Saturday, March 28, 2009

Experimenting With My Camp Oven

I put my new camp oven to work today making a pot of baked beans using the guidelines and recipe in the book, "The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen". In preparation for today's cooking adventure, I soaked the beans overnight. The only thing I was missing was a cup of beer. As luck would have it, a friend of ours who brews his own beer stopped by to visit us and he just happened to have a keg of beer in his trunk! How lucky can you get? The recipe called for a dark stout which was what he had. I asked for a generous cup; a little for the beans, a little for me.

The baked beans simmered for four hours over the fire ring. I sat in the Adirondack chair and enjoyed the warm fire on a chilly spring day while visiting with the chickens and reading a few recipes in the cookbook. It was a joy to the senses to cook outdoors with the smell of molasses, brown sugar and beans simmering and the sight of the ducks in the pond.

The whole process was fairly easy. The biggest challenge was keeping the fire consistent. Fortunately, the tripod has an adjustable chain so I can easily raise and lower the oven as needed. Jim made the cast iron tripod for the oven and it is very sturdy and perfect for the job.

The beans tasted delicious. The dark stout lent a deep, rich flavor to the beans along with the molasses. At the end of the cooking time, I put some hot dogs in a foil packet next to the coals to steam. We ate them on some homemade hot dog buns and had giant chocolate chip cookies for dessert.

Eating these "off the grid" beans was very satisfying and got some more ideas stirring. It was a very good learning experience and I am looking forward to cooking some stew and roasting some birds in the camp oven. Providing for yourself is so much more satisfying than buying everything you need. With some ingenuity and effort you can do just about anything!




12 comments:

  1. Amy, you have become quite the adventurous cook. It all sound so lovely and delicious. The experience of sitting on your porch and cooking the beans was worth it by itself.

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  2. I love the camp stove! I want one, where did you get the pot? It is gorgeous.

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  3. There is nothing better than cookin outdoors whil camping! Do you get the chance to camp? One of my fav things to do! REAL baked beans Sound yummy!

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  4. Sounds really good!!! Camp type food is the greatest!

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  5. Your next assignment is to bake biscuits in that Dutch oven. I've heard there's nothing better. And hows come we didn't see any pics of the finished beans? And the hot dogs and homemade buns? Are you holding out on us? Your campfire must have been the wood smoke I smelled yesterday when I walked out to the barn. It smelled good. Couldn't smell the beans though. :)

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  6. Kathie, it was a real pleasure to cook outdoors. I'm going to do more of it while the weather is still cool. Come summertime, I won't be out on the back deck during the heat of the day. I'll get cooked too!

    Christy, I ordered all my cast iron pieces on Amazon.com. I find the best deals on that website.

    Rach, we are very blessed in that we can camp in our own back yard. There's a sheltered clearing in our windbreak that is the designated burn area. There is room to set up a tent and Jim built a two story tree house for the boys in it the first year we were here.

    ClassyChassy, you said it! I couldn't agree more.

    Susan, I forgot to take a photo of the finished beans, I was too busy tasting them! LOL I plan to make biscuits in the camp oven. You are my biscuit mentor...any words of advice?

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  7. Very cool, I really like that. How much does something like that cost and wher do you get it?

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  8. Sounds like a lovely day! I'll have to show this to my husband. He is going to be jealous. Jess

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  9. Kim, I added a link to the site where I ordered my oven. They are having a "4 for 3" promotion right now so I got the lid lifter as a freebie.

    Jess, does he like to cook with cast iron too?

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  10. that's awesome, Amy. I just love reading about living off grid.

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  11. The only thing I know about baking biscuits in a camp oven is piling coals on the lid to get an even baking temperature. I've never done it, but I wish you lots of luck! :) I wonder if they have a smoky taste?

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  12. I'll bet those beans were wonderful, Amy. And about beef stew- if you ever fix it in your dutch oven, you will never fix it any other way! My first time making it in mine, I couldn't believe how tender the meat was- it melted in your mouth!
    By the way- I have another cast iron cookbook you might enjoy (if you don't already have it) It's called "A Skillet Full" and it's by the Lodge cast iron company. It's a wonderful book!

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