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Archive for July, 2009

I blogged previously about the easiest bread I’ve ever made.  I use variations on this dough for a variety of baked goods, including sturdy buns that will stand up to juicy shredded chicken barbeque.  To begin, mix together about 8/10 cup of whole wheat flour, finishing out the cup with wheat gluten.  Stir the flour mixture with a pinch each of sugar and salt.  Proof a teaspoon of yeast in a half cup of water.  Now mix the flour and yeast and water together and knead into a dough, adding a bit more flour as you need to be able to handle it.  Put the dough in a glass bowl coated with olive oil.  Turn the dough a few times to coat in oil and then cover and let rise an hour or two.  Now form buns and bake at 375′ for about 20 minutes.  Slice the buns open and fill with your favorite  succulent shredded barbeque.DSCN1720

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Copyright 2009.  All Rights Reserved.  I appreciate good press via re-posting, but please post not only a link to Ozark Homesteader but also the full URL.  Please post only a tiny excerpt and in no cases a full recipe.

Last night I faced a nice bunch of yellow squash that was begging to be used.  Unfortunately, the easiest thing to do with squash at the last minute was exactly what my husband had done the night before:  squash casserole.  I decided it was a good night for something completely different.  I’m calling it southern summer supper squash pancakes.  Here are the ingredients:

  • ¼-½ onion very finely diced, depending on the onion’s size and pungencyDSCN1726
  • 1 good-sized (but not over-sized) yellow squash, about 1-2 cups coursely grated
  • 1 or more hot peppers, optional–I used a Mucho Nacho Chile, a relatively mild jalapeno strain
  • two thick slices turkey ham, finely diced (We don’t usually eat red meat, but, of course, you could use real ham.  See below on vegetarian option.)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • 1/3 cup whole wheat flour  (gluten free:  use corn meal)
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Serves two as entree, more if you make smaller pancakes and serve them as a side dish or appetizer.

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Begin by sauteeing the diced onions to get rid of the raw flavor. 

 

 

 

While you saute, you can prep everything else.  I seeded my chiles before I diced them.

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Then I diced the turkey ham.

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Then mix everything together. 

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Drop onto a well-greased griddle and cook just like everyday pancakes, flipping once. 

 

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Mmmmmm.  Brown them gently.

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In keeping with the idea of a Southern meal, I made a cheese sauce and added pimento to it to top the pancakes when I served them, but I think I would have preferred using a traditional pimento cheese (grated sharp cheddar, mayonnaise, and jarred pimento, drained).  No, do not use that nasty stuff that passes for pimento cheese at some grocery stores.  It’s just too easy to make your own!

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The pancakes were our entree last night, served with a good-sized salad of greens and grated carrot DSCN1744and a bowl of gazpacho.  My husband suggested that the supper squash pancakes might actually make better tapas, appetizers.  I liked them for supper, but they sure would work as appetizers, fixed silver-dollar sized!

Want a vegetarian option?  Just leave out the ham and double the egg!  Are you eating gluten free?  You could make these pancakes with corn meal instead of whole wheat flour.

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I refer in my “easiest bread ever for camping and home” to a camping, or outdoor, Dutch oven.  I’ll talk today about how indoor and outdoor Dutch ovens differ from each other in appearance and use.  First, I’d like to sing the praises of cooking equipment that looks like it belongs in a shop in J.K. Rowling’s Diagon Alley rather than in a modern kitchen.

I am a big fan of cast iron because of its durability and health benefits.  My oldest piece of cast iron is probably my 1883 frying pan from Cleveland Stove Company, although I have a few unlabeled pieces that I suspect may be older.  Well kept for a century and a quarter, the cast iron delivers the same great service for me as it did for my great-great grandparents.  Cast iron has never been implicated in any adverse health conditions (unlike aluminum, plastics, etc.).  It even delivers an iron boost to you as you cook in it and foods absorb small amounts.  For these reasons, I believe cast iron is a frugal, healthy choice.

Twodutchovens.jpgCast iron comes in many sizes and shapes, including today’s subject, Dutch ovens.  Dutch ovens are pots with nipped handles and specialized lids.  I’m picturing two Dutch ovens here.  The one on the left is a typical Dutch oven for use inside.  The one on the right is for use with charcoal, although you could use it inside in a standard oven or on a gas stovetop.

Let’s look at how the indoor and outdoor versions differ.  First look at the bottoms.  The indoor Dutch oven has no legs.  You can easily use it on a stove top or in a standard household oven.  Now look at the outdoor Dutch oven.  It has legs that are designed to keep it just above coals, preventing direct contact with the heat and permitting oxygen to get to the coals.

Let’s move on to the lids.  The indoor Dutch oven lid is domed indoordutch.jpgon top.  It also has spikes spikesonlid.jpgthat are supposed to transfer juices back into roasts, basting the meat. 

 

 

The outdoor Dutch oven lid has a raised rim on a relatively flat top.flangedlid.jpg  This construction allows you to pile coals on the top as well as the bottom, letting you create a standard oven effect wherever you can collect coals from a fire or burn charcoal.  The underside of the lid is flat too, so you can flip it over and use it as a griddle.

Both of the Dutch ovens pictured here are from my favorite cast iron manufacturer, Lodge in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee, and both are the same size:  8 inches in diameter and 3 inches deep.  Lodge calls them 2-quart Dutch ovens, but you should only plan on filling half way for breads and cakes that rise.  These 8-inch Dutch ovens are ideal for today’s family, holding easily two chicken quarters with fixings, a good number of servings of soup or stew, a small loaf of my variation of easy-fix yeast bread, etc.  (I’ll talk in future blogs about recipes for home and camp.) 

 

Thanks to combining two households of Dutch oven lovers, two competitors in Dutch oven contests (and a few wins), and a general appreciation of Dutch ovens, my family has a variety of Dutch ovens in size, shape, and construction material.  Today I’ll stick to talking about cast iron.  Lodge’s largest Dutch oven holds 12 quarts and is 16 inches in diameter.  Lodge’s smallest, pictured here next to one of the 8-inch ovens, is 5 inches. DSCN1719 It’s cute, but beyond that I’d say you can live without it.

 

 

Next we have a Dutch oven from (shhhhhhh) China, shown on the right.  Something tells me J.K. had this kind of Dutch oven in mind when she wrote about Percy Weasley’s obsession with inferior, imported, thin-bottomed cauldrons.  This Chinese-manufactured Dutch oven cheapChineseimport.jpg has skimpy legs and thin walls.  I’ve used it successfully, but you really have to watch it to make sure it does not burn.  Can you figure out if it’s for indoor or camping use?  Yep, camping.

Do you have questions about cast iron or Dutch ovens? Post here and I’ll answer what I can.

Remember:  all rights reserved.  Copyright Ozark Homesteader.  I appreciate it when you link my work on your site, but please use only a tiny excerpt, and make sure you include not only a link to the original post but also the full URL, typed out.  Thanks!

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