12/15/09

A missing Ingredient




Wow! It's been a long time since I blogged. Sorry. I hope you had a great Dutch oven Thanksgiving. and you are getting ready for Christmas. I am going to share a couple of great Christmas recipes next week but today, I'm starting a contest.



I have a great chicken recipe that I made for 300 people at a church group a week ago and it was delicious. Well, it would have been if I had the right ingredient. I found a substitute but its just not the same. Every once in a while I get out the food processor and try to duplicate it but I just haven't got it yet. It would be so much easier if I could find a source of the sauce I use. I can't find it in stores here. I will give a way a prize to someone who can find a source. the bottle looks like this:





The Brand is Sagawa and it's called Sweet and Sassy sauce.

Okay get on your marks, Get set, Shop ... I need to know a close source, a distributors address, or website. if your source checks out, I will award a coveted Dutch oven cooking prize. Leave your comments.

untill then, Get your pots ready for Christmas. and lets make it a Dutch oven Christmas.

10/26/09

A Full Pot


By Keith Fisher

Have you ever seen a MACA twenty-two-inch Dutch oven? I compared my three-year-old once. She could’ve taken a bath in it. MACA, a casting company out of Springville, Utah, makes thick, deep, Dutch ovens. They offer many smaller sizes too, but they never made a shallow pot. The size and thickness of the casting is great for even heat, but every one is heavy.

I own several MACA’s. From eleven-inch to fifteen, with an oval thrown in, I don’t need a home gym. I could go outside and get a great workout lifting Dutch ovens. I love using my fifteen, because I can cook large roasts and feed many people, using one pot.

Which brings us to the point. Several years ago, while attending a Dutch oven gathering, I watched a man attempt to roast a large piece of beef. It was about 20 lbs with the bone inside. He placed it in a big MACA oval at five p.m. We waited most of the night for it to cook.

A few years ago, while cooking at girl’s camp, I attempted to make a big pot of spare ribs in my fifteen-inch. Because it was taking so long, I ended up using two smaller pots and transferring them into the big pot, to simmer in the sauce.

The thing that neither of us took into account is mass. Sometimes it’s better to use more, shallow pots, in order to get everything cooked right. Big pots are wonderful, but it’s hard to stir several pounds of spareribs. And the larger the piece of meat, the longer it will take. Even at home on the range.

Every spring, we make beef stew, corn bread, and cobbler for the fourth grade in the school where my wife works. As part of their American history unit, the kids study the nineteenth century migrations and finish up with a day of period games, crafts, and Dutch oven cooking. It’s a great honor for us to be part of it.

Because of the number of kids, I’ve learned to appreciate large ovens, but I’ve also learned to make the stew in layers. I start with the onions, when they are done, I add meat chunks. Sometimes I use extra pots because I don’t want to overwhelm the oven. When the meat is done, I set it aside and start cooking the vegetables in the juices from the meat and onions. When the pot comes back up to temperature, I put the meat back, and add spices and make a roux, if needed.

The points are, I try not to let cold ingredients cool off the pot, and I cook in stages. Then, in the final step, the stew simmers for the better part of an hour. (The longer, the better.) The flavors blend just as well as if they had been sitting in the pot together the whole time.

A word of caution, however, If your guest list is small, you might want to cook less food in a smaller pot. That is, of course, unless you want to build up your muscles and have a freezer for the leftovers.

And yet another word, CampChef and lodge make a sixteen-inch, shallow pot, that can fill the need. The capacity is similar, and the area exposed to the heat, allows you to cook several pieces of meat at the same time.




10/8/09

Passing It On

By Keith Fisher

Okay I’m back again. I won’t apologize for not keeping up. I did that before, and at this point, you’re probably saying, all talk—no action.

I was working in my weed patch . . . I mean garden, the other day. When I came in after dark, I found a mess in the kitchen. Apparently, my daughter felt inspired to make something. She looked in our collection of Dutch oven recipes and set about making pizza bread from a recipe given to us by one of our friends.

We have a problem with our oven in the house, so I was given the charge of baking the bread in a Dutch oven. It went into the fridge over night, and I waited for her to come home from school. She had fun making it, but I don’t think she had much fun baking it.

As Dutch oven Cook off competitors, We used to look to the next generation for new competition. We had a desire to see the skills, we’d learned, passed on. It’s always gratifying to see a team of young people enter a cook off. We watch them, hoping to see them win the World Championship some day.

When my daughter was two, she often watched while I cooked, in my Dutch ovens. The little, gray things under the pots fascinated her. I warned her against touching them. I told her they would burn, and she knew what the word burn meant. It became a ritual, with me keeping an eye out, so she didn’t touch the coals.

One day, she was in the house. I went into the garden to get an onion. When I came back to my pots, she’d come outside and she touched a coal with the tip of her finger. She learned a lesson and she never touched the coals again. It broke my heart to see my little girl cry, but I also worried she would avoid Dutch oven cooking because of that one bad experience.

When the Lodge Manufacturing Company stopped making their original 5-inch Dutch ovens, and they became valuable, I put mine in my office to protect against theft. My daughter kept telling me it was hers, probably because it was her size.

Later, while attending a Dutch oven event, My daughter won the door prize and took home a brand new CampChef Dutch oven cast especially for a national retailer. Hers is one of the first ones. I use that oven but she reminds me it’s hers, and I know I’ll have to relinquish it when she grows up and moves away.

But one day, right after she received it, I convinced her she had to cook in the oven. We made Easy Baked Beans. She was proud to serve those beans to our guests and I thought she was hooked. Since then, however, she hasn’t shown much interest in it. I suppose because her old man is always cooking, why would she?

When she made bread the other day, my hope was renewed. When she went in to do her homework and left me to bake the bread, I went back to wondering.

I know that she knows how to cook, but I’m not sure she will ever compete. Her interest will come, around a campfire, while cooking for her family, and remembering her dad. In that day, we will be able to renew our connection and share a love of the old cast iron.

I’ve often joked that I’ll have my enemies serve as pallbearers . . . and I want to be buried with my extensive Dutch oven collection. Really though, I’ll leave them to my daughter with the instruction that if she doesn’t use them I’ll come back to haunt her. I kind of look forward to the time when I can look down and watch her use skills she didn’t know she had. Skills, she learned while watching me.

8/24/09

What's For Dinner




By Keith Fisher

The weather is cooling. Not many days of summer left. Some folks are planning their last big camping trip, or they’re thinking of having the in-laws over for dinner on the holiday. Just because it’s Labor Day doesn’t mean you have to labor.

I’ve been cooking in camp since I was little, and I’d used Dutch ovens many times before. Outdoor cooking at home, however, consisted of the propane barbecue, until one Saturday when my wife had to work. I wanted to make dinner for her, but I didn’t want to give up my gardening time.

I pulled a venison roast out the freezer, put it in the microwave to thaw, and retrieved our Dutch oven form the camping stuff. I set it in a wheelbarrow, and started the roast cooking. I dug some onions from the garden and added them. I dug some potatoes and added them. I dug some carrots and added them. I finished it off by picking corn on the cob, breaking them in half, and adding them to the top of the pot.

When it was done, there was way too much food for the two of us. I called my brother and my dad, and we had an impromptu party. We had loved entertaining in our backyard, but I found that when I invited people to a barbecue, some of them would come. When the invitation was for Dutch oven cooking, I rarely had anyone cancel.

It was all down hill after that. We got involved in competition, and ended up winning the World Championship in 2005.

The point here, is entertaining doesn’t have to be a big production. Put food in a Dutch oven and let it cook. Now, before you ask, “what do I cook”, I will tell you a basic secret. Many of my recipes start with two things. Onions and bell peppers. Dice them, and add them first. You may need a dab of olive oil to get started, but only a dab.

These vegetables contain water that cooks out, leaving moisture in the pot so the meat doesn’t burn, and they add flavor.

Here is a simple recipe.

1 white onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
6 chicken breasts cut in half
1 can cream of chicken soup
Dried rosemary to taste

With bottom heat only, (No coals in the center), sauté vegetables until translucent. Add chicken breasts and stir with the vegetables. Cover the pot, and let the meat cook. Stir occasionally. In 45 minutes, change the coals to fresh, hot ones. This is the time you add the soup. (You might want to use a second can.) Add rosemary and let simmer 45-minutes.

You will be amazed that you can eat the meat with a plastic fork. It will be a bit dry, but so tender. Spoon the sauce on the meat and the baked potatoes.

Next week I’ll tell you how to do potatoes.

8/9/09

What an Honor

By Keith Fisher

One of the ladies in my writer’s critique group got married yesterday. It was a joyous event for the bride and groom, and for all of us close enough to know how happy she is. Our good friend Kim Thompson is now Kimberly Job. She will be writing under her new, last, biblical name, and I think that’s great.

As part of the wedding, My wife and I were asked to cook a wedding dinner for the bride and groom and their guests. It was an honor. We cooked Pineapple glazed ham, Cheesy potatoes, Baked beans, Corn on the cob (in a water cooler), and Homemade Rootbeer. We planned to make cobblers, but the couple bought a cake and we didn’t want to compete with that.

Here is a taste treat:

Sauté’ d Mushrooms

Fill a 12-inch Dutch oven with large whole mushrooms. ¼ cup water, salt and pepper to taste. Then slice two cubes of butter into pats and place on top of the mushrooms, in the oven.
Place pot on twelve coals in a ring, (nothing in the center). Cook until tender, about 20 minutes.
Serve with steak, beef, and any meat. Or serve on the plate alone. Try leaving in the pot as appetizers and give your guests a toothpick.

Keeping a Promise


By Keith Fisher

A week ago, I promised to post a picture of the Pioneer day party I cooked for. As you know I was so busy, there wasn’t time for taking pictures. My friend was having an extended family party and took a couple. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a shot of the large group of people. He did get two shots of me.

Before you ask, Yes, I was cooking barefooted. No, I don’t recommend it. You could drop coals on your foot or do like I did, and drop your windscreen on it. (If the steel had been thinner, it might have cut my foot off.) I cooked barefoot, because the grass is heavily watered turning it into a swamp if you stand in one place too long. I had to take my shoes off last year too. But this year I wore shorts so my pant legs wouldn’t get wet.

As I said, I don’t recommend cooking without shoes, however, My feet were so comfortable! The swamp provided cushion. The water kept my feet cool, and by extension, me. I recently cooked a large meal with shoes on and my back hurt, my feet hurt, It was terrible. I know—I’ll get Harry Potter to cast a spell of protection on my feet . . . Hmmm, It could work.

8/7/09

Win a Dinner with the Author

Win dinner with Mark L. Shurtleff at the Market Street Grill and a free copy of "Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story"

Valor Publishing and Mark L. Shurtleff, Utah's Attorney General and the author of "Am I Not a Man? The Dred Scott Story" are excited to launch the following contest:

The first paragraphs in the "Am I Not a Man" The Dred Scott Story" echoes the cry of the oppressed and enslaved:

"To him, the river sang. It intoned but one word, repeated with every ripple, and lap, and tide. One word that began with a gurgle far to the North, crescendoed through the heart of a nation, and climaxed in the Deep South with such force that no power on earth could hold it back. One word that bled from every pore. One word: FREEDOM!"

The "Father of Waters" sang, not with the splash of waves lapping against the levee, for the Mighty Mississippi was wide, and thick, and slow. It slid like a solid mass of glacial mud that had been moving toward the sea since before the Fall of Adam. It was ancient by the time Moses led the Children of Israel out of slavery in Egypt. No, its melody was something more profound and ancient, and it harmonized with something deep inside Dred, and filled his very being so that he was powerless to ignore it. He turned toward the river, closed his eyes, and whispered the song of the slave."

To enter, please submit a 600-word essay on the concept of Freedom. Pay attention to your spelling and punctuation, and email your entry to the contests link at http://www.valorpublishinggroup.com. Our Selection Board will review the entries and select the winner, which will be announced here on our website on October 1, 2009 by 5:00 p.m. MST.

Prize: The winner will receive an autographed and personalized SPECIAL LIMITED FIRST EDITION of Am I Not A Man? The Dred Scott Story along with dinner for two with Mark L. Shurtleff, Utah State Attorney General, at the Market Street Grill in Salt Lake City, UT. (If the winner is located out of Utah, or otherwise not able to attend the dinner in Salt Lake City, a gift card will be awarded for a local restaurant.)

A quick announcement

I have an announcement for you.

Utah State Attorney General Mark Shurtleff’s ground-breaking new novel, “Am I Not A Man: The Dred Scott Story” is now available for preorder at a reduced price.

An illiterate slave, Dred Scott trusted in an all-white, slave-owning jury to declare him free. But after briefly experiencing the glory of freedom and manhood, a new state Supreme Court ordered the cold steel of the shackles to be closed again around his wrists and ankles. Falling to his knees, Dred cried, "Ain't I a man?" Dred answered his own question by rising and taking his fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Dred ultimately lost his epic battle when the Chief Justice declared that a black man was so inferior that he had "no rights a white man was bound to respect."Dred died not knowing that his undying courage led directly to the election of President Abraham Lincoln and the emancipation proclamation.

Dred Scott's inspiring and compelling true story of adventure, courage, love, hatred, and friendship parallels the history of this nation from the long night of slavery to the narrow crack in the door that would ultimately lead to freedom and equality for all men.

You can order your sale-priced, signed and numbered limited edition copy of “Am I Not a Man” by visiting http://www.valorpublishinggroup.com/ before Labor Day. There are only 5,000 copies of this special edition being printed and once they’re gone, they’re gone … and the sale price ends on Labor Day. You can request that Mark personalize your inscription, and your book will be mailed to you before the stores even get their copies. For more information, visit http://www.valorpublishinggroup.com/

8/1/09

Well Over 250

By Keith Fisher

I’ve been waiting for my friend to send me pictures to show you, but the Ward party went well. Remember, I mentioned, we were told there would be 250 people? There were many more.

We cooked four Pineapple glazed hams, Five batches in four pots of beans, five Turtle cakes, nine cobblers, and a pile of hotdogs. The line lasted for 35 minutes, and the ham ran out before the line did.

I promised to tell you about a new way to fix hot dogs. I’ve been making corn-on-the-cob in a water cooler for years. All you do is change the hot water once add butter and condensed milk. No fuss, and very little effort.

I wondered if it works for corn, why not hotdogs? I got several packages of hot dogs, put them in the cooler and added hot water, twice. They swelled up and were terrific. It not only worked but the ward loved them.

As you might imagine, I was as busy as a, one-armed paperhanger. If you’ve ever hung wallpaper, you know how busy that is. I didn’t get a single picture taken, however I have been promised copies of the ones my friend took. Maybe next time.

7/22/09

Did the Pioneers Make Lasagna?



By Keith Fisher

We were asked by our ward to cook on Pioneer day again this year. When you cook for your church group, It’s a good idea to cook something different each time. You don’t want people to think you’re a one-pot wonder. For that reason, we’ve been brainstorming.

Last year, we made Cheesy Potatoes, Barbecue Spareribs, Polynesian Chicken, Corn on the Cobb, and homemade Root Beer. I’ve been working on a couple of new lasagna recipes for this year, and I tried one for my critique group the other day. We’ve been planning, and counting, getting ready to make lasagna for 250.

So, we got the ingredients today. We’re making Three Pineapple glazed hams; two 15-inch pots of baked beans, nine cobblers and seven turtle cakes. I’ll let you know what happens.

On Sunday, I was asked what we planned to make. I said, "I’m not sure. Probably lasagna." He gave me a funny look and said, "Lasagna? That’s not very Pioneer-ish."

Well I had to admit that it wasn’t, but then again, neither is turtle cake. I was left to wonder about my choice. Then I was reminded that some Italian Mormon Converts immigrated to Utah too. As you might know, Pioneer day, in this state is for commemorating the day in 1847, when the bulk of the Mormon Pioneers entered the Salt Lake Valley.

I suppose that since meat was in short supply back then, I should make vegetable stew, and corn bread. Fruit cobblers would be out of the question.

If the truth were told, I bet our ancestors watch us celebrate with hamburgers, and hot dogs and wish they’d had food like that. I also think my ancestors will see the hams I’m making, and their spirits will salivate. If disembodied spirits could do that kind of thing.

My saving grace, I guess, is the baked beans. Pioneers had them. Of course I use two different kinds of meat and four different kinds of beans in mine, along with fresh bell peppers and onions.

Oh well, with all my romantic notions, I guess I’m really just a twentieth century guy after all. At least I cook like a nineteenth-century cook with my cast iron pots . . . uh, well, if it weren’t for the charcoal briquettes, my propane starter, and my steel cooking table.

Okay never mind. I hope you can use your Dutch ovens on Friday. Make your ancestors proud. It might help you appreciate what they went through.

Oh, I'm also trying something new with hot dogs. Let you know how that comes out too.


7/10/09

Catching Up

By Keith Fisher


Wow, what a summer this has been. Cooking Dutch oven and life changes have kept me busy but that’s not the reason I haven’t kept up with my blog. When I was writing this for yourLDSneighborhood, I had a deadline to meet. When the deadline disappeared, the procrastination started.


I must apologize to all you good people who follow my blog. I raise my little finger in the air and pinky swear that I will be better.


So, what should we talk about today? Over the past month, I have cooked a lot of Dutch oven. We cooked for the teachers on the last day of school, the young men, at the commemoration celebration. We cooked two pots for the family on Independence Day.


The pictures we took can be found at the links above. How is your summer? What have you cooked? Send an email or leave a comment. Next week, I’ll write something informative---see you next week.

5/23/09

Memories and Metal Pots

By Keith Fisher


Several years ago, our government set aside one day a year, specifically designed to remember those who died in the service to their country. Since then, Memorial Day has evolved into so much more.


Now, it’s a day to remember all our loved ones who’ve passed away. It’s a day off from work, a three-day weekend. The first real warm day to get outside.


In my family, we used to set aside part of the weekend to visit all the dead ancestors and place flowers on their grave. When my Grandfather died, my mother inherited his list. Grandpa visited every grave he knew about and since he raised peonies to sell, he gave the extras to his ancestors and placed color on their graves.


A few years ago, we started a tradition in my father’s family. After placing flowers on Grandpa’s grave, We’d go to the family home and visit. A picnic would ensue on Grandma’s front lawn. There were times over the years, when camping and fishing were the order of the day, and vacations were sometimes planned during that time, but we always migrated back to family members and the comforting feeling of being connected.


This year will be different for me. It’s the first Memorial Day since my father died. His headstone has been placed, waiting for the onslaught of those who miss him. I took a picture last year of Mom and Dad at his father’s grave. Who knew that we would be visiting him this year?

I’ve witnessed some interesting traditions practiced in cemeteries over the years including big family picnics on the grave. I’ve seen "super sized" fast food left on graves. Candy, letters, pictures, and solar walkway lights. The latter gave me cause to wonder for awhile when I passed the cemetery on the way home from my writers critique group.


I stopped one day, and discovered the lights. What a great idea, I thought. It was a nightlight in case the deceased woke in the middle of the night in unfamiliar surroundings. I guess it could be interpreted as an eternal flame?

Whatever your tradition, make your front yard the one everyone stops at. Start cooking in the morning. If you get the word out, they will show up, and you will be the host of a great party. Everyone will remember those who have passed. And they will remember you for the great food you cooked.

By the way, you’re invited to come to the Camp Chef DOG (Dutch oven gathering) It’s a pot luck party so come and cook something. June 6, at the Campchef plant in Logan, Utah. Address and more info to follow.

5/9/09

Mecca-The Convention Part Three




By Keith Fisher

Note there are more pictures here!

In Years past, the event was better attended and there were more cooks in the Taste of Dutch area. But 2009 was a great time. As you know, I spent a weekend last month at the Dutch oven Convention. Some folks call it the Mecca of Cast Iron Cooking.

The weekend started off great with the Dutch oven Gathering (DOG) picture a big potluck dinner where almost everyone cooks something in Dutch ovens and everyone is invited to try it. Great food, good friends old and new.




Because of mud in the campground area, we were allowed to dry camp in the parking lot this year. It reminded me of years past, when there were dozens on campers and trailers, people sleeping in the back of their trucks. Those were good times. Through it all was the food, and the love of cooking in Dutch ovens.
There weren’t as many people this year, but after the DOG, I brought out the portable campfire and we roasted marshmallows. Ranes Carter of Lehi, Utah, took us to Georgia by boiling peanuts in a Dutch oven. It’s a taste treat, although uncommon here, is very popular in the south. John Foster from Duchesne, Utah, brought out his guitar. Omar Alverez, of Idaho, Dutch oven cook and 2008 World Champion, played his washboard. They entertained us with sing along music, and poetry.

Others told stories and we enjoyed the campfire until bed time.
The next morning started early when the doors of the convention opened at nine. Classes started on time and the wisdom was priceless. This event has to be the best source of Dutch oven information there is. I’m very surprised anyone missed it.

The Vendors set up in building two along with International Dutch oven society. They included, Ram Kitchen Supplies, Winder Dairy and Farms, Colleen Sloan representing many vendors and teaching. There were Camp Chef, Lodge, and Warthog Blade Sharpeners. In the past, this has been a very lucrative event for Vendors. The advertising was priceless.
In the third building, the Youth Challenge Cook off was held, along with Taste of Dutch cooks. Here, we admired the abilities of the young people, while rewarding our salivating taste buds with many different kinds of food, cooked in Dutch ovens. These guys even provided recipes.

At Three p.m. and after a great day of Dutch oven mania, members of International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS) met for the annual meeting. Many new members attended their first assembly.

And then it was over. In the past, I hated the rush of trying to get packed up and on the road before dark, while saying goodbye to my old friends. This year, we stayed over and got home before church on Sunday.

All in all, the event, a precious gem, remains an untapped resource and it surprises me. So many people tell me they would love to learn to use their Dutch ovens. But they don’t take the time to come and learn from the experts. Other than World Champions, most of those who taught and demonstrated were your friends and neighbors. People who, just like you, wanted to learn to cook in their Dutch oven.

There will be another one next year. Make up you mind that spring 2010 will be when you start having the time of your life. It will be the beginning of many backyard parties and camping trips your family will remember forever.

And I’ll be there---I’ll bring the campfire.

Note:


You are invited to the launch party for Tristi’s new book, Saturday May 16th, 3-5 p.m. at Provident Book in Pleasant Grove (661 W State Street) Refreshments, door prizes, sales ... you'll have a wonderful time! And bring a friend!

5/5/09

My Belated Blog-Convention, Part Two

By Keith Fisher


Two weeks ago, at the Dutch oven convention I promised the cooks of the youth cook off I would write a story and post it here. I told them I wrote for YourLDSneighborhood.com. Since then, the neighborhood has discontinued the blogs, and I’ve been busy with life.


I’m at a writer’s workshop today but I am continuing my series of blogs about the convention and today is the cook off. (See guys I told you I’d put you on the internet.)

I planned to be on vacation at the convention this year. I wanted to meet old friends, make new ones, eat a little, and joke a lot. When Terry Lewis, the current world champion and the person running the cook off told me a couple of his judges didn’t show up, I said sure. I always love watching the kids cook. By and large, they are better cooks than we are because they don’t follow the same conventions that we do.


I have lots of reasons, but I think the most important, knowing there is another generation coming up that will continue my love of Dutch oven cooking. Long after us "oldsters" have given in to our broken backs, the kids will still be providing food and propagating smiles. See more pictures here

This year, we had three teams.



Tanner Jacobsen of Tooele, Utah. He’s been cooking in Dutch ovens for three or four years. He cooked Beef Meal In One and Strawberry Braid.




Taylor and Nicole Baugh, sisters, from Bountiful, Utah, have been cooking in Dutch ovens for three or four years but mostly, they’ve been watching Mom and Dad. They cooked Stuffed Roast Beef and Mandarin Orange Cheesecake Bread Pudding.


Kenny Ludwig from Fruitland, Utah. He’s been cooking since September and he made Beef Enchilada and Spiced Apple Pear Pie.


The dishes they cooked were delicious, and made me glad I’m not entering cook offs these days. In a couple of years these guys are going to more than hard to beat. With advice, (and only advice) from an adult supervisor, these young people went to work preparing their dishes with a professional flair.


As the Main dish Judge, I had me work cut out for me. But I was in the company of World Champions, and we had our day in the sun. Now it’s time for the kids to shine.


In the end, the winners were Taylor and Nicole Baugh – first place, Kenny Ludwig – second, and Tanner Jacobsen – third. They couldn’t have been more thrilled. They took home, coveted prizes and of course, the bragging rights.

4/24/09

The convention Part One

by Keith Fisher

There is so much to say about the Dutch oven concention that I'm going to tell you about it in several pages. Also, I'm at a writer's conference today, so I have a guest blooger who is going to explain why he's here and what the subject is.

But, first, you should know, I looked around at the faces at the conference this year and noticed many missing friends. Ross and Angie Conlin are two of the originals and they are still here. While many of us get tired of packing cast iron, they are still enthused. So without further ado, here's Ross:

I was asked by Keith Fisher to write about 2 things. 1-Why I would travel to Salt Lake from American Falls Idaho to participate in the International Dutch Oven society’s Spring convention and 2- Why I am still involved in Dutch oven cooking in general. I hope at the conclusion of this article I have answered both of those questions.


I was raised in Preston, Idaho, a very much LDS community where family values are taught from a very young age. This would also be where the family spends time together learning and sharing things with each other. This was my case as I had the many experiences as a young boy with my family in outing at Willow flat on the Cub River near Preston.


As I was growing up, my father worked in the local meat packing plant and we always had good meat for any outing. It was during these outings that my father introduced me to the art of Dutch oven cooking. He would always have the Dutch oven potatoes and meat. He explained how the cast iron was so essential to having good flavors in the food. This was being done with coals from the fire whereas we did not have so much access to charcoal at that time in my life.


The next step was learning to cook from my mother. As a young boy, I would stand on a stool next to my mother where she taught me how to bake breads and desserts. It was these young years where the foundational of my Dutch oven cooking began. That love of cooking has never diminished from my soul.


I had opportunities as a young scout to also cook with the Dutch oven but it was not until I was married and had a family and I began to spend as much time as I could in the outdoors with them teaching them the things that my father and mother had taught me, that I truly began to appreciate the efforts of my parents to instill in me the importance of family get-togethers and learning from each other.


As my boys grew into scouts, I began to participate in the Boy Scouts of America as a scout leader. In doing so I was able to instill those ideas I had learned at a young age with these new youths as well as my own boys. I could see the need for more understanding in teaching Dutch oven cooking. I also was able to spend time on many, many Adult leader training sessions and was able to show what great food could come from a Dutch oven.


It was about this time that Dick Michaud along with Mike and Wally Kolher and their wives began to have competitions and later started the International Dutch Oven Society. My wife, Angie, and I began to cook in these competitions and were very successful. It was here that we came across the most wonderful people from all walks of life that had that same passion that we did for Dutch oven cooking. They became instant friends. It was this same time that we began to teach Dutch oven cooking in the Outdoor program at Idaho State University in Pocatello, Idaho.

Once again during these classes we met young people who were hungry to learn about his skill.
With all the friendships we have made over the last 25 years during the Dutch oven gatherings, workshops throughout the northwest and all the students which we have came in contact with; my question would be to everyone else, "Why would I NOT want to come to these gatherings?" To associate with such fantastic people is pure pleasure.


If I was retired and had nothing else to do I would still be traveling from American Falls, Idaho to each event some where in the United States to show my support in Dutch oven cooking. I truly love to cook in the Dutch oven, share friendships and time with others who have the same passion. Even with the physical challenges of age it is such a please for me to cook for others and teach them everything I have learned in cooking in Dutch ovens.


Ross Conlin

4/16/09

Great Fun Big Appetites

By Keith Fisher


Again, I want to continue with the announcement about the BIG Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG), and international convention. Held April 17-18 at Davis county fairgrounds, (Farmington, Utah).

You can call the county and make reservations to camp on Friday night. I will be there with my portable campfire. After eating at the BIG Dutch oven potluck dinner on Friday evening, you can stop by and roast a marshmallow or three. The convention starts on Saturday morning. There will be vendors, classes, demonstrations and lots of food to taste. It lasts all day, and admission is free.

My truck broke down this morning, It snowed a pile and other stuff. I might not be at the convention this year. Cross your fingers and hold your breath.



In the meantime, I want to tell you about last week:

It started early and the canyon wind was cold. We were there to cook for one hundred fifty, students, helpers, and teachers. At the school where my wife works, the fourth grade has a yearly activity. To mark the end of the American history unit on the westward migration, the students learn nineteenth century crafts, games, and eat a lunch semi-indicative of the time period.

Me and my wife have been cooking the Dutch oven dinner for a few years now. This year, we made Three large pots of beef stew, six 14-inch corn breads, and eight cobblers.
I cooked the corn bread in my carport the night before which helped with Dutch oven space. We had some parents to help prepare and serve but I did all the cooking.


By the time we served, the kids were hungry and the food turned out great. We had many of the kids come tell us how good they thought it was, and that’s the payoff, the reason we do it.

I've attached some recipes for you.





Big chunk Beef Stew

by Keith Fisher
12-inch deep Dutch oven

3 lb. cross rib beef roast
10 small potatoes
9 large carrots
1 large onion
5 beef bouillon cubes

1 ½ cup flour
warm water
salt and pepper to taste


(Note Packets of Stew seasoning can be substituted for the bouilon cubes)

Cut beef into ¾ to ½ inch slices then cube. Put into a 12 inch Dutch oven with a little oil and brown. Remove meat and set aside. Dice onion and sauté in the juice of the beef. Peel and dice potatoes and carrots and add with 2 cups water and 2 bouillon cubes. Return the meat and stir. Cover and cook with 10 coals on the bottom and 16 on top.

When a fork can be inserted easily into the potatoes and carrots, add enough water to almost cover the contents, then add 3 crushed bouillon cubes. Bring temperature back up and mix flour with enough water to make a paste about the consistency of waffle batter. Add flour mixture to stew for thickening being careful not to add too much.

Let it cook about 15 minutes more and it's done.


Best Corn Bread
Wendy Fisher
10-inch or 12-inch Dutch oven We increase amounts and make this in 14-inch Dutch ovens.


2 eggs
1 cups milk
2 cups Bisquick
2 tbs Heaping corn meal
1 1/2 cube marg
1/2 tes baking soda
1 cup Sugar


Beat eggs ,add milk melted marg to eggs. Put all dry Ingerdients together then Put in egg mixture. Mix well. Grease a 10"Dutch oven, or if you Double the recipe put it in a 12" Dutch Oven. Grease oven and Flour well. Put 9 on bottom 15 on top for a 325 degrees for 30 to 35 min.


The Cobblers were just dump cobblers and we have talked about them before.

Remember to use club soda instead of sprite or 7-up for less sweet.
two cans pie filling
one cake mix dry
one can club soda

In a 12-inch Dutch oven, spread pie filling on the bottom. sprikle cake mix on top. break up lumps. club soda to cover and bake. 15 coals on top. 9 on the bottom. when cake is done eat.


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4/9/09

Bread Magic Part Two

By Keith Fisher

Here are the pictures I took of the bread makers at Worlds

Are you ready to continue our discussion about baking bread? Well, first I want to continue with the announcement about the BIG Dutch Oven Gathering (DOG), and international convention. Held April 17-18 at Davis county fairgrounds, (Farmington, Utah).

You can call the county and make reservations to camp on Friday night. I will be there with my portable campfire. After eating at the BIG Dutch oven potluck dinner on Friday evening, you can stop by and roast a marshmallow or three. The convention starts on Saturday morning. There will be vendors, classes, demonstrations and lots of food to taste. It lasts all day, and admission is free.

Now, the bread---last time, we talked about yeast and kneading. I hope you made bread dough and developed a personal relationship with it. Did you play with your dough? Do you know how it feels when you are finished kneading? One thing that all bread makers will tell you is, ingredients and yeast quality aside, kneading the dough is perhaps the most important part of bread.

If you don’t get it right, If you don’t trap the gluten and carbon dioxide in the dough (and distribute them), you will have heavy bread. It will still be good to eat, but it won’t have the perfect cell structure you can see from a bread machine, or the bakery.

Okay I’ve pressed and turned and pounded (get it) kneading long enough. Lets move on to the next steps.

Now that your dough is perfect and you have a relationship with it. (Not a romance, but a relationship). You are ready for the first rise. I’ve heard that letting dough rise in the wrong bowl can hamper your efforts.

They say metals react to yeast, and glass is too smooth and sterile. Wood has pores that collect yeast from the air, which is good. I use a big green Tupperware, bowl. Whatever the material, make sure you have something to cover it with, try to make that bowl the only bowl you use, and dedicate it to the cause.

Okay, time to chat with your neighbor. Like new seeds just planted, Leave the dough alone. It will rise. (You did make sure your yeast was good? Didn’t you?) Have faith in the yeast and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes (the amount of time, is up to you.)

After the dough ball has doubled, punch it down, knead a bit, and form the bread. What’s it going to be? Dinner rolls, full loafs, round loafs, baguettes? I’m mostly going to talk about rolls. But I will show you some others.

Take your big dough ball and start dividing. If it’s braided bread, you will need to make three ropes of equal size. If it is a round loaf, form it by tucking it under itself. If you’re making rolls. You will need at least 24 balls of dough, a little smaller than a fist. How you do that, can vary. Some people take a likely amount of dough in their hands and roll it into a ball. (Possibly the reason they are called rolls?)

I watched a man as he kneaded the dough, then he squeezed off perfect sized balls. Just like a well-oiled machine. He kneaded the batch after every two or three rolls and started again. When he finished making balls, He dipped each ball in melted butter and arranged them in his pot, spacing them to allow for raising.

After you have formed your bread, let it rise again. The bread will double in size and be full of reproduced yeast and gluten loving carbon dioxide. Remember from last week, yeast makes bread light and fluffy, Yeast byproducts make bread taste good. Do you see why we let it rise twice?

My friend, Debbie hair lets the dough rise twice before forming then a third time before baking. If you have good yeast and a warm kitchen this will give you great tasting bread. But Yeast gets tired like we do, so be careful. In my opinion, there is nothing worse than rolls that are flat and hard.

Okay, we’ve gone through the rise and our rolls look fantastic. Now all we need it to bake them. This is where the outdoor cook will differ from the cook using an oven at home. A Dutch oven is just that, an oven. The food is placed directly in the oven and the heat is applied to the outside. No difference right? Okay, there are differences, but believe me when I say, barring bread machines, it really is easier to bake in a Dutch oven, in camp, then in your kitchen.

Remember the rule for coal placement? We will be baking, so we need even distribution of the coals. Now that you have refreshed your memory about coal placement, We will need aprox. 350- 400 degrees and a coal pattern conducive to baking. You don’t need coals in the center under the oven. (The center takes care of itself.)

Be sure to place your bottom ring of coals so they overhang the edge slightly. This will promote heat rising up the sides and browning your bread on all edges. Contrary to certain claims made by certain charcoal companies, every coal does not burn the same. Some are hotter, and some burn longer.

Because of this, you will need to rotate the food between the heat source. More than with other foods, bread will burn where there is a hot spot. So, every fifteen minutes or so, while cooking, turn the lid, ¼ turn and rotate the oven ¼ turn. This will keep the food moving and the hot spots won’t have time to burn the bread.

Are you excited about hot bread with melting butter dripping down your fingers? Good, you’d better get some butter ready, because the bread is almost done. Most have their own method to determine if Bread is done or not. With hard crusted breads, thump the crust with your finger. It will sound kind of hollow.

Some cooks stick a Thermometer probe in and wait for the inside to reach a certain temperature. Some people look for color. I say, It’s up to you. Other than the fact that fillings in stuffed bread often need to be a certain temperature, it’s really up to you. After you have baked bread, you will get your own sense of when it’s done. If you burn it slightly, eat around the burns. If it’s doughy in the center, eat the crust. Every time you bake, take mental notes.

Now let me tell you about Gratitude. When you see the face of your little child, your wife, or husband, and they are enjoying that hot piece of buttered bread. You will know you made it from scratch with loving hands, and you will be glad you made the effort. I will be glad I had a part in persuading you to try it. If you bake it in a Dutch oven, then all the better.

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4/3/09

Bread Magic



By Keith Fisher

First, I need to make an announcement. The International Dutch Oven Society’s Annual Spring convention and Dutch oven potluck dinner will be held April 17 and 18 at the Davis county fairgrounds in Farmington Utah. This is your opportunity to learn from the experts, have fun, and eat good food. More about that later but you can get more information at http://www.idos.org/.

Back in the days before countertop machines and corner convenience stores, people made bread every few days. They didn’t fuss over, or worry about it. They just made bread. It was either that, or they went without.

It wasn’t that long ago either. Many people over forty remember bread dough rising in their mother’s kitchen. I remember the big Tupperware bowl my mother used. Often times, even though it goes against common wisdom, she put the dough in the fridge to let it rise. Keeping it cool delayed having to deal with it, and kept the dough from taking over the kitchen.

Like snippets of joy, the memories of hot, fresh baked bread, smothered in butter, will be forever cherished. I always fought with my brother for the heel, because it was always best when hot. (lousy for sandwiches). We were chastised many times for cutting both heels off a hot loaf. Without the support of a heel the hot bread would fall. (Again, lousy for sandwiches.)

In homemaking circles today, there seems to be a reluctance to attempt the bread making process. I have heard some people tell me they suck at bread. It’s true, some people make better bread than others, but its only because of fear and lack of a relationship to bread dough. I will explain later, but first I want to share what I learned at the cook off.

When I asked, what is the secret to good bread? Ross and Angie Conlin from American Falls, Idaho said, "Practice, practice, and practice." I know that sounds a little flippant, but it’s true.

Will and Jen Ward of Stockton, Utah said, "Lot’s of love."

Tony Thayne of Carbon County, Utah said, "Don’t be afraid of it."

Terry Lewis of Tabiona, Utah said, "Be patient. Use good ingredients."

Debbie Hair of Murray, Utah said, "Add your flour gradually and stick to a method." Baking bread is a science according to her.

Bruce Tracy of Ogden, Utah said, "Before you knead, put all your ingredients in a bowl except most of the flour. Then beat the &%3#2 out of it." He feels it’s most important to put air in the dough.

Phil Newman said, "If you can see the fibers and gluten when you stretch the dough, then you’re finished kneading. But," he said, "You can’t over-knead bread dough."

As you can tell from this small cross section of bread makers there are as many ways to make bread as there are bakers, but that should not discourage you. It just goes to show that it’s hard to screw it up.

The basics are simple. Yeast, kneading, first rise, second rise, forming, and baking. Of course the most important step is enjoying, but let's get you to that point.

First is yeast. There are many types of bread that don’t need to rise, but flat bread, corn bread, and pita’s are not what we’re talking about. There are many kinds of yeast. The little microorganisms of yeast are all around us. When a baker uses sourdough, he is encouraging the growth of natural yeast.

According to Daniel Leader in the book Bread Alone. With dry yeast, these micro cells remain dormant until mixed with warm water and flour. Then, they begin to consume the sugars in the flour. Note: adding sugar makes the yeast lazy. When the yeast consumes the sugars in the flour, they reproduce, and leave by-products of carbon dioxide and alcohol. The carbon dioxide, when trapped with well-developed gluten, starts fermentation. The alcohol flavors the bread.

Okay the simple fact is this, good yeast and warm temperature makes great tasting bread. Proof your yeast by adding it to warm water. If it bubbles, it’s alive. If not get some more. This is why bread makers mix the yeast first.

Next to yeast, kneading is perhaps the most important step. So many bakers grow afraid of kneading. Remember: Pie dough doesn’t like touching. Bread dough loves it. So how do you know when you’ve kneaded enough? See above. Debbie Hair uses her science and kneads for exactly 10 minutes. Terry Lewis said, When it’s soft not quite sticky. It just feels right." Tony Thayne said, "Knead till your arms hurt. You are the Kitchenaide." The one thing everyone said is it’s done by feel, and I agree.

The terms soft, not sticky, and elastic are very important to remember. I once watched a master bread maker as she kneaded her dough. She slapped it around, tossed it onto the board, and pushed the heel of her hand into it. She put love into it.

Okay. Now I want to you to use any bread recipe. Make dough and start kneading it. You gave your kids Playdough. Now you do it with real dough. Have fun and learn the feel of it. Next week, I will finish this discussion.

Here's a secret. If you have a mechanical bread maker, make dough and stop, take the dough out and feel it. Stretch it. Knead it. You will begin to get the idea. Also remember to spread flour on your kneading surface. It will prevent sticking while you knead.


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3/27/09

May God Bless You




By Keith Fisher

I know I promised to write about bread today, but I’m going to flake out. You see we buried my father a week ago and you could say It’s time to fall apart I’m not given to displays of grief and I’m very happy for my dad. Just being able to see again made him, (I’m sure) dance with joy and I never saw him dance.

Anyway, my fall apart stems from a hard couple of months and I need to take the day off. So, I’m going to do the bread thing next week. Oh and one more thing: I’m not telling you this because I’m looking for sympathy so don’t feel you need to say anything. Although, I am very grateful for all the support and condolence I have received.

I’m going to post the talk I gave at Dad’s funeral. Do you remember the blog I wrote called Finding Dad for Christmas? I read that to him right after it went into the YourLDSNieghborhood Newsletter and he was touched. I hope he was equally touched when he heard this at the funeral.

After the operation that determined the stomach cancer was inoperable, I went to visit dad in the hospital. When I walked in, he was listening to a nurse telling him that he had to wear those things on his legs that improve circulation in a hospital bed.

Dad didn’t like it and told them his wife believed they gave her blood clots. The nurse told him that wasn’t possible and she had to put them on or she would get in trouble.
After they were attached, Dad said, "I return to what I said before."
"What is that, sir?" she asked.

Dad said, "If I’m dying, what does it matter?"

That’s how dad dealt with the cancer that ended his life. He patiently bore all the infirmities that came his way. It will be 23 years this Christmas since Dad stepped on a piece of grating at the moment it was knocked loose, and Dad fell approximately 90 feetto the floor below, hitting various things on the way down.

At that time, all of his loved ones used their faith and prayers to keep him here. Personally I wasn’t ready to let him go. I needed him.

Since then, he faced everything that came along. When his left ventricle blew out, he survived a very unusual operation. He had rotator cup surgery, Thyroid cancer, and other things. The one thing, however, that hit him the hardest was his macular degeneration. His vision slowly grew worse until he couldn’t see well enough to weld.

Dad had always loved to work and to weld. He called me one day, to come and weld something for him, and I knew it was bad because he asked me to weld. It was a big blow to him when he couldn’t see to tie his own fishing line, but dad bore it all patiently.

I once asked him if he knew he was here because we had prayed to keep him here and he said he knew and he was touched that we would love him so much to want to keep him around.

23 years ago, I recognized the need to be closer to my dad. I decided to make it count. We went camping and dragged mom and dad along to cook offs we told them we needed a baby sitter along, but we always traveled in two separate cars and I enjoyed the long talks I had with dad.
During those talks he would often talked about my brothers and other family members. He wanted the best for all his sons and as I said he was pleased.

During the twenty-three years I spoke of, Dad and I evolved. You see, when I was young, Dad and I had an adversarial relationship. Perhaps the word is too extreme but I was a wayward son, and he was doing his best to keep from cracking my skull.

Sometime after high school, he discovered a better way of dealing with me. It brought us closer and we became best friends. His loving the sinner, not the sin approach made me realize I could be a part of his family even with all my problems.For many years we had long "bull sessions". We talked about hunting, fishing, and cars. When I came back to church, we added religion. After
I got married, we added gardening and greenhouse techniques.

And Always, if I had a project to do, or car to fix, he’d be there getting me out of bed to get started on it. I can’t begin to estimate how much it would have set me back in wages had I paid him what he deserved.

When he had his heart attack, we’d been cutting down hardwood trees at my grandmother’s house. He couldn’t let the firewood go to waste, and we had a limited time to gather the wood before the road crew came in and demolished the land. From his hospital bed, he told me he was sorry, but he wouldn’t be able to finish the job.

Many times, we discussed my problems, while riding around the mountains on the deer hunt. He often stopped and showed me a spot where this or that happened when he was young. I was grateful to see my dad in that light.

The last time Dad carried a rifle on the hunt, he asked me to walk with him. Like an idiot I had forgotten to bring my license, and couldn’t carry a rifle. So naturally, he asked me to carry his. That was when he admitted to me that he wouldn’t be able to tell if the deer we saw were bucks or does.

As we are fond of saying in the church, the Lord closes a door but opens another. Dad subscribed to a service that gave him a player and sent him books on tape. He’d listen to them and send them back for more. I think he read more books that way, than I will ever read. About that time I got serious about my writing career. When I came home from writer’s conferences, I’d tell him about the new author friends I’d met, and he’d order their books.We started talking about literature, and my own writing. We critiqued other writer’s books together. I am so grateful I had that opportunity. He lost his sight and I started writing. We had something else to talk about.

It has been a wonderful twenty-three years, and now its time for him to go. But he left us stronger, better people than we were before.

Thanks for your patience.
I had a great dad and I’m sure that most of you can say the same. I’ll be back next week.



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3/20/09

Oh, what an Honor



By Keith Fisher

In order to achieve notoriety for the event, the directors of the World Championship Dutch Oven Cook Off have been getting Judges who are celebrities, professional chefs, or both. This year they asked me.

I was privileged to rub shoulders with former world champions and a few celebrities as well. What an honor it was for me to be chosen to be one of three main dish judges in the finals on Saturday.

We were charged with evaluating the meat dishes, in order to help choose the new grand champions. They would have the bragging rights for a year.

The cook off ran like a well-oiled machine due in large part, to the organizational skills of Ranes Carter. I watched, and went about my other purpose, the purpose of learning about making bread for the readers of this blog. I asked several of the cooks and a few judges to explain the process. I took many pictures, and got a lot of information. More about that later.

While watching, I began to reminisce. It was ten years ago that I cooked in the World Championship for the first time. We had qualified that year by default. In those days if the winner of a cook off had already qualified for Worlds, then it was given to the second place winners. Since we tied for second with another team who had already qualified, We were sent to compete at the big event.

When we arrived, we drew our pit number from a Dutch oven, and set up under the tent. I fell in love with talking to the spectators. Perhaps nerves got the best of us I started cooking the potato garnish too soon and it turned to mush. The peppermint strawberry angel food cake turned out great. The beef roast was . . . well, beef. The bread rolls were plain.

We took 11th out of twelve teams. The team that took first was the same team we had tied with for second place at the other cook off. Go figure. After seven or eight years of cook offs and six years of world championships, We final took first. We were grand champions. There had been a pile of tweeked recipes, dozens of failures, and a full court of idiotic judges.

At one cook off, while removing our pie, it slipped away and most of it ended up on the floor. We were told to serve what hadn’t hit the floor. That cook off was supposed to be judged on a separate dish basis. Meaning, we should’ve been able to win first place with a main dish. You guessed it we were marked down for not serving the whole pie. Our main dish was great, but it wasn’t given a chance because of the pie. I went home and considered giving up.

At another cook off, it was so hot, and we were so exhausted, I didn’t care anymore. But I kept going because it was our hobby. In 2005, I had just lost a job and we didn’t care anymore. We had qualified during the previous year so we went to worlds. We told each other it was the last time.

How liberating it is to not care. You’re free to cook how you want. I nailed my meat for perhaps the first time. To our great astonishment, we took first, and became Grand champions for 2005. Now I’m a has-been, but I see others on the path, and my heart goes out to them.

So this is for those who would be winners of the big dance. Yes, its painfully true, teams spend a lot of money getting there. It’s frustrating with practice, food costs, travel, and aggravating judges.

It’s also true, that we never really started to win until we let it go. We decided if we couldn’t have fun, we didn’t want to do it. When sportsmanship suffers, the vision becomes clouded. I have seen poor sportsmanship in many forms, including my own and it just isn’t worth it.

As I said, it was my great honor to be a judge this year. To see the kinds of food presented by the best cooks in the world. I am in awe of the talent displayed and everyone deserves to win. In jest, many spectators ask how to become a judge, and I laugh. The truth is, it’s harder than you think. There were twelve different meat dishes, and every one of them was exceptional, and deserved to win. How do you choose?

Personal preference plays a large part. In the end it boils down to how hard the dish is to make, and if it tastes good enough to go back for seconds, thirds, and whether I want to have it inserted in my veins through an IV. That’s what happened with me. I gave everyone similar scores but I gave three better scores. And I sat down wishing everyone could win.

I would judge that cook off again just for the honor. And this year was a great event. Perhaps the best we’ve had since we left the tent. All-in-all, I miss the days of the tent and the good friends I had.

I will share the bread secrets next week, but for this week I have great news. The man I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, became the first person to ever win the World’s Championship twice. First place went to Terry Lewis of Tabiona, Utah and his daughter Tori. More about them and the dishes they cooked later. For now, this is long enough.


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3/13/09

The Big Show and Bread


By Keith Fisher

It started! When I first got into Dutch oven cooking competition, the world championship was held one day a year. All the pre-qualified Dutch oven cooks scheduled to cook, met in a tent on the Jensen Historic Farm in Wellsville, Utah.

Since then, the event moved indoors as part of the International Sports Exposition in Sandy, Utah. The necessity of cropping down the number of cooks was met by having qualifying cook offs throughout the year. Now, there are so many cook offs there is a semifinal system held over three days at the event.


I am writing this on Friday, March 13 and the first semifinal was held yesterday. It produced six qualifying teams to move on to the finals. There is another semifinal going on right now with the main event tomorrow. I have the great honor of helping to judge the main dishes tomorrow so I’ll let you know.


Last week in this blog, I talked about texture and quality of the substance we call the staff of life. I promised to write about it and tell you how to achieve great results. Since I’ll be associating with many of my old friends at the cook off, I thought I’d ask them to share with us their secrets. You can ask them too. Send me your questions and I’ll ask the experts.


Send me an email at bloghole57 at yahoo dot com.



YourLDSneighborhood has added exciting new things to its website. Please drop by and take a look, browse around, check out our vendors, our radio station, our authors, our musicians and more. Check out the Neighborhood.

And while you're there, subscribe to the yourLDSneighborhood Newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources and interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

3/6/09

More than a Trend

By Keith Fisher

When we started competing in cook offs, Practically everyone made rolls for their bread entry. Many types of flour were used to create some of the most beautiful circle of rolls ever seen.
In those days, we strove to make a bread that was light and airy, full of the little holes yeast make, the kind of bread you can buy in the bakery.

Then the cooks, (me included), began to experiment with other types of bread. I made a cheese-garlic Italian round loaf that I enjoyed. One judge asked, "Did you know the crust was hard?"
"Yes," I said. "It’s supposed to be."

The trend moved toward different herbs, flat breads as well as, baguettes. After a while cooks began to bake cheese, and meats into the bread. A whole new trend had started.

Now a bread judge gets to taste a wide variety of lunches disguised as simple bread rolls or loafs and baguettes. I have tasted bread dishes that when cut into pieces were much better sandwiches than can be purchased at Subway or Hoagie Yoagie.

If you are thinking of cooking in a future cook off, don’t despair. There are many judges who,
(like me), still analyze the quality of the bread itself. Some cooks don’t bother making a good bread. They rely on the stuffing to wow the judges, so you have a chance. Learn to make bread. The skill will serve you well.

I will take a future blog and show you what I mean by bread quality and I’ll teach you how to make it. But for now, here’s the winning bread recipe from Klondike. It’s a meal in a roll, and I think you’ll love it.

Parmesan Chicken Rolls
By Terry and Stuart Lewis
Made in a 10, and a 12-inch Dutch oven.

Bread
1 tablespoon SAF yeast
1 ½ cups warm water
1 cup melted butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup powdered milk
2 teaspoons vital wheat gluton
5-6 cups flour
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Filling
2 large chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)
1 8oz package of cream cheese
3 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup canned green chilies
salt and pepper to taste

Place Chicken breasts in a 10-inch Dutch oven with one cup of water. Cook using 14 coals top and 7 on the bottom for 50-60 minutes.

Mix water, yeast and sugar in a small non-metallic bowl. Cover and set aside for ten minutes.
In a large bowl, mix two cups flour, powdered milk, and Gluton. Add eggs, ½ cup melted butter, salt, and yeast mixture. Mix well. Add enough flour to make soft dough. Place in a clean, greased, warm, 12-inch Dutch oven to raise.

When chicken is cooled, shred it and mix with cream cheese, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Gently mix in the chilies.

When risen, punch down dough and roll flat. Brush with remaining melted butter, and sprinkle with half of the Parmesan cheese. Cut 12, three-inch circles using a glass biscuit cutter.
Place one rounded tablespoon of filling on each circle. Fold circle in half and seal. Place rolls in a well greased, warm 12-inch Dutch oven. Cover and let rise.

Bake using 16-18 coals on top and 8-9 on bottom for about 35-45 minutes. About ten minutes before rolls are expected to be done, sprinkle remaining parmesan cheese on top and finish baking. Rolls will be golden brown.

Remove rolls from oven and brush with butter while hot.

Don't forget the World Championship Cook off is next weekend see IDOS website for more info

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2/26/09

Smokin’ Maple ribs from Klondike and the Main Event


By Keith Fisher

Last week I posted the winning team’s desert from Klondike Cook off. We all know, desert should always come first, so I posted the Terry and Stuart Lewis’s pie.

This week, I’m going to post my absolute favorite dish from the cook off. I’ve always been a meat person. I’ve taken pride in my main dish recipes. When I looked at Terry Lewis’s sauce, I accused him of stealing it from me. When, while judging, I tasted the sauce, I knew it was much better. The rib dish Terry served was stand-alone. When they applied the sauce, they created heaven on a bone.

It’s likely they would have won best main dish with the meat alone, but Terry went on to make a rice bed that was mouthwatering. When I added the sauce, the rice almost (not quite though, are you kidding) made me forget the ribs.

So here, with that build up, is the recipe for . . .


Smokin’ Maple Bacon Ribs with Buttered Rice
By Terry and Stuart Lewis, winners of 2009 Klondike Dutch oven Cook off.

Ribs
2 racks baby back ribs (1 ½ lbs each rack)
favorite pork rub
2 oranges (sliced)
2 bottles beer

Sauce
8 slices bacon
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 bottle beer
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup orange or peach marmalade
1 ½ cups catsup
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon mustard powder
2 teaspoons hot sauce
2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
½ teaspoon Liquid smoke
salt to taste

Rice
2 tablespoons butter
1 ½ cups white rice
½ teaspoon salt
3 cups chicken stock
handful flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste



  • Remove membrane from the backside of each rack. Cut between each rib.
  • Rub al sides with your favorite rub. Place ribs in a zip loc bag to marinate (at least one hour)
  • Start sauce. Cut bacon into ½ inch chunks. fry until cooked. Add onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are tender.
  • Add one bottle of beer. Stirring to loosen all the bits that are stuck to the bottom. Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to medium/low and continue to cook until reduced by half.
  • Add remaining ingredients and return to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 15-minutes longer, stirring occasionally.
  • Place ribs in a 12-inch Dutch oven. Add sliced orange, ½ bottle beer (to cover the ribs).
    Simmer for 1 ½ to 2 hours.
  • When ready, remove ribs and discard boiling mixture. Dip each rib in the sauce and place back in the Dutch oven. Pour enough of the remaining sauce to cover the ribs. Cook for an additional 30 minutes.
  • Start rice 45 minutes before you need to serve it. Melt butter in a 10-inch Dutch oven. Add rice and toast for about 2 minutes.Add stock and ½ Teaspoon salt. Bring rice to boil. Cover and cook for 20 minutes (until all liquids are absorbed).
  • Remove from heat and fluff rice with a fork. Stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve with rice in a ring around the outside of a Dutch oven lid. Pour extra sauce into a hollowed out bell pepper in the center, and arrange the ribs on the rice around the pepper bowl.

There you have it. Next week, I’ll post the bread recipe. In the mean time, mark your calendars for the Main Event. The 2009 IDOS World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff will be held at the Sandy, Utah Convention Center, March 12-14. Starting with qualifying rounds Thursday and Friday and the championship on Saturday.


You can root for the Lewis’s as well as many others, and the returning champions from last year. I will be judging on Saturday come and say hi.


YourLDSneighborhood has added exciting new things to its website. Please drop by and take a look, browse around, check out our vendors, our radio station, our authors, our musicians and more. Check out the Neighborhood.


And while you're there, subscribe to the yourLDSneighborhood Newsletter. In addition to being able to shop in the new virtual neighborhood, the newsletter brings you articles, products, services, resources and interviews from around the world-all with an LDS focus. Look for issues delivered to your email inbox every week on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.