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Thursday, September 29, 2011

lemon olive oil

In the grocery store yesterday, I sampled some pasta tossed with lemon olive oil.

I liked it so much, that I wanted some. But not at the outrageous price of $12.99!

As the ingredients on the bottle read "extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice", surely I could make my own.

One friend suggested a 2:1 ratio of lemon juice to olive oil. In other words, 1/2 cup juice, 1/4 cup oil.

That mixture was way too strong on the lemon side. Too tart for me.

So I would recommend a 1:1 ratio, as in, 1/4 cup lemon juice to 1/4 cup olive oil.

Add garlic salt or minced garlic if you wish, and toss with pasta and black olives.

Add parmesan cheese and bacon bits.

My first cajun rice (or "dirty rice")

I made my first cajun rice, also called "dirty rice." It was hands down the best I ever had.

I used the Lodge 3 quart chicken fryer but it can also be done in a dutch oven or camp oven.

I browned 1 pound of 93% lean ground beef, along with chopped onion and chopped green onion.*

*Some people add chopped fresh mushrooms and/or minced garlic.

Added cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.

When it was done, added 1 cup of white long grain rice and 2 cups of beef stock*.

*Some people use canned onion soup instead of beef stock.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer until the rice is cooked.

During cooking I added a little more beef stock.

I know dirty rice doesn't normally contain cilantro, but I bet it would be good!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

the Lodge 12 inch deep, 8 quart camp oven

This is the Lodge 12 inch deep camp oven. It's 8 quarts.

The Lodge 14 inch regular camp oven is also 8 quarts.

Those are the only two 8 quart cast iron pots available, that I personally know of.

And they're both camp ovens.

Most cast iron indoor pots sold today, are 5 quarts or 7 quarts.

There might be enameled 8 quart pots, but I'm talking about regular cast iron.

For a while, there was a pot advertised as 8 quarts, but it was actually less than 7 quarts.

On a regular basis, pots are listed on ebay as "8 quarts" because of the #8 marking; Those pots are 5 quarts!

A Griswold #11 dutch oven, if you can find one, is 8 quarts. They are rare and expensive.

Occasionally I search ebay, only to find one for over $100 or more. No thanks.

After the year long fiasco of trying to find a 6 quart pot, and then finally getting one, I'm not sure I want to look for an 8 quart too.

What's the deal? Doesn't anybody like 6 and 8 quart pots? Why are they the red headed stepchildren?

Actually what prompted this article, was a member of a cast iron group I'm a part of, sent a message asking if anyone has an 8 quart pot they're willing to donate.

Well, yes I technically have one, although it's a camp oven. And no, it's not for giveaway.

But, because they're so hard to find, if anyone has an 8 quart pot they're willing to donate to ME?

I'm not very hopeful for a response to that. As if I need another pot.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

the volcano jr.

This is a volcano jr. I don't have one, and they're discontinued so there's no way to get one.

The company is talking about bringing them back, if they think it will sell.

It's meant for smaller pots. It can fit a 6 inch camp oven, or an 8 inch.

Note the support brackets in place to fit the 6 inch oven; For an 8 inch, you don't use the brackets.

It does not use propane; It only uses charcoal or wood.

It came with a grill top, to use as a tiny grill or stove.

It sure is cute. I'm not sure if I'd have use for one or not.

I wonder if you can use a 6 inch camp oven on the regular volcano.

I imagine you can. I guess I better try it sometime and find out.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

First use of the volcano as a propane stove

I've used the volcano as a propane grill; Today was the first time using it as a propane stove.

You can't really see the eggs in the pan, due to the sun's glare.

That was before the yolks broke. I hate that!

I cooked the bacon, and the eggs 2 at a time. I prefer to only handle 2 eggs at a time, when flipping. Scrambled is faster of course, because you can cook more at a time.

You can see where cubed potatoes would have also fit in there, for hash browns, but I didn't have a potato.

Anyway, this time I did not use the volcano's "center plate", which reduces heat.

I'm still learning the ins and outs of this thing, but I've found that when cooking with charcoal, it's better to use the center plate and put the coals on that, instead of the coals on the bottom without the center plate. Otherwise, it doesn't get hot enough.

And when you're using it for a propane stove or grill, apparently you do NOT use the center plate, unless you intend to "slow cook" on low heat. Because, it doesn't get hot enough!

I haven't tried it using propane and a camp oven; I imagine you'd need the center plate to support the pot, but what about temperature?

That's what I'll have to find out*.

*Even with the center plate, it was too hot for slow cooking in a camp oven. Don't do it.

I predicted that the volcano is better suited as a propane stove, than as a propane grill.

It is a good propane stove. It does work as a propane grill too, just wouldn't be my first choice.

Monday, September 19, 2011

new way to make catfish

This recipe I came up with for catfish fillets, is very similar to my batter baked chicken.

I used corn flakes as a "batter", but didn't exactly crush them.

I just poured the corn flakes on the fillets, and sprayed olive oil Pam.

Then I flipped the fillets and did the same thing on the other side.

Baked at 350 until done.

I found it to be quite tasty and crispy.

I loved the way the fish oil seeped into the corn flakes and gave it a slight fish flavor.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Learned a new way to roast chicken

This is the Emerilware vertical poultry roaster. I actually did not roast chicken in this tonight.

I learned a new way to roast chicken, based on this video, and decided to try it out.

Of course, you need a cast iron skillet; He recommends the Lodge 12 inch skillet.

First you preheat the skillet in the oven at 500 degrees.

Coat the chicken with salt, pepper, and olive oil.

Feel free to add your own seasonings, or coat with melted butter instead.

Remove the skillet and put the whole chicken in, breast side up. Hear it sizzle!

Since dark meat takes longer to cook than white, you need to have the dark meat touching the hot pan.

Brown at 500 degrees for 15 minutes*, then reduce the heat to 350 for another 25 minutes.

*I wonder, if I'd let it brown for 5 more minutes, would it have made the skin crispier?

When I checked the temperature after the timer went off, it was just under 170 degrees.

So to be on the safe side, I left it in the oven another 10 minutes.

He says "there should be just a hint of pink", but my husband will NOT eat chicken with any pink.

But even though I left it in for longer, it was a VERY juicy chicken!

Now I am left with a decision. I have not used my vertical poultry roaster in over a year.

I don't roast whole chickens very often, because de-boning whole chicken after dinner is a gross job.

I usually buy drumsticks or breast fillets. Chicken isn't my favorite thing, but I do like drumsticks.

So when I do decide to roast chicken again, I'm going to do it this way. I liked how it turned out!

And, this way is done in a regular skillet, not the vertical roaster.

Which is a "one trick pony", unless you want to make a donut shaped cake.

Actually, you could cook a lot of things in the base of the roaster; I just usually reach for a skillet.

And it's not Lodge, so I don't have many qualms about letting it go...

Friday, September 9, 2011

"liquid gold"

The recent advertisements for velveeta cheesy skillets, features a Lodge 12 inch cast iron skillet.

It portrays a blacksmith, calling it "liquid gold!"

Previously, since it reminded me of hamburger helper, I was not planning on trying it.

But, since the advertisement featured a Lodge skillet, that actually motivated me to try it.

You do need the Lodge 12 inch lid, as well as the skillet, to make velveeta cheesy skillets.

Just follow the recipe on the box.

I picked the cheeseburger macaroni, and added my own bacon bits.

I used 93% ground beef, which is what I use in all dishes calling for ground beef, except burgers.

It wasn't bad! I found it to be better than hamburger helper.

Not exactly something I'd cook every day, but not bad either.

See? Including Lodge skillets in your commercials really does work-- at least for one purchase, anyway!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

electric option for the volcano stove?

This is a volcano stove. It can be used with wood, propane, or charcoal.

I recently heard a rumor that the company was considering adding an electric option as well.

The company did inform me, that rumor is not true.

But it started me thinking: Would an electric option be a good idea?

For starters, the volcano is meant to be an "emergency preparedness" stove, for use when there's no electricity.

So, if there's no electricity available, how on earth would you use an electric burner?

Besides that, I do think it would be a neat "bell and whistle" option.

I would probably get one, just "because I can."

I have an electric outlet on my back porch, so it might be useful for summertime outdoor cooking.

This stove is also used for camping and tailgating, where electricity is not readily available.

The only way this idea would not flop, is to have the means to plug it into a vehicle, as well as a 120v receptacle.

That way, campers could plug it into their car, if they don't have a power inverter or generator.

But then, how many amps would it require, to generate the amount of heat needed to cook?

Would you need a "dedicated circuit"-- in other words, a receptacle not connected to any other wiring, so you don't pop a circuit breaker?

Yes, I'm a nerd and I ponder those things.

But for now, it's a moot point, because apparently there are no current plans for that-- for precisely the reasons I've mentioned.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

using the volcano as a propane grill, take 2

So I decided to try the volcano as a propane grill for the second time, using my new burner.

I grilled steaks, marinated and seasoned the same way as last time.

The initial flame, when I lit it, wasn't as big this time.

The flame was blue, until I put in the center plate and it turned orange.

The company told me that's normal, because the center plate reduces the temperature.

I should have left it out*, but by the time I realized, it was too hot to remove.

*Here's what I've learned so far: you DO use the center plate for charcoal cooking, and put the coals ON the center plate; you DON'T use it for propane cooking, unless you intend to cook on low heat. I haven't tried it with propane using a camp oven yet.

I did notice fewer flare ups, but there were some; I don't think they can be completely eliminated.

It serves its purpose as a primitive, portable, hibachi style propane grill.

It still wouldn't be my first choice as a propane grill, but it works if you're tailgating or camping.

So, I stand by my original assessment that it's probably more well suited as a propane stove.

Now I can try camp oven cooking over propane*, which is the reason I got this in the first place!

*Don't use it for camp oven cooking over propane. Read my article to find out why.

Friday, September 2, 2011

from prime rib, to pizza rolls

This is the Lodge au jus platter. It's meant for serving prime rib in restaurants.

It has a special well to pour your au jus in, for dipping.

You could also use it for horseradish sauce, steak sauce, or ketchup.

What?? Ketchup on steak?? I never knew that was a social faux pas, until I moved out West.

But as you can see, I've done something a little different with my fancy prime rib platter.

I used it to bake pizza rolls, which might also be considered a social faux pas.

I love Totino's pizza rolls. They're a wonderful afternoon snack.

I didn't do it on purpose-- it just happened to be the first thing I grabbed out of the cabinet.

So there you have it-- yet another use for the fancy au jus platter!

Oh, there's one thing you shouldn't try to cook in this: fried eggs. They run right into the au jus well.

But this wasn't meant to cook eggs in anyway.