Monday, July 20, 2009

The Fan Club speaks...

This is from a workshop presented recently to a Junior GS Scout troop in Crystal Lake, Illinois. They were going camping really soon, and needed to learn a little outdoor cooking.

We made Dutch Oven baked spaghetti and an Apple Spice Dump Cake for dessert.

Here is the testimony from their trip!

DO Diva,

The scouts made Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs, Roasted Peppers and Pineapple in the DO and served them over rice (made over propane stove) with a side salad and Banana Boats for dessert for Friday dinner.

For Saturday dinner, they made foil packs with grilled chicken, carrots, onions, celery, red potatoes and spices (Bouquet Garni), a side salad, Italian bread with olive oil and spices for dipping and Baked Apples with brown sugar and cinnamon red hots for dessert. The foil packs were delicious but a little crispy on the bottom not bad though. I think we need more liquid or less heat or even less time. Probably could have done them in 20 min but an adult was worried about potato being done so they were left on for 35 min. We put them on top of the coals. Should we have made wells and surrounded them by coals instead? Similar to the DO coal circle? All our meat was precooked and frozen prior to the campout. Personally, I think we could do the whole thing in a DO and let folks serve themselves - less foil trash but more dishes (hahah).

I did hear that at least 2 of the scouts made the baked spaghetti for their families and one made the apple spice dump cake.

We had alot of fun at Troop Trek. Lots of Laughs. We touched on some skills and honed some others. It was cold (in July?!) at night...we were all prepared (ardent weather watchers prior to camp weekend). We packed light and tight and had plenty of food. Even talked a little about possible Silver Award projects. Definitely worth the effort.

I also heard some requests for a 2nd DO Cooking Session and definitely more camping in our future. Even talk of a fishing outing at McHenry Dam and a DO dinner included! You started something good. We will let you know of our local events with DO included when they materialize. You will be our guest of honor!

We ate well and the scouts were prepared with cooking tips and cleaning tips. No Kaper Chart and the cooperation among the 3 campers and 3 adults was fabulous. Adults were in charge of breakfast/cleanup and scouts did all other meals/cleanup and camp kapers. Again, I say, thanks to you. I heard some of your instructions repeated several times by the scouts. They were listening!!!

Signed, Troop Leader Ann

Friday, July 17, 2009

Skeeters, Hot and Buggy

Friends in Black Pot cooking!
It's mid July 2009. Suddenly summer is half way gone. Where?
and one week it's broiling hot and the next week, we need sweatshirts. MMM..Global warming or cooling?

I was camping at Richard Bong State Rec Area in Burlington, Wisconsin last weekend. Yes, the really hot, humid weekend. Stinking hot. Move your eyeballs and you sweat weather. Ah, yes. We arrived at the campsite around 5pm. Just getting out of the car, we were swarmed by skeeters. On went the long sleeves and insect repellent. So, it was just a chore to get the tent up and gear stowed with all those skeeters.

There were 15 of us from the Rockford/Rockton meetup group on 3 sites. We had 2 dogs with us too. Bella, the Golden Retriever and Yoshi, the Shiba Inu. Both great dogs! We did all the social, fires, eating and cooking on the middle sight.

Speaking of cooking, it was a DutchOvenDiva cooking weekend. I brought 3 pots with me. Saturday morning was Denver haystacks. That is a dish of hashbrowns, eggs broken into depressions. Top that with green onions, ham, peppers. Bake in the oven using charcoal for heat. When done,top with cheese and melt.

Dinner was great and fun to cook. We did 2 different pork roasts. In the 12 in deep oven, I placed celery stalks and quartered onion. I laid the pork roast, fat side up on top of that. Cut red potatoes were next and piled high along the sides. I used a Cajun style rub of red hot pepper flakes, spices, minced garlic, onion powder and an assortment of other things. A little water and onto the heat. Cooked about 1.5 hrs to 150 deg and pulled from the heat to finish cooking. The other roast was a Peach Preserves topping with gingered baby carrots. Both the roast and the carrots were in another 12 in oven. That also cooked for about 1.5 hrs. Green salad accompanied the dinner.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. We had the blender along. We got to have frozen margarita's for our nightly libation. Tasty on a hot evening!

Lisa J. made a delicious, outstanding, over the top Chocolate Turtle Cake. Oh, it was so good. So yummy. Like a little slice of heaven.

Sunday mornign, we took the extra potatoes, green peppers, onions and made killer eggs. Saute everything up til good and warm, pour on the scrambled up eggs and finish cooking. Top with cheese to melt and enjoy.

We all helped to clean up dishes. I love having people enjoy the food. And best of all, they are learning the way of the Black Pots.

I didn't count the number of skeeter bites because I didn't want to know. But thanks to having a screen house, max value DEET and long sleeves, it was a little easier to endure. Hot yes, bitten..not so bad.

Maybe the colder weather will temper those skeeters..bye bye bugs!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Busy Summer Start

Cooking is really busy lately. The Northwoods Chapter, International Dutch Oven Society (IDOS) has had a few Dutch Oven Gatherings lately (DOG).

We've gone to Cabela's Richfield Wisconsin to share our love of black pot cooking. There were participants from all over Wisconsin and northernn Illinois. We all gathered around 9am and setup our cooking tables. Lit the charcoal, and created magic!

We cooked cornbread, breakfast pizza, pineapple upside cake, whole turkeys, wontons. The rain came early and stayed all day, sometimes pouring, sometimes the wind blew. Good thing that the porch canopy at the store was wide. We stayed mostly protected. The food was served bit by tasty bit to our adoring public.

In May, we participated at Gander Mtn Joliet store in a Women in the Outdoor Event. It was a slow day, maybe it was the sunshine and perfect weather that kept people from not visiting a store! fun anyway, and it's always good to cook. That day, we had cheesy potatoes, sweet potato cubes in maple glaze, chicken florentine and apple crisp.

We Celebrated Dad with a DOG at Cabela Hoffman Estates, Illinois. Our Northwoods Group cooked and cooked and talked and wowed again. Lisa J learned her first lessons in DO cooking from who else? The DutchOvenDiva! She made biscuits to start with. This teaches heat management techniques. Then Lisa made a chocolate cherry cake. WOW! Great way to start. You made perfect food. We had cacciatore, raised bread filled with tomato/basil and another with Italian coldcuts. Pineapple upside down cake. Apple cakes. And we featured Cabela brand Cobbler Mixes.

DutchOvenDiva celebrated her birthday with a Driveway DOG. Cooking friends came by with their tables and black pots. We enjoyed Coconut Mandarin Orange Cake, Spicy Pasta, and Beef Panang Curry. Great food and wonderful friends. That's what it is all about.

July and August are being planned now..Keep checking back.

Fall starts with the 2009 Midwest Dutch Oven Gathering and Cookoff in Wadsworth, Illinois. Check out for registration and information

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Diva's other things for fun

  • Salsa Dancing..oh yeah! StudioViva, Palatine Illinois
  • Girl Scouts
  • Seek the Peak, Mt Washington NH, July 27, 2009
  • Rubber Stamping and creative ways to use paper