Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A New Year's resolution ...

To be a better Christian in 2009, practice these two great two virtues of life ...

Patience and wisdom

Wisdom is said be the application of knowledge. We all know that a skunk will spray anyone who intrudes on his space. It's a wise dog who patiently waits for the skunk to finish eating.

Here's what the Epistle of James has to say:
If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways (James 1:5-7).

and

Therefore be patient, brethren, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, waiting patiently for it until it receives the early and latter rain. You also be patient. Establish your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is at hand (James 5:7-8).

Dinner on the backheard

The crew at the Pacific Coast Railroad in Santa Margarita, California, are at it again. This time they've produced a 21-minute video about cooking on the boiler backhead in one of their steam locomotives.

The YouTube.com link takes you to the 41-second introduction to the video. They posted the full-length video to Google Videos. View either one my clicking on the image below.

Railroad chef Jeff "Grumps" Badger cooks breakfast and much more to the sounds of steam as he grills on the backbead. Where else can you open a tri-cock and steam hot chocolate but in the cab of a locomotive?

"It's completely organic -- lots of, like, hydrocarbons burning as you cook," said Karell Reader from the commissary crew.

Enjoy the video. Who knows when you're going to need this information on the lost art of backhead cooking.



Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Surplus field feeding equipment on eBay

I occasionally receive email or comments that ask where the sender can locate U.S. Army surplus field feeding equipment. Since I joined eBay 10 years ago, I've always found that the on-line auction site to a good source of these items.

I found three interesting military food service equipment items while searching for an unrelated auction. I've purchased items from the seller, Coleman Military Surplus, LLC, 360 Klinger Road, Millersburg, Pennsylvania, 17061 (1-888-4-SURPLUS).

These items are pricey. The steamtable and griddle assemblies start at $399 each (with a $425 Buy it Now feature). The tent will set you back $795 (with $850 Buy it Now). And you have to drive to Millersburg, Pennsylvania, to pick up your winning bid. The seller has indicated that he won't ship.

The first two items carry the same description. I can't tell from the item description which burner unit is included with the bid, whether it's the M2A or the MBU. You'll have to contact the seller to answer that question.

Part of the MFK (Modular Field Kitchen) issued to all hospital units except the MASH. Designed to feed up to 250 people. Unit measures 54" x 24. Holds four 19" x 11" x 4" steaming trays(included) with lids. With the supplied base the top sits 36" off the floor. Two burner assemblies included that are currently set up to run off of gasoline, but can be converted to use propane.

Griddle Assembly








Steam Table Assembly








The third item is an M-1948 kitchen tent, which is a bear to set up. These tents were designed in the wake of World War II to shelter a company-sized field mess. The cooks could fit three M-1937 field ranges under the "stack" in the back of the tent.

M-1948 Kitchen Tent









Here's the description:

You are bidding on the complete kit for a M-1948 Military Issue Kitchen Tent. Brand new, originally designed for use as field kitchens. Everything is included in the crate including tent, poles and stakes. Tent is constructed with a raised roof section to dissipate heat from cooking. Makes an excellent camping tent because sidewalls of canvas may be rolled up, or raised outward to create a canopy while the screening protects occupants from insects! Outfitters, emergency units, festival promoters, whoever needs a great tent at a great price, this is a great deal! Overall dimensions 18 ft. long x 12 ft wide. Height at rear 12 ft., sides at rear 9 ft. Height at front 9 ft., sides at front 6 ft. Made of Olive Drab Cotton Duck fabric. This item cannot be shipped UPS. Please call or email for shipping quote. Crate size 28 1/2"H x 47 1/2"W x 97" L. Weight 670 lbs. US Government surplus.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Adding a chevron

I welcomed each advancement during my 29-year tour in the active and reserve Navy. I'm sure Petty Officer Thompson feels the same way ...

BAHRAIN (Dec. 25, 2008) -- Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Reserve Affairs The Honorable H.C. "Barney" Barnum Jr. pins Petty Officer First Class insignia on Culinary Specialist 1st Class Karen Thompson during his visit to the multi-purpose amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7). Iwo Jima is deployed as the lead ship of the Iwo Jima Expeditionary Strike Group supporting maritime security operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Chad R. Erdmann.

Friday, December 26, 2008

ACB-1 Seabees share holidays with San Diego Center for Children

By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Brian Morales, Amphibious Construction Battalion 1

CORONADO, Calif. (NNS) (12/25/2008) -- Amphibious Construction Battalion 1 Seabees invited the San Diego Center for Children into ACB-1's chiefs mess to share a home cooked meal for the holidays on Dec. 23 at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado.

SDCC is San Diego's oldest non-profit organization, celebrating more than 121 years of service. Children and adolescents face many challenges: mental, emotional, or behavioral. SDCC helps them regain a healthy and normal life with family, friends, and school.

The ACB-1 first class mess gathered donations of $450 from the command to supply food and gifts for the holiday gathering.

"I just wanted to show these kids we care," said Boatswain's Mate 1st Class Kisha L. Jacobi, vice president of the ACB-1 first class mess.

Many ACB-1 Seabees took time out of their normal duties to participate in making this holiday gathering a success.

"This time of year, it is better to give than receive," said Engineering Aide 2nd Class Salvador Hernandez, ACB-1 assistant Seabee Combat Warfare coordinator. Salvador provided an enchilada dish and assisted in arranging other dishes to form a buffet style serving line.

Prior to eating, ACB-1 Seabees, friends, family and SDCC bowed their heads in prayer as Chaplain Joseph Roach led everyone in prayer.

The holiday gathering also provided a home cooked meal to ACB-1 single Seabees far away from home.

They feasted on turkey, mashed potatoes, candy yams, sweet potatoes, corn, chips, dip and much more.

"It's priceless to see a smile on everyone's faces, especially during this time of the year," said Culinary Specialist Seaman Jugdeep Kingra, from San Fernando Valley, Calif. Like Salvador and many other ACB-1 Seabees, Jugdeep helped setting up food, chairs, and plates.

SDCC children and adolescents enjoyed the holiday meal and gifts provided by ACB-1.

"It's a great opportunity for them [SDCC children and adolescents] to get to meet new people and positive role models," said Allison Christian, a native San Diegan child care provider working with SDCC.

After the meal, Seabees continued to play with many of the younger children in various games.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

Here's Merry Christmas from the 'Round the Chuckbox family ...

I'm sitting in my mother-in-law's easy chair, watching Fox News, checking in on my favorite blogs. Until a minute ago, my granddaughter and I were the only ones up.

As with Thanksgiving, someone else will take center stage in the kitchen today. This afternoon my sister will host Christmas dinner in her Bay Area home. We'll enjoy the fellowship of my mother and family, including all our grandchildren.

I set a sponge for Dutch oven French bread last night. I'll form the dough sometime this later morning and bake the bread for dinner. I'm using the recipe that I posted last week.

As we prepare for the day's activities, please take a minute to reflect on the true meaning of Jesus Christ. One of my favorite scriptures brings a message of humility to Christians. It comes from Paul's Epistle to the Phillipians, which he wrote from a jail cell in Rome.

The apostle Paul admonishes the Philippians to display the same attitude as Christ Jesus. As we live our lives, Jesus' example of humility (He "made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men") and obedience (He "became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross") should always be on our mind.

With that in mind, here's the passage:
Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father (Philippians 2:1-11).

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Revised Dutch oven cookoffs for Northern California, Southern Oregon and Western Nevada

Here's a list of Dutch oven cookoffs in Northern California for 2009. Don Mason, who chairs several of these events, assembled the list. Originally intended to broadcast cookoffs in the north state, Don has expanded it to include events in Southern Oregon and Western Nevada.

Check with the contact person for applications, rules and maps and to make sure dates and times are correct.

January

Winter Camp Cookoff
January 17, 2009 at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, Colusa, California
Contact: Vicky Stegall, 530-458-8009.
It can be cold, hot, foggy, windy and rainy; that's why we call it Winter Camp

International Sportsman's Exposition
January 15-18, 2009 at Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, Sacramento, California
January 17: ISE/IDOS Dutch Oven Cookoff
Contact: Gary House, 209-480-8406, CCDOA@sbcglobal.net or Central California Dutch Oven Adventures

February

None scheduled

March

Nor–Cal Boat, Sport and RV Show
March 6-, 2009 at the Shasta District Fairgrounds, Anderson, California
March 6: Iron chef cookoff
March 7: Dutch oven cookoff
March 8: Barbecue cookoff. Shasta County Fairgrounds
Contact: Lynn Gilliss, 530-365-1381 or mail@norcalsportshow.com
Space is limited, so enter early

April

Colusa Western Days Dutch Oven Cookoff
April 4, 2009 at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, Colusa, California
Contact: Colusa Chamber of Commerce, 530-548-5525
The oldest Dutch oven cookoff in Northern California; rib cookoff on Sunday, April 5

May

Butte Creek Mill Dutch Oven Cookoff
May 2, 2009 at Eagle Point, Oregon
Contact: Peter Hambly 541-608-0289
This is a tentative date, we will keep you posted; a fun place to have a cookoff

6th Annual Cook’en in the Park Dutch Oven Cook-off and National Canoe and Kayak Races
May 16, 2009 at River Park' Red Bluff, California
Contact: Don Mason, 530-527-1027 or dmason50@att.net or Parks and Rec., 530-527-8177 Lots going on with a cookoff, craft fair and races

Rhubarb Festival
May 30, 2009 at L&S Gardens, La Pine Oregon
Contact Linda Stephenson 541-536-2049 or lsgarden@uci.net
Come and cook your favorite Dutch oven recipe for rhubarb

June

Pioneer Day and Dutch Oven Cookoff
June 6, 2009 at the Crook Museum fund raiser, Fall River Mills, California
Contact: Jim Geiger, 530-873-4863 or JimsAdventures@aol.com
Enjoy the High Desert of Northeastern California

Carson City Rendezvous
June 12, 13 & 14, 2009. Carson City, Nevada
June 13: Dutch oven gathering.
June 14: Dutch oven cookoff
Contacts: David Herzog, 925-784-1843 or norcaldutchovendave@yahoo.com or Maxine Nietz, 775-887-1294
Dave can e-mail you application, rules and camping information

Stirling City Founders Day and Dutch Oven Cook-off
June 20, 2009 at Stirling City, California
Contact: Jim Geiger, 530-873-4863 or JimsAdventures@aol.com
Emphasis on logging heritage

Stirling City Founders Day and Dutch Oven Cookoff
June 20, 2009 in Stirling City, California
Contact: Jim Geiger 530-873-4863 or JimsAdventures@aol.com
Emphasis on logging heritage.

July

Oregon’s 150th Birthday Celebration and Frontier Days
July 4, 2009 in La Pine, Oregon
Contact: Linda Stephenson 541-536-2049 or lsgarden@uci.net
Come and demonstrate your Dutch oven cooking skills and celebrate Oregon’s 150th birthday

Prairie Challenge Cookoff
July 3-6, 2009 in La Pine, Oregon
July 4: IDOS format, 3 pot cookoff
Contact: Linda Stephenson 541-536-2049 or lsgarden@uci.net


August

Olive Festival and Dutch Oven Cookoff
August 22, 2009 at Corning, California
Contact: Corning Chamber of Commerce, 530-824-5550 or chamber@sbcglobal.net or Don Mason, 530-527-1027 or dmason50@att.net
Olives, olives and lots more

September

None scheduled

October

Fortuna Apple Festival and Dutch Oven Cookoff
October 3, 2009 at Rohnert Park Fortuna, California
Contact: Marvin Rutledge, 707-764-3547 or Fortuna Parks and Recreation, 707-725-7620 or park@ci.fortuna.ca.us
Lots to do and get your winter apples too

Trinity County Historical Society Dutch Oven Cookoff
October 17, 2009 at the Trinity County Museum, Weaverville, California
Contact: George Chapman, 530-410-8013 or digginbar@juno.com
More events, salmon festival and blacksmithing

November

None scheduled

December

None scheduled

Monday, December 22, 2008

Stacked Dutch

Blog No. 24 brings some cast iron art ...

Since I didn't bring the firepan Saturday, I needed a platform to keep the Dutch ovens off the wet ground. The nice thing about working around a railroad engine house is the nearby iron rack.

I laid five iron straps on the frame of the Diamond and Caldor flatcar. They made a good Dutch oven table. As you can see, the 1/4- by 4-inch-thick straps provided a sturdy platform for three 14-inch Dutch ovens.

On a side note: The first thing I do after I unload my equipment is to boil a pot of water. I hold the water inside the Army surplus insulated beverage container. It gives me a ready supply of hot water for hand and dishwashing.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

I call 'em hotcakes!

We've got hotcakes my 23rd post of the month ...

NORFOLK, Va. (Dec. 10, 2008) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Apprentice Henry Kennedy, from Opelousas, La., prepares eggs as pancakes cook on the grill aboard the Los Angeles-class attack submarine USS Albany (SSN 753). Albany recently returned from a scheduled deployment.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Xander Gamble.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Real railroaders eat quiche

Yes they do! And in case they don't, just serve biscuits and gravy too. Blog No. 22 shows you how to bake the quintessential egg pie ...

To quote a popular cliche: "Real railroaders eat quiche."

I approached the menu for the annual Christmas working breakfast at the El Dorado Western Railway this week with a bit of uncertainty. On one hand, my experience with the crew told me not to worry. They've eaten every dish that I've handed to them in the past three years.

But I was still concerned. I found the recipe for the creamy Southwestern quiche on the Growlies Recipe Exchange and Party Planning Board website. A reader wrote:

I have a question about this recipe which I made recently. First of all, it wasn't done in 30 mins at 350 so I stuck it back in the oven for 20 more mins at 400.... Then it came out fine. However, I would like to know the best way to handle this for future reference. The recipe is excellent and I think it's the best brunch recipe I've ever made. But I don't want to overcook it because it could get dry.
I quickly found the recipe on the Growlies for Groups website. Since the recipe looked promising, told her that I'd bake a pie Thursday evening, which I did.

A search of comparable recipes on the Internet told me her problem was timing. The pie needed 15 to 20 additional minutes in the oven.

Then I found the identical recipe on a travel website. The site attributed the quiche, called cheese and egg brunch pie, to the 1890 Williams House, a bed and breakfast inn in Hot Springs, Arkansas.

After testing the recipe Thursday for dinner, I agreed the Growlies reader. The creamy, smooth texture of the quiche will please any railroader, this one included.

I served the quiche with grilled sausage links and biscuits. To be safe, I added sausage gravy at the last minute.

The gravy turned out to be a wise addition to the menu as I dropped one of the two quiches that I baked. The crew enjoyed the gravy, and it stood in for the ruined quiche.

And, for the record, they enjoyed the remaining quiches as well.

SOUTHWESTERN QUICHE

In the outdoors, bake the quiche in the pie pan inside a 12- or 14-inch Dutch oven. Add coals for 350 to 400 degrees.

5 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
8 ounces cottage cheese
1 (4-ounce) can green chili peppers
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
8 ounces shredded pepper jack cheese (2 cups)
1 (9-inch) pie shell, unbaked

Combine eggs, flour, cottage cheese and chili peppers in a mixing bowl. Whisk to combine. Stir in butter, baking powder and cheese.

Pour filling into pie shell. Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, reduce heat to 350 degrees, and bake 20 to 25 minutes until set. Let rest 10 minutes.

Cut each pie into 6 or 8 wedges, as desired. Serve with spicy yogurt sauce (recipe follows).

SPICY YOGURT SAUCE

Adjust cayenne pepper to taste.

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
Pinch cayenne pepper
Juice of 1 lime

Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate. Makes 1-1/4 cups.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Season's greetings from Cee Dub's

We last heard from Cee Dub in June. So, after a summer and fall filled with challenges, blog No. 21, brings you his latest message ...

Season's Greetings from from Cee Dub

Howdy,

It's been way too long since I sat down and sent a newsletter. Some of you may even think we dropped off the end of the earth. But ... I'm not telling any of you something new when I say 2008 has been a most different and sometimes difficult year!

The skyrocketing price of fuel caused Pen and me to severely curtail our 2008 travel schedule and like many other companies, we saw our sales drop along with the economy. When offered to us, we took the day job of managing Las Piedras Ranch. To make matters worse my mother suffered a bad fall this last summer which required surgery and included three months of therapy/rehab. She is now doing great though. On the bright side of 2008, we've been healthy, and our fifth grandchild, Maggie, was born in September.

As a result this new cookbook, which has been in progress much longer than we projected, is now at the printers with an early January delivery date. Of course we wanted this new cookbook in time for Christmas but it didn't work out.

So, as we look forward to our new cookbook and a New Year we want to say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our friends.

A New Book and 2009 Clinic Schedule

Most people think writing a fifth cookbook would be easier than writing one's first book. In one aspect that is correct, but there is an added burden of making a new book better. Since we first started the project, "writers block" reared its head on several occasions and although it took longer than we thought, we believe the results are worth the wait. Twelve years and a hundred thousand plus books later, we get as excited as first time expectant parents every time we send a new book to press.

Highlights of the new cookbook include more recipes than any of our earlier books, an updated section on sourdough, a section on how to make your own homemade sausage, and a special section on "Hill Billy Cookin'." Of course, there are some stories, too.

A theme we emphasized in the book relates directly to the title, "GATHER 'ROUND THE TABLE..."! As life becomes more hectic with every new technological invention, we hope folks will relate to our belief that time spent around a table sharing good food with friends and family trumps many of the concerns that make life not so simple anymore. And, that times spent together are what make special memories for years to come!

When you visit the website, make sure to check out the "Clinic Page". Currently we've scheduled a couple of two-day Dutch oven clinics, and we will again have our Five Day Ranch Clinic here at Las Piedras Ranch. It's not too late to get your favorite camp cook a spot in a Cee Dub's clinic for Christmas. Al will print up a certificate to put under the Christmas tree!

Making homemade sausage at some of our demonstrations the last couple of years generated a lot of interest. So, if enough folks are interested, we will schedule an additional clinic devoted to making sausage and homemade sauerkraut. Drop an e-mail to ceedub@ceedubs.com and we'll get it on the schedule as well.

Check Out Our New Book

As I write this newsletter the sun is just breaking over the ridge top and ground fog is starting to burn away. With just enough breeze to gently turn the windmill out in the yard, its my guess that today is going to be a great one. I'm hoping for all of us that 2009 starts and finishes just like today.

As 2008 draws to a close it's our hope that all who read this are healthy, happy, and looking forward to the New Year as are we!

Our Very Best to You and Yours this Holiday Season

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year,

Cee Dub, Penny and Al

Dutch oven cookoffs for Northern California, Southern Oregon and Western Nevada

Here's a list of Dutch oven cookoffs in Northern California for 2009. Don Mason, who chairs several of these events, assembled the list. Originally intended to broadcast cookoffs in the north state, Don has expanded it to include events in Southern Oregon and Western Nevada.

Check with the contact person for applications, rules and maps and to make sure dates and times are correct.

January

Winter Camp Cookoff
January 17, 2009 at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, Colusa, California
Contact: Vicky Stegall, 530-458-8009.
It can be cold, hot, foggy, windy and rainy; that's why we call it Winter Camp

International Sportsman's Exposition
January 15-18, 2009 at Cal Expo State Fairgrounds, Sacramento, California
January 17: ISE/IDOS Dutch Oven Cookoff
Contact: Gary House, 209-480-8406, CCDOA@sbcglobal.net or Central California Dutch Oven Adventures

February

None scheduled

March

Nor–Cal Boat, Sport and RV Show
March 6-8, 2009 at the Shasta District Fairgrounds, Anderson, California
March 6: Iron chef cookoff
March 7: Dutch oven cookoff
March 8: Barbecue cookoff. Shasta County Fairgrounds
Contact: Lynn Gilliss, 530-365-1381 or mail@norcalsportshow.com
Space is limited, so enter early

April

Colusa Western Days Dutch Oven Cookoff
April 4, 2009 at the Colusa County Fairgrounds, Colusa, California
Contact: Colusa Chamber of Commerce, 530-548-5525
The oldest Dutch oven cookoff in Northern California; rib cookoff on Sunday, April 5

May

Butte Creek Mill Dutch Oven Cookoff
May 2, 2009 at Eagle Point, Oregon
Contact: Peter Hambly 541-608-0289
This is a tentative date, we will keep you posted; a fun place to have a cookoff

6th Annual Cook’en in the Park Dutch Oven Cook-off and National Canoe and Kayak Races
May 16, 2009 at River Park' Red Bluff, California
Contact: Don Mason, 530-527-1027 or dmason50@att.net or Parks and Rec., 530-527-8177 Lots going on with a cookoff, craft fair and races

June

Pioneer Day and Dutch Oven Cookoff
June 6, 2009 at the Crook Museum fund raiser, Fall River Mills, California
Contact: Jim Geiger, 530-873-4863 or JimsAdventures@aol.com
Enjoy the High Desert of Northeastern California

Carson City Rendezvous
June 12, 13 & 14, 2009. Carson City, Nevada
June 13: Dutch oven gathering.
June 14: Dutch oven cookoff
Contacts: David Herzog, 925-784-1843 or norcaldutchovendave@yahoo.com or Maxine Nietz, 775-887-1294
Dave can e-mail you application, rules and camping information

NEW Stirling City Founders Day and Dutch Oven Cook-off
June 20, 2009 at Stirling City, California
Contact: Jim Geiger, 530-873-4863 or JimsAdventures@aol.com
Emphasis on logging heritage

July

None scheduled

August

Olive Festival and Dutch Oven Cookoff
August 22, 2009 at Corning, California
Contact: Corning Chamber of Commerce, 530-824-5550 or chamber@sbcglobal.net or Don Mason, 530-527-1027 or dmason50@att.net
Olives, olives and lots more

September

None scheduled

October

Fortuna Apple Festival and Dutch Oven Cookoff
October 3, 2009 at Rohnert Park Fortuna, California
Contact: Marvin Rutledge, 707-764-3547 or Fortuna Parks and Recreation, 707-725-7620 or park@ci.fortuna.ca.us
Lots to do and get your winter apples too

Trinity County Historical Society Dutch Oven Cookoff
October 17, 2009 at the Trinity County Museum, Weaverville, California
Contact: George Chapman, 530-410-8013 or digginbar@juno.com
More events, salmon festival and blacksmithing

November

None scheduled

December

None scheduled

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Camp Cookoff application

Now that you understand the rules, you have one more step. I've posted the application to the Colusa Winter Camp Cookoff in blog No. 19 ...

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter Camp Cookoff rules

It's time to get the rules straight in blog No. 18 ...

SACRAMENTO RIVER CAST IRON COOKERS

Winter Camp Cookoff

Contestant Cooking Rules

  1. Cook great food and have lots of fun.
  2. Enter 1, 2 or 3 categories of your choice.
  3. Teams may consist of 1 to 4 members.
  4. Teams provide all ingredients, and cooking utensils.
  5. Please use good health practices. Ice chests are recommended. Keep cold food cold and hot foods hot.
  6. You must use charcoal briquettes and all fires must be least 12 inches off the ground.
  7. All foods must be totally prepared and cooked on site using Dutch ovens as the primary cooking utensil. Sourdough starters are exempt from this rule.
  8. The use of battery or electric appliances is not allowed.
  9. The use of home processed foods or wild game is not allowed.
  10. Gas or propane stove is only allowed to heat water for good hygiene and safe food practices. A fire extinguisher should be present for the gas and propane stove.
Click here for more information on the Winter Camp Cookoff.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dutch oven French bread

Blog No. 17 brings you the French bread recipe that I baked for the El Dorado Western Railway Christmas social ...

This recipe uses the straight dough method where the ingredients are scaled and mixed in one step. You can use the sponge dough method to develop a more complex flavor-texture profile.

A sponge dough is produced in two steps. The yeast is first mixed with all or part of the liquid and part of the flour.

After mixing into a thick batter, the dough is allowed to ferment until double in bulk, often overnight. The remaining ingredients are mixed into the sponge. The remaining steps follow the recipe.

DUTCH OVEN FRENCH BREAD

This recipe makes a 5-pound dough. If desired, divide dough into three 1-pound 10-1/2-ounce portions. Form a traditional loaf by starting with longer side, roll up tightly, pressing dough into roll with each turn. Pinch edges and ends to seal.

Place on greased baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal and proof until double in size. Bake in a 425-deg. oven for 25-30 minutes until brown. Spray or brush loaf with cold water several times during baking for a crisp crust.

8/10 ounces active-dry yeast
1 pound warm water (110-deg. F.)
1 ounce granulated sugar
13 ounces warm water
1 ounce shortening
8/10 ounce salt
3 pounds bread flour

Combine yeast, 1-pound water and sugar in a 10-quart mixer bowl. Stir to dissolve yeast. Let stand 10 minutes.

Add 13 ounces warm water, shortening and salt to yeast mixture. Mix until blended, using dough hook. Add flour and mix on low speed to blend. Increase mixer speed to medium and knead for 7-10 minutes, or until the dough feels smooth and is elastic.

Let dough ferment in warm place for about 2 hours, or until double in bulk. Punch down dough by pulling the dough up on all sides, folding over the center and pressing down, then turning over in the bowl.

Divide into five portions, 16 ounces each. On lightly floured surface, roll each portion into a ball. Place in a 8-quart Dutch oven sprinkled with cornmeal. Proof until double in bulk. With sharp knife, make two or three diagonal slashes across top of loaf.

Evenly pour 1/4-cup water over rounds. Cover and bake at 450-deg. for 15 minutes. Reduce oven to 350-deg. for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

Makes 5 loaves.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Lessons from First Samuel

Blog No. 16 turns to a topic close to my heart ...

The book of First Samuel never ceases to amaze me. It contrasts King Saul’s rejection of God with David’s constant drive to align himself with God’s rule his life.

While David’s failures standout in 2 Samuel -- like adultery with Bathsheba and her husband’s murder in chapters 11 and 12 -- his life was marked by willingness to constantly repent and turn his life back to God.

From David’s first encounter with the Philistines in chapter 17, it’s evident that he honored God in every aspect of his life. David recognized that God would give him victory against the Philistine giant:
Moreover David said, “The LORD, who delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine” (1 Samuel 17:37).
David knew (through faith) that God would give him victory, even though he was up against Goliath. Saul, in his lack of faith, reasoned that David wouldn’t be ”able to go against this Philistine to fight with him; for you are a youth, and he a man of war from his youth” (1 Samuel 17:33).

The sad truth of the story is God’s rejection of Saul in chapter 15, a direct result of his rejection of God’s word (1 Samuel 23, 26). Although Saul often expressed remorse for his sinful ways, he never really repented. Saul spent must of his time on the throne serving him own desires instead of seeking God’s desires.

It was this Old Testament account that impressed me last October as I prepared for our Wednesday night Bible class. I read the last 13 chapters book in one setting on the bus home.

It’s as if I had never read the story of Saul and David, united Israel’s first and second kings. It was like God’s words were new and I was reading them for the first time.

The story of Saul’s pursuit of David excites you when you read of the time David secretly cut off the corner of Saul’s rode in the cave (1 Samuel 24:1-7). Despite encouragement from his soldiers, David restrained himself from killing Saul, a man David recognized as his master and the Lord’s anointed.

The book invokes great sadness when you read of Saul’s misplaced allegiance to himself and his earthly desires. He spent many years chasing David throughout Israel instead obeying God and following His law. Saul’s clandestine visit to a medium on the day before his death characterized his failure to call on God in times of trouble (1 Samuel 28:7-19).

First Samuel also causes great contemplation in the reader. David’s faith during those years and into his 40-year reign over Israel and Judah. After all, it’s David who's included in this great statement of the Hebrew writer:
... who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens” (Hebrews 11:33-34).
So, read through the book. It's much more than endless stories of an ancient kingdom. Woven into the battle between Israel and the Philistines are the reactions of two kings. One king who honored God in his life, and the other one that rejected Him.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Marin County waterfall?


Marin County waterfall?
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook
No. 15 is a picture from my past, taken 86 uears ago ...

My grandfather, Bennett Karoly, took this photograph of a waterfall on June 4, 1922.

I don't know the location, but suspect it is a Marin County waterfall in Northern California. My grandfather often took his two sons fishing in the creeks and rivers in the north part of the county.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Bruschetta with roasted tomatoes

My 780th blog of all time propels us past my 2006 record of 181 blog posts. Enjoy this simple appetizer recipe as you read blog No. 14 for December ...

This dish was originally intended for the annual progressive potluck at work. Since I work on the sixth floor, my office is always charged with bringing an appetizer to the event.

Instead, the managers took the crew to the Spaghetti Factory for an appreciation lunch. I placed my roasted tomato topping for bruschetta in the refrigerator and set it out for lunch the next day.

BRUSCHETTA WITH ROASTED TOMATOES

8 Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2-inch thick
4 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat leaf parsley
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 (16-ounce) baguette

Oil a 13- by 18-inch sheet pan with olive oil. Place sliced tomatoes on sheet pan in a single layer. Roast in a 400 degrees oven soft but still firm, about 10 minutes. Cool briefly. Remove and discard tomato skins. Turn oven to 450 degrees.

Dice tomatoes and place in a medium bowl. Add basil, parsley, garlic, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Gently combine with a spoon. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Slice baguette on a diagonal into 1/2-inch thick slices. Coat one side of each slice with olive oil using a pastry brush. Place on a 13- by 18-inch sheet pan, olive oil side down. Bake bread slices on top rack until bread just begins to turn golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.

Prepare bruschetta just before serving. Spoon 2 teaspoons tomato mixture on each slice of bread. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan cheese if desired. Makes 2 cups tomato topping and 24 slices bread.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Seagoing copper king

I know that I've talked about my love for the coppers in past posts. Blog No. 13 brings back memories ...

GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 27, 2008) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Freddie Green prepares collard greens for the crew's Thanksgiving dinner aboard the guided-missile cruiser USS Monterey (CG 61). The Ticonderoga class cruiser and Carrier Strike Group 2 are on deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility and are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States' commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 3rd Class Jonathan Snyder.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Winter Camp Cookoff

Here a bonus blog, my 12th of the month ...

The 7th Annual Winter Camp Dutch Oven Cookoff will take place in Colusa, California, on Saturday, January 17, 2008. I watched the event, which is set up under a large barn-like fairground shelter, in 2004 and cooked in 2005 with my son.

Unlike the picture, the ground won't be covered in snow. But the heavy fog, wet drizzle and bone chilling wind is promised. Several fire pits lined down the center of the pavilion will warm the body. Your job is to warm the soul with great tasting vittles!

Flag mess

Since 1975, when the Navy combined the commissaryman and steward ratings, culinary specialists have provided food service to the general, CPO, wardroom, cabin and flag messes aboard ship. Enjoy blog No. 11 ...

GULF OF OMAN (Nov. 28, 2008) -- Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Jamie Scrubb, assigned to Carrier Strike Group 2, positions a place setting in the flag mess aboard the aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN 71). Theodore Roosevelt and embarked Carrier Air Wing 8 are on deployment in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility, and are focused on reassuring regional partners of the United States commitment to security, which promotes stability and global prosperity.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Remus Borisov.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Cloverleaf rolls ...

Navy photographers were busing Thanksgiving week. Here's tribute to the seagoing cooks and bakers of the U.S. Navy in blog No. 10 and following ...

PERSIAN GULF (Nov. 27, 2008) -- Culinary Specialist 1st Class Wayne Napples prepares Thanksgiving dinner aboard the amphibious dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD 50). Carter Hall is deployed with the Iwo Jima Strike Group in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communications Specialist 2nd Class Flordeliz Valerio.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

How do you spell c-l-a-u-s-t-r-o-p-h-o-b-i-a?

If blog No. 9 makes you feel a bit claustrophobic, it should. I can tell you from personal experience that it's not fun living in a gas mask for hours at a time.

This is the first of four days of U.S. Navy photos of the seagoing cooks at work ...


PACIFIC OCEAN (Dec. 3, 2008) -- Ship's Serviceman 3rd Class Amanda Rampulla, from Wapakoneta, Ohio, helps Culinary Specialist 2nd Class Vaughn Green, from Mesa, Ariz., drink water through a MCU-2P gas mask during a general quarters drill aboard the amphibious command ship USS Blue Ridge (LCC 19).

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Charles Oki.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Alton Brown's baked meatballs

We're cookin' again for Blog No. 8 ...

Alton Brown's baked meatballs is one of those rare recipes that needed little modification. Understand that I don't usually modify a recipe to correct flaws, but to convert to a large quantity format or to Dutch ovens.

I prepared a double recipe Friday afternoon for the annual Christmas social of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. I weighted meat to ensure that I was working with AB's portions. And since I could only find 8/10th-pound ground lamb at the supermarket, I compensated with additional ground round.

Only one modification seemed in order. AB bakes his meatballs in a mini-muffin pan to ensure "even distribution" in the pan.

According the GoodEatsFanPage.com transcript:

This means that we will have even and rapid heating. But the real secret to this method is in making sure that the meatballs are just a little bit bigger than the cups. That way, they'll actually be suspended above the bottoms, okay? That means that they will keep their nice round shape, and any moisture will run off into the bottom of the cups, away from the orbs.("Great Balls of Meat" episode, Good Eats.)
Okay, AB. First, I don't have any mini-miffin tins. Not do I intend to buy something that I won't use. My only option was to use a baking sheet.

A standard half-sized sheet pan (13- by 18-inch) worked just fine for me. Since the meatballs didn't exude an excessive amount of fat and moisture, I don't see this as an issue.

BAKED MEATBALLS

I used a No. 24 disher to scoop out the meatballs. A lightly-packed scoop will give you a meatball that weighs

1/2 pound ground pork
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 pound ground round
5 ounces frozen spinach, thawed and drained thoroughly
1/2 cup finely grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 whole egg
1-1/2 teaspoons dried basil
1-1/2 teaspoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup fresh breadcrumb, divided

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine pork, lamb, ground round, spinach, cheese, egg, basil, parsley, garlic powder, salt, red pepper flakes and 1/4 cup of bread crumbs. Using hands, mix all ingredients until well incorporated, but do not overmix or meatballs will be tough. Refrigerate overnight.

Place remaining 1/4 cup of bread in a small bowl. Weigh meatballs into 1.5-ounce portions and place on a sheet pan. Using hands, shape meatballs into rounds, roll in bread crumbs and place balls on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden and cooked through.

The recipe makes 20 meatballs. Three meatballs per person leaves 2 extra for the cook!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Back fence photography

Blog No. 7 brings you a "not good" moment ...

At about 8:30 this morning, this sedan roared up the street behind our house, spun around and landed in the ditch. The driver jumped out of the car and ran off to get help.

Fifteen minutes later the car was gone. Skid marks on the pavement make it appear that the driver saw something, hit the brakes and lost control.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Engine 49 departs ...


DSP E49 departs ...
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook

I was a "kid in a candy store" last night! I got to eat, enjoy friends and watch fire trucks all in the same evening.

You'll have to watch quickly as the fire engine is leaving the station in Blog No. 6 ...

Engine 49 answers a medical aid call toward the end of last night's annual Christmas social of the El Dorado Western Railway Foundation. For several years, the Diamond Springs-El Dorado Fire Protection District graciously allowed us to use one of their spacious rooms at Station 49 for the party.

This year's venue overlooked the equipment bay. The photo came out a filtered on the left side since I was shooting through a window.

It's interesting that the fire fighters monitor the El Dorado command radio net in the bathroom that's adjacient to the conference room. That helped me time the shot.

The only problem was that I didn't have my remote in my hand. It was in my camera bag on the other side of the room.

To avoid loosing the shot, I used the 10-second camera delay, which made timing the picture a bit tricky. It took two shots to get this one.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Annual Christmas social

I'm baking a Dutch oven loaf of French bread and baked meatballs with pasta and sauce for tonight's Christmas social. You'll have to wait for pictures and recipes. In the meantime, enjoy blog No. 5 ...


Annual Christmas social
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook
It's once again time for the annual El Dorado Western Railway Foundation Christmas social.

We decorated this the room morning and will gather this evening in the board room of the Diamond Springs-El Dorado Fire Protection District at Station 49.

We have an evening of good food planned. Keith and I will recognize the volunteers and present a slide show of this year's accomplishments.

This has been a good year with the recent speeder car tour of the old Southern Pacific right-of-way and significant progress on the Diamond and Caldor No. 4 Shay locomotive.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Menu for chili party

Pairing side dishes with a nice, hot bowl of chili is the topic of blog No. 4 ...

I answered this message over at the Growlies Recipe Exchange and Party Planning Board yesterday:
I just got assigned to do the menu/food for Christmas dinner for 350 people. I have decided to have chili/chili beans. Now, what goes with that? Green salad? Yikes. Help, please!
While suppose there's no limit to chili partners, I like to limit side dishes to those that complement chili's bold (and sometimes rough) character.

My menu relies on sides that help cool the harsh bite from the hot chili peppers. Everyone knows that a dollop of sour cream will tame those out-of-control capsicums. The musty blue cheese in the roasted corn salad and a creamy cucumber and tomato salad has the same effect.

Tradition plays an equally important role in matching sides to a hot dish of chili. Who doesn't look forward to a nice bite of cornbread with each spoonful of chili? So, why not bake the quick bread in a rustic cast iron skillet or Dutch oven?

Round the menu with a complete line-up of condements and those ever-present torilla chips and guacamole and you have the makings for a well-rounded chili party.

Here's my menu:
  • Cornbread baked in cast iron skillets or Dutch ovens
  • Roasted corn and jalapeno salad with blue cheese
  • Creamy cucumber and tomato salad
  • Classic guacamole with tortilla chips
  • All the condiments: sour cream, grated cheeses, chopped onions, chopped chili peppers, salsa, chopped cilantro, etc.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Back to the tracks


Lantern
Originally uploaded by SeabeeCook
I offer blog No. 3 as I finish the fall issue of The Dispatch (the El Dorado Western Railway newsletter) and prepare for our annual holiday social this Friday ...

Last month, the El Dorado Western Railway hosted rides on the county museum's track inspection car on the former Southern Pacific Placerville Branch in El Dorado, between El Dorado and Blanchard roads.

The ride gave us a chance to tell key people and organizations of our plans to build a railroad park and demonstration railroad on the site of the old SP railroad depot at El Dorado.

I'll post a picture of the Camino, Placerville and Lake Tahoe track inspection car tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Cousins and a friend ...

Here's my second installment ... and with it, I inch ahead of last years dismal showing of 170 blog posts.

Cousins -- and the boyfriend of a niece -- get a few chuckle as they browse through mom and dad's 50th anniversary scrapbook on Thanksgiving Day.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Camp cooking school

As I did last December, I'm going to attempt to post one blog per day. A note and YouTube video on a camp cooking school in Montana is a fitting place to start ...

I last wrote about the Royal Tine Camp Cooking School in Philipsburg, Montana, on April 30, 2006. At the time, all I was only able to direct you to their website.

It seems I missed the June 2006 airing of "Fantasy Food Camps." The Food Network featured five-day camp cooking course at the school.

The show's producer described the show:
Follow four lifelong friends from the city as they head to the picturesque backcountry at Montana Cooking Camp. There, they’ll spend five days learning the tricks of the trade for making meals… all without electricity or other typical kitchen conveniences.
Other segments of the show featured a BBQ camp in the Texas Hill Country.



According to Royal Tine's website, they teach camp cooking in four-day and two-week courses. The courses cost $800 and $1,700, respectively. Prices seem competitive considering the hands-on approach to instruction and the course content.

The website does talk about four- and five-week courses, which are geared to desiring to become professional outdoor camp cooks. These may be older courses. The school will assist with job placement when you take the longer classes, including the two-week course.

Check the camp cook forum for recipes and how-to information.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Dutch oven roasted vegetables

I played a supporting role at the family Thanksgiving feast this year. My brother-in-law Jim roasted the turkey on dad's 22-inch Weber BBQ kettle. The rest of the family -- self included -- supplied the side dishes.

The menu consisted of roasted turkey, great-grandma's German red cabbage, mashed potatoes with turkey gravy, roasted vegetables and cranberry sauce. Three homemade pies (pumpkin, pumpkim with crumb topping and apple) topped the menu.

My contribution was the roasted vegetables and a foccacia round, all cooked in two 14-inch Dutch ovens next to Jim's turkey.

The vegetables caramelize as they cook under the intense in the Dutch oven. They take on a slight sweetness from natural sugars.

You'll enjoy pure comfort food in this dish, especially when it's prepared with a sharp coarse-grain mustard and plenty of roasted garlic.

Use any combination of vegetables will do. You can tailor the recipe to your own tastes. A nice combination of root vegetables (russet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, sweet potatoes and carrots) makes a nice fall and winter accompaniment to an outdoor meal.

DUTCH OVEN ROASTED VEGETABLES

To roast in a home oven: Pre-heat oven to 400-degrees F. Place vegetables in a 13- x 18-inch sheet pan following recipe directions. Cover pan with foil and roast for 35 minutes. Uncover, stir gently and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once halfway through, until vegetables are tender.

2 large stalks broccoli, cut into small florets
1-1/4 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half
1 pound carrots, Juliane
2 bell peppers, diced large
1 bunch green onions, cut into 1-inch lengths
12 large cloves garlic, peeled
1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 head cabbage, cut into chunks

In a large bowl, combine broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, bell peppers, garlic and parsley.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, mustard, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt and pepper. Spoon about 2 tablespoons of mixture into a 14-inch Dutch oven. Place cabbage on top of the oil.

Add the remaining oil mixture to vegetables in bowl and toss to coat evenly. Transfer to Dutch oven and place on top of cabbage.

Roast vegetables in a 400-degree oven until vegetables are tender, about 40 to 50 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2-teaspoon salt and transfer to a serving bowl.

Scurvy in the Civil War blockading fleet

Report of Rear-Admiral Dahlqren, U. S. Navy, advising, as a health measure, certain additions to the regular ration.

FLAG-STEAMER DINSMORE,
Off Morris Island, August 9, 1863.

SIR: I am admonished by the daily recurrence of disability among the men, which diminishes their number rapidly, that some more than ordinary measures are required to sustain them under the increasing labor of operations in this enervating climate. Scurvy is now added to the list of diseases, and to-day the fleet surgeon recommends the return of the Marblehead to the North, because to remain here would break down the whole of the crew.

I would therefore respectfully submit to the Department a recommendation to add certain articles of diet to those already provided by the regular ration:
1. Fresh vegetables daily, whether the meat be fresh or salt; potatoes, cabbage, onions, lemons, etc.
2. A bakery of fresh bread, for which some vessel can be provided with a regular baker.
3. A ration of ice.

The Department may be assured that any expenditure due to these additions will be amply repaid by the diminution of disease, and the increased efficiency of those not yet absolutely reduced to the sick list.

I shall make requisitions on the proper bureau for the above, but also urge the action of the Department, because the effect of these measures has a general bearing on our operations.

I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

JNO. A. DAHLGREN,
Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

Hon. GIDEON WELLES,
Secretary of the Navy, Washington, D.C.

Source: Edward K. Rawson and Charles W. Stewart, Official Records of the Union and Confederate Navies in the War Of The Rebellion, Series I-Volume 14 (South Atlantic Blockading Squadron, April 7 to September 30, 1863), Washington: Government Printing Office, 1902, page 431.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A thankful homecoming ...

Now, here's something to truly be thankful for ...

CORONADO, Calif. (Nov. 25, 2008) -- Culinary Specialist Seaman Tour'e Burt embraces his newborn child upon his return to Naval Station North Island after a six-month deployment aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76).

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Joshua Scott.

$36.95 and holding ...

This isn't exactly Thanksgiving Day fodder ...

I purchased a pair of Levi 501 blue jeans at Arian's Supply Sergeant in Placerville yesterday. As I entered the $39.72 price tag ($36.95 plus 7.5 percent sales tax) into Quicken this morning, I noticed the price hadn't changed in the 2-1/2 years since I last purchased a pair.

While I realize this isn't something that we normally attach to Thanksgiving Day thankfulness, it's nice to see the price of Levi's is holding in Placerville.

So, in a small way, I'm thankful for that some items are in a holding pattern, especially in this time of high mortgage payments, food prices, etc. It's nice to don a pair of $36.95 Levi's or drive on a $50 gas tank, even if for a short time.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Airdale cooks have all the fun ...

I never got to shoot warbird off an aircraft carrier during my time in the Navy!

PACIFIC OCEAN (Nov. 11, 2008) -- Shooter Lt.Cmdr. Trey "Flash" Prim (left) points out to Culinary Specialist Matthew Siteman the location of the bow safeties for catapults one and two aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76). Siteman was given the opportunity to launch his first aircraft off the deck for winning Shooter for the Day during a raffle by the Combined Federal Campaign.

Culinary Specialist Matthew Siteman, from Supply Department aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76), takes full advantage of winning Shooter for the Day during a raffle by the Combined Federal Campaign.

U.S. Navy photos by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Gary Prill.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Seagoing casualty drill

These photographs serve as a Veteran's Day tribute to the hard-working cooks and bakers of the U.S. Navy ...

General quarters is an all hands evolution. All sailors, myself included in the 1970s, are trained to handle emergency situations.


PACIFIC OCEAN (Oct. 8, 2008) Culinary Specialist 3rd Class James Wear, left, and Hospital Corpsman Carroll Domino carry a Sailor acting as a casualty to the operating room during a mass casualty drill aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6). The Bonhomme Richard medical training team holds drills to ensure all medical personnel have proficient training and will be ready to respond to a real-life scenario.

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeffery J. Gabriel Jr.

Top sergeant to top sergeant

These photographs serve as a Veteran's Day tribute to the hard-working cooks and bakers of the U.S. Army ...

FORT HOOD, TEXAS (October 19, 2007) -- Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth Preston, a native of Mount Savage, Md., and the Army's senior noncommissioned officer, welcomes home Charleston, S.C., native Sgt. 1st Class Carl Steed, the senior food service noncommissioned officer for the 15th Sustainment Brigade's Brigade Troops Battalion, at Fort Hood's Robert Gray Army Airfield Oct. 18, 2008.

Photo by Sgt. Robert Strain, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs.

Top general to mess sergeant

These photographs serve as a Veteran's Day tribute to the hard-working cooks and bakers of the U.S. Air Force ...

Gen. Norton A. Schwartz thanks Tech. Sgt. Toni Beaty after a senior leader dinner Oct. 22 at an air base in Southwest Asia. General Schwartz is the chief of staff of the Air Force, and Sergeant Beaty is a dining facility manager for the 380th Expeditionary Services Squadron.

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Denise Johnson.

Cannon cook

These photographs serve as a Veteran's Day tribute to the hard-working cooks and bakers of the U.S. Marine Corps ...

AL-ANBAR PROVINCE, IRAQ (August 23, 2008) -- Lance Cpl. Terry A. Mastin, a food service specialist with Mike Battery, 3rd Battalion, 14th Marine Regiment, 2nd Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion, Regimental Combat Team 5, pulls the lanyard to fire the M-777 Howitzer while Cpl. Andrew C. Ollenberger, a cannoneer with Mike Battery, looks on during an illumination shoot at Patrol Base El Dorado, Iraq, Aug. 23, 2008.

The unit has been able to fire their howitzers more than 20 times this deployment to provide illumination during night operations. Mike Battery is a reserve artillery battery based out of Chattanooga, Tenn., and attached to 2nd LAR Bn.

U.S. Marine Corps photograph by Cpl. Ryan Tomlinson of Regimental Combat Team 5.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dutch oven bread dressing with sausage

Here's the last recipe from the Home and Garden Show two weeks ago.

DUTCH OVEN BREAD DRESSING WITH SAUSAGE

Fifteen ounces (2 packages) of stuffing mix yields about 3 quarts dried bread cubes.

12 ounces sausage, with sage
1 onion, diced
3 stalks celery, diced
15 ounces dried bread cubes
3 cups milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground sage
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper

Crumble sausage in a 12-inch Dutch oven over medium-high heat until pink is gone. Add onions and celery and continue cooking until soft, stirring occasionally. Cool slightly.

Meanwhile, soak bread in milk in a large bowl for a few minutes. Gently mix eggs, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper into bread mixture. Pour into Dutch oven and gently mix in sausage. Avoid over mixing.

Bake with coals for 350-degrees until thoroughly cooked and top is brown, about 30 to 45 minutes.

Don Mason's Dutch oven newsletter

Here's the fall edition of Don Mason's Dutch oven cooking newsletter. To have a copy emailed directly to you, contact Don at dmason50@att.net.

I've been posting Don's newsletter to 'Round the Chuckbox since April 2005. Every two or three months, Don fills Dutch Oven Cooking with news of Northern California Dutch oven events and cookoffs. Each issue contains three or four Dutch oven recipes -- recipes tested by cookoff contestants from the north state region.

So, enjoy the fall edition. I'm sure Don will have the winter issue ready in time for the Colusa Winter Camp Cookoff.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Navy minced beef

I received this email from a disabled Navy veteran the other day:
I would like the recipe for mince beef on toast for a family of 4. I loved that when I was in the Navy. I am now a disabled vet.

Thank you,
Billy G. Reeder
Before I print my scaled-down recipe, here's a bit of history on Navy minced beef. I last wrote on the topic two and one-half years ago here.

According to retired chief commissarymam Tom Selland, his ship only served chipped beef one time each year.

"The crew went up in arms," said Selland. Minced beef on toast was the SOS of choice for sailors.

"Minced beef was highly acceptable," said Selland. "They liked it a lot better than spinach quiche."

As you may guess, Selland said this with a smile on his face. To paraphrase a popular cliche from the 1970s: Real sailors didn't eat quiche in those days.

Minced beef is uniquely Navy. It was found in every Navy cookbook until the inception of the Armed Forces Recipe Service in 1969. In fact, the recipe for creamed beef doesn't appear in any Navy cookbook between 1940 and 1962.

Minced beef is prepared by adding ground beef to a tomato sauce, according to Selland. It’s cooked much like Army cooks prepared creamed beef. But it’s the of mace or nutmeg that made minced beef unique.

According the Navy’s 1962 recipe, the commissaryman braised ground beef and chopped onions in a copper -- that’s what commissarymen have called steam-jacketed kettles since the day’s of sail.

He then added flour to the meat and cooked the mixture until it browned. (Commissarymen stirred the meat mixture with large flat paddles called copper paddles.) He finished the dish by adding water, nutmeg or mace, salt and ground black pepper.

Like chipped beef or creamed beef, minced beef was served over toast points.

Selland learned to cook minced beef on his first ship, the USS Polaris (AF 11), as a seaman and commissaryman third class. He said that the chief commissaryman on the Polaris -- he couldn't remember his name -- taught the cooks to thicken the tomato sauce for the minced beef with cornstarch.

Instead of adding flour to the beef as it braised in the copper, the commissarymen on the Polaris added tomatoes, water, nutmeg or mace, salt and pepper to the copper. They thickened it with a cornstarch slurry. Selland continued to use this recipe throughout his career.

NAVY MINCED BEEF

I scaled Armed Forces Recipe Service recipe No. 36 from 100 portions down to 5. It's the recipe I used on the USS Cocopa and USS Stein in the late 1970s.

On board ship, we would cooked the beef in a steam-jacketed kettle with the drain open. The fat drained off as we stirred the meat and onions. Cook beef with onions in its own fat until beef loses its pink color, stirring to break apart. Drain or skim off excess fat.

1-1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 cup chopped onions
6 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 (15-ounce) can tomatoes, crushed
1/2 teaspoon ground mace (or ground nutmeg)
1/3 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
6 tablespoons water

Braise beef in its own fat with onions. Sprinkle flour over beef and continue cooking until flour is absorbed. Add tomatoes, spices and water. Stir to mix well. Simmer 10 to 15 minutes. Makes 5 (1-cup) or 10 (1/2-cup) portions.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Quick cream of broccoli soup

I found this Lipton soup mix recipe on FamilyOven.com. Unlike a true cream soup, where the broccoli is pureed and strained to give the soup a smooth, velvety sheen, this version is chunky. Either way, it should warm you on a cool fall evening.

QUICK CREAM OF BROCCOLI SOUP

3-1/2 cups milk
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, partially thawed
1 (2.1-ounce) package Lipton chicken noodle soup mix with diced chicken meat
1 tablespoon flour

Bring 3 cups milk and broccoli to boiling point. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes. Stir in Lipton noodle soup mix and flour blended with remaining milk. Bring to boiling point then simmer, stirring often 10 minutes or until soup thickens and broccoli is tender. Make 4 (8-ounce) servings.

Curried chicken noodle soup

Here's another recipe from Chesapeake and Ohio Dining Car Recipes. I served it at the Home and Garden Show on Saturday, October 26, 2008. Like the red cabbage, most of the 17 El Dorado Western Railway volunteers enjoyed the dish.

This is a quick recipe that's based on Lipton dehydrated chicken noodle soup. Prepare to soup on a two- to three-quart saucepan or in a 4-quart Dutch oven. It will easily fit in an 8- or 10-inch camp oven.

CURRIED CHICKEN NOODLE SOUP

Watch the salt closely as the soup packages probably contain sufficient salt for most palates.

Formula No. 115 * Quantity - 1-1/2 Quarts

2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon curry powder
1-1/2 quarts milk
2 packages Lipton chicken noodle soup
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat butter in a saucepan and add curry powder. Stir well and add milk. Bring to a boil, add soup packages and simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve without straining. Can be served hot or cold. Makes 1-1/2 quarts, or 8 (6-ounce) portions.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Blue Ridge has banner year by winning Ney, promoting deserving sailors

By Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Peter D. Lawlor, USS Blue Ridge Public Affairs

YOKOSUKA, Japan (NNS) (10/25/2008) -- USS Blue Ridge (LCC-19) food services division capped off one year's worth of focus and dedication with the addition of six new chiefs to the culinary specialist rating aboard the Ney award-winning flagship.

The goals were established when Master Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Paul Marshall, leading culinary specialist for Blue Ridge, checked aboard in May 2007.

"Our goals were set high," said Marshall, who cooked up the team's award-winning recipe for success. "Our primary goal was to win the Ney award. To do so, we developed a training program that not only emphasized the art of perfecting our rate but also highlighted key points on how to take an exam."

"Once our goals were established we focused one at a time on the mission, studying and making sure all objectives were met in preparation for the Ney," said Chief Culinary Specialist (SW) Felipe Tubera. He added that the chain of command was adamant about helping their junior Sailors advance to the next pay grade by teaching in-rate knowledge book smarts as well as offering hands on know-how.

"When our troops shine, we shine"

Tubera's statement could not have been more correct for the 2008 fiscal year. The food services division was indeed shining… like a star or two on the tip of a gold-fouled anchor.

First the announcement came Feb. 6 that Blue Ridge was the 2008 Captain Edward F. Ney award winner (best large afloat platform in the fleet). In March, Marshall was promoted to master chief and in May, David Jones, Joselyn Sabas and Micheal Morgan were all promoted to senior chief culinary specialists.

"The promotions kept coming" said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Joselyn Sabas. "Five of nine second class petty officers were promoted to first class. Six of nine seamen were advanced to third class, and one third class was promoted to second class."

Sabas said the icing on the cake for the food services division in 2008 was the five first class petty officers who were promoted to chief.

"This is a true testament of hard work and dedication to the mission," said Senior Chief Culinary Specialist (SW/AW) Micheal Morgan. "Hard work, a can-do spirit and a high level of energy projected daily helped us to provide a higher level of service to our crew."

Morgan believes the team's strategic ingredients to bring praise to the department through earning the Ney and promotions for his crew through intensive advancement exam preparation culminated and resulted in better service for the ship's crew.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Braised red cabbage

Braised red cabbage is one of those dishes that you either love or hate. I grew up on a dish my mother called German red cabbage. In almost three decades of wedded bliss with my beloved, I've never been able to convince her to eat it.

Both of my daughters will eat red cabbage when I prepare it for holiday meals, despite their mother's influence to the contrary. Their brother falls into the other camp.

I've seen similar success with with my wife's family. About half of her family likes it.

So, I was mildly surprised when I served braised red cabbage from Chesapeake and Ohio Dining Car Recipes to the El Dorado Western Railway volunteers last Saturday. Most of the 17 participants enjoyed the dish.

BRAISED RED CABBAGE

Formula 605 * Quantity - 15 Garnitures

2 tablespoons lard
1 head red cabbage, sliced
2 medium onions, sliced
2 bay leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup applesauce
1 cup vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Heat lard and add onions, bay leaves and garlic. Allow to brown very lightly, then add shredded red cabbage, mixing very well. Then add vinegar, applesauce, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover with well fitting greased paper. Simmer for a few minutes and finish in oven until thoroughly done. Check seasoning.

Note: Garniture refers to an embellishment, or something that garnishes. Today we would simply say the recipe yields 35 garnishes, or something like that. Serve 1/2-cup portions to yield 15 garnitures.

GERMAN RED CABBAGE

I learned to eat red cabbage at a young age, along with roast turkey, leg of lamb and pork loin. As a child, I watched my mother and paternal grandmother dump gallons (or so it seemed at the time) of good Heinz cider vinegar into the holiday cabbage each Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The stuff grows on you. As long as one Karoly remains on this earth, we will feast on red cabbage at our holiday celebrations.

With slight modifications, this family recipe comes from my grandmother, Bertha Karoly, 1901-1988, and her daughter-in-law, Marilyn Karoly.

3 ounces bacon, copped
1/2 medium onion, diced
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled and sliced
1 head red cabbage, sliced thin
1 cup apple sauce
1 cup cider vinegar
Salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a 4-quart saucepan over medium heat, brown the bacon until all its fat is rendered. Remove all but 1 tablespoon of the fat. Reduce heat to low. Add the onions and apple slices. Cover and sweat for about 10 minutes, being careful not to brown the onions or apples.

Add the cabbage and mix. Season to taste. Add liquids and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 45 minutes, or until done. Remove lid and continue to simmer for 10 minutes of cooking so excess liquid can evaporate. Yields about 15 (1/2-cup) portions.

Serving Ideas: German red cabbage is the perfect accompaniment to any pork dish, especially sauteed pork chops or roast port loin. Just think of it as "German applesauce!" (Of course, there's nothing wrong with serving applesauce alongside the cabbage.)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Chicken thighs in gravy

When I first planned the menu for Saturday's Home and Garden Show, my thought was to serve hot turkey sandwiches to the crew. I wanted to spread a layer of sausage stuffing on the bread for the open faced sandwich. A couple slices of turkey and a generous ladle of gravy would top the bread and stuffing.

Once at the market, I realized that I'd have to change direction. The stock of fresh turkey products was slim last Friday night. Two drumstick packages wasn't enough to feed 17 hungry volunteers.

Although I looked forward to fixing hot turkey sandwiches, I settled on chicken breasts. At $2.99 per pound, the chicken breasts became an attractive alternative.

CHICKEN THIGHS IN GRAVY

Instead of printing a traditional recipe, I've written the instructions in a pictorial format. Tonight's dinner is essentially the same dish that I cooked for Saturday's event. Here, I used a package of 12 chicken thighs in place of the breasts.

For chicken thighs, I removed the skin and trimmed the fat with a pair of kitchen shears. Seasoning the chicken with any seasoning mixture that compliments the finished product. Kosher salt and ground black pepper work well for most dishes. I used a mixture of kosher salt, ground black pepper, garlic granules and paprika here.

To sear, pour 1 or 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, sear chicken in hot oil in batches. It takes no more than 5 minutes per side when the skillet is heated to the right temperature. Adjust the heat as needed to avoid burning the chicken.

I used an older Lodge #12 skillet here. The skillet, which has a 13-1/2-inch diameter, will hold about 8 thighs or 6 breast halves without over-crowding. Once brown on both sides, remove chicken to a waiting platter. Pour off and save the fat. Add enough vegetable oil to bring it to 1/2-cup.

Next, heat 4 ounces (about 1/2-cup) oil in 12-inch Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 8-ounce mirepoix to hot fat and saute until browned. An 8-ounce mire poix is a mixture of 4 ounces chopped onion, 2 ounces chopped carrot and 2 ounces chopped celery. Browning the mirepoix will add a robust element to the gravy.

Remove mirepoix if desired and discard. When left in, most chefs strain the mirepoix out at some point to enhance the gravy's appearance. In my experience, many home cooks leave it in. The choice is yours.

Add 4 ounces flour to the fat and stir to make a roux. Brown roux to desire color over medium heat.

In the camp kitchen I add a slightly cooled roux to hot chicken stock while vigorously whisking. This ensures a smooth, lump-free gravy. I reverse the process when working outdoors to save a step. Slowly pour hot stock over the roux, while vigorously whisking to prevent lumps from forming.

Place chicken thighs in gravy, being careful to prevent splattering. Simmer gravy for 30 to 45 minutes, until chicken is thoroughly cooked. Serve with garlic mashed potatoes or buttered eggs noodles.