Sunday, October 26, 2008

Popcorn - Not from a microwave

There was more popcorn in this pot, but we ate plenty!
Since I've been thinking about stew pots and our fabulous three burner gas ranges, I've also been thinking about warm, fresh popped, popcorn! When you're not using your 6 qt. stew pot for the "Easy Bake Oven," pop popcorn in it! It's big enough to hold plenty of popcorn to get you through that game of Pinochle! This is Mark's recipe he got from one of the other guests. Heat 1/2 cup oil in the bottom of your pot (while you search for the lid because you're going to need it.) Put one kernel of corn in the oil. When the kernel pops, add 1/2 - 3/4 cup pop corn kernels. Cover and shake over the burner. Keep those kernels moving in the pot or you will have a permeating burn smell in your cabin and one hard-to-clean pot on your hands! For kettle corn, add 1/2 cup sugar when you add the kernels. When popping is done, dump the glazed corn into a paper bag with some salt and shake it up to break apart the clumped pop corn. Mark hosted us to popcorn as a mid-morning snack! Thanks, Mark!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Susan's "Easy Bake" Brownies

Brownies are yummy anywhere. They are especially yummy when camping in the mountains and you don't have an oven. What to do? We've got three gas burners, but no oven. I can improvise - here goes...
The Oven
You need: Cast iron skillet, 6 nuts – threaded hexagonal, Stew pot, small pot or aluminum baking pan that fits inside stew pot.
Set nuts in a circle in skillet, pre heat on low flame. Oil small pot or aluminum pan and add ingredients to be baked. Set smaller inner pan on ring of nuts in skillet. Turn stew pot upside down and cover inner pot. This lets inner pot bake with hot air surrounding it. The inner pot does not come into direct contact with the flame. Adjust flame. Time varies. Check frequently, but remember that every time you open the oven, you let out the heat.

The Brownies
I used Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix (20 oz). I measured the contents and split in half to make a half recipe. I cut in half all ingredients except the egg. I used 2-3/4 Tbs water, 2-3/4 Tbs butter (for the oil) and a whole egg. The box gave directions for high altitude. I disregarded these – the whole egg provided extra liquid, I did not add extra flour. Mix with a spoon, pour into prepared “inner pan” of stovetop oven. Adjust flame. Time varies. Check frequently, but remember that every time you open the oven, you let out the heat. Recipe calls to bake about 40 minutes. I baked for about 45 minutes on a very low flame. How sad burnt brownies would be. Serve warm! These would be even more awesome with whipped cream (in a can – Even I’m not going to whip it by hand, I am on “vacation.”) or ice cream (home made – bring your own freezer- have the kids hand crank it)

The base of the "oven" is a cast iron skillet with metal hardware used to lift the baking pan off the direct heat.

I used half a boxed brownie mix.

The brownie batter is in the baking pan - a sauce pot with the handle cut off.

The "oven" is actually a stew pot inverted over the cast iron skillet.

Finished product! Yummy for 4-6 people for lunch or dinner dessert.