The Unforgettable Panini

30/11/14 0 COMMENTS


“Too few people understand a really good sandwich.” – James Beard

OK OK, I’ll admit.  This isn’t a very camp friendly recipe without some pre-planning.  However, with proper planning, this little Panini could make you the star of any camping trip.  One sandwich is a meal.

It has taken me quite a long time to perfect this combination to what it is now.  Finally, some friends demanded the recipe after I posted a picture of my sandwich on Instagram.  I knew I had to share it but was leery of the preparation time in a camping situation.  However, this sandwich, when cooked over a grill pan on a fire, is absolute dynamite.  It is fresh, filled with flavor, and actually pretty healthy for a panini.

Let’s jump in with the main meal and then I’ll give you the recipes for the two toppings:


A happy sight

A happy sight


  • 1/2 C. Black or green olives (cut) – Let’s be honest, I do both types.  Yep, 1 C of olives!
  • 1 lb of mushrooms (sliced)
  • 2 Jalapenos (sliced)
  • 1/2 white onion (diced)
  • 1 Red Pepper (diced)
  • 1 artichoke (roughly chopped after being blanched) – I just grab the ones that I froze from our garden that are already blanched.
  • 1/2 C. cilantro (chopped)
  • 1 C. spinach (chopped)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 4 Tbs. Avocado Oil
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked salt
  • Sriracha Pepper Sauce
  • Sun-dried Tomato Aioli (recipe below)
  • Cashew Garlic Spread (recipe below)
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Panini Process:

  • Add 1 tbs of the avocado oil to a cast iron frying pan – you may need more through this process depending on your cast iron pan (Avocado oil has a high smoke temp so it is great for this application).  When the pan is hot, add the onion and peppers.  Let them soften a little but not so soft that you can see through them.  Remove them from the pan into a serving dish.
  •  Immediately, add the mushrooms to the frying pan with the smoked paprika and smoked salt.  Let the mushrooms brown for a few minutes then remove them from the pan an put them into another serving dish.
  • Next, add the artichokes, olives,  and 4 whole garlic cloves to the pan and roast them until they brown up a bit. Remove them from the pan.  Slice the garlic lengthwise into thin but long pieces.  Put the Artichokes and garlic in the same serving dish.
  • Last, roast the jalapenos until toasty brown.  If spicy food ins’t a factor, you can add these to the onions and peppers but I usually keep them separate to keep all campers happy.
  • Heat your grill pan over the fire or camp stove.  Put a little avocado oil in it to keep it happy.
  • Take one piece of bread (home made is our favorite!) and apply some Cashew Garlic Spread.  Since it is sticky, all of your cooked toppings will stick to it.  Apply all toppings you desire to have on your sandwich.  In addition to the partially cooked toppings, the spinach, cilantro, salt, pepper, and Sriracha pepper sauce can be applied without preparation and to your tastes.  Salt and pepper to taste
  • When you are”done” with one side, spread the Sun-dried Tomato Aioli to the other piece of bread and top your sandwich.  Using a brush, brush some avocado oil onto the “top” of your sandwich.  Place the sandwich on the grill pan oil side down.  Then, while in the pan, oil the other side of the sandwich.  If you have a cast iron press to place on the sandwich, do it.  They will turn out much better.  If you don’t, find a plate and a rock (poor man’s method).
  • Grill your sandwich for 2-3 min on each side until brown.  Remove from the grill pan, cut in half and eat!
  • Recipe serves 5.

*could be done in a regular cast iron frying pan if a cast iron grill pan isn’t available.  Just compress the sandwich down and put a weight on it.


Sun Dried Tomato Aioli

Sun Dried Tomato Aioli

Cashew Garlic Spread

We use this spread in lieu of cheese.  With the other rich flavors in the sandwich, the cheese seemed to make this little sandwich into a bit of a gut bomb.  Yet, every panini needs something tasty to hold everything together.  This spread is not much to look at but it is sticky, kind of nutty (which is nice with the smoky flavors), and lighter than regular cheese -which throws off the flavors of the sandwich.

  • 1/4 C. raw cashews (soaked in water for several hours and then drained IF you don’t have a high powered blender)
  • 1 C. hot water
  • 2  tbs. + 1 tsp tapioca starch
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove (minced)
  • 3/4  tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Mix all ingredients in a saucepan.  Constantly stir over medium to high heat until it clumps and gains a consistency similar to melted cheese (soft and stringy).  Remove from heat and pan.  Store in a plastic container.  This spread is also good on tacos and in quesodillas in that it adds a creamy texture.

Sun Dried Tomato Aioli

Honestly, this sandwich wouldn’t be nearly as good without this Aioli.  I could eat this everyday until I died.  Like any good Aioli, this can have a lot of fat in it.  However, if you’re looking for a lower fat option that, as far as I can tell, is exactly the same, use Veganaise instead of Mayonnaise.

  • 1 clove garlic (minced)
  • 3 Tbs. Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs basil (Chopped)
  • 2 Tbs pine nuts or Almonds
  • 1/2 cup dry sun dried tomatoes
  • 1 C Mayonnaise or Veganaise
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Mix all ingredients, except the mayonnaise, in a blender and process until it becomes a thick paste.  Then mix together, by hand with a spoon, with the Mayonnaise/Veganaise.  Properly refrigerated, this topping can last up to 2 weeks.


So, there you have the epic “squished sandwich” -as my daughter says.  They are a bit of up front work but man there is little that tastes better on a camping trip or a cold winter’s night.

Below, you’ll find a bunch more photos!

Until next time,


dutch oven

Cast Iron French Cooking

12/02/12 1 COMMENTS

 “In the state of society in which we now find ourselves,
it is difficult to imagine a nation which lived
solely on bread and vegetables.”

– Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin (1755-1826)

About 10 years ago was the last time I ate food in France.  As much as people make a big deal out of French cooking & techniques, I thought I’d give it a try.  I was in Paris for the 4th time, and I determined to eat some high-end french food.   I remember two things about my culinary adventures in Paris that day.

1. I loved eating outside on a main street in Paris.
2. After my high-brow French meal, I got a lemon crepe from a street vendor and it (boom, splat, splat, splat) blew my mind.

10-years later, I don’t remember the “amazing” French food I had at a trendy Parisian restaurant. Yet, a simple street-vendor’s crepe is still something I occasionally dream about (seriously, I dream about it at night).  Maybe it was an off day for my taste-buds or maybe I am happy with any old food.  Maybe that’s why I like camp food.

For the major french foodies out there, this may be a violating post to read.  My basic approach to these recipes is an attempt to answer one question.

“What if a french chef was forced to be a mid-1800s American cowboy?”

Yes, these are the thoughts that I have.  But seriously, this is camping not Paris, France.

One the Menu Today:

The first recipe I call the French Cowboy Cassoulet.  It is a classic french bean soup.  In fact, Cassoulet generally refers to a peasant dish made of beans.  This usually involves some sort of animal protein: beef, lamb, or duck but not always.  I’m choosing a lighter option by pairing this dish with a hearty dutch-oven-baked french bread.  If this doesn’t work for you, it is simple to substitute or supplement with some roast beef, lamb shanks, or braised duck.

French Cowboy Cassoulet

(10 inch dutch oven)

4 T olive oil
2 cup chopped carrots
1 Zucchini -cubed
1/2 white onion – chopped
2 cloves garlic
2 Tomatoes – diced
2 cans of White Beans
3 T chopped parsley
2 fresh thyme leaves
Salt & Pepper

In a cast iron pan, saute the carrots, zucchini, onion, garlic & 2 T  of the olive oil until the onions start to soften.  While the veggies are sauteing in the pan, preheat your dutch oven to 350 degrees.  When the DO and your veggies are sauteed, mix all ingredients together in the dutch oven with the remaining 2 T of olive oil.  Bake for 25-30 min.  Salt and Pepper to taste before serving over the Camp French Bread (recipe below) or the aforementioned animal proteins.

Camp French Bread

(10 inch dutch oven)

I like this recipe because it requires very few ingredients.  Thus, it is camper friendly!

1/4 C warm water
2 1/4 tsp of yeast
1 1/2 T sugar

1/4 C vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 C warm water
3 C flour
1 C additional flour (if needed)

Mix the  1/4 C warm water, 2 1/4 tsp of yeast, 1 1/2 T sugar and let sit to activate the yeast.

While the yeast is activating, mix the 1/4 C vegetable oil, 1 C of warm water, and the salt. Combine the two mixtures and mix well.  Slowly, add flour as you stir the liquids.  After 3 C of flour are added, you may want to add a little more flour.  The dough should be firm and not stick to your hands.

Pre-grease a 10 inch dutch oven with oil, vegetable or animal fat.  Place dough in a nice long loaf shape in the oven.  Let rise for 1 hour. After the dough has roughly doubled in size, bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 min.  Don’t peak at it until at least 30 min have elapsed.

After baking, remove the bread from the dutch oven (it will have shrunk from the sides shouldn’t stick at all).  Let the bread cool at least 20 min. before cutting (this is the hard part…patience).  Cut the bread and spoon the French Cowboy Cassoulet on top.  Eat with a fork.


That’s all there is to it.  Now you can camp and enjoy some faux french/cowboy cooking.  Your friends will love you for this recipe and may give you a nickname for it…

Pierre? – the name of a dehydrated Frenchman.

Feast your eyes on these photos!

Cast Iron Pumpkin Breakfast

24/01/12 1 COMMENTS

“He unwrapped it gently, revealing a carefully wrapped scone”

Quoted from “Manly Hero” by Adrastus Rood

One of my favorite camping foods is the scone.  Maybe it is because I get to use fun cooking implements.  Maybe it is because the scone takes a lot of work and love to be successful.  Since we’re currently living in the dark times of the year (winter) and there is a great deal of snow outside, I thought I’d develop some recipes for next year’s camping season.  I’m starting this series of blog posts with Breakfast.  Since the Mrs. of my household loves all things pumpkin, this meal is inspired by her.

This meal has three primary parts.  I’ll start with the most complicated.

Pumpkin Espresso Scones

This is my first attempt at this recipe.  If you perfect it, please post your findings to be shared by all.

2 cups flour*
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 stick cold unsalted butter**
1  egg***
1/4 cup canned pumpkin purée
2 shots brewed espresso or extra-strong coffee – chilled
1/4 cup plain soymilk
1/4 to 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Preheat the oven and cast iron cornbread pan or 10” Dutch Oven to 375 degrees. In a bowl, mix together the flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, salt, allspice and ginger.

Cut butter into chunks. Add to flour mixture, mix until it looks crumbly or grainy.

In another bowl, stir together egg, pumpkin, 1 shot of chilled coffee and soymilk. When well mixed, add to flour and other dry stock. Stir around the bowl, until the dough is uniformly mixed & lumpy.  Don’t mix too much.  The more you mix, the tougher the scone.

Put the scone dough in the lightly oiled cast iron pan/Dutch oven in small rounds.  Bake 18 to 22 minutes, or until the scones are slightly browned and firm in their centers. Remove from the heat and let cool for 10 min before removing.

While they are cooling, make the sugar glaze. In a mug or small cup, pour the remaining shot of espresso.  Gradually add powdered sugar to the coffee, stirring with a fork, until the glaze reaches your desired consistency (note: I like the glaze on the thin side.  This way it fills in all of the rough spots on the top of the scone). Spoon the glaze over cooled scones.

Gluten Free Option – Click here to Use My Pastry Flour
**Vegan option – Use Earth Balance Soy Butter
*** Vegan Option – substitute 1/4 C Soy Yogurt or Applesauce

Mark’s Pumpkin Spiced Smoothie

A refreshing drink that has heart.  Serves 2

1 cup pumpkin puree
1.5 cups soy milk
2 bananas (if frozen don’t add the 1 cup of ice)
About 1 cup ice cubes
1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed
2tbs regular rolled oats
1tbs Maple Syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend It…Drink It…Love It.


Bruleed Grapefruit

After the previous two savory menu items.  This grapefruit gives a nice contrasting acidity that revitalizes the mouth.

1 Red Grapefruit
2 Tbs Granulated Sugar

Cut the Grapefruit in half.

Evenly distribute a Tbs of sugar on the top of each half

With a butane torch, slowly melt the sugar until it is lightly caramelized.

Eat with a grapefruit spoon.


Well that’s it.  It is a great breakfast.  The best part?  Leftover scones & glaze!

Here’s some more photos to feast your eyes on.

Camp Friendly Garden “Pasta”

17/09/11 1 COMMENTS

The trouble is, you cannot grow just one zucchini.  Minutes after you plant a single seed, hundreds of zucchini will barge out of the ground and sprawl around the garden, menacing the other vegetables.  At night, you will be able to hear the ground quake as more and more zucchinis erupt.”  –  Dave Barry

Every gardener who is foolish enough to go camping, while leaving their zucchini plants to their own devices, knows the shock experienced upon returning home to find Jabba-the-Hut-sized zucchini congregating in their garden.  It is like they suddenly turned green, got angry, and swelled to gigantic proportions.  I am convinced that the author of “The Hulk” owned a zucchini plant.

Upon returning from a recent camping excursion, we found two zucchini in our backyard that were waiting for Lewis and Clark to hollow them out and float them down a river.  Such massive squash are less than desirable because their seeds are inedible.  I was left with a question:

“What do I do with two zucchinis that are so large they have their own gravitational pull?”

The Iron Chef had the answer.  I don’t know which Iron Chef on the Food Network it was but one of them had cucumbers (also long and green!).  That chef had a clever kitchen device that turned the cucumber into long round noodle like strands.  Then the chef used that “noodle” to garnish a dish.

So I thought, “why not try the same with my zucchini?”

I don’t have an interest in buying a fancy cooking tool so I can make a dish once so  I made a broad zucchini noodle using a simple peeler.  After adding other ingredients from our garden, I had an actual dish.  It was delicious!

This is great summer camping food.  None of the ingredients will explode, bruise beyond recognition, or otherwise go bad while riding in the cooler while on your camping adventure.  Plus, it is mighty good food.  Senior Management and I commented several times about how it tasted very similar to real pasta.


Camp Friendly Garden “Pasta”


  • 2 large Zucchini (peeled into broad noodles)
  • 1.5 tsp red pepper flakes
  •  2 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 15 kalamata olives (diced)
  • 1/2 sweet white onion (diced)
  • 1 carrot (shredded)
  • 1/8 C mozzarella cheese (shredded)
  • 2 Roma Tomatoes (chunked)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Salt & Pepper to Taste


In a frying pan, fry the onions and carrots in the olive oil until the onions start to soften.  Then add the red pepper flakes, kalamata olives, and lemon juice.  Mix the ingredients until they start to lose a little bit of liquid.  Toss in the zucchini “noodles”, mix, and cover the pan.  This will steam the zucchini (about 3-5 min).  Once the zucchini start to turn bright green, pull everything off of the heat and top with the mozzarella cheese and tomato chunks.



It may seem strange but I think an olive, avocado, and olive oil pesto would really be a great topper for this pasta.  Give it a shot and let me know what you think.

Happy Camping!  Remember, the next time you feel an earthquake, it is just another zucchini being born.


The Geek

Dutch Oven Deep Dish Pizza

19/10/10 1 COMMENTS
Close Up

When Dean Martin sang “When the moon hits you eye like a big pizza pie…That’s amore” in 1953, he was singing about this pizza.

Recently, I have cut back on the amount of dutch oven cooking.  My motives have nothing to do with the quality of cast iron food -it is the best food on earth.  I am training for a marathon (26.2 miles) and don’t want to carry the results of the dutch oven cooking along with me.  Dutch oven cooking is mighty good but it can involve more fat than the average meal (which is why it is so good of course!).

I had a hankering for some pizza and decided that I could break my DO fast just once.  I know that sounds like an alcoholic just before they crash but I did this several weeks ago and have resisted temptation since.  I decided to make pizza from scratch (short of growing the grains & grinding the flour.)

Here’s what I did:

The Caddy Pizza (14″ dutch oven)


4 cups gluten free flour (1-1-1, Corn Starch, Sorghum Flour, and Rice flour) – or make this with regular bleached flour (same amount)
1 package active yeast
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water
1/2 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive oil


1 batch of Mark’s Killer Pizza Sauce (see below)
1 lb. sausage (or meat substitute)
1/2 white Onion
1/2 c Greek Olives (sliced)
1/2 ball fresh mozzarella (sliced)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

Preheat dutch oven to about 400°F.  In an electric mixer, combine the yeast, sugar and water and let stand 5 minutes until it foams up. Add the butter (softened), flour and salt and combine well, using the paddle attachment. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if dough is dry and not coming together. If dough is too wet, add 1 to 2 tablespoons flour. Remove the dough from the bowl. Grease the bowl with olive oil and return the dough to the bowl. Cover and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume (about 1 hour). Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide in half. Shape the dough into two balls, cover and let rest for 20 minutes.  Line a 14″ Dutch Oven with olive oil and Corn Meal to keep the dough from sticking.

Pat the dough into a circle and transfer it to the skillet. Press dough down into bottom of skillets and up the sides. Drizzle a little olive oil over the crust then layer the sauce, sausage, olives, onion, and mozzarella. Bake for about 30 minutes or until the crust is crust is golden brown. Remove Dutch Oven from coals and open top.  As the pizza rests (about 10 min) top it with the Parmesan and fresh basil.

Mark’s Killer Pizza Sauce

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 quart of canned tomatoes (& their juice)
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1/2 green Bell pepper (chopped really small)
4 Roma Tomatoes (diced)
1/2 teaspoon red chile flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Heat the olive oil in a small cast iron skillet. Chop or crush the garlic and add to the skillet, sautéing until golden. Add the tomatoes with their juice. Add salt, oregano and chile flakes, stirring well. Make a hot spot in the bottom of the pan and add tomato paste using a cookie cutter, allowing it to caramelize a bit before stirring it into the mix. Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, until the sauce thickens.

This is the best pizza I’ve ever had.  Eat your heart out Dean Martin.  I’ve found your fabled pizza.

Here are some pics of the process:

Cast Iron Sweet Peppers & Pasta

12/06/10 1 COMMENTS

I am fascinated with the idea of cooking simple gourmet meals while camping.  On the forum a member (jeepdad) posted his recipe for Fettuccini with Sweet Peppers and Pine Nuts with Fried Mozzarella Cheese.  It looked delicious so I had to make my version of it (see my pictures at the end of this post).

I say “my version” not because his looks bad but because of the ingredients we had on hand and the need to make it gluten free.

Olives added at the end

The following is his recipe with my changes to it to make it work for us plus those needed to cook it entirely on our camp-chef outdoor oven.  Instead of using a dutch oven, I chose to do it in my Lodge cast iron skillet.

I started with the Fried Mozzarella & followed the recipe exactly except for the breading.

Fried Mozzarella Cheese

2 (8-ounce) balls fresh water-packed mozzarella cheese, drained.
Corn Flour
1 large egg, beaten
3 cups crushed cornflakes
1/4 cup olive oil

In three individual bowls, place the flour, beaten egg, and crushed cornflakes.
Slice each ball of mozzarella cheese into four 1/3- to 1/2-inch thick rounds or sticks.
Coat the sliced cheese in the flour, then the beaten eggs, and then the cornflakes .

In a large frying pan over high heat, heat the 1/4 cup olive oil. Working in batches, fry prepared cheese slices until brown, approximately 2 minutes per side. Transfer fried cheese to individual serving plates.

Mozzarella Dipping Sauce

• 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, chopped
• 1/2 to 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes, moderate to hot heat level, eyeball the amount (I added a boatload!)
• 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
• Coarse salt

For dipping sauce, heat a small saucepan over medium heat. Add extra-virgin olive oil, garlic and crushed pepper flakes. Saute garlic and hot pepper 2 or 3 minutes, and add tomatoes. Season with salt.

Cast Iron Sweet Peppers and Pasta

1 (16-ounce) package uncooked corn pasta
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
1 large sweet yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
1 large sweet orange bell pepper, cored, seeded and julienned
1/2 cup Cashew nuts (Chopped)
1/2 cup fresh parsley & basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
Salt & pepper to taste

Cook the pasta according to package directions to al dente; drain and return to pan to keep warm.

In a large, heavy skillet heat the olive oil. Add garlic and bell peppers (yellow, red & orange), and cook for 10 minutes, stirring continuously.

Add cashew nuts and cook until they turn golden brown.
Gradually stir in basil or parsley. Add olives and heat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a serving bowl, toss the sauce mixture with prepared pasta.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.

This was a spectacular meal with many leftovers.  I’d call this a keeper!

Here are some pictures.

In a Pickle

13/05/10 0 COMMENTS

Y’all want some good southern food?  Well here’s the DL on the Fried PICKLE.

I am working on some recipes that could be good for camping this summer.  I’ve decided to cook them as if I were camping so I have all of the potential issues worked out before we’re “out there”.

Fried Pickles is my latest experiment.  In the southern United States there are about as many fried pickle recipes as there are Waffle Houses.  Of course, everyone’s recipe is the best and everyone’s Momma does them best.

Living in the northwest of the US for most of my life, I don’t have a “best” recipe and my Momma never made them.  In fact, the first time my Momma had a fried pickle is when I made the following recipe on my Camp Chef Oven.

If this doesn't look good, then you're dead.

Mark’s Fried Pickles (Gluten Free)

1 egg
3/4 cup milk
2 tbs of cayenne
1 cup cornstarch
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbs dill
2 teaspoons paprika
2 tsps black pepper
1 tsp salt
36 dill pickle slices
Canola oil

Beat egg & milk together in a bowl.  In another dish, mix the cornstarch and cornmeal with the cayenne, dill, paprika, salt and pepper.  Split the dry ingredients evenly between two bowls.

Cut the pickles into bite sized chunks.  Pat each pickle dry and then refrigerate for 10 min.

Dip cold pickle slices in the first dry ingredient bowl, then the egg wash, then into the second dry ingredient bowl.  Fry in 1/4 inch of canola oil in a cast iron skillet.  Flip the pickles after 1.5 minutes to make sure both sides are golden browned.

Drain on paper towels and serve with one of the following dipping options:

Litehouse Homestyle Ranch
Litehouse Jalapeno Ranch
Sambal Oelek Chili Paste

This is a killer recipe which would be easy to make.  My many thanks to our southern friends for the idea.  Once you have one of these little fried pickles you won’t stop until they’re gone.

It is as if these little pickles say “y’all come back now ya hear?”

Meal in a Pot

06/03/10 0 COMMENTS

The final Product

The forum is having another food theme week.  I have decided to participate.  Here are the week’s rules:

  • This challenge is for a simple one pot (Dutch oven or Potjie) MAIN DISH.
  • Something that would be good while camping.
  • The rules.
  • One pot
  • Once something goes in the pot it stays there until it’s served.
  • No chili or pizza, we already did those.
  • Post the recipe as cooked
  • Post lots of photos
  • And the most important rule HAVE FUN

Inspired by my current head cold, I thought that a Chicken noodle soup would be nice.  However, I usually like Chicken Noodle soup with a slice of bread.  The slice of bread doesn’t fit the “One Pot” requirement so I decided to make dumplings instead of noodles.  That way, my dish is all in one pot & still more filling than just soup.

Since this should be a camping recipe, I did everything by hand.  This recipe is really easy to do everything by hand.  Chop some veggies, mix together some dumpling dough & you’re done.

This recipe is my own creation and I was surprised to find it really tasty with the dumplings instead of the noodles.

Mark’s Chicken Dumpling Soup (for a 14 inch Dutch Oven)

  • 1.5 lbs chicken (or Chicken Substitute)
  • 8 cups of water (you can add some chicken stock in place of this if you want to camp fancy)
  • 5-6 carrots (sliced)
  • 2 yellow onions (diced)
  • 2 red bell peppers (diced)
  • 3 cups of Corn
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 cups of Peas (I used Snow peas in their pods from our garden)
  • 1 cup Mushrooms (I didn’t have any when I made this but I know they’d be good)
  • Salt & pepper to taste

Mark’s Dumpling Dough

  • 2 1/2 cups of flour
    • To make this Gluten Free (take the 2 1/2 cups of flour from the mix below)
      • 2/3 cup potato Starch
      • 2 1/2 cups Rice flour
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
    • No buttermilk?  Substitute 1/2 cup of milk & 1 tsp of vinegar -mixed for 5 min
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs shortening

Start by heating your 14″ Dutch oven on one ring of briquettes (below).  When the oven is hot, add the onions & chicken.  When the chicken & onions have browned, pour the water in.  Add 6-8 briquettes to the bottom & put a ring of briquettes on the lid.  Once boiling, add your bay leaves and carrots. While the carrots are cooking, make your dumpling dough.  Once the carrots are soft (about 30 min), add the remaining vegetables & 3/4″ round dumplings (The dumplings will double in size).  Boil for another 30 minutes or until the dumplings are completely cooked.

That’s it!

A family tradition & side projects

13/01/10 0 COMMENTS

Senior Management and I kept the holiday seasons packed with activities & projects.

Yearly, my family has made fudge for as long as I can remember.  We use frozen marble slabs & fudge at 232 degrees (F).  The rest of the recipe is a secret.

These slabs are often frozen in our freezers at home but we’ve also frozen them while camping by setting them outside in cold but dry weather.  Senior Management and I are perfecting & modifying the family recipe for some new twists on this slab fudge in the midst of our other holiday & winter events.

Here is a video of the process:

In addition to the fudge making, we decided to put new flooring in our house.  After living in our house for a little over a year, we’ve noticed that the carpet (original 1978) retains more allergens than we like.  We’ve had plans to replace the carpet but bumped the schedule up to take better care of our health.  We installed a caramelized bamboo strand flooring.  It is impressive stuff.  A sample piece of the material can stop a bullet from a hand gun so we know it will last & be easier to clean than our dingey old carpet.  This project has caused me to rework my shop & tools.  This necessitates changes with storage & other items before the last touches are added to the jPod.  I have many scraps of the bamboo flooring and am trying to think of a way to include them in the jPod.  Below are some photos of the flooring project.

Cook-Off Part 2: Pumpkin Cornbread (GF)

08/11/09 1 COMMENTS

The forum is having another cook off competition: Chili & Cornbread.  I entered my Chili recipe last weekend (see it here) and this weekend is my cornbread recipe.

For this recipe, I followed the tastes of Senior Management.  She likes all things Pumpkin.  Having found a pumpkin Cornbread recipe at Real Mom Kitchen I decided to adapt the recipe for a 10″ Dutch Oven to be cooked over coals.

This is my new favorite cornbread.  Contrary to what you may think, it doesn’t taste like desert at all.  But the pumpkin adds moisture to the cornbread so that it doesn’t turn your mouth into a desert (which is why I usually don’t like cornbread at all). So here is my version of Real Mom Kitchen’s version of pumpkin Cornbread.

Pumpkin Cornbread (Gluten Free)

The Final Product. It is very tasty

1 1/2 C Corn Flour
1 1/2 Tbs baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 cup cornmeal
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree (canned or freshly cooked and processed)
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
1 1/2 Tbs molasses

1. Preheat dutch oven with a ring of about 17 briquettes around the outside of the bottom of the DO.
2. Sift flour, baking powder, salt and spices in a large mixing bowl. Whisk in cornmeal.
3. In separate bowl, beat eggs lightly. Whisk in pumpkin, brown sugar, oil and molasses.
4. Make a well in the dry mixture. Add pumpkin mixture and blend batter with a few quick strokes.
5. Pour a thin pool of vegetable oil on the bottom of the DO.  When the batter hits this, it will fry it quickly and make a nice crust.  Plus, you can easily get the cornbread out of the DO when it is done.
6. Pour batter into the DO. Bake -with the lid on – for 30 minutes, or until cornbread is browned and the surface has a slightly springy feel.  Put an additional 15 briquettes on the lid of the DO to brown the top.

You could eat this cornbread with jam, jellies, cheese, or just butter and honey.  They are great.

Here are a few pics:

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