Remove from pan and chill. Saute onion and mushrooms in olive oil and garlic until the onions are tender and the mushrooms are soft. Add the cream, stirring until boiling. When boiling, add asiago cheese, nutmeg, pepper, and salt. Stir in a little bit of the roux at a time until desired thickness is reached. If too thick, sauce can be thinned with milk or cream. Stir occasionally until thickened. Serve over pasta cooked al dente.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Fish That Started It All...

In what seems to be our theme on fish here at the Back Porch Gourmet (no we haven't been bought out by the national fishmonger's association), I want to reflect back on the dish that started it all. For our new fans, let me tell you how the Back Porch Gourmet came into existence.

It all started with a birthday party. I was turning 23, I think. A dozen people were crammed into our tiny apartment, and we blew a few candles, and then my parents handed me a nicely wrapped box. Opening it revealed a 10" Lodge dutch oven and a lid stand that doubles as a lifter. My friend Mark casually mentioned that he'd been doing Dutch oven for a while, and he was having a blast. We cut the cake, and the party was history.

Flash forward to 2010. Home ownership and no college homework was a perfect storm of "dulldrums" forcing our hero into a daily routine reminiscent of "1984". I needed a challenge. Something to look forward to on the weekends. I had been reading Mark's blog for quite some time, and I already had a black pot, well worn with many dishes cooked everywhere from apartment balconies to the mountains. I was afraid to try "gourmet" dishes. Dishes that require lots of steps, or anything outside of the glass box I had created in my head. I needed something to break the routine. Again, I needed a challenge. So I did just that; I threw down a challenge. I challenged the only Dutch oven chef I knew to a duel. It was for all the marbles, and there were rules too. I emailed Mark with this cool idea. Like any duel, the one receiving the challenge got to choose the weapons. Mark gave me these ingredients: Fish, Dill, and Potatoes. One key rule in the challenge was to write up the cooking experience and post it on the internet. (Mark had moved away when I was in high school.) I could have sent a transcript to Mark, had him post it on Mark's Black Pot, and never shared another experience with you at all. Instead, I started a blog, bought a domain name, and the rest as you know, is history.

Cooking in Dutch ovens nearly every weekend for a year has taught me a lot. Besides the world of Dutch oven knowledge I've picked up, I've learned web design, podcasting, graphic art, photography, book publishing, and a world of other valuable skills. I've learned some life lessons too. Patience is key. Help in the kitchen no matter how small is always welcome. Kids love doing things with their parents-- Dutch oven is one cool thing to do with your kids. Dogs will eat dough if you leave it on the floor. It will still bake and guests don't know the difference. If you mess it up, you can always go out to eat. Sharing good food with good friends is better than apple pie. Sand crusted soup and cold wet dogs still make for a good trip. In the least, it gives you a good story.

Here's to 2011- I hope that I can continue to push the envelope and get out of the routine I've seemed to work myself into again. If anyone is interested in another Dutch oven challenge, I'm game. Here are the rules.

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!

Stove - Fish Tacos

Born in the Baja area, fish tacos are the perfect blend of surfing and the ocean and Mexican fiesta. These tacos really are the best. Using tilapia, you don't have as big of "fishy taste" that puts a lot of people off of fish tacos. You can use hard shelled or soft shelled tacos, and it really makes your taste buds say "Hola!" Cowabunga!

Deep Frying
350 - 375 Degrees
60 seconds
4-6 servings


For the batter:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 tbs corn starch
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tbs garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp dill weed
  • unseasoned bread crumbs
For the tacos:
  • 4-6 tilapia fillets, battered and fried
  • 6-8 small tortillas
  • cilantro, chopped
  • 1-2 tomatoes, diced
  • avocado, diced
  • lettuce or cabbage, chopped
  • sour cream
  • salsa or hot sauce

Mix all batter ingredients except bread crumbs. Pour breadcrumbs on a small plate about a 1/2 thick. Heat oil to 350 - 375. Batter both sides of tilapia, roll in breadcrumbs and fry for 60 seconds or until golden brown. Be sure tilapia is unfrozen to avoid danger. Warm tortillas until soft. Build tacos to manufacturer's specifications.

5 Stars

Bon Appetit! The Outdoors Start at Your Back Porch!