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Sunday, December 30, 2012

my first rice pilaf

I've loved rice-a-roni all my life.  I still love it.

I never realized that it was, essentially, rice pilaf.

I made my first "from scratch" rice pilaf today.  

There are many different recipes for rice pilaf, but I just made the basic recipe.

Melt some butter in a cast iron pot.  Pour in the dry, uncooked rice.

Saute the uncooked rice until brown.

Pour in some chicken broth at a 2:1 ratio; In other words, if you have 1 cup of rice, pour in 2 cups of broth.

Heat to boiling, which won't take long, then reduce heat to low and cover.

Simmer on low until the rice is fully cooked.

It was quite tasty.

If you break up raw spaghetti and saute it along with the uncooked rice, you'll have homemade rice-a-roni.

Monday, December 24, 2012

my first roasted ham!

I made my first roasted ham today!

I could have got one of those boneless spiral cut hams, with the package of glaze included.

But I decided that I've never roasted a ham before, and I wanted to do it "old school!"

I didn't really have a recipe.  I used a half a "bone in"  ham.

I just threw it in a covered cast iron pot, with the fat side up.

I added a can of sliced pineapple with the juice, some brown sugar, some dry mustard and some ground cloves.

Next time I'll add less ground cloves, and more dry mustard and brown sugar.

It was also suggested to me that I could have added some coca cola!

I roasted it in the oven, covered, at 325 degrees.

It was delicious!  I'll remember to increase the brown sugar and dry mustard for next time.

There was a considerable amount of liquid in the pot, which I reduced on the stove to make it thicker.

Be sure you use a "bone in" ham for this recipe.  I tried it on a boneless ham and it wasn't anywhere near as good!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Practical use of the cast iron waffle maker

I got a cast iron waffle maker two years ago, and never used it until just now.

In fact, the only reason I used it today, was just to say I used it at least once, because I'm planning on selling it, since I never used it.

Cast iron waffle makers are meant to be used on the stove.  Preheat the waffle maker on both sides, and be sure you're wearing oven gloves when you flip it!

I used the recipe for waffle batter on the bisquick box.  

You might think that waffle batter is the same as pancake batter, but it's not!  It's different.

Waffle batter contains cooking oil, in order to make it crispier.

Historically, waffle batter has also called for separating the egg whites from the yolks before mixing, but I didn't do that.

I initially sprayed the waffle maker with baker's joy, which kept it from sticking.

I made the mistake of not spraying baker's joy again before adding the 2nd batch of waffle batter, and it stuck.  You have to spray every single time!

I was concerned about the waffle batter oozing out of the sides, but that didn't happen, because I didn't put too much batter.

It did make good waffles.  I enjoyed my first cast iron cooked waffles.

I still plan to sell it though, since I don't make waffles often enough to justify keeping it.*

*UPDATE:  Unfortunately, according to WAGS, I wouldn't be able to sell it for much.  

So, I might as well keep it, and continue to enjoy cast iron cooked waffles.

The stainless steel enameled cookware knob

This is a stainless steel replacement knob for Lodge Color enameled dutch ovens.

Why should you care?

Well, of course, if you need a replacement knob for your Lodge color enameled dutch oven.

But I have a different reason:  My current knob on my enameled dutch oven is perfectly fine, but it's the old style knob.

The old style knobs were made of black phenolic plastic; As a result, the enameled dutch ovens were only oven safe to 400 degrees.

Two years ago, they switched to the stainless steel knobs, making the enameled dutch ovens oven safe to 500 degrees.

Personally, I'd rather have a pot that's oven safe to 500 degrees.  

So I was happy to learn that I would not have to buy a new enameled dutch oven, in order to improve it's oven safe temperature.  I can just get a replacement knob.

Granted, I'd prefer another color, but the red one was on sale, and I care more about the food, than the color of the pot.

In addition to improving their knob, they came out with two additional colors for their 6 quart pots.

So, if you have a Lodge Color enameled dutch oven, check the knob.  

If the knob is black, it's only oven safe to 400 degrees.  If it's stainless steel, it's oven safe to 500 degrees.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

twelfth recipe created by me: ground round stew, or yum yum stew?

This is the twelfth recipe created by me, and I can't decide whether to call it ground round stew, or yum yum stew.

It's a stew made from ground round.  

And actually, I was reluctant to try it because I wasn't sure it would be good.  

But when I did try it, I said "yum yum."  Hence, the inability to decide on a name!

I'm not a big fan of stew meat because it's so tough that I don't want to eat it.

So I tried making stew with ground round instead.

Browned the ground round in a cast iron skillet; Added worcestershire sauce, onion powder, and garlic powder.

Added the drained beef to the pot, along with cut up carrots, onions, and whole mushrooms.

I had planned to add potatoes too, but there wasn't enough room in the pot.  Potatoes would have been great though.

Added two cans of cream of chicken soup, mixed with milk, and a packet of Lipton onion soup mix.

Let it cook on low for several hours.  

It was, well, yum yum.

This would make a great outdoor camp oven meal, over coals.

my first green bean casserole!

For thanksgiving this year, I made my very first green bean casserole.

That may sound surprising to you, but, I never liked green bean casserole until this year... for some reason, now I all of a sudden like it.

I used the Lodge 3 quart chicken fryer, which doubles as a casserole dish.

I used the exact recipe found on a can of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup, plus I added some bread crumbs, because I like them.

You need green beans, of course.  Fresh is best; Approximately four pounds of cooked fresh green beans.

Or the same amount in frozen or canned is fine, too.

You also need two cans of campbell's cream of mushroom soup, mixed with milk. 

Add some French's fried onions, bread crumbs, black pepper, and soy sauce.

Into the oven at 350 for 30 minutes.  Top with some more onions and bread crumbs and let the top brown.