Thursday, March 31, 2005

Women in the Outdoors Course in Jefferson, Texas

Luann Waters, education coordinator for the International Dutch Oven Society, is teaching a Dutch oven class in Jefferson, Texas on Saturday, May 14, 2005.

Here's her email:

I'm teaching the Dutch oven class .... will be a fun day! Sign up for a good time &/or please pass along to others who might be interested.



WHEN: May 14th, 2005; registration begins at 7:30 a.m.; wrap up at 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Big Oaks Hunting Lodge, Jefferson, Texas

WHAT: Outdoor Skills Workshop sponsored by National Wild Turkey Federation/Women in the Outdoors. Courses Available: Archery--ATV Safety--Dutch Oven Cooking--Beginning Shotgun--Intermediate Shotgun--Muzzle Loading---Handgun Basics--Canoeing and/or kayaking--Fishing--Blacksmithing, not just for horses! Will craft a piece of decorative metal art--Camping basics--Backyard habitat.

COST: $50, includes lunch and a one-year subscription to Women in the Outdoors magazine, complimentary membership in "Women in the Outdoors" program; use of equip, supplies and course materials. $5 discount if registered by April 14, 2005.

CONTACT: For more information, contact Judy Kennemer,

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Red Bean Salad

When I returned to Bakersfield after an 8-1/2-year stint in the Navy, I discovered Mossman’s, a country buffet in Bakersfield. They served several wonderful bean salads. Zesty ingredients like lemon juice and hot peppers brought life to the legume.


Make sure you thoroughly rinse the gloppy, salty liquid from the beans. Roast a ripe red bell pepper over an open flame until the skin is completely charred if desired. When the pepper is blackened, wrap it in plastic wrap and let it steam and cool. When cool enough to handle, pull stem out, scrape charred skin off and chop.

2 (15-ounce) cans red beans
2 tablespoons chopped jalapeno pepper
2 tablespoons minced shallot
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium roasted red bell pepper
1/2 chopped cilantro
1/4 chopped flat-leaf parsley

Rinse and drain canned beans. In a medium bowl, whisk together jalapeno pepper, shallot, paprika, cumin, salt, pepper, and lemon zest and juice. Let mixture set for 30 minutes to marry flavors.

Toss dressing with beans. Fold in olive oil, roasted pepper, cilantro and parsley. Check seasoning and serve cold. Serves 4 to 6.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Chicken Breast with Balsamic Raspberry Reduction

I prepared this recipe for my family Saturday night at the in-law's house. I was down picking my wife and son up from a short spring break trip to see mom and grandma. I also served a red bean salad and sautéed asparagus.

This recipe comes from one of my many professional recipe sources. At work I read Foodservice Director, Food Management and Restaurant & Institutions. The trade journals often publish recipes in themed articles. The chicken breast with balsamic raspberry reduction recipe came from an article on low-fat cooking ("Low Fat -- Still a Factor?" by Nancy Berkoff, RD in the February 15, 2005 issue of Foodservice Director).

Many of these recipes are written for employee dining rooms. I reason that they should appeal to the general public as well. If you eat these dished in the cafeteria, you should welcome them at home.


The chicken breasts will cook more evenly if you pound them to one-half-inch thick. Although I received rave reviews from the family, raspberry preserves are not my favorite. Try apricot preserves, plum jam or current jam as an alternative.

I also found that this recipe makes a lot of sauce. Unless you enjoy more that 2 to 3 tablespoons per portion, cut the sauce ingredients by one-half.

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups minced red onions
2 tablespoons minced fresh basil
10 (4-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2-1/2 cups raspberry preserves or jam
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons ground black pepper
1 tablespoon orange zest

Pour vegetable oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Toss chicken with basil and place in skillet. Cook chicken until thoroughly cooked, turning once. Remove chicken to platter. Tent with aluminum foil.

Reduce heat to medium. Sweat onions 3 minutes or until translucent. Place preserves, vinegar, pepper and zest in skillet and combine with onions. Allow mixture to reduce by 1/2, stirring to avoid sticking. Strain if desired. To serve, discard foil and drizzle reduction over chicken.

Note: This recipe works equally well with boneless turkey breast, portobello mushrooms or extra firm tofu.

Sunday, March 27, 2005

You Can't Stand on Your Own

When my oldest daughter was going through her teenage years, I used to give her 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 as encouragement that God gives us the ability to resist the temptations of daily life.

It reads:

Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.
Everything you need to turn back to God is there: your family, the local body and most importantly, the word.

But Paul also gives us a warning: Beware lest you think you can stand on your own. We get so wrapped up in the world, like the Israelites did in the desert (read vs. 1-11), that we ignore God and his ways.

Remember the Israelites fell; we can fall. The answer is found in verse 14: "Therefore, flee from idolatry." James 4:6-8 says, in part: "'God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.' Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God and He will draw near to you."

My daughter and I still talk about faith and resisting temptation now that she is married and has a young daughter of her own.

This is a lesson for all -- self included -- that we can't ignore God.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Where was Barbecue Author Steve Raichlen?

Last Saturday (March 19), my son and I attended the grand opening of Barbeques Galore in Folsom, California. Earlier in the week, a short newspaper article had promised acclaimed barbecue author Steve Raichlen’s presence at the event.

I stopped by the new store, which is located at 2405 Iron Point Road, Suite 100, on Thursday afternoon after work. The clerk could only tell me that Raichlen would be at the store on Saturday. I pressed him for information. Product demonstration schedule? Speaker schedules? Would he sign cookbooks?

“They don’t tell me anything,” the clerk responded. He only knew that Raichlen would be there along with chef and barbecue spice king John Henry.

We arrive at the store around 12:30 p.m. Barbeques Galore had set a large white tent up in the parking lot adjacent to the store. Three large barbecues, including a barrel smoker, were set up inside the tent. Three rows of folding chairs sat ready for backyard cooks.

Henry was busy explaining how to grill chicken breasts over a gas barbecue. Although I missed most of his demonstration, I caught him explaining how he uses combinations of his spice rubs to season the chicken. Henry sells a line of spice rubs for the barbecue enthusiast.

What disappointed me the most was that I did not see Raichlen at the grand opening during our 45-minute stay. The article said he would be at the store from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Other than two signs announcing his presence, I didn’t see any other signs publicizing a demonstration schedule or stack of Raichlen’s cookbooks for sale or even his picture.

I thought Barbeques Galore could’ve done a much better job of promoting Raichlen’s schedule. He could’ve been in the backroom taking a break or could’ve canceled -- after all we had some pretty strong weather that day in Northern California.

You have to let the public know what’s going on. That’s especially important when the promise of a nationally-known cookbook author draws a guy like me to an event. I may not have purchased a $1,000 barbecue. But I would’ve purchased one of Raichlen’s cookbooks and had him sign it.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Arizona Chapter Cee Dub Dutch Oven Gathering

I received this information from Mark Wilkins, director of the Arizona Chapter of IDOS:

The Arizona Chapter of the International Dutch Oven Society is hosting a Dutch Oven Gathering Saturday March 26, 2005 at 4:30 p.m. Serving time will be after dark at 6:30 p.m. The DOG will take place at 7820 North 175th Avenue, Waddell, Arizona.

Come spend an enjoyable evening cooking Dutch oven and sharing with other Dutch oven enthusiasts, along side the famed author, TV celebrity and Dutch oven master CeeDub Welch.

Recently, his wife Penny was diagnosed with breast-cancer. So this will be a surprise fundraiser event to help them with the medical expenses for her care and we ask each family to donate $10 which we will present to him later in the evening around the campfire. Donations can be given to any of the four chapter officers: Mark Wilkins, Gary Wilkins, Jan Smith or Mark Sharp.

We look forward to seeing you all there for a fun filled evening. Plans are arrive anytime after 4 p.m. to set up and begin cooking so food will be ready to serve about 6:30 p.m. Bring your Dutch oven and supplies to cook your favorite dish to share with everyone in a potluck-style environment. Don't forget your plates and utensils!

See you there!

Mark Wilkins, director, Arizona Chapter of IDOS

Monday, March 21, 2005

Photos from the Safe Haven Horse Rescue DOG

Linda Richards of Safe Haven Horse Rescue in Cottonwood, California sent me these pictures. Last Saturday, Bill Baugh and Dave Herzon of the Cast Iron Cooks of the West cooked chili, biscuits, cornbread and peach cobbler for a group of volunteers at the facility.

Bill Baugh prepares a Dutch oven dish for the group.

Bill (left) and Dave Herzog prepare a meal for volunteers.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Love is Something We Do

Love is more than an emotion or feeling toward another person. It's the foundation of everything we do as a Christian.

Love defines our relationship with brethren and enemy alike. More importantly, it defines our relationship with God. We are saved from our sinful past because God loved the world enough to send His son to make the perfect sacrafice (John 3:16).

It's easy to love those that we're naturally drawn to. Often, family and friends are to people that we're most comfortable with. We don't mind relating with a sacrificial heart with them because often these relationships are reciprocal.

The true test comes when you're faced with an enemy. I don't mean an enemy you face on the battlefield. I'm talking about adversaries, those who oppose you and people you just don't like. Love is truly put to the test when we're faced with these people

This brings us the thought for the week:

Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails (1 Corinthians 13:4-8a).
In Luke 6:27-36, Jesus gives us practical application of love. Godly love means doing good even to those who hate us (verses 27-28). It avoids holding a grudge or seeking revenge against those who have wronged us (verses 29-30).

Jesus says that we should treat others in the same manner we expect to be treated (verse 31). He reminds us that there's no benefit to loving someone when there's an expectation of reward. The true test comes when you act in love toward an enemy (verses 32-36).

Saturday, March 19, 2005

Corned Beef Hash

James Beard said it best: "For many people this is the best part of corned beef. It has been a breakfast dish for generations."

I agree. Although I didn't grow up on corned beef hash, I could count on beef hash each time mom made roast beef and potatoes. She'd grind the leftover roast and potatoes through a hand-cranked meat grinder with onions and bake. Catsup and poached eggs would garnish the hash at the dinner table.

Hash is a great dish when you're burdened with leftover meat and potatoes in camp. Camp cook and cookbook author C.W. "Butch" Welch prepares hash when faced with such a dilemma. On last night's airing of Dutch Oven and Camp Cooking, Cee Dub prepared a "wide-eyed" breakfast with corned beef hash and baking powder biscuits in Dutch ovens.

Cee Dub makes his hash by cleaning out the chuckbox. He uses whatever is available, including a leftover leg of lamb on one trip. He seasoned the lamb with curry powder to create a "brand new breakfast."

Cee Dub used the basic technique in the show to prepare the hash. He heated a large Dutch oven over a camp stove, then sautéed chopped onions and minced garlic in olive oil. He added leftover diced cooked meat and baked potatoes to the oven. Cee Dub used 1-cup meat to 1-1/2 cups potatoes. To finish the hash, he stirred it and adjusted the seasoning.

To make the "wide-eyes," Cee Dub pressed a coffee cup into the hash to make several indentations for the eggs. After breaking one egg into each indentation, Cee Dub placed a pre-heated lid over the Dutch oven and baked the hash with top heat for several minutes to set the eggs. Don't forget to season the eggs with salt and pepper.

Dutch Oven and Camp Cooking airs on RFD-TV each Friday at 3:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. The show is repeated Saturday at 3:30 a.m. Times are Pacific time. Currently, RFD-TV is available to over 21.2 million homes as a basic channel on DISH Network (channel 9409), DIRECTV (379), Mediacom and NCTC cable systems.


Corned beef hash for 2 hearty eaters or 4 lighter portions. I prepared one-half of the recipe in a 10-inch Lodge chef's skillet. A full recipe fits inside a 12-inch cast iron skillet or 12-inch Dutch oven.

Prepare this camp version of corned beef hash in an uncovered 12-inch Dutch oven over a gas camp stove. Place a pre-heated lid on the Dutch oven to quickly cook the eggs just before serving.

2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
4 slices bacon, chopped fine
1 medium onion, chopped fine
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1 pound corned beef, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 cup low sodium beef broth
Hot pepper sauce, to taste
8 large eggs
Black pepper, to taste

Bring potatoes, 5 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cook potatoes for 4 minutes, then drain and set aside. Set Dutch oven lid on lid stand. Place approximately 20 charcoal briquettes on lid to pre-heat.

Cook bacon in 12-inch Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 2 minutes. Add onion and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and thyme and cook for 30 seconds. Stir in corned beef. Mix in potatoes and lightly pack with spatula.

Reduce heat to medium and pour beef broth and hot pepper sauce evenly over hash. Cook undisturbed for 4 minutes. Then, with spatula, invert hash, one portion at a time, and fold browned bits back into hash. Lightly pack hash. Repeat process every minute or two until potatoes are cooked, about 8 minutes longer.

Make 8 indentations equally spaced on surface of hash. Crack 1 egg into each indentation and sprinkle eggs with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce bottom heat to low and set pre-heated lid on Dutch oven. Cook until eggs are set, about 4 to 6 minutes. Serve 1 egg for each portion. Serve with catsup or your favorite chili sauce.

This recipe is adapted from the charter issue of Cook's Country.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Grilled Pork Chops with Apricot-Garlic Sauce

I spooned apricot-garlic sauce over pork chops on the Camp Chef grill. This can be messy. If desired, heat sauce in small saucepan and serve over grilled chops. Posted by Hello

This recipe calls for standard supermarket pork chops, cut 3/4-inch thick. Thicker chops (up to 1-1/2 inches thick) require two-stage cooking. First, brown chops over high heat, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Move chops to cool side of grill (turn 1 or 2 burners off) and finish, covered for 7 to 9 minutes, until it reaches desired doneness.

4 pork chops, 5 to 6 ounces each
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 (18-ounce) jar apricot preserves
1 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced

Pre-heat grill following manufacturer's instructions. Reduce burners to medium. Season pork chops on both sides with salt and pepper to taste. Place chops on grill, cover and cook until browned on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer chops to platter, tent loosely with foil and let rest 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine apricot preserves, soy sauce, garlic and freshly ground black pepper to taste in small saucepan. Heat sauce over medium heat 2 to 3 minutes to combine flavors; do not boil. Sauce will thin as it heats. To serve, spoon sauce over chops. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Misspelled Words ...

What's a "hourse"?

I just can't get "hourse" out of my mind. Think of all the money the UC Regents wasted on me! For yeers of collage shud hav tat me to spill.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Cast Iron Cooks of the West DOG at Safe Haven Hourse Rescue

I received this report last night on the DOG at the Safe Haven Hourse Rescue in Cottonwood, California from DaveHerzog.


There were only 2 of us who cooked and we both ended up cooking chili. I used the recipe that won first place at the Sports and Rec Show and Bill Baugh made a recipe he uses for the Lions Club. We also served corn bread. I managed to fit 60 biscuits in a 10" deep D.O. and [we served] peach cobbler. The two of us fed over 35 people and the group wants us back badly. I hope there will be a bigger turn out next time.


Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Oven-Baked Baby Back Ribs

Last night I started to grill the remaining three half slabs of baby back ribs. A stiff south wind made me hesitate. I didn't feel like fighting flame burnout all evening.

This morning the thought occurred to me to use the kitchen oven to roast the ribs. Oven roasting is ideal for a cold winter day, especially when it's too cold to cook on the patio.

This recipe requires less attention than the grilled baby back ribs. Just rub your favorite spice mix over front and back, set the slabs on an oiled cookie sheet and pop them in the oven.

Brush the sauce on the ribs during the last 15 minutes. If you apply sauce too soon, the intense heat will crystallize the sauce into an inedible mess. It only takes 10 to 15 minutes to drive excess moisture from the sauce and give it some color.


2 slabs baby back pork ribs (4 to 5 pounds total)
1/3 cup dry rub
1 to 2 cups barbecue sauce

Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 225 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet. If necessary, cut rib slabs in half so that they fit on the baking sheet. Pat dry rub onto slabs, coating thoroughly.

Place slabs on baking sheet and roast 2-1/2 hours, turning twice during cooking. Remove ribs from oven and baste both sides of each slab with barbecue sauce. Return to oven and roast until sauce is glazed and just beginning to brown, about 15 minutes. Slice slabs into individual ribs and serve warm.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Grilled Baby Back Ribs with Thai Sweet Chili-Mustard Sauce

One of the shift supervisors in my kitchen often brings leftover grilled meat to work for his lunch. Last Tuesday he shared several baby back bones with me. I was impressed.

The ribs were moist, tender and had a sweet spiciness that coated the mouth. The spicy bite of the chili sauce didn't overpower. The sauce gives you a refreshing sensation of heat that doesn't leave you gasping for air.

He grilled the baby backs for an hour and applied a simple sauce during the last 10 minutes. I substituted my favorite rub. When you try this recipe at home, grill the baby backs over direct heat with a medium-low flame. This gives the ribs time to cook slowly. You shouldn't have too many flare ups since the ribs are relatively lean.

Baby back ribs are currently available at Costco in packs of three racks. I paid $3.59 per pound at Costco compared to more than $9 per pound at a local supermarket chain. Each rack weights about 2-1/4 pounds.


1 rack baby back ribs
2-3 tablespoons dry rub (see below)
1 cup Thai style sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon yellow prepared mustard

Spread rub over both sides of ribs. Cook ribs on barbecue grill over medium-low heat, turning often, about 60 minutes. Combine chili sauce and mustard.

Apply sauce to ribs in last 10 to 15 minutes on grill. Apply several thin coats of sauce instead of one thick coat.


This rub is adapted from a rub by Central BBQ, Memphis, Tennessee. It was featured on BBQ with Bobby Flay on the Food Network.

1/4 cup cumin
1/4 cup paprika
1/4 cup granulated garlic
1/4 cup granulated onion
1/4 cup chili powder
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1/4-1/2 cup kosher salt
1-1/3 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1-1/3 tablespoon black pepper
1-1/3 tablespoon white pepper

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Store in air-tight container. Pack the dry rub onto your rack of ribs. This recipe is sufficient for 2 spare rib racks.

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Drifting Sidebars and How to Cook Beans in a Hole

The sidebar to 'Round the Chuckbox is once again buried deep below the last post. I've isolated the problem to the "Lemony Chicken and Rice" post of Friday night.

This is a service we periodically provide at 'Round the Chuckbox
-- give illustrations that demonstrate old fashion cooking methods that yield good grub.

Take bean-hole beans, for instance. Chuckwagon cooks would on occasion dig a hole, burn a mess of hardwood down to red coals and bury a pot of beans.

Eight to 12 hours later the cook would extract the pot. Just like this modern cook who'll be soon rewarded with a solution to his struggles with drifting sidebars, cowpokes could taste the cook's patience as succulent beans slid down to their stomachs.


The first step to cooking bean-hole beans is dig a fire hole. Horsewoman, ranch wife and chuckwagon cook Stella Hughes describes the process in Chuckwagon Cookin' by (University of Arizona Press: Tucson, 1974):

Dig a hole in good well-drained area not too close to large trees (the roots hinder diggin'). For one-pot meals, beans or roasts, the hole should be at least two feet deep by two and a half feet wide at the top. Burn hardwood in the hole for at least an hour. There must be six inches of good red coals for meat dishes and more for bean-hole beans. Be sure hole is not wet. If hole is damp you may have to burn fire for longer period of time.

Be sure no large burning chunks or pieces of charred wood are in the hole when oven is put in. Just good red coals with some blue flame.

2 cups pinto beans
1/2 pound salt pork
1 medium onion
1 clove garlic
1-1/2 quarts water

Wash beans and put into 12-inch Dutch oven with lid, salt pork, onions and garlic. If pork is very salty you need not salt beans. Add pepper to taste. Put lid on tight and bury Dutch oven in bed of coals and cover completely with dirt. Leave overnight.

Be sure there are no airholes for heat to escape. At least a foot of dirt packed smoothly is best.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Seasoning the Grill for a Camp Chef Barbecue Box

I returned home around 4 p.m. after a trip up Iron Mountain Road for lunch and a campfire. The unseasonably warm weather we've been having in Northern California prompted me to season the cast iron grill from my new Camp Chef Barbecue Box (model BB-60L).

Grilled baby back ribs with Thai-mustard sauce on Camp Chef's barbecue grill. The grill uses one of the burners on a two- or three-burner propane stove as a heat source. The ribs were ready for the table in about one hour. Posted by Hello

All cast iron must first be seasoned before you use it for the first time (see note for exception). Most cast iron is shipped from the factory with a wax coating that prevents rust during shipping and storage. To season, you must burn the wax coating off, wash it and bake a layer of oil into the cast iron. This is the first step to developing the black patina, or seasoning.

After filling my propane tank (I discovered it was still empty after Pleasanton), I removed the grill from the barbecue box and place it over a burner on my propane stove. I lit the stove and turned it up to 100 percent. A light gray ring developed in the cast iron over the burner within a minute.

I moved the grill every three to five minutes to burn the wax off the whole grill. The strong odor of paraffin wax was evident throughout the process. I turned the gas off after 25 minutes.

Melting the protective wax off the grill over a propane burner. You can also use a regular propane grill to accomplish the same task. Posted by Hello

At one point I placed a griddle thermometer on a section of grill away from direct heat. The dial immediately jumped to around 500 degrees. It took about 20 minutes to cool the grill to below 100 degrees after turning the heat off.

I then took the grill into the kitchen and washed it in hot, soapy water. I rinsed the grill to wash off soap residue and dried it with a paper towel. I dried the grill to drive all moisture from the cast iron over my kitchen range for about five minutes.

I placed the grill into my kitchen oven and turned it to 425 degrees. It took about 20 minutes for the oven to register 425 degrees. Watch for excessive smoke when you season cast iron in the house and make sure that you vent the kitchen.

I turned the oven off one hour later, cooled the grill for about 15 minutes and placed it in the barbecue box. The cast iron grill came out with a nice, black sheen, ready for action.

To test the barbecue box, I grilled three half slabs of baby back ribs. I'll post the recipe on Monday.

Note: This rule doesn't apply if you purchase Lodge Logic or Camp Chef Advantage cast iron cookware. These products are seasoned at the factory and are ready to use.

The grill will become extremely hot while melting off the wax. Only perform this function outdoors and wear heavy gloves when moving the hot grill. Posted by Hello

Friday, March 11, 2005

Lemony Chicken and Rice

Lemony chicken with rice. Iceberg lettuce with blue cheese dressing accompanies chicken. I was a little too ambitious with the blue cheese dressing! Posted by Hello

I've adapted the recipe for lemony chicken and rice for camp ovens from Cook's Country. Lemon and rice is a culinary marriage "made is heaven." A splash of lemon brightens the rice and adds a vibrant quality to the dish.

If desired, you can bake the chicken in one Dutch oven. Reserve chicken on plate after browning. While rice is coming to simmer, place chicken, skin-side up, on top of rice and bake as instructed.
When using charcoal briquettes as a heat source, light two batches. Use the first batch of 25 briquettes to heat the Dutch oven when browning chicken and cooking aromatics and rice.
Light the second batch of 50 (25 if using one oven) briquettes as you're starting to brown chicken. Use second batch to heat both pots during baking.

Chicken thighs browning in hot fat. Remove excess fat after browning chicken. I baked the chicken in the same pot with the rice. You can bake chicken in a second Dutch oven if desired. Be sure to light extra charcoal briquettes for the extra pot. Posted by Hello


Purchase bone-in, skin-on breasts for this recipe. You can use chicken thighs if desired (as I did for the test recipe). Serve 1 large or 2 medium thighs per person.

4 split chicken breasts (10 to 12 ounces each)
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped fine
1-1/2 cups long-grain rice
1/8 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1-1/2 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
1-3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup water
5 medium green onions, sliced thin
1 lemon, cut into wedges

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in 12-inch Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking. Add chicken, shin-side down, and cook until golden brown, about six minutes. Transfer chicken, skin-side up, to second 12-inch Dutch oven. Bake at 350 degrees (17 coals on lid and 8 underneath) until chicken reaches 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 30 to 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, remove all but 2 tablespoons fat from first pot and return it to medium heat. Add onion and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until soft, 3 to 4 minutes. Add rice and pepper flakes and cook, stirring often until rice begins to turn translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and lemon zest and cook for 30 seconds.

Add broth and water, scraping pot bottom with wood spoon. Bring to full simmer. Cover pot. Bake at 350 degrees (17 coals on lid and 8 underneath) until all liquid is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. Remove pot from heat. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Fold lemon juice and green onions into rice gently with fork and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve rice and chicken with lemon wedges. Serves 4 to 8.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

A Dutch Oven Cooking Table

The camp table's working surface measures 14 inches by 33 inches. Camp Chef's 2004-05 catalog lists the table at $74.99 plus shipping and handling. Now, can someone cut my weeds?

Yesterday, I purchased Camp Chef's Dutch oven table (model CT-32LW) from Wild Sports in Citrus Heights, California. The table, which Camp Chef catalog describes as a "camp table," is designed to relieve my back of excessive bending and stooping.

The table's winning feature is its 30-inch perch above ground level. Ground level cooking is a young man's sport. Maturity and posture have a way inducing the desire to place all cooking implements at waist level. The cooking surface of a Lodge Dutch oven sets 32 inches above the ground.

The table's not perfect in the height department. But it's an improvement over the Dutch oven firepan I've been using for four years, which sets about 14 inches above the ground. The 36-inch countertops in my kitchen are a much better work surface when you consider my 74-inch frame.
The working surface of the Camp Chef table measures 14 inches by 33 inches. A 3/4-inch steel lip contains burning coals and ash. Four removable legs make the table potable. A 6-inch windscreen attaches to the back and sides of the table. The cooking surface holds two 14-inch Dutch ovens.

In the coming few days I plan to cook several dishes from the charter issue of Cook's Country. Following my usual custom, I will adapt the recipes for Dutch oven cooking. These include apricot-glazed pork loin, lemony chicken with rice and corned beef hash.

I'm saving the grilled baby back ribs with Thai sweet chili-mustard sauce for my new Camp Chef barbecue grill box.

Stay tuned ...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Cast Iron Cooks of the West

Just received the newsletter for the Cast Iron Cooks of the West, written by Dave Herzog of Redding, California. CICOW's March Dutch oven gathering is being held in support of a Safe Haven Horse Rescue workday. Safe Haven is located in Cottonwood, California.

"(CICOW) will be hosting the meal for the workday and providing out culinary creations to about 30 hungry volunteers," said Herzog.

Club members plan to gather at Safe Haven at 9:30 a.m. and provide lunch to the volunteers around 12:30 p.m. Contact Herzog at (530) 227-8015 for information on the DOG.

To get to Safe Haven, take I-5 north or south, exit on Gas Point Road and drive west 3 miles to West Anderson Road. Turn left and drive 1 mile to 3950 West Anderson Road. Turn left into the driveway and drive over the bridge. Make the first right. Parking, cooking and horses will be toward the back. You're advised to keep vehicle speed under 5 mph on the driveway.

"Nothin' like cookin' with livestock and having the old west ambiance to join," added Herzog.

Northern California Dutch Oven Events

Here's an updated list of Dutch oven events that I'm aware of in Northern California:

March 15, 22 and 29, 2005 -- Dutch oven cooking class at the Red Bluff Community Center, 1500 South Jackson Street, Red Bluff, California. Contact: (530) 527-8177. Don Mason teaches these classes.

March 15, 2005 -- Dutch oven gathering (also known as a DOG) at the Safe Haven Horse Rescue, Cottonwood, California. Sponsored by the Cast Iron Cooks of the West. Contact: Dave Herzog (530) 227-8015. Meet at 9:30 a.m.

April 2, 2005 -- Dutch oven cookoff at the Colusa Western Days, Colusa County Fairgrounds, Colusa, California. Contact: Vickie (530) 458-8009. The cookoff is sponsored by the Sacramento River Cast Iron Cookers.

April 9, 2005 -- Dutch oven gathering at the Outdoor Outfitters, Redding, California. Sponsored by the Cast Iron Cooks of the West. Contact: Dave Herzog (530) 227-8015. Meet at 9:30 a.m. Note that meeting location has changed from my February 19, 2005 blog.

May 14, 2005 -- DOG at the Kids Kingdon at Enterprize Park, Redding, California. Sponsored by the Cast Iron Cooks of the West. Contact: Dave Herzog (530) 227-8015. Meet at 9:30 a.m.

May 21, 2005 -- Cook'en in the Park Dutch Oven Cookoff at Red Bluff Marina and Park, Red Bluff, California. Contact: Red Bluff Parks and Recreation Department (530) 527-8177 or Don Mason (530) 527-1027 / This is a three pot cookoff (bread, main dish and dessert). Cook's meeting is at 9 a.m. and judging begins at 1 p.m.

June 11 and 12, 2005 -- DOG at 6:30 p.m. Saturday (11th) and a three-pot Dutch oven cookoff on Sunday (12th) at 22nd Annual Carson City Rendezvous, Mills Park, Carson City, Nevada. Sponsored by the Cast Iron Cooks of the West. Contact: Dave Herzog (530) 227-8015. Meet at 9:30 a.m. Cookoff is a qualifying event for the IDOS 2006 World Championship Dutch Oven Cookoff.

Please contact me at if you have additional information. I expect to attend Colusa Western Days and Cook'en in the Park.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

More on International Sportsman's Expo in Pleasanton

We originally had a three-pot cookoff scheduled for the International Sportsman's Expo in Pleasanton, California on Saturday of the weekend. But, unfortunately, we didn't receive any applications. Next year we hope to get the word out earlier with wider distribution.

To keep public interest up, ISE staff asked us to hold a gentleman's cookoff. The president of International Dutch Oven Society thought a two-pot cookoff would work. So, Saturday, February 26, four contestants started cooking a main dish and a dessert.

Bakin' Bill Johnson explains how he makes his apricot coconut coffee cake to an interested lady and the gentleman. Bill's ultimate orange turkey is cooking in Camp Chef's Ultimate Turkey Roaster (the large pot to the right). Posted by Hello

The contestants and their recipes were:

Dana La Grutta -- Dana cooked his 4x4 chili with a hot fudge pudding cake for dessert.

Randi Macari -- Randy cooked garlic mustard chicken and baked apples with apricot sauce.

Ron Hill -- Ron cooked shrimp scampi and Ron's magic surprise bars.

Bill Johnson -- Bill cooked an ultimate orange turkey and apricot coconut coffee cake.

Cookoff contestants are expected to interact with the spectators. In a regular IDOS regulation cookoff, a field judge grades the teams on interaction with the public, willingness to answer questions and preparation technique. Posted by Hello

I have to say all the dishes were good. It's interesting what four men can produce when their asked at the last minute to cook in a cookoff. Dana took first place for the main dish and Ron for the dessert.

The interesting thing is judges John Valente and Gary Armstrong (both ISE staff members) wouldn't break the tie! So we had two first place winners.

I'll post recipes if I can get them. This affair was so informal that everyone threw their dishes together from memory. I'll post more photos tomorrow.

Cookoff participants, from left: Dana La Grutta, Bill Johnson, IDOS vice president Randy Macari and IDOS past president Ron Hill. Dana and Ron, the two first-place winners, each received am IDOS cookbook and Camp Chef Dutch oven candle for their efforts. Posted by Hello

Monday, March 07, 2005

Cook's Country Magazine from Cook's Illustrated

As a subscriber to Cook's Illustrated, I received a complimentary copy of the charter issue of Cook's Country, Cook's latest endeavor. A prolific publisher of countless cookbooks with a pilgrim-like hunt for the "perfect recipe," Cook's Country comes with promise.

"Many of us at Cook's Illustrated ... grew up in the country and have a great fondness ... for country food ...," says publisher Christopher Kimble, "that we felt it was time to start a magazine about what we love most: Country folk and country food."

So far, this city-boy turned country dweller likes what he sees. Cook's Country is a tabloid-sized magazine with plenty of easy-to-follow recipes, vibrant photographs that invite you to the table and how-to sidebars that educate.

My decade-long association with Cook's has taught me that they love cast iron. Many contemporary cooking magazines fall into the cast-iron-is-too-heavy trap. While Cook's will insert the you-must-take-care-of-cast-iron caveat, it's refreshing to read a magazine that recognizes cast iron's benefits -- like durability, suburb heat-transfer qualities and the best cost per pound ratio of any cookware out there.

Cook's Country charter issue has a jalapeño cornbread that's baked in a 10-inch cast iron skillet, which can be baked in a 10-inch camp oven. From skillet-based recipes (no-fuss green beans on page 17) to baked desserts and casseroles (recipe contest winning Italian potato cake and creamy potato casserole), Cook's Country has a lot to offer.

Many recipes are easily converted to outdoor delicacies. Two slow-cooker recipes on pages 10 and 11 (country-style pot roast with gravy and Southwestern pot roast) come complete with leftover-use ideas. These recipes can be cooked in a Dutch oven or slow cooker (yes, that's the generic term for the Rival Crock-Pot®).

But what caught my eye the most was the "Everyone should have ..." sidebar on page 29. A Dutch oven, of course. A brief description of the pot (a "lidded casserole") and its history (chuckwagon cooks and early Americans used them), Cook's recommends the 7- to 8-quart size.

My overall impression? I'm impressed. I say subscribe. It costs $19.95 for six issues each year.

Cook's Country makes a great companion to Cook's Illustrated. If you're leery of Cook's Illustrated's sometimes overbearing hunt for the perfect recipe, Cook's Country will give you your cake and let you eat it too. You get quality recipes without the heavy reading.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

The Importance of Church

Last Wednesday evening my family met with the elders of a local church in Camino, California and identified with that body. Though there are many reasons for assembling in Camino, this church is a much smaller than the saints in Folsom (60 compared with 240). And they're encouraged by the addition of another family.

The transition from Folsom to Camino will be smooth because we've known many of the members for many years, including the evangelist, whom we've known since 1982. Another family that we're close to made the same move last December.

This brings me to my point today: Why is it important for a Christian to join himself to a local church?

As a Christian, I can't conceive of a time or place where I'd have to live without other Christians nearby (and I came close a couple times during my 29 years active and reserve service in the Navy). It should be the goal of all Christians to associate themselves with like-minded brethren who share the same hope in Jesus Christ, who love and encourage each other as heaven comes closer.

We see examples of Christians assembling in churches throughout the New Testament. The book of Acts is full of examples of Christians who "continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers" (Acts 2:42). These Christians had recently been baptized for the remission of their sins. They gathered as a church to encourage each other, to worship, to remember Jesus' death, burial and resurrection and to take care of each other's needs.

To learn more about these Christians, read the opening verses of Paul's letters to the different churches throughout the Mediterranean region. He wrote to saints in Rome, Corinth, Galatia, Ephesus, Philippi, Colasse and Thessalonica. Paul's greetings will give you an appreciation of the nature of these people.

But why assemble? We could point to many passages of scripture for an explanation. I recommend that you read through the book of Acts and focus on the churches in Jerusalem, Antioch and throughout the Mediterranean region.

Christians learn in the church the "first principles of the oracles of God" (Hebrews 5:12); children are nurtured and learn to obey their parents (Ephesians 6:1-3); brethren help each other in time of need (Galatians 6:10); and brethren are encouraged by good preaching and sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:1-2; Titus 2:1). This is all done in the context of love (1 Corinthians 13:1-8).

This brings us to the thought for the week:

Let us hold fast the confession of our faith without wavering, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works, not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much more as you see the Day approaching (Hebrews 10:23-25).
You are not the central focus of the church. We don't assemble so much for selfish benefit or personal gain. It's not, "What can I get out of the experience?"

Rather, the writer of the Hebrew letter commands us to follow Jesus' example to serve others. When you assemble at the building (remember the building is not the church) or elsewhere as a church, the passage says our focus is to stimulate others to "love and good works." The writer says the real sin of missing the assembly is the missed opportunity to encourage others.

Let's assemble today and provoke others to love and good works.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Breakfast, Photographs and Lunch ...

It’s time to stop the madness ...

We’re still grazing from doggy bags. Breakfast this morning was leftover fried rice and pork chow main. Only two meats to go -- a Styrofoam clamshell with sweet and sour chicken and chow main plus rice, beans and a cup of Colina De Oro’s house salsa.

In case you miss the photographs, please be patient. It seems Blogger isn’t talking to Hello software right now. I’ll post photos as soon as I can.

Leftover London broil sandwiches hit the spot for lunch. Today, I spread yogurt-horseradish sauce on whole wheat bread in place of my customary mayonnaise and yellow mustard. The sauce was a hit.

I originally made the sauce for the forthcoming picture of last night’s dinner. But I read the instructions after I assembled the recipe. That’s when I discovered that I had missed the crucial step to drain the yogurt. It has a slight yogurt aftertaste, but that may go away when I prepare the sauce properly.

Here’s the recipe in case you’re interested. I’ll report back when I make it right.


1 pound plain yogurt
2 tablespoons horseradish
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash white pepper

In strainer lined with a coffee filter and set over a bowl, drain yogurt for two hours. Discard liquid, place yogurt in bowl and fold in remaining ingredients. Cover and refrigerate. Serve on baked potatoes or use as a sandwich spread.

Recipe by the United States Potato Board.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Grilled London Broil with Lemon-Garlic Marinade

This has been a crazy week, cooking wise. We've eaten restaurant food every night.

It started Sunday evening as we arrived home from the show in Pleasanton. Takeout from Diamond Chinese Restaurant kept us from cooking that night. Monday take-and-bake pizza filled our plates. Tuesday was Mexican food night at Colina De Oro. Last night supermarket Chinese kept us going. And I think we ate leftover cold pizza Wednesday.

Then I received my free copy of Cook's Country charter issue. Grilled flank steak caught my eye during quick search of 27 recipes (more when you consider variations). Now that the IDOS newsletter is off to the president for proofing and printing (look for it toward the end of the month), I thought it was time to become a cook again.

Instead of preparing the recipe as printed, I marinated a London broil cut from the top round it in a lemon-soy sauce marinade that I've used for years. I use it when I crave the lemony saltiness of this Asian-inspired marinade. Minced garlic and chopped green onions add an aromatic quality that's hard to beat.

A baked potato with sour cream and chives rounds the steak. Spoon reserved marinade over the sliced London broil on plate. Posted by Hello


"London broil is not a cut of meat," according to the Cook's Illustrated Internet site, "but a recipe in which a steak is grilled, broiled, or pan-seared and then sliced thinly on a bias across the grain." London broil is traditionally cut from the flank, though shoulder and top round steaks are more often sold as London broil today. Shoulder steak is a good, flavorful alternative if flank steak offends your pocketbook.

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup lemon juice (about 2 plump lemons)
3 tablespoons cup soy sauce
2 green onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pounds London broil

Combine all ingredients except beef in zipper locking plastic bag. Reserve and refrigerate 1/2-cup sauce before marinating. Place beef in marinade and seal container, pressing air out. Refrigerate about 1 hour.

Grill steak over very hot fire until browned on both sides and slightly less done than you want, about 10 to 15 minutes on each side. Place steak in baking dish and coat with reserved marinade.

Cover dish with foil and let rest 5 to 10 minutes. Slice steak thinly against grain and serve with sauce remaining in dish.

The hot fire creates a crust that's hard to beat. A 1-1/2 inch thick London broil will take 10 to 15 minutes per side for medium rare. Let the steak rest 5 to 10 minutes before thinly slicing on the bias. Posted by Hello

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Top Ten Tools for the Camp Kitchen

This is one of the most popular articles I passed out at Pleasanton. It's a re-hash of an older article of mine that's available elsewhere in the Internet. I publish it here in case you haven't seen it.

By now, you've seen that I'm a proponent of anything cast iron, especially camp Dutch ovens. Sure, they're heavy. But nothing beats cast iron. It's versatile, hold heat and cooks evenly. So, it's no surprise that cast iron cookware is king in my camp cooking outfit.

But cast iron isn't the only type of cookware in my camp cooking kit. Over the years, I've put together enough cookware to feed my family of five, plus a few visitors. Although my top ten list only covers cookware, my kitchen outfit includes everything from cookware to water jugs to an extra table or two.

Here's what I'd carry if I were limited to 10 pieces of cookware:

Dutch oven with accessories--If you only take one piece of cast iron cookware, make it a 10- or 12-inch Dutch oven. They're versatile: One-pot meals, bread, biscuits and much more can be cooked in camp ovens. And the lid can even be used as a griddle.

Cast iron skillet--Next to a Dutch oven, a cast iron skillet is a must, especially if you sauté, pan-fry and braise your way to flavor-packed camp meals. An eight- to 12-inch cast iron skillet should work for most families. Also buy a tight-fitting lid for your skillet. It helps you cook everything from fried eggs to stews.

Coffeepot--What camp kitchen isn't complete without a hanging coffee pot? There's nothing better than drinking a cup of your favorite coffee next to the morning campfire. If you don't drink coffee or tea, a coffeepot can be used to boil hot water for other beverages and for the dishes.

Fire grate--A must for campfire cooking. If you enjoy cooking over the campfire like I do, you'll need a sturdy fire grate. Last spring, I purchased a 16-inch by 20-inch grate from Texsport.

Pots--Two-quart and three-quart saucepans should work for most meals in the wild, especially if you take a Dutch oven and skillet. Although you can initially build a camp kitchen with old kitchen pots and pans, it's wise to eventually invest in quality pots and pans.

Stove--Unless you cook with fire exclusively -- as I do on occasion -- you need a petroleum-fired camp stove. If you have room in your vehicle, I recommend investing in a Camp Chef two-burner propane stove. It sure beats pumping a white gas stove. No more fires, flare ups or worn out generators.

Knives--Unless you're going to butcher cattle alongside the trail, two or three knives are all you need. I carry a 10-inch French knife, a 6-inch boning knife (to pare vegetables, not strip meat from the bone) and a 12-inch slicer. And, unless you're a gourmet, Henckels and Wusthof don't have to be part of you cutlery collection. As a professional cook, I've used the Connoisseur line by Russell Harrington Cutlery for over 20 years.

Utensils--Okay. I took a little writer's liberty and lumped all utensils into one group. After all, my list would have 30 items if I didn't. Here's the minimum outfit: spatula, solid spoon, slotted spoon, wire whip, ladle, measuring spoons, can opener, potato masher, tongs, cutting board and meat fork. Depending on your cooking style, a few other items are useful. I find that a citrus zester, for example, is a must-have item. I also include an old hand-crank meat grinder, a garlic press and lemon press. But be careful. Things quickly get out of hand when you try to include every gadget that's listed in the latest catalog.

Thermometer--Using a thermometer is the only way accurately to test for temperature. Get a digital thermometer. They're more accurate and less subject to jarring than the so-called instant-read thermometers. Cooper-Atkins make thermometers for home and camp use.

Kitchen box--The most important item is a gearbox to hold all this cookware. I've used an Army footlocker for the past decade. I place all of my pots, pans and utensils in the box. Everything has its place. The only thing that doesn't fit is the cast iron. (I converted to a chuckbox several years ago.)

This list should give you a few ideas to help you build your own kit.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Sweet and Sour Dutch Oven Pork Spare Ribs

At Pleasanton, I handed out 9 recipes. The most popular were the chuckwagon chili, sweet and sour spareribs and barbecue sauce.

I've already posted the chili and BBQ sauce recipes on 'Round the Chuckbox. The sweet and sour spare rib recipe is a nice, realtively quick recipe that produces a delicious sweet and sour combination. Please remember that these ribs have a quality that differs from smoked ribs.


Here's a recipe that I adapted from Sunset Magazine:

4 to 5 pounds pork spareribs
3/4 cup soy sauce
3/4 cup orange marmalade
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1/2 cup honey
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
Pepper to taste
4 to 5 pounds pork spare ribs

Use a 12-inch Dutch oven for this recipe. Ignite 25 charcoal briquettes and let them burn until they are barely covered with ash, about 20 minutes. For a 350-degree oven, you’ll need 8 briquettes underneath and 17 on top of the oven.

Mix all ingredients (except spareribs) and pour over spare ribs; cut into individual ribs. Marinate 2 hours or overnight.

Pre-heat a 12-inch Dutch oven to 350-degrees. Place a cake rack in bottom and place ribs in oven. Try to get a single layer so that they equally brown.

Baste ribs every 20 to 30 minutes. Cook 1-1/2 to 2 hours until tender and meat just starts to fall off the bone. Discard accumulated fat on bottom of oven. If desired, boil remaining marinade for 10 minutes and serve with ribs or over rice.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

New Maker of Dutch Oven Accessories in Northern California

Yesterday I received a website from Gail Bacon in El Dorado County, California. She and her husband have created a company that manufacturer's Dutch oven accessories in Rancho Cordova. The name is Scottco Design Concepts.

They are marketing three products right now, with promise of more to come. Current products include:
  • Table-top Dutch oven cooking platform for one 12-inch oven. It measures in at 16x16 inches and includes 12-inch windscreen.
  • Horseshoe lid trivet. This is a standard trivet, except that it's made with horseshoes.
  • Horseshoe pan trivet. This trivet is designed to set on the lid of a Dutch oven. It holds a skillet or home-style Dutch oven.

Check the website for pricing and contact information.

This the Single Panel, bench mount table - designed for Picnic Table or Tail Gate use, according to Scottco Design Concepts. Posted by Hello