Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Cast Iron Soufflé

Since I only drag out the cast iron a few times a year I like to practice a bit before I go off and try to feed a bunch of people. We are heading South to do just that in March so I've been doing a bit of outdoor cooking.

Here is a recipe I use quite often in my kitchen oven and had an idea I could fix for the potluck at the Teardrop Gathering.

The recipe was in a recent post by doodles, A trip down memory food lane.

Rinse chilies free of seeds and cut into inch pieces and assemble rest of ingredients.

Heat a 10 inch Lodge Cast Iron Dutch Oven heated with coals 14 top and 6 bottom.

Because I'll be cooking this on a camping trip I did not use an electric mixer and whisked the eggs in a large bowl. Beat the eggs until they are thick and light yellow. Next whisk in flour and when you have no more lumps mix in the milk and salt and pepper.

Add butter to preheated outdoor dutch oven and coat the inside. Layer green chilies and cheeses and gently pour in the milk mixture.

Replace lid and cook for approximately 40 minutes turning lid and pot 1/4 turn every 15 minutes.

At 30 minutes I added two more fresh coals to the top because I wanted the cheese to brown.

I took a peek at 40 min and it was done. I tested by sticking a knife in the center and it came out clean.

Removed it from the heat and let it rest about 10 minutes without the lid. It needs to cool off a little before serving.

We had friends over that have had this before and they said this was the best one I've ever made.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Aye, Begorra! It'll be time to be cookin' up sumtin' OIrish

Not sure if I'll take this recipe for the camp out but thought it was a good one for St Paddy's Day. Would be great with that Corned beef and cabbage you're planning. I did make it in the outdoor dutch oven and pretty much followed the recipe. Either cooked outside or in your oven it is a very easy bread to make. Just don't fuss with it too much. It is like pie crust, it take a gentle hand.

First get your coals going outside for your dutch oven. I used a Lodge 10" and needed 400 degrees so I used 25 briquettes, 17 top and 8 on the bottom. Since it only cooks for 45 minutes I never replaced any of the coals but it's good to have a few extra in case it gets windy or cold. I put the coals on then made the bread dough.

Make a well in the flour mixture and stir it with a fork just until it start to come together.

Dump it out onto a work surface and knead it together to get all the loose flour incorporated.

I use a parchment paper sling to get it into the hot dutch oven. Crunch the parchment under the lid on and put your coals on top. Every 15 minutes turn the lid 1/4 turn and the entire DO a 1/4 turn. When you smell the bread or about 40 minutes open the lid and test with a tooth pick. If it comes out clean, it's done.

I use the parchment to get the loaf out of the hot pan.
Now, doesn't that look yummy?

This was quite tasty and like I said, save some for the morning because it's great toasted.

Soda Bread (from American's Test Kitchen)

If you don't use cast iron it can be baked on a baking sheet. This bread is best eaten the same day but can be stored covered. The next day or two; great for toasting.

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons cream of tarter
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
1 tablespoon melted butter

Heat over to 400 degrees. Place flours, soda, cream of tarter, salt and sugar in large mixing bowl. Add butter and rut it into the flour using your fingers until it is completely incorporated and the mixture resembles course crumbs. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Work the liquid into the flour mixture using a fork until the dough comes together in large clumps. Don't over mix. Turn the dough onto a work surface and knead gently until the loose flour is just moistened. The dough will still be scrappy and uneven.

Form the dough into a round about 6 to 7 inches in diameter and place in a warm cast iron skillet. Score a deep cross on top of the loaf and place in the heated oven. Bake until nicely browned and is done when a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. About 40-45 minutes. Remove and brush with melted butter. Cool for at least 30 minutes it will be easier to slice. Serve slightly warm or at room temp.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A little help here for the camp cook, please

Ah, spring in Southern California and all thoughts turn to cast iron. No? Well, mine do. Our big, once-a-year camp out is approaching and I'm getting excited. A few years ago I added my love of cooking to the camping experience which truly makes me a happy camper.

Outdoor Dutch Ovens. They are a challenge but maybe that's the appeal. Anyone can cook a stew in the oven but I can take my cast iron cookers and have a fantastic meal at the beach or any other place without electrics. We camp in that tiny trailer pictured above called a teardrop and before you scream, yes we sleep in there, too.

Every year we camp at Lake Perris with about 100 other of these little trailers and have so much fun. Trading stories and recipes, meeting new people, or re-acquainting with friends--it's lots of fun.

Saturday is always a gi-normous potluck dinner but last year someone decided to add a Friday night potluck for Outdoor Dutch Oven enthusiasts. Bring your cast iron, whether experienced or brand new, it's great to make new friends and learn something new about the challenges of cooking outdoors.

Last year I made a Cast Iron Apple Pie and chili verde; both a big success. This year I'm looking for something new so here's a big request. What should I make? It should be a dish able to simmer in one pot or bake in an oven for about 1-2 hours. Does anyone have an idea for me? Most of the prep is outside and my working space is usually a picnic table.

Reply in the comments and if you have a link to the recipe that would be great. I'm leaving next week so don't let that suggestion go to waste, leave me with an idea or two. I'll give you credit at the potluck.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

A trip down memory food lane

Many, many years ago my dear sister put together a collection of several of her favorite recipes, at the time. Sent as a Christmas bonus gift, at the time it was quite special. No one really did that back then. Sister was way ahead of her time.

We always talked about having a Bed & Breakfast one time in our lives. You should have heard the husbands scream "No WAY!!!". Conversations were mostly around food and where recipes came from. Let's do a cookbook I say. It just never happened.

Now in the day of very modern technology we have a food blog not a cookbook but it is a way of sharing with friends and family.

My very dear niece, an excellent cook and super food enthusiast, happens to be our third writer.

This is a blog about food so I will get back to it with a terrific recipe of a Green Chile Souffle. It appeared in the collection sister shared many years ago.

Green Chile Souffle

4 4oz cans whole green chiles
2 cups grated jack cheese
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
6 eggs
1 cup flour
4 cups milk
salt & pepper to taste

350 degree oven

Butter the bottom of your baking dish, I use an 8x8 glass dish*. Try to remove the seeds from the chiles, rinsing them works well, but make sure they are dry. Cut the chiles into about 2 inch pieces. Layer the cheese and the chiles on the bottom of the dish. Beat together the eggs and milk, add the flour. Mix so there are no lumps. Pour over the cheese and chile. Pan should be no more than three quarters full. Bake for about 1 hour or until done in center.

Serve with some of your favorite salsa and maybe a lite salad.

*Notes..............Notice I did not use a glass dish. Also I had some leftover tri tip roast and I added some caramelized onions. Easy dish to change.