Peach Cobbler – Fresh made at the office!


We had a pot luck lunch for our holiday party just before Christmas…  Well, I decided to make peach cobbler for desert and cook it in my dutch oven right behind the office building.   I borrowed an outdoor fireplace from a coworker and make the cobbler using charcoal.  One of my other coworkers made barbecued shrimp on his Coleman Grill.   We had to be the talk of the building… we had lots of good smells coming from the lawn.   I know that we had a small crowd watching us from the windows trying to figure out what we were doing.

 There is nothing like the smell of fresh made Peach Cobbler with some Ice Cream…  It was great!

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Winter – a time to cook!


Winter is one of my most favorite times to camp… but the camping kind of changes a bit.  With Scouts, we do the occasional cold weather tent camp, but the kids really like to cabin camp.  This usually provides an opportunity to do some really good Dutch Oven cooking.  It’s all about the food in the winter camps!

 

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had the chance to experiment with some different things.  I’ve been working on breads in the Dutch Oven.  I’ve found this really basic recipe that seems to work really well (…well most of the time).

 

4 Cups of Flour

2 Packages of Yeast

1/4 Cup Sugar

1 1/2  Teaspoons of Salt

1/2 Stick of butter

1 1/2  Cups Water (very warm – but not hot)

#10 Dutch Oven / Double Recipe for #12 Oven

 

Combine Sugar, Salt, and Butter to water and mix until all the butter has melted (water should be warm at this point).  Add yeast packets to 1 cup of flour and wisk into mixture.  Let this set for a few seconds and then begin adding the additional flour mixing it in slowly.  You will want to add about two cups and get a “batter consistency “ and then continue to add flour until you get a  ball of dough.

 

You will work this for about 4 – 5 min after all the flour is all mixed in.  At the point where you batter becoms to hard to mix by hand, put a little oil on your hands and then kneed by hand.  Place this ball in a greased Dutch Oven for about 45 min in a nice warm place (or near a fire on a cold day – make sure to rotate the pot periodically).   After the 45 min, the dough should be about doubled in size.  Put a little cooking oil on your hands and punch down again into a ball and then divide it into three equal parts.  Each dough ball will then be “rolled” by picking up the dough in two hands with your thumbs together and turning your hands out.  This will stretch the top of the dough and roll the sides up under.  Once you have a smooth top, place this back in your Dutch Oven on start on the next dough ball.  You will want all three dough balls to touch in the center.  Cover and place back in your warm spot for about another 45 min.  The dough will puff up again almost about doubled in size.  Now you will cook this in your Dutch Oven with about 8 – 11 coals on bottom and about 12 – 18 coals on top.  During cold weather, go to the top end of the coals during warm, go to the low end.  You are looking for a 350 degree oven.

 

About 45 min later, you will have a nice golden brown loaf of bread that is easily divided into three parts.  There is nothing like the smell of fresh baked bread in camp!

 

Make sure to remove your bread from your oven as soon as you are done cooking.  If you allow it to sit in the oven while other parts of your meal cook, the bread will get soggy on the bottom.  I remove mine and place on a cooling rack or towel.

 

You can vary this by adding your favorite items to the top before cooking:  Garlic Salt, Butter, Onion flakes, or Cheese sprinkles can all provide variations on this simple bread.

 

Have fun… Happy Trails.

It’s been a long, long, long time


I’ve not posted very much in the past two months… lots going on at work.  I did manage to fit in a weeks worth of camping over the Thanksgiving holiday.   We went back to Oklahoma and spent 1 night in Missouri, 2 nights in Stillwater, OK (at Lake Carl Blackwell), 4 nights in Okmulgee (at Okmulgee State Park), 1 night at a state park in Tennessee (not far from Nashville, but the name of which escapes me), and then 1 night in Virginia at a KOA.

 

All in all it was a great trip… I got to make several Dutch Oven meals complete with home made bread… it was a good time.  Cool nights and Indian Summer type days for the most part.  Tending the fire and smelling like good old Oak from the fire… drinking lots of coffee and tending the fire visiting with people. I enjoy that the most.  My Sister-In-Law and her husband meet us in Okmulgee and we camped together for the four nights there.  It was amazing because there were about four rigs that we saw there from last year (basically in the same spots).  We got to visiting with them and found that this was their fourth year there… they come in for the holiday weekend and get together and visit.  While we did not really get to know them, I’m sure that we will see them there next year.

 

If you are every in Tennessee off of I-40 (Exit 407 to be exact) there is a Lodge Manufacturing Outlet Store.  This is less than a mile from the highway.  I picked up a #14 Oven and a #10 Deep Oven for $72.00.  I thought this was pretty extraordanary!!!!  I now have four Dutch Ovens in my collection and can’t wait to get them all going at one time.  They are calling for about 3 -6” of snow here Friday into Saturday… so I may see about firing up the fire pit on Saturday while the kinds are enjoying the snow… I can cook some food in the ovens behind the house.

 

Did I ever mention that “Cooked Food is Good!!!”