Having some fun with your DO – Poppers (part 1)

Dutch Oven cooking isn’t all about stews or cobblers; it’s about being able to make anything and everything. Have some fun with your next DO meal and make some appetizers in your Dutch oven. Imagine your next party or gathering when you open up that lid and what do you see? Jalapeno Poppers, stuffed with cheese? Breaded, not fried, of course so healthy (to a point!) and oh so yummy.
Both these recipes are baked in the Dutch oven with a minimum of extra oils. So, even those that are watching intake of calories or fats can enjoy at least a bite or three!

The poppers can also be made with those sweet little peppers now found at the market that are bright red and yellow. Try them for a taste treat, along with traditional jalapeno.
(Just remember *your safety is first*, so if you are working with the jalapeno peppers, put some gloves on before handling them.  Remember do not rub or touch anywhere near your eyes; it hurts, a lot!  As an added measure you can also wash your hands afterwards with a very mild bleach solution to cut the pepper oils).

Please feel free to share your own experiences with this DO activity or any tips I may have missed.  I am looking forward to hearing for you…

Remember to check back and stay tuned for another Diva DO trick; In my next post I will be sharing a recipe for creating egg rolls, or wrappers as I call them,  that will make your mouth water and want more. I  will be providing 2 really great egg roll recipes, one with meat, and the other all vegetable, complete with the DO cooking directions.

Pepper Poppers

Size of Dutch Oven: 12” Dutch Oven

Number of charcoal briquettes:  25-28 (Top 18-20/Bottom 10-11)

makes about 16-18 half poppers (8-9 whole)

Ingredients:

8-9 jalapeno peppers (or similar based on preference)

Filling:

1/2 brick cream cheese softened

1/4 cup shredded cheese of choice

3 bacon strips cooked/cooled/crumbled

Eggwash:

1 egg

1 TBS. Milk

1 TBS. Cornstarch

Breading:

Panko bread crumbs

Directions:

  • Pre-heat Dutch Oven to 350 degrees Bottom: 10-11 coals in a circular pattern/ Top: 18-20 coals in a checkerboard pattern)
  • Mix the cheeses and crumbled bacon – blend well – set aside.
  • Cut the peppers in half lengthwise and take out seeds/cores/veins. (NOTE: If the peppers are lying flat BEFORE cutting in half, turn them 1/4 turn and then slice so they lay flat in the pan.)
  • Stuff the peppers with the cream cheese/bacon filling set aside.
  • Mix the egg wash in a small bowl. Here’s a tip on the egg wash: Beat the egg first, and then add milk. Thicken with corn starch so it clings better to the waxy skin of the pepper.
  • Dip each stuffed pepper in the egg wash mixture and roll in panko bread crumbs.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until nicely browned on top in 350 degree Dutch or regular oven.

(Alternatives to the bacon filling: pre-cooked breakfast sausage pieces or cooked chicken pieces. Remember to dice the pieces small.)

These recipes work well for both the sweet AND the hot peppers, and make a colorful appetizer plate your guests will love.

MMMMM…Maple Syrup…

National Maple Syrup Festival – March 3, 4, 10, 11 – Medora, Indiana

http://nationalmaplesyrupfestival.com/demonstrations-vendors/

March is Maple Syrup Time and so Lesley and Tina M headed over to to the National Maple Syrup Festival..  There were 4  “yummy” days of the festival, March 3, 4, 10, 11.  Lesley and Tina Misicka were joined by Steve Meneely of Indianopolis Indiana.  There were many demonstrations and food sampling at the Burton’s Maplewood Farm in Medora, Indiana. We did everything we could think of with Maple Syrup, which became our special secret ingredient to all the dishes ranging from beef stew, chicken gumbo, cornbreads, gingerbread, oatmeal cookies, breakfast potatoes, maple bacon sticky buns, cakes, and frostings. We sampled out, on a single day, to over 800 people!

Time to warm up the ole’ Magic Black Pot !

The weather is awakening from our usual January/February cold, snowy, dark and dreary days & nights to a more cooperative climate to start cooking outdoors again.  I’ve have been cooking, but it’s really tough to get motivated to do all that when the wind is howling, it’s close to zero or the snow is flying.  Going from the house to the outside requires putting boots on and a goodly amount of clothing, or maybe all of your outdoor clothing!  So, let’s welcome February and then March.  Spring is just around the corner.

The past month or so, I’ve been working on perfecting some bread recipes for the dutch oven. I have a couple that I’ve found to be really reliable and easy to work. I like making bread into individual rolls so that you don’t have to worry much about a loaf shape. I have camp dutch ovens and they are all round in shape! Unless, I’m utilizing a loaf pan inserted into the round oven, then rolls work out well to pull and serve.

I found that I can use recipes from some favorite sites. I like going to www.kingarthurflour.com for ideas. I also have quite a few food blogs on my Facebook. Pictures grab my interest and then I go after the recipe. If the recipe seems easy enough to execute out in the field, then I copy it. I take the recipe and make it in my home oven so that I know what the dough will do and what to expect. I’ve made the bread on a baking stone in the home oven, and used my camp ovens inside. The cast iron does a really good job of browning and crusting, especially on the parts that touch the iron. The stone works works well because you could use a steam bath to create the crust. We’ll talk mostly about cast iron bread making here though!

Here’s some measures for success:

  • — good yeast. I buy in bulk and most of it stays in my freezer til I’m ready to use.
  • — water. Don’t use water fresh from the tap. Let it air out a day or so, just like you do for aquariums. Gets rid of the chhorine
  • — use good flour. Your bread will taste only as good as the ingredients
  • — don’t be afraid to experiment with ingredients
  • — keep practicing

There’s a good recipe for Parmesan Rolls under my Dutch Oven recipes bread tab. The dough will travel well.  I made it at home and let it rise, then shaped into rolls and put it into a dutch oven for a travel to the cook site.  So, it’s pretty sturdy too!  Feel free to give it try, embellish it and let me know how these turned out for you.

Parmesan Rolls

Easy Parmesan Rolls

Here’s to happy cooking: enjoy your travels along the dutch oven cooking road.  We will meet again soon.