Saturday, November 14, 2009

The Best Virtue of the Dutch Oven

Actually, it is kind of hard to find the best thing about a dutch oven, but surely one of the best is that they make meal preparation so easy. For lazy people like me, this is great.

Here is an oven full of easy meal preparation. In the back are two spaghetti squash cut in half, buttered, sprinkled with splenda and cinnamon and covered with aluminum foil. The largest DO has bratwurst sausages tossed in still frozen, and a big handful of sliced mushrooms tossed on top. The little dutch ovens (which used to have a candle in them)have cut up plums, a little sour cream, and stroissles (not sure of the spelling - flour, sugar, oatmeal and butter in equal volumes, kneaded together until the butter is well distributed. No liquid.) sprinkled on top. Baked for about 45 minutes at 360 deg.

And there you have it.

Sausage, low carb squash, and high carb plum cobbler. :) Prep time was probably about 15 minutes.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Cargo, and Electric Cargo Bicycles

These were interesting articles. I think you will like them, although there is quite a bit of information here, and you won't be able to read through them in a minute or two... or if you do, you have scary good reading abilities.

The lady that is writing this has several small kids and routinely commutes to work on her bike. She does a lot of shopping, and kid transporting as well. One really interesting thing that she said was that riding and electric bike is often considered cheating by regular bikers. She was in a relay type race on her non-electric mountain bike, and worried that she would let her team down as she might not be as highly conditioned..... but it turned out that because she rode her bike day in and day out, and pedaled all the while, that she was a strong member of the team, and was never passed by another rider. Persistence and consistency - again!

A Quiet Revolution in Bicycles: Recapturing a Role as Utilitarian People-Movers (Part I)
A Quiet Revolution in Bicycles: Recapturing a Role as Utilitarian People-Movers (Part II)

Have fun. I doubt that we will go electric in our little flat town, but it is good to know about. There is a lot of information in the second part on parts, motors, options, controllers, etc.

One thing that keeps me from riding a bike to work is the worry of riding along the highway. She mentions in Part II that a bike route really isn't the same as a car route. Usually a biker will want a lower speed, lower traffic road. We find this is true when we are tooling around in Delta. Back streets, school yards, alleys all give us a road without competition with the cars.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Path To Freedom

These guys are inspiring, at least to me. They have 1/5 of an acre, but produce so a tremendous amount of produce and fruit. I think they have 350 species of herb, fruit, vegetable, and berry on their little spot of ground.

We have just been trying to use every square foot of ground for something - just not weeds, and it is quite a challenge. But it seems like every day or two there is enough produce that I have to bottle or freeze something. For example, the garden huckleberrys ripen slowly, so every few days we pick the ripe ones and make a little batch of jam. This last batch was great - GH with apples and zucchinni for bulk.

Well, that's all for now. It is time to get busy on Saturdays work. If you want to get some ideas on what you can do with your yard, go and visit this site. They give a great example of what you can do with home production of food.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Low Cost Dutch Oven Cooking

We are just back from a memorable reunion in Colorado. The reunion was held on at a church camp that had once been a ranch. It was on the Western Slope of the Rockies, at about 8400 feet of elevation.

Every family took a turn preparing a meal, and we are lucky to have so many good cooks among the family. We have a couple of dutch oven cooks that are getting pretty good. Our family doesn't have a long history of cooking with dutch ovens, so this a happy condition - I think that we might not have much of a past, but we have a great future.

I like to cook with dutch ovens in the summer especially as it keeps the kitchen from being heated by the stove or oven. The only drawback that I have found is that it takes a lot of charcoal to cook several dishes, or even one dish if the food you are cooking isn't fully (or even partly) thawed.

So I have been doing some experiments with wood fires and natural charcoal. I'll be posting some results, hopefully it will help you not to have to do so much trial and error if you decide to try this. I've been trimming trees, and we don't take anything to the dump. All the little twigs get snapped and stored - so there is a lot of this little kind of trashy wood under my shed.

A couple of nights ago I wanted to cook a spaghetti squash in the DO, but was low on charcoal, and decided to try a little wood. It only took two hands full of wood to cook the squash. I'm planning to cook a chicken, and to bake some bread this week end. I will keep you posted.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Wendy Dewitt on Food Storage

Wendy Dewitt has a great system - I just heard about her today but have had time to listen to most of these clips while I did other things. I think you will find her system to be pretty easy to use, and full of common sense.

The sound isn't the best, I think these clips are worth the watch.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Dutch Oven Experiment

NOTE: This experiment is fine in a stove, but might be not so good in a fireplace. Charcoal produces a lot of CARBON MONOXIDE - very dangerous inside. If you are going to try this in a fireplace, have a CO monitor. Your fireplace might have enough draft to waft all the fumes up the chimney, but charcoal doesn't produce heat at all like a real fire, and so there will be much less draft and the carbon monoxide might well end up in your home.

It is a little cold today, and after finishing up our taxes it felt like a day to do some dutch oven cooking....but I couldn't get up much enthusiasim for it in the cold. I thought about lighting a fire in the woodstove..... and then thought.....hmmmmm .... how would it be to cook in the wood stove with charcoal???

So I cleaned out the ashes and polished up the windows and here is how it turned out.