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.


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.

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,

Rear-Admiral, Comdg. South Atlantic Blockading Squadron.

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.


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

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.


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 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.


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.


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.


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.


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.)