Another Chance

By Keith Fisher

Let me be the first to wish you Happy New Year. Isn’t it amazing that each year we get another chance to do all the things we neglected to do last year? We take a calendar off the wall and tack up a new one. Twelve pages of unfilled boxes, lines to fill in our commitments, promises not yet made.

What a great chance we have to do it right and fill those calendar pages with things that matter. 2009 promises to be one of the best years of our lives. True it is, that our country faces economic uncertainty, but it seems it’s only a matter of positive confidence.

Economic recovery during the Great depression came through confidence. The people of our country began to believe in themselves again. With that in mind, we can turn things around. I know it works, because it worked in 1940.

Now, it’s time to celebrate. Yes, of course with Dutch ovens. I ask you what better way to ring in the New Year, than by tapping a Dutch oven lid with your fork. Seriously, take the family to the nearest hillside. The snow will reflect the light—it’ll be like daytime. Let the kids slide down the hill on inner tubes and you can cook a tasty treat. Even if it’s only hot cider, It’ll be fun for you. When the big moment comes, light the fireworks, and ring your Chuck wagon dinner bell.

Let me take the liberty of filling your calendar for you. First is the Super bowl party. A great Dutch oven feast can be had while you and your guests watch the big game on tape, fast-forwarding the commercials.

Next, of course is human rights day, followed by Presidents Day. I think a cherry pie would go well with the beef roast.

If you forget to get a gift for Valentines Day, don’t delay, run out to the carport and start cooking a great Dutch oven dinner. Tell her/him you are cooking it especially for them. Then when you have to run to the store to retrieve a forgotten ingredient, remember to get a nice greeting card.

St Patrick’s Day in March gives you an opportunity to learn some Irish recipes. Spring begins in March this year. Throw a spring party—cook a leg of lamb.

There’s Easter, and Passover. Good Friday, and Secretaries Day. Start thinking of theme meals you can cook. Our family usually goes camping when Easter falls in April. I can make cheesy potatoes with boiled eggs. I’ll give you that recipe in April. Don’t let me forget.

Of course cooking for Mom on Mother’s Day, is one of the best things you can do to show you appreciate her. On Memorial Day, gather on Grandma’s front lawn, for dinner after you visit the grave.

You get the picture. Make this year the one to remember. Cook low fat if you have to, but get out there and have fun in your backyard or favorite campground. You have to eat anyway. You might as well enjoy the preparation. And have fun, show the world you have confidence and the economy will follow.

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Cooking in the Wind

By Keith Fisher

I’ve been nursing a cold and forgot it was Friday, so I’m a bit late posting. I got a little sleep and dreamed I was cooking in Dutch ovens. It was summer and we were having a heat wave. The charcoal was so hot I wondered if I would sweat to death.

Then I woke up and looked out the window. Snow was piled up on the swamp cooler and icicles were hanging off the roof what a refreshing change. I was reminded of a cook off held on the fourth of July.

I love living in a place that has dramatic changing seasons.

Heres a Dutch oven tip for today:

If while you are cooking there is a serious wind to deal with, there are many options available.

The table, windscreen . . . many commercial tables come with a three-sided windscreen. They have tabs that fit over the lip on the table they block most of the wind.

For those who don’t have a commercial table, you can use a piece of aluminum roof flashing. Just wrap it around the pot, clamp it to itself with a paper clip.

I saw a cute idea of taking old license plates, stand them on end, connect them with wire and stand them up in a circle around the pot.

You can also close your cooking space in. A word of warning, however, charcoal fumes can kill you. Ventilation is important and the heat will melt a tarp.

Whatever method you use, you might still need to adjust your heat, there are a few tricks that with a little practice will help you. Pile extra coals on the windward side of the lid and under the pot. The wind will carry the heat over the oven. Whatever you do, remember it should be fun.

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The Weather Outside is Frightful. So?

By Keith Fisher

Since LDS Neighborhood usually posts on Thursday, I would imagine you are reading this on Christmas Day. I hope you heard the Whos of Whoville singing their welcome if not, here is a part.

Fah who for-aze!
Dah who dor-aze!
Welcome, welcome Christmas Day.

So how did you make out for Christmas? Are you knee deep in new cast iron? I hope so. I hope you are able to have the kind of Christmas you want. I pray you are able to give to those in greater need and you will find the Joy that comes from the season. May God Bless you and yours through the coming year.

Now get out there. Shovel the snow away, and cook Christmas dinner. Jackie Poulter of Provo, Utah made the recipe below at Klondike Cook off 2004.

Oh the weather outside is frightful, but the fire is so delightful. The charcoal is burning bright. Let us cook, let us cook.








PS Congrats to Nichole for winning the Chuck Wagon Dinner Bell.

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Shopping the Essentials—A Christmas List

By Keith Fisher

As promised, Today we’re going shopping. This article is for those who will be buying Christmas Presents for you.
But first, As I announced last time we will announce the winner of the Chuck Wagon Dinner bell. As you might recall, We’re having a contest, drawing really. The only thing required was to share your favorite food combination.

We received some great suggestions. Some were a bit odd, others were down right delicious. All were appreciated, since we love to see the responses of those who read this blog. To all of you, thanks for playing. Stay tuned for the next one, however, because I have two more dinner bells to give away at another time.

On second thought, I think I’ll wait and announce the winner at the bottom.

When I started cooking in Dutch ovens. I had one pot, a 12-inch, a borrowed stand for cooking on, and a chimney starter that uses burning newspaper to light charcoal. Now, after 20 years, I have a much larger collection of equipment. So lets get started shall we?

Lets assume you already have a Dutch oven, and a table to cook on. Now you need a way to start charcoal. I only have one suggestion, when you place fire in one end of a tube it travels to the other end, because of a magical principle called draft. There are many types of Chimney starters on the market. My first one had a bottom so I couldn’t set it on a propane burner. Now I have that option.

Once they are hot, you will need to move the coals. I’ve seen a pair of pliers used, and one man used leather gloves. But unless you have a pair of tongs life can be difficult. I’ve done it though, We cooked for a large group up the canyon one time and I forgot the tongs. I used a fireplace shovel to move and place the coals. Everything took longer but it turned out okay.
Next, whether it’s a Goncho hook, forked stick, or commercial type, you will need a lid lifter. I recommend the Mair. It provides positive pressure so the lid won’t slip, and there are three sizes. 8-inch, 14-inch and one you can use for Dutch oven on the ground. You can get yours for around fifteen dollars.

Now you have lifted the lid to stir and add ingredients. Where are you going to set it? On a dirty rock, the ground, or on a lid holder. I use the commercial kinds of lid holder, but I prefer my hand-made, three legged, trivets and many cooks use three horseshoes welded together, propped up with bolts welded to the bottom. A lid holder also comes in handy when you need to set a hot pot on a plastic table. Also it will prop an inverted lid to use as a serving plate.

Dutch ovens are considerably hotter than hot potatoes, and sooner or later you will need a pair of leather gloves. Dutch oven manufacturers make good ones, or you can get a pair of welding gloves. I use a pair of work gloves that cover my wrists and part of my forearm. Whatever you choose, Remember, your gloves must be loose enough to fall off you’re hand if you shake it off. Leather is a natural protector against burns, but many cooks have been burned when the leather got too hot.

There you have it, a list of essentials. There are other things like spoons, vegetable oil, and matches, but that’s a no-brainer. I would mention that since it’s Christmas you might look into Maca Supply in Springville, Utah. They manufacture custom made lids for their ovens. For a price, they will cast your name or other special message into the lid

Also, Campchef offers a special propane stove. It combines a two-burner stove with an oven below. Now you can use an oven on a pick-nick table in the mountains. Of course don’t tell them I said it but that’s what I use Dutch ovens for. I can bake anything in my cast iron pots that I can bake in a kitchen oven. Now I can take the kitchen oven with me.

While we’re on the subject, there are many camp kitchens on the market. I have one, that never comes out of the shed but if I were to buy another, I would get one that has a kitchen sink. Operation is simple, a hose connects the drain to a five gallon bucket or, water container. Drain water is then carried away from the camp.

Some of the luxuries include: Propane burners, Tables & chairs. Injection needles, portable shelters, and water coolers. You might want to make a list when you go to the store. there are brushes and tables. dishtowels and plates. Cast iron getting heavy? take a look at aluminum.

Most sporting goods stores, some drugstores, price club, and even supermarket, sell these things. There is, however, something to be said for the big box Sporting goods store. In the area where I live, there are two. Sportsman’s warehouse and Cabela’s each store has a large variety of camp cooking equipment. Each store specializes in some things the other doesn’t. I’ve had more dealings with Sportsman’s Warehouse so I’m partial to them, but I recommend you take your loved one shopping and spend an hour looking at your must have item. They will get the message.

Okay, are you ready? drum roll please . . . I put everyone's name on a piece of paper. put all the papers in a 5-inch Dutch oven. Waited for my 11 year old daughter to come home. she drew a name and the winner is . . . Nichole Giles . . . . Yay! Congrats Nichole. let me know where I can send your New Chuck Wagon Dinner bell. Thanks again everyone, for participating and remember . . . I still have two more left. look for the next contest and come back often. Oh, and , if I don't see you, Merry Christmas.

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The Old Black Pot

by Keith Fisher

I planned to take you shopping for cast iron Christmas presents today. (Best laid plans). Anyway, I'm going to save that for next time. So, if you have Dutch oven and campcooking equipment on your Chrsitmas list this year, and if people ask you what you want, send them to the next blog and I'll show you, and them, what to look for.

In the meantime, The contest is going well. I've decided to announce the winner in the next blog. It will give me time to send the prize before Christmas.

I have a couple of treats for you today. One, is a poem alledgedly written by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950). The other, is this great picture taken between 1887 and 1892.

You mind that old oven so greasy and black,
That we hauled in the wagon or put in a pack.

The bisquits she baked wasn't bad by no means,
And she had the world cheated fer cookin' up beans.
If the oven was there you could always git by,
You could bake, you could boil, you could stew, you could fry.

When the fire was built she was throwed in to heat
While they peeled the potaters and cut down the meat.
Then the cook put some fire down into a hole.
Next, he set in the oven and put on some coals.
I allus remember the way the cook did
When he took the old "Goncho" and lifted the lid.

He really was graceful at doin' the trick.
The old greasy sackers they just used a stick
Boy Howdy! We all made a gen'l attack
If the hoss with the dutch oven scattered his pack.
You mind how you lifted your hoss to a lope
And built a long loop in the end of your rope

You bet them old waddies knowed what to expect.
No bisquits no more if that oven got wrecked.
We didn't know much about prayin' or lovin'
But I reckon we worshipped that greasy old oven.
And the old cowboy smiles when his memory drifts back
To the oven that rode in the wagon or pack.

Tips for today:

-Buy an 8-inch Dutch oven and bake a fruitcake. Clean the outside and oil it. Replace the lid and tie a bow on the oven. Your Friends will love the cast iron gift so they won't re-gift your fruit cake. They'll eat it so they can use the Dutch oven.

-Start planning Christmas dinner now. You might have to shovel snow off the patio but it's worth it. Make it simple try this:

Chicken with Onions and peppers

Chicken breasts
1 red bell pepper lrg.
1 green bell pepper
1 large onion
Amounts vary depending on number of chicken breasts.

Heat up a Dutch oven on bottom heat while dicing the vegetables. Then, add chicken and spices to taste. Roast with 9 coals on bottom and 15 on top until chicken is tender. Add BBQ sauce, sweet and sour, or cream of chicken soup for variation.

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A Couple of Things . . .

By Keith Fisher

I had another birthday this week. Normally I would be depressed but not this year. As time passes, and I get older, I noticed that thoughts and ideas don’t remain in my head as long as they used to. I’ve found a need to write things down. A few months ago, I accepted an invitation to offer a prayer in Sacrament meeting. Not only did I forget, I was late for the meeting, so I sat in the foyer.

Last week, I looked at the program, and watched the assigned person go up front to pray. Suddenly, my invitation came back to me. I looked around the chapel, wondering if my ward thinks I’m a total flake.

As I get older, I tend to remember the past and wonder about the youth of today. I see them make the same mistakes I did, Oh how easy life is to live in retrospect.

So I celebrated another birthday with gratitude for another year. Of course, life hasn’t gotten easier, but I’m grateful I don’t have to make the mistakes of my youth. So, my young colleagues might poke fun at me for letting a prayer commitment slip my mind, but I get to smile peacefully, when I see their mistakes.

A while back, Your LDS Neighborhood started an online radio station. We bloggers were asked to check it out. Because of the age thing, I forgot. (I know it’s a lame excuse, but I’m sticking with it.) I finally checked it out and it’s great.

Great LDS music, spiritual and otherwise. Also, thoughtful and pertinent interviews, and commentaries. I can open it up in a small window and work on my computer with a peaceful feeling. Thanks LDS Neighborhood for the boost in my prospective. Check it out Here.

I also need to update the contest. We have been receiving a lot of great food combos and each one is entered in the drawing. I want to hear from all of you and I know it’s hard to leave a comment, so send an email to bloggame57 (at) yahoo (dot) com I will enter you in the contest. So far, it’s been going great, but if you want to ring in the New Year with your new Chuck Wagon Dinner bell, you’d better send me your food combo idea.

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Finding Dad for Christmas

By Keith Fisher

On a cold winter day 22 years ago, I had worked the graveyard shift the night before, so I was sleeping in my apartment. I got a phone call from my aunt telling me that someone had called her and my dad had been in an accident at work.

I woke up quickly and listened to the sketchy details. He had fallen from a great distance, had been revived a couple of times and was on his way via Life Flight to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake. I picked up my brother and booked it up north to find out more.

Our family began a vigil that would last several months. I found my mother in the waiting room and learned more details. Dad was a millwright/welder. He worked construction, and had been working on the power plant at Castledale, Utah. The crew had been mounting venting units in the ceiling. Dad had started across the beams, to retrieve a needed tool, while the crew waited. He stepped on a loose piece of grating and fell an estimated 90 feet, hitting beams and cable trays on the way down.

Several questions came to mind while we waited for him to be brought up to ICU. Would he die? Would he be crippled? Would he ever be able to work again? The big question was when, and where, could I give him a blessing?

While working in Castledale, Dad had been staying in his camp trailer, parked in his uncle’s driveway, in nearby Orangeville. My Great Uncle Dave was a patriarch and had expressed to me his profound regret that he hadn't been able to give Dad a blessing before he left Castledale. Uncle Dave made me promise that I would give Dad a blessing.

Myriad emotions passed through my heart while I waited to see my father. I walked the halls outside ICU. I watched many people deal with the grief of having hurt loved ones in the hospital. Finally the doctors stabilized Dad’s condition enough to bring him upstairs. To say he looked nothing like himself would be an understatement. His appearance was that of a lump of flesh. It shocked me and brought tears to my eyes.

After much pleading, the nurses allowed a few of us to go into his room and give him a blessing. I was able to fulfill my great uncle’s wishes. I knew Dad would be okay. I also knew it would be a long time before he would be well.

The vigil continued. As the days went on, my mother began to worry about Christmas. She had always made a big production out of the holidays, but this year she wanted to stay with Dad. We finally talked her into going home. She stayed Christmas Eve and went back to the hospital on Christmas night.

While we were together, we tried to make merry, but someone was missing. Understandably, our conversation turned to Dad, and Mom mentioned how he’d bought her a special gift. She didn’t know where he’d hidden it, but she didn’t care. I went looking. When I finally found it in his shed, I was touched by the magic. Dad had placed it with care and pride. I imagined what he must have felt as he hid the gift in anticipation of the holiday. He was happy to be able to give that gift to his wife.

At my mother’s request, I drove to Orangeville. She wanted me to bring Dad's camp trailer home. Uncle Dave gave me the personal effects the paramedics had taken from Dad, along with his stuff from work. I began to go through it all. I felt as though I was looking at a snapshot of a moment in my father’s life. I knew what he’d made for lunch that morning. I knew how much money he had in his pockets. I fingered the tools from his coveralls, and I was touched.

I think we all tend to immortalize our parents, but in that moment, I was given a glimpse into the humanity of my dad. I learned that in many ways, he is just like me.

Dads recovery wasn’t easy, in fact he was never the same, but the insights I was given during his blessing came true. There have been many times since then, when he should’ve died, but God continues to bless us with Dad’s life. My mother often talks about that Christmas and is grateful that Dad survived. She feels he was her Christmas gift, but I remember it as the Christmas I discovered my Dad.

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On Your Mark, Get Set, Go

By Keith Fisher

Since Christmas is fast approaching, and since I promised in a previous blog. It’s time, once again, for a contest.

I was thinking about foods that go together the other day. You know, dishes that taste great separately, but when they are combined with another dish, the combination becomes an iconic dish. Foods like, cheese and crackers, beef and potatoes, or chicken and dumplings. I love to drink a glass of milk with a tuna sandwich, even with pizza, but when you combine my glass of milk with chocolate sandwich cookies, my milk becomes a taste treat.

Can you think of your favorite combination? List your favorites like Corned Beef and Cabbage, and I’ll put your name into the drawing. You could win a brand new, Lodge Chuck Wagon dinner Bell. Leave your favorites in the comments section, and I will announce the winners on December 26. Good luck.

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Disaster at the North Pole

NORTH POLE, Top of the World, Dec, 2008 (UPI via COMTEX) – Reliable sources say Christmas may have to be canceled, Santa’s been pumping Iron.

A source at the North Pole said today, “It’s a disaster. Santa has changed.” Others were quoted as saying, “How can we have Christmas? The big guy went buff.”

Of course not everyone is complaining. Santa’s reindeer are taking it easy. “Pulling the sleigh is like pulling a feather, now that Santa slimmed down,” Donner said. “I didn’t want to say anything before, but the past couple of years has taken the prance out of my step,” Prancer said. “But now, I've been skipping through the sky.”

We asked Bernard, the chief elf, what happened? “Well, he’s been delivering too many heavy Dutch ovens. He gets too much execise lugging them around, and four cookies and a glass of milk. just isn't emough to replenish his portly stature. Sometimes he doesn't even get that much." When asked what they would do now, Bernard said, “I don’t know. We’re going to have an emergency meeting of the Elf's union local 911 to bounce ideas around.”

He suggested that all those good boys and girls who got Dutch ovens last Christmas take them out of the box this year, and cook something for Santa." "It’s the least they can do," Bernard said. "Give back a little of what they received.”

We asked Doctor Mortimer, Santa’s personal physician, about Santa’s condition and he told us, "Santa's on a strict diet of 5 meals a day, along with forced resting. He's watching reruns of Gilligan’s Island to get his jolly chuckle back."

So there you have it. The elves are sure that Santa will be back, but you can help out. You can cook a 4-pot meal on Christmas Eve, and give it the the Jolly Old Elf. (Especially if you want a Cast iron gift this year.

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The Outdoor Symphony

By Keith Fisher

Now that the holiday is over, It’s time to get into your backyard and do some serious cooking. The weather has been great where I live, and for those in Warmer climates, I can hear the call of the camp cook. Can you hear it? It sounds like the clang of a cast iron lid placed on the pot.

Cold weather can make things harder, but it’s not impossible to cook marvelous meals in your backyard or campground. In fact, I’d like to invite you to check out these pictures. They were taken at a Dutch oven cook off called Klondike.

In 2002 I organized this cook off as a challenge for Dutch oven cooks. That first year, it was 9 degrees when we started cooking. By afternoon, it had warmed up to a tropical 20 degrees. We had cold extremities, but the food was world class.

The cooks found it hard to keep butter from freezing. One team wiped a table top with a wet wash cloth and left the rag on the table. When they came back moments later, the cloth had frozen to the table. Another year, I saw ice being scraped from a marble bread board.

In 2003 someone else directed and me and my wife won. This cook off continued in front of Sportsman’s Warehouse in Provo, Utah for six years. Due to time constraints I wasn’t able to direct the cook off last year, but this year, well stay tuned.

The pictures will show that great looking, great tasting food can be prepared in adverse conditions. I’m sure you will be invited to dozens of Christmas parties this year. Just think of the praise you’ll get if you show up to the potluck with a Dutch oven full of good food, cooked in your backyard. It will be all the better if you had to shovel snow to make room for your Dutch oven table.

I think it’s contest time again. Come back next time and get the details about how you can win a Lodge chuck wagon dinner bell. The outdoor symphony continues . . .

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Black Friday

by Keith Fisher

I’m writing this on the day after Thanksgiving. The merchants call this day, Black Friday. I used to spend this day chasing bargains and rubbing shoulders with humanity, but I’m older now.

Instead, I launch the start of the season by putting up Christmas decorations. I fell in love with Christmas lights years ago. When I moved into my house, I was always the first to turn on my lights. Now, my neighbors beat me to it by at least two weeks, but I have my traditions to uphold.

In my book of customs it says Christmas shouldn’t start until after Thanksgiving. Not this year, however, I have to wait until the roofers I hired are finished.

So, how did Thanksgiving go? Did you take pictures of your turkey? Send them to me and I’ll post them here. I rose early on Thanksgiving this year. I had a turkey to inject and get into my Ultimate Turkey Roaster. Things went well, the Ham turned out okay. The stuffing was delicious, but the turkey . . . well, lets just say I made an error.

Remember I told you to keep moisture in the pot? I did, but . . . well, I had about 60 minutes left and I hadn’t reached temperature yet. I turned up the heat and added water. I never dreamed I would be in trouble. Now, in my defense, I haven’t used the roaster for over a year, but I should have known better.

I went upstairs and lay down. When I got up to take a shower I smelled something burning, went down and found my oven smoking. The water had evaporated and the turkey fat was dripping on the flame. Needless to say, I had smoked turkey this year and it wasn’t a good flavor.

Well, some of the meat tasted fine, but some of the rest tasted like an incinerator. (Good thing I had a ham to serve). We ate both but I noticed the ham went quicker than the turkey, and I have a pile of leftovers.

Remember to make the season Joyful and give of yourself.

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Happy Dutch Oven Thanksgiving

By Keith Fisher

Since my Monday blogs get posted on the neighborhood on Thursday, You might be reading this on Thanksgiving. I would imagine you got up early, set up your table in the carport. Hitched up your resolve, and started cooking the turkey. Hang in there, I know you can do it. If it helps, I’m right there with you. My job this year is to cook the turkey, and a pineapple glazed ham. Oh, yeah, I’m making stuffing too.

When you get everything going and you sit down to relax, perhaps you can bask in the joy of the service you performed for that person in need. You know---the one we’ve been talking about in several blogs? Here’s a couple of thoughts for you.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.

Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?

When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?

And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
-Matt 25:34-40

In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
1 Thess 5:18

What better way to give thanks to the source of all blessings then to do something nice for our fellowmen?

Here’s a tip for mashed potatoes:
When the lumps go away, make a hole in the center and pour shredded cheddar cheese in the hole. Fold the spuds around the cheese and blend it. Even with gravy, your mashed potatoes will be great.

Gravy is easy:

Use the juices from the meat, add a sufficient amount of hot water and stir. Add seasoning and bring to boil. Meanwhile, make a roux with about two cups flour and add hot water, mixing with a whisk to the consistency of wallpaper paste. When the water boils, stir the roux into the boiling broth slowly. Stop when the gravy is the consistency you want it to be. The key to good gravy it to make sure there are no lumps in the roux.

It’s been a long day so I give you permission to cheat a little. Buy a pre-baked pie at the grocery store. Put it in a warm Dutch oven with plenty of ashes on it. Make believe you baked it. I’ll never tell. It will be our little secret, but don’t forget to put a trivet inside the pot. At least you need to make it look real . . .

Don’t forget to hug those you haven’t seen for awhile and give thanks to God for so many blessings. Remember those who have passed on and give thanks that you were blessed to have known them.

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A Dutch oven Thanksgiving—Part Three

By Keith Fisher

Have you spotted the person you’re going to help this year? Remember we were going to test the theory that God will give us more blessings if we show our gratitude by helping others?

Have you noticed someone who scowls when they think no one is looking? You can find them everywhere. Through no fault of their own, life has handed them too many envelopes with bad news, and now they exist because they have to, because someone is counting on them.

On the outside, this person will smile and pretend everything is fine. He/she might even tell you how great life is. It is a ruse to throw you off. The last thing this person wants is to explain their irrational feelings.

How do you help someone like that? You obviously can’t walk up and offer to help them. It would only embarrass them and confirm their low opinion of themselves. The answer lies in ignoring the problem and being a true friend. If they suspect they’re a project, they will withdraw.

Be a friend because you want to be. Be a friend because you need to be. God has a way of helping us work out our own self-doubts when we build another person. There are other blessings, however, When you see your friend smiling when they don’t think you’re looking, the swelling in your heart will be an everlasting warm-fuzzy.

The Thanksgiving suggestion for today is about pies—
I know, I know. You think its going to be hard, but I promise it’ll be okay.

There are two ways to prepare a pie in a Dutch oven. One way, is pre-made, frozen pies, and the other is from scratch. Yes, I said the "S" word but as I said, it’ll be okay. Besides, don’t you want to be a Dutch oven hero?

In the Dutch oven cook off world, baking pies sometimes separate the winners from the runners up like a chef separates egg whites from yolks. There are many recipes for pies but all you need is filling and crust. You can use the Dutch oven itself as the pie pan and you can choose to take it out or leave it in the pot. I know what you’re thinking but it really is easy.

Okay, I’ll tell you an easier way for now, but don’t think you’re off the hook. I’ll come back to this subject in a later blog. I’ll explain the pictures and hold your hand.

Now, for the easy way, If you buy a frozen pie, let it thaw. Place it on some kind of trivet or rack inside the pot. Apply the heat like you would for any bread recipe--see the chart. Rotating the lid and the pot is never more important than when you are baking a pie. A burned spot on the crust ruins the pie.

The pie is done when the crust is golden brown. Don’t tell your guests it was a frozen pie. Grandma will know, because she has made more homemade pies than she can count, but the other guests don’t need to know.

Start planning the dishes you want to cook for the holiday, but remember the real purpose is the gratitude you feel. As the words to the hymn say. Count your blessings—name them one by one. Count your many blessings see what God has done. It might surprise you to realize your blessings are more numerous than grains of sand on a beach.

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A Dutch oven Thanksgiving-Part Two

By Keith Fisher

Oh yeah, I can taste it now. The candied yams, pickled beets, green beans, turkey, and mincemeat pie. Are these things traditional for your Thanksgiving? All of these things can be cooked in a Dutch oven in your backyard. Pickled beets, however, will need to be made beforehand and brought up from the cellar. For the yams, you might want to line your Dutch oven with tinfoil. The sugars will eat your seasoning off.

Myself, I can’t eat turkey dinner without pickled beats. It’s ingrained in my soul, but I just don’t like mincemeat. If your quest is to become the Thanksgiving chef in your backyard, you will need to think of the little things. Butter, mustard pickles, and cranberry sauce. If you forget, someone will miss them. You can make mashed potatoes, vegetables, gravy, bread rolls, pies, and stuffing in a Dutch oven all it takes is a little planning.

If your goals are only to cook a portion of the meal, that’s great too. Tell the organizer, and make it spectacular. Remember it’s Thanksgiving. As an alternative to turkey, My family turned to Ham, now we have both, so you can guess you know what I’ll be cooking this year.

Pinapple Glazed Ham

12-inch deep or Maca Oval
Cook at aprox 250 degrees for 1 hour then finish with 350 degrees. how to

6-8 lbs ham (bone in)

1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/2 cup lemon juice
3 cups pineapple juice

1 cup brown sugar (packed)
3 tablespoons corn starch
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 14 ounce can of crushed pineapple
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon prepared mustard

Remove ham from package and clean excess fat from it. Mix marinade in a very large bowl with a lid and place ham into it. Begin injecting the marinade with a syringe. Close the lid and place in the refrigerator or cooler for awhile. Then, remove and repeat the process. (The longer you can marinate the better.)

Place ham in the Dutch oven fat side up. Pour the marinade over the ham into the oven you may wish to add more pineapple juice for cooking liquid. Place Dutch oven with nine coals on the bottom, none on the top.

One hour later, arrange 16 coals on the lid following a checkerboard pattern and 9 coals on the bottom around the outside edge (none in the middle under the oven). Roast until inside temp is aprox.160 degrees. Change your coals during the process when they are spent. (Charcoal coals are at their peak when all edges are gray, after that, they start to loose temperature).

Prepare glaze by mixing all ingredients together in an 8-inch Dutch oven or saucepan. Stir thoroughly, place on low heat stirring frequently until thick.

About thirty to forty minutes before serving, remove all the moisture from around the meat inside the pot. Pour glaze all over the meat and replace the lid making sure you have hot coals around the outside edge of the lid (none in the middle). The glaze will solidify and sweeten the ham.

Serve with your favorite vegetables, and cut meat into chunks. Takes about 3 1/2 to 4 hours and serves about ten.

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A Dutch oven Thanksgiving

By Keith Fisher

How was Veterans Day? I hope you turned to all the veterans in your life and told them thanks. At the very least, I hope you said happy Veterans Day.

As I promised last time, we’re going to start getting ready for the big day when your family loosens their belt and says, "Okay, pass me some more." For the next couple of blogs before Thanksgiving, I’ll talk about ways you can steal the glory of a fantastic meal, well prepared. You’re family will praise you for cooking it outdoors, and you will learn something new.

First, we need to deal with a main course. By tradition, we will be looking for turkey. I’m going to talk about two ways to cook it and maybe talk about everybody’s alternative-ham.

How many of you remember the deep frying craze? A few years ago, Campchef introduced deep pots and paraphernalia for cooking in oil, on top of a Campchef stove. Many folks tried it, and wowed their holiday guests. After a while, a problem surfaced. People were putting the burners too close to walls, on flammable decks, and weren’t allowing for oil displacement when lowering the bird into the pot. The resulting fires made many fearful. Campchef offers very specific instructions now, and a disclaimer, begging people to act responsibly.

Deep frying poultry is still an option, but please pay attention to the directions. In an effort to offer their customers a better way, Campchef developed the Ultimate Turkey Roaster. It offers the speed of deep-frying with none of the cholesterol or extra fat. It’s safe and you can use it on the burner or over charcoal. The way it works is simple. The bird goes in upright on its haunches, like it’s going to church. Open the cavity so air and heat can pass through and drape the bird over the cone in the center.

You’ll notice the cone has holes that draw heat from underneath and deposits it directly on the inside of the bird. (You can also use flavor-enhancing charcoal or smoke chips.) Life is great. The cast-iron exterior, and the heat from the inside helps you roast a 20 lb. turkey in half the time. I’ve cooked 15 lb. birds in 100 minutes.

Prepare your bird by injecting with any number of substances, like juices, and commercially available marinades. After using a flavor injection needle, massage the hole you made so the marinade doesn’t leak out. The final step is to use a rub. You can use anything you want, but I’m partial to Emeril’s poultry rub. If you prefer crispy, brown skin, you may want to use a red or brown rub. It will give a golden brown appearance.

The last step in preparation is to insert the thermometer in the breast (not near the bone). The groove provided in the flange of the lid will allow you to use the thermometer without opening the lid. Put a half-inch of moisture in the bottom, under the grate. The steam helps in cooking so you might want to use something aromatic. Also, remember to keep it moist. If it dries out, the residue will be hard to clean off the pot.

When the temperature reads 165, the bird is done. Take it out, place it on a platter, and sit back. Your guests will be amazed at how moist and tasty the turkey is. It won’t have a crispy skin, but who cares. After tasting the white meat, they will dub you the master of Thanksgiving. You will have stolen the honor from Dear Old Mom. But I’ll bet she’s okay with that. She might even learn to watch football.

Here's another way to make a turkey dinner, using a traditional Dutch oven:

Stuffed Turkey Breast
12-inch Deep oven

8-10# Turkey breast, legs and
wings removed
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 1/2 inch water
1 teaspoon vegetable oil

1 1/2 cubes butter
1 small onion, cubed
2 cups sliced celery
10 slices white bread, cubed
2 1/2 - 3 cups raisins
1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Wash Turkey breast and season with sage and garlic powder. Place in the pot and sprinkle with rosemary. Add water to the sides of the breast. (Don't wash off seasoning) put on heat with 10-11 coals on the bottom and 16-17 coals on top.

One hour later, inject the breast with the moisture from the pot. Then use the injector with out the needle to collect some more juices and using the holes that you have just created with the needle, carefully baste the breast. When you have finished, change your coals out for new ones and adjust the temperature as necessary. You will want to do the basting again.

Make stuffing by melting 3/4 cube of butter in a hot Dutch oven on bottom heat only. Cut up your onion and celery and place in the Dutch oven with the butter and sauté until soft. Cube your bread slices and toss together with sage, salt thyme, pepper and raisins. Stir in with the onion and celery until bread cubes are coated with butter. Take off heat and put in the rest of the butter in pats. Let stand in the warm Dutch oven until you are ready to stuff the roast.

When the roast is done, at least 165 degrees, take it out of the juices and stuff the cavity with the stuffing. (Sometimes the butcher cuts the backbone, which can make it hard to stuff) put the turkey back into the pot with the juices removed. Arrange the rest of the stuffing around the sides of the roast. And rub the roast with oil. Put the lid on and load the lid with coals (none on the bottom) in broiling fashion. Leave on top heat until skin turns golden. (You may wish to skip this step because it dries out the turkey). Before serving you may wish to heat a cube of butter and inject it into the bird.

Take out of the oven and serve on a lid with stuffing. Garnish with parsley and green onions. Or other vegetables. Serves approx. ten

You might want to use the juices for gravy. Or the base of a turkey soup. Also, stuffing a hot bird is easier if you use a pair of cotton gloves with latex gloves over.

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