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Friday, March 12, 2010

Power Outage Think Dutch Oven…A Yummy Breakfast Recipe!

Supervision of Dutch Oven Cookoff
In our March Newsletter we discussed making foil dinners which are a great option when the power is out. They are easy to make and fun to make and eat. They are however, time consuming and they do require quite a bit of watching while they are cooking. Since power outages are the most common of all disaster and the one most of us will face at one time or another let’s take a look at another great option, Dutch oven cooking
Dutch oven cooking is a fun family activity during the best of time and a life saving activity during the worst of times. Dutch oven cooking is one of those skills that everyone can easily learn.
To begin, select a Dutch oven that is well made. The walls of the oven should be the same thickness all the way around. A good oven will have a handle wrapped with wire called a bail. Inspect the oven’s bail, it should be made of sturdy heavy gage wire and be securely attached. All part of your oven should be molded and not riveted as rivets can come loose and be a real burn hazard when you are serving or tending to your food. Check the Dutch oven lid to make sure it fits tightly. A sight lid prevents steam from escaping, aiding in keeping you food moist.
There are two types of Dutch ovens. Lodge ovens are constructed of heavy cast iron, have three legs on the bottom, and a tight fitting lid with a lip or ridge around the outer edge. This ledge helps to hold the coals, used for cooking in place. Be sure the legs are long enough to fit coals under you pot and still allow for some air flow.
The second type of ovens are again ideally made of heavy cast iron, have a flat bottom with no legs, and have a domed lid. These can still be used in a fire with briquettes or coals but they are more unstable than those with legs. I have one that I love to use for baking bread in the oven. It makes the best artisan breads with nice crispy crusts.
A good Dutch oven will have an uneven texture which made them easier to season than one with a smooth finish.
Dutch ovens can be purchased at sporting goods store, farm and ranch supply stores and surplus stores. They are a bit pricey but a once in a lifetime investment so in the long run, not bad at all. I would never order one over the Internet as the shipping will kill you! They are very heavy. Use the phone and scope out sources closer to home.
There are many sizes and shapes of Dutch ovens choose from. Shorter ovens (shorter in height now the length of the legs) heat faster than deeper ovens and are good for cooking foods that need higher temperatures. Deep Dutch ovens are desirable for cooking foods at lower temperatures or when you want more control of the heat on top of the oven for browning rolls and bread and desserts.

If you don’t own a Dutch oven yet, a 12″ Lodge Dutch oven is a great first addition. It’s versatile while not being too big. Eventually you will want more than one so dessert can be cooking while you enjoy your meal.
We’ll talk about seasoning your oven in another post but here is a great recipe to wet your appetite!

German Puff Pancakes with Apples

1 1/2 C Milk
6 Tbsp. Butter
9 Eggs
1 1/2 C Flour
1 Cooking apple (I like Fuji)
Powdered Sugar
In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, eggs, flour, and salt to form a thin batter. Core and peel apple. Very thinly slice apple. Heat Dutch Oven using 12-14 briquettes on bottom and 16-18 on top, until oven is very hot. Add butter to pan and melt. Pour batter into oven and top with apple slices leaving about a inch all the way around without apples. Replace lid and bake 25-30 minutes. Don’t peek before the 25 minutes or the pancake will fall. Dust with powdered sugar and serve or add syrup.
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