Thursday, July 8, 2010

Dutch Ovens

Today the weather is much cooler than it has been, so I decided to re-season the dutch ovens.  I first had to decide which ones to take.  Yes, I am in love with cast iron (sorry Cory.. you will always be my first love, cast iron second).  I am concerned about the weight of our belongings in the trailer and I am trying to be mindful when selecting the tools for the kitchen.  I have tried to switch most of my bowls, measuring cups, melamine or a light weight plastic.  Dutch ovens are not either, or course, so I am faced with the decision of what is necessary and what is wanted...once again!!  I chose my kitchen dutch oven for sure.  This is a dutch oven with no legs and it would fit nicely into my trailer oven and it stacks beautifully on top of my 12 inch with legs.  What is unique about my kitchen dutch oven and makes it special to me is,  I bought it many years ago at an estate sale.  This means it is very old and all of the character of something old makes each dish more appetizing to me.  I often have said I should have been a pioneer.  In some strange way, I feel that this experience will give me a slight insight into their life...with running water and grocery stores, of course.  I love the thought of some one from the past having used it and in some way it connects me to the past. 

The second dutch oven is as stated above, just a standard 12 inch.  This oven works well for small meals, and yet it provides enough height that I can make enough for a crowd.  I love cooking and I know that my experiences on the road will include a lot of cooking for groups of people.  We are hoping to make new friends along the way and eating is always a way of enjoying each others company when you don't feel the need to share your life story with every Tom, Dick or Harry.  I have also chosen a cast iron ebelskiver pan and one skillet.  The ebelskiver's are round pancakes.  This is a dutch tradition and the pan makes it perfect to still have pancakes but not worrying about the huge electric skillet that I used in a "sticks and bricks" home.

One summer in Washington, many years ago, I spent a whole summer cooking with my dutch ovens outside.  It was awesome.  This kept the house cool in the summer and it kept the mess outside.  I learned a lot about using the coals and how to regulate the temperature.  I have not found a recipe that I could not make in a dutch oven.  One of our families favorite is lasagna.  While in WA, our electricity would often go out and I learned to make home made bread in our fireplace with the coals from the wood burning stove.  This was always a treat for our family.

I find that some dutch oven cook books are trying to lend themselves to the gourmet chef.  I like this idea, but it is not always practical when you are camping and are limited on supplies.  I have found that the best and easiest recipes are on the web with general searches.  I am excited to try new recipes and expand my knowledge of techniques and cooking skills needed to become an expert dutch oven cook.

1 comment:

  1. Dutch ovens rock! Love that cobbler, cake, lazangna, etc...