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Posts Tagged ‘camping’

Giveaway Winner!

Readers, it’s official.  We have a winner!  Earlier today I compiled your entries in the first-ever Ozark Homesteader blog giveaway for a 2-quart camping Dutch oven and lid lifter.  I placed the entries in my favorite fall decor, a pumpkin dish

and Mr. Homesteader shuffled the entries and then drew one out.  I was hoping to get one of the cats to do the drawing, but neither was available for the job.

And the winner is Anthony Thomas.  Anthony, you may recall, posted a recipe for Moroccan chicken with his entry.  Anthony, please email me at Ozarkhomesteader   AT yahoo  DOT com with your address so that I can mail you your prize.

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Last weekend I had the opportunity join in a friendly Dutch oven cook off for a state outdoor club.  I won the same competition last year, with roasted rosemary chicken (drummies, thighs, breast pieces) and vegetables.  When I say friendly competition, I mean friendly.  I even loaned a few competitors equipment that they needed.

Folks fired up coals.

Well, actually  it wasn’t so much “folks” as men, except a girlfriend who was assisting one competitor, plus me and lovely Jessica, shown hard at work here.  Somehow playing with fire does seem to be men’s game more than women’s, although I’ll never understand why.

Some folks had fancy fire pans.

Others, like Paul, didn’t even use charcoal.

I used this funky rectangular aluminum Dutch oven that belongs to my husband.

I should have paid more attention to presentation, like this competitor, TC, did.

My husband apparently garnished his green chili chicken enchiladas with my tomatoes.  The enchiladas look pretty plain here.

I made lasagna.

Everyone in the cooking area who tasted it proclaimed it the best, giving me hope for a win, although one friendly guy said a beef stew might be my strongest competition.

TC won in the breakfast category with this quiche.  I didn’t try it, since it had red meat.

These apple dumplings won in the dessert category.

Competition in entrees was strong this year, with no flubs and a lot of good food, as I understand it.  The judging was apparently very, very close, with only a few points dividing most of the competitors.  The entree winner was—–drumroll please!———Mr. Homesteader.  Ugh.  He’s kind of a sore winner, a bit obnoxious about it.  It’s okay; at least we’re keeping the title in the family!

I heard afterwards from two judges what kept me from winning:  garnish (ah, if only I’d clipped a few fresh sprigs of basil from the garden!) and the fact that, by the time they judged mine (which was after a dozen other entries), the lasagna was not piping hot.  Next year, I’ll serve straight out of the pan, like I did last year.  Anyway, you too can make whole-grain lasagna while you’re camping!  And, yes, that’s a little slice of flatbread with tomato, cheese, and fresh basil, also from a Dutch oven.

Have you ever competed in a cook-off of any kind?  What’s the dish of which you’ve been most proud, either in competition or at a potluck or big family gathering?

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  All rights reserved, including for photographs.

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This is the third in a series of what will be more than a dozen posts on rafting the Grand Canyon:  19 days, 280 miles of adventure.

When you go rafting in the Grand Canyon, you have lots of options for getting through it, most of them involving outfitters and even motors.  That’s not the kind of trip we did.  We did everything, from getting ourselves down through the rapids by our own muscle power and know-how to mundane activities like preparing food and handling human waste.  Of course, the commercial trips have their advantages. Trippers have few worries except avoiding sunburn, but they also lose a lot.  Their lives are not in their hands and friends’ hands.  They do not choose with whom they travel.  And they pay some outfitters $5000 for a 16-day adventure.  We, on the other hand, laid out a few hundred dollars in vehicle shuttle fees and the permit fee plus food–little more, actually, than three weeks at home would have cost us.  And it’s the people that really make private-permit trips work, so today I’ll talk about our cast of characters, who came from the East Coast to the West Coast and some places in between.

Introducing the Boaters

Permits for private trips on the Grand Canyon are notoriously difficult to get.  Our permit holders, RS and LS, each had tried their hand in the permit game for 15 years before the system changed a few years ago, allowing for a weighted lottery.  They pooled their permit attempts to get credit for a 30-year wait in the weighted lottery and got the permit.  RS, by the way, used to work for one of those giant international delivery companies.  In his late 50s, he’s now retired and was the oldest person on the trip.  LS, his wife, is in her 40s and is a teacher.  Each had done a few Canyon trips in the past, but I think they were on commercial trips.  They have an adopted daughter, AS, who is 14 and was the youngest member of our expedition.  The S family were in a cataraft for the trip.  As permit holders, they got all of us on the trip, but (as I’ll discuss in a later post), every permit holder needs to know that once the trip starts, he or she shifts into an unenviable position.

LS especially wanted AS to have company on this trip, so she tried to find parents with kids who’d like go, using a whitewater boater forum to find them.  LS’s search yielded SC, a 50-something, home-schooling mother of 8, and her 17-year-old daughter, ZC.  SC has past canyon experience and thus brought knowledge of camp sites and hikes.  Mother and daughter paddled a Shredder, a mini half-raft/half-cataraft and thus carried none of their own gear.  In the most maneuverable boat, they were, loosely speaking, our safety boaters.

LS’s call for parent-daughter teams also yielded SJ, an environmental engineer, and his 17-year-old daughter AJ.  SJ is in his 50s and AJ is one of three daughters.  If the other two are anything as wonderful as AJ, they must be astounding.  AJ rowed some of the most difficult rapids herself, yet she was also kind, hard-working, and generally humble.  Because SJ had Canyon experience, the J family’s raft was our sweep boat–that is, the boat that went last, watching for stragglers and problems.

RS years ago paddled with a group of men who went by a nickname I won’t repeat here, not because it’s lewd (although it is a little suggestive) but because it would identify RS so quickly.  Among his old group was fellow Arkansan DB, a sewage treatment expert, who brought with him his wife KB, a union rep, and their daughter VB.  DB and KB were two of the hardest workers on the trip.  They pitched in for every meal clean-up and just about everything else.  We know DB and KB from rivers in Arkansas but really got to know them on this trip and feel truly honored to call them friends now.  VB was in a tough spot.  She’s a college girl in her early 20s and has been on her own long enough that she’s pretty independent, but on this trip VB was grouped with “the girls,” who were all teens.  The B family traveled in a cataraft.

My husband–let’s just call him DH, in line with some message board abbreviations for for “dear husband”–was also an old member of RS’s whitewater group.  That’s how we got on the trip.  We were in cataraft we borrowed from a friend with whom we own a smaller raft.  (When we heard about our invitation on the trip, I said to my husband in classic Jaws style, “We’re gonna need a bigger boat.”)  Oh–occupations?  As I say in my “about” post, we’re both educators, and my husband was the second oldest person on the trip.  I swear he robbed the cradle.

DH recommended that RS call GH and his wife BH, both in their 50s and recent retirees, him as a firefighter and her from retail management.  GH had the most trips on the Canyon and brought with him the core of the “kitchen” and toilet system.  BH was always there to make sure the kitchen was in good shape and gear put away and has a sweet disposition and modesty.  GH and BH were in the largest raft, and it is safe to say that GH was the biggest storyteller on the trip.  He had lots of them.  As the boater with the most Canyon experience, GH rowed in probe position–that is, first.  GH is also a swift-water rescue instructor and paramedic, which meant he’d be good for handling things like medical emergencies and flipped rafts . . . .

Finally, RS also called on two single male boaters he’d met on a previous trip.  These guys, in their late and early 30s, each rowed gear haulers (with extra bags from RS’s family, the shredder’s gear, and the groover).  JS was in a raft, while JD was in a cataraft.  They too were easy to get along with, just generally nice guys and excellent boaters.  They both work in construction.

A Preview of Group Dynamics

The saying with company  goes that “even the best fish starts to stink after a few days.” Had this trip ended like most western trips do at eight days, I would have said it was the best group with which I’ve ever traveled.  Even at thirteen days I probably would have said that.  Sure, everyone has eccentricities, but I can live with most of them.  By nineteen days, well, let’s just say that a few people were getting on each other’s nerves.  Still, that’s normal, right?  And this group had by far the largest percentage of women and girls I’ve ever been on a whitewater river trip with; usually it’s many more men than women.  I liked it this way!

Meeting in Flagstaff

Anyway, on the afternoon we arrived in Flagstaff two days before launch, we met all of the folks we would be traveling with except for GH, BH, SJ and AJ, who were coming from north of the Canyon and would meet us at the launch site the nextday.  Those of us in Flagstaff introduced ourselves to those we did not know, compared last-minute shopping tasks, and enjoyed the hotel’s happy hour.  (Mmmmmm.  Free, good adult beverages.  Mmmmmm.) We also received our trip mascots, blow-up dinosaurs of various kinds.  Yes, a lot of trips like this have mascots. (Look back at my previous post about getting to the Canyon.  Can you tell from the animals stenciled on the rocket boxes in our trailer what our mascot was for our Middle Fork trip in 2004?  Feel free to answer in the comments section here!  The first person to figure it out gets two automatic entries in my first give-away, which will be coming up this fall and will most likely be cast iron cookware.)

Then we went off to finish shopping, and my husband and I finally landed at a Flagstaff microbrewery, where we had a wonderful dish of mussels in a spicy coconut sauce–I just knew the foodie regulars would want to know! Back in the hotel, I started tossing things out of my gear bag left and right.  How many shirts?  Did I really want to bring those shorts?  The hiking boots came out and went in repeatedly.  Oh, well, I could wait another day finally to decide.  It was off to bed for us, for the next day would be one of the hardest working days of the trip:  rigging.  I’ll talk about rigging, orientation, and finally getting on the river in my next post.

A View from the Rim

Meanwhile, look closely at this view of the river from the South Rim.  Do you see that green river?  That’s where we’re going.  We even stayed at a campsite that’s in the far right of this picture, on river right (figured by looking downstream).  Now look more closely.  That’s a pretty easy rapid, but even from a few miles away it looks pretty big.  I didn’t see the river like this until we were already done with our trip.  Had I seen the bigger rapids from the rim first, I might have chickened out!

Now look again, a little closer.  Can you see three little yellow spots just downstream (left as you view the photo) from the rapid?  Do you know what those three spots are?

Look a little more closely.

Have you figured it out?  Those spots are rafts–actually four of them.  One upstream, two clustered, and one downstream.  Go back two photographs and find those spots.  It’s a big river, and the rim is a long, long way up.  Come rig and launch with us in my next post, and a few days later we’ll be camping within site of the rim here!

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  All rights reserved, including for photographs.  Short excerpts with FULL url and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.

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In case you missed the first installment of GCRA, click here.  Eventually the whole series will be here.

On a warm June morning, my husband and I departed our little Ozark homestead, bound for western waters.  We had had several months to prepare for our adventure.  We had made several trips to the big city–Little Rock–in search of the best non-perishable food.  We had purchased new gear–cots, to keep us off the hot sand; a breezy, bigger tent; high-floatation PFDs (personal floatation devices, as in life jackets) in extra-bright yellow–and crammed what would be our worldly possessions for four weeks into our car and trailer.

I departed home with a sense of trepidation.  I like summer in the Ozarks, and I knew I would get a bit homesick.  I also knew that some of the most dangerous whitewater that rafters regularly run in the US awaited us.  I had already gotten assurances from my husband that I could walk two rapids, Crystal and Lava, but I knew I would be seeing other big rapids up close too. (And my dreams of walking Crystal and Lava eventually were dashed, but those are stories for later dispatches.)  Meanwhile, I felt a little reassured by our friend’s 17-foot cataraft, more suited for the Grand Canyon than our 14-foot raft, which the friend had happily taken to smaller water.  I was not reassured by the fish-tailing of our trailer, but a bit of re-loading at a highway interchange straightened it out.From the back of the trailer you can see the army-green, waterproof rocket boxes, re-purposed for carrying food, ashes, and, um, poop (yes, you’ll learn more); milk crates, which make great places to secure large propane bottles on rafts; dry bags for personal gear (seen in red to the left and yellow to the right); the raft pump (gray); the upside-down oarsman seat; and other items too numerous to mention.

Our destination this day was to make it as far as we could, which turned out to be Elk City, Oklahoma.  Elk City has such great billboards and is on historic Route 66, so I had high hopes for staying there.  I was a bit disappointed.  Still, we pushed further west the next day until we reached Gallup, New Mexico, which is a delightful place.  We split a big Navajo taco (taco fixings on fry bread) at the legendary Earl’s (no, they’re not paying me).  Gallup is famous as being the filtering point for up to 90 percent of the American Indian crafts that find their way around the world, and I’d read that Earl’s was where the traders went to eat after their day of trading.  Imagine my surprise when I found out that they trade at the store, including while you’re eating.  I bought. I wish I’d bought more.  Prices are ridiculously cheap for really high quality jewelry.  I’m no jewelry collector, but these pieces made me want to collect.

The next morning we were back on the road, headed for Flagstaff by way of the Petrified Forest National Park.  We were lucky to arrive at a puebloan ruin a few days before the summer equinox, enabling us to see when a shaft of light hit a petroglyph, signifying the longest day of the year.

Other petroglyphs in the park were more artistic.  This panel includes some of my favorites.

The petrified trees were huge, laying as if some giant woodsman just felled them.

petrified log

We also saw where Route 66 ran through the park’s desert landscape, now marked by this great old car.

But we couldn’t stay long at the park.  We wanted to reach Flagstaff by noon, and that we easily did.  Over the afternoon, a caravan of other rafters showed up at our hotel (which I would recommend–and, no, they are not paying me either), some rafters with boats already rigged and inflated and almost ready for adventure.

We still had to finish our grocery shopping for our most perishable items (deli meat and cheeses, bread), so we hunted out Flagstaff’s health food store and whole-grain bakery and then came back to meet almost everyone with whom we’d spend the next twenty days.  I’ll tell you all about them and rigging for launching at Lee’s Ferry in my next post.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader. including photographs.

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In case you haven’t figured out from my scant posts, things have been incredibly busy and stressful around here lately.  I want to take a little time out tonight, though, to mention those campers who lost their lives last night on the Little Missouri River and those who lost their businesses on the Caddo River.  Having been in an urban flash flood once in my life, I can barely begin to imagine what it would be like to be in a flash flood in a campground.  (A timeline of the flooding is here, but it does not adequately convey how swiftly the water rose and with what force.  For that, see the Little Mo gauge and the Caddo gauge.)

We’ve camped at the Albert Pike Campground on the Little Missouri.  We’ve shopped at the businesses that were affected.  The flash flood took place well over a hundred miles from here, yet it is a place we know well.  We also know some of the private boaters (rafters, kayakers, open boaters) with swift-water rescue training who are part of the rescue and recovery mission.  I also know of a few people who made the decision that they do not have the stomach for a recovery mission, especially for children.

The flash floods in southwest Arkansas help put our woes on the homestead in perspective.  Here no one has died on our little croft, and within a few months we will have forgotten these trying times.  Too many times this year I’ve had to say it, but my heart goes out to those who have been impacted by storms.

Addendum:  I just read that one cabin, securely anchored and raised on stilts above the flood plain, survived  not only the raging water but also impact by an RV, a pickup, and another (unsecured) cabin that had gotten picked up by the river.  If you have not already read my post on the May 2010 Tennessee flooding and how people can live next to rivers with a greater measure of safety, see here.

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All right, I know my title is cliche.  Yesterday I headed to the Buffalo National River with a college group for a camping trip, hence my lack of post.  Given that we were hit by wave of wave of thunderstorms with torrential downpours, you may think I’m feeling pretty grumpy now.  Remarkably I’m not, and I think I can owe that to the company.  Everyone on the trip took off on it knowing that bad weather was on the way.  Everyone pitched in every time someone needed hands to raise a tent.  When tents got flooded (always check for leaks before trips like this!), other folks offered tent space. When a task needed doing in the “kitchen,” it got done.  The only complaints about the weather came in joking form.  And ultimately we got to do everything that we’d planned, if not always quite like we’d planned it.  We even had five beautiful hours for canoeing the river between rain storms.

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Somehow when you combine a few ingredients and a few spices from the pantry in a Dutch oven, you can get a dish that is much greater than the sum of its parts:  it comes out golden brown, with its own sauce and a blend of flavors that are comforting and tangy and potentially a little exotic.  I call this version Golden Chicken.  It has dried apricots and  mushrooms, and it’s delicious served over a good rice blend, quinoa, rice pilaf, or whole-wheat couscous.  All of the ingredients work seasonally too, since dried fruit is every season.

serves 2-4

Spice blend:

  • two pinches each of paprika and cayenne pepper (ground fine)
  • one pinch each of salt, freshly ground black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, coriander, turmeric, and cumin–you can use more or less depending on how you like the spice, but just remember to go light with the allspice.

The Rest of the Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken leg quarters, whole or cut into drumstick and thigh (or 4 chicken thighs, two chicken breasts, each cut in half, etc.)
  • olive oil
  • 1 medium sweet yellow onion, quartered and cut into thin wedges
  • 8 dried apricots
  • 8 portobellini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of potato flour
  • scant half cup dry white wine (pour a half cup, take a sip, and call it scant!).  Option:  If you do not drink alcoholic beverages, you can mix half white grape juice with half apple cider vinegar for a similar flavor–that is, 1/4 cup of each.

Begin by heating a 2-quart cast iron Dutch oven over medium high heat.  Sprinkle the spices on the chicken on both sides.  Add just enough olive oil to the Dutch oven to coat the bottom lightly, and put in the chicken, skin side down.  Brown well and then turn to brown the other side.

Add the onions, wedges broken up.  Put about half of the onions under the chicken and about half on top.  Let the onion cook a few minutes while you cut the apricots into halves or quarters, depending on size.  Now turn off the heat and add the apricot pieces on top of the chicken and onions.  Sprinkle the potato flour on the dish. Now pour on the wine, making sure to use it to wash off any flour that is unattractively sprinkled.  Toss on the mushrooms too. Bake at 325-350 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken is 165 degrees.  If you want, toast some almonds for garnish.

Mmmmmmmm.  Here’s the chicken, out of the oven.

I like to serve this chicken and its fruity, mushroomy golden sauce over a nice rice blend, like brown rice with wild rice.  You can make your own blend or buy one like Lundberg’s. (They are not paying me.  They don’t even know who I am, but they do grow good rice.) If you serve rice with beans, you can increase your protein from veggie sources and eat less chicken.No, I did not overcook the beans.  They’re wax beans.  Mmmmmmmm.

This dish is perfect for families that want to branch out from traditional chicken.  Not counting the rice, it’s an easy one-dish meal that even the younger family members can make.  If you’re cooking with kids, let them try the spices before they add them to the blend and decide which ones they want to include.

Camping Dutch Oven Directions (2-quart Dutch oven)

I made this recipe on the stove top this time, but you can also take it camping.  Follow the directions above, but start out with 5-6 coals on the bottom only, to brown the chicken on both sides.  Then add in the rest of the ingredients (taking care to put half the onions on the bottom, as noted above, to prevent the chicken from burning), put on the lid, and add 7-9 coals to the top.  You’ll need to rotate the whole Dutch oven a quarter turn every 10-15 minutes and the top a quarter turn every 10-15 minutes to avoid hot spots.  Remember, the number of coals you’ll need and your cook time will be dependent on your coals; they’re not all created equal. Do you need a beginner camping Dutch oven recipe first?  Try this one.

Copyright 2010 Ozarkhomesteader.  Short excerpts with full URL link and attribution to Ozarkhomesteader are welcome.  Please contact me for permission to use photographs.

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Another post in the series “Living with and Loving Cast Iron”

Are you new to Dutch ovens but excited to try one for your next camp out?  The following recipe is so easy that I hesitate to even call it that.  It is also not my own creation but rather a recipe that’s been circulating for years.  This recipe is for the small 2-quart Dutch oven, but you can multiply it to use a bigger Dutch oven.

Begin by assembling ingredients:

1 small cornbread mix (I like Hodgson Mill’s whole grain mix when I use a mix instead of making from scratch)

butter or oil, eggs and buttermilk or milk to make the cornbread, according to the recipe

one or two cans of good chili (We use vegetarian chili, but you can use whatever you want.)

1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese

If you are using a camping Dutch oven outside, start your coals.

Begin by coating the Dutch oven lightly with oil.  If you are camping and want easy clean-up, you can coat with oil and then line the Dutch oven with aluminum foil and then grease the aluminum foil too. Now open the can(s) of chili and pour it into the bottom of the Dutch oven.  Sprinkle on the cheese.  Now mix up the corn bread according to package directions and spread it on top of the chili and cheese.  Take a knife and poke through the corn bread batter to the chili in several places.  You want them to get to know each other, but don’t marry them.

Now place your Dutch oven on top of about 5 coals. Spread about 8 coals on top.  Use more coals if you are using a larger Dutch oven. Every ten minutes or so, rotate your Dutch oven on the coals on the bottom and turn the lid (very carefully to avoid getting ash in the food!) on top.  Check periodically to see if the cornbread is browning.  After about 30 minutes, you’ll have an all-in-one meal for 2-4 people.

By the way, if you use powdered egg white and milk, you can keep the ingredients for this cornbread-chili-cheese bake on hand for months with no refrigeration.

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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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My family goes on a long river trip every year or so.  When we do, we used to be stuck with tortilla wraps for our sandwiches after the couple of days and no bread with dinners.  You see, bread molds easily, and it crushes even more easily.  The solution came when Mark Bittman posted a no-knead bread recipe on the New York Times “Minimalist” column a couple of years ago.  Here’s a link to the story:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/08/dining/08mini.html?scp=1&sq=minimalist%20no-knead%20bread&st=cse

It didn’t take much for a Dutch Oven lover to look at the recipe and say, “I could do that on a river trip!”  I decided to adapt the recipe for whole wheat (which Bittman later did too), and I cut the recipe in half to use a small Dutch Oven.  Here’s the recipe I developed for river trips.

Before the trip, combine in a large (at least one gallon) ziplock bag.  

  • 1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup wheat gluten
  • 1/4 teaspoon yeast (more if you are not sure how youthful your yeast is)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • herbs and spices, optional

Riverside, add a generous 3/4 cup water to the mixture, in the bag. (By generous, I mean about 8/10 of a cup instead of 7.5/10).  Squish it together until well mixed.  Place the original bag inside a second bag for protection.  Place the bag in a warm but not hot location (such as on top of your gear in your canoe) for at least 12 but no more than about 18 hours.  (Tip: if it’s a warm day, you can start this in the morning and have it for dinner.  Just check to make sure your yeast are not getting overheated.  If the bag gets too warm, cover it lightly.  If it’s cold, start it the previous afternoon.)

In camp, start coals for an 8-inch Dutch Oven.  Heat the oven a bit both top and bottom, and grease it.  Dump in the risen bread dough.  Put the lid back on the Dutch Oven and place coals top and bottom.  Bake for about 45 minutes.  Mmmmmmm:  you’ll have hot, fresh bread on the river!

Of course, you can bake this bread at home too, but it’s so easy for camping!

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