Well, this is it for 2010 and my year of dutch oven cooking. I've thought a lot about what I would say on my last post of the year. It really is bitter sweet. On one hand, I'm sick of cooking in the cold, and on the other hand, I've totally fallen in love with my dutch ovens. I can't imagine not using them everyday. I think that with all our modern conveniences we really miss out on some of the simple things in life. The challenge and satisfaction of creating something when its difficult or when you have no idea what you're doing. There is a simplicity in dutch oven cooking that I would have never understood if I hadn't had this year long experience. Its something I wish everyone could appreciate. There is just no way for me to put it into words, it just takes you back to your roots. I feel a connection to generations past and have a new respect for those who cooked in black pots everyday on the trail as they settled the West. I know I've mentioned my family suffered hardships as they crossed the plains in the 1840's with the Mormon pioneers, and this year has given me a tiny glimpse into what their lives must have been like.
It has been a real journey for me. I started out not knowing anything and relying on books and all of you for knowledge and help. Now I'm confident in my dutch oven skills and I've grown as a cook and as a person. I won't lie, this was a very, very difficult project. It took a lot of planning and work, especially during baseball and soccer season. Juggling the demands of 7 children, church and community service, keeping up my home...the list goes on. I'm really proud to say that with the exception of my vacation in July and the week we found out my mom has cancer, I've cooked outside on charcoal everyday. Very few people can understand just what that entails. But its been a great ride! Its something I'd do over again, and I'm a better person for having done it.
There are a few people I have to thank by name. First is Mark from Mark's Black Pot. He put a link on his site and helped get the word out about my blog. Dave Herzog and Ron Clanton, who I was lucky to meet at the World Championships. Ranes Carter, who gave me the amazing opportunity of being a cooks assistant at the World Championships. I learned so much from watching the world class cooks in action. Doug Thornton, president of the Arkansas Dutch Oven Society, for being a guest blogger and following my posts religiously everyday. And to all of you for reading, commenting, laughing at me and probably rolling your eyes at my sometimes stupidity! Its been a heck of a ride and I couldn't have done it without you. Thanks for the emails, the recipes and the encouragement! I love you all!
Now whats next for me? I told my hubby to put me on a forced 1 month dutch oven fast, though I don't think it will last that long. Starting in February, I'll post once or twice a week. I could never leave my black pots behind, they've become a part of who I am as a cook. I hope to try some new things that I couldn't do when I was trying to feed a family everyday. I hope there will be a lot more experimenting. So don't forget about me...I'll be back soon!
Today's recipe comes from a Pampered Chef cookbook.
Italian Pull Apart Bread
10" dutch oven
1 can Pillsbury grands biscuits
3 Tbs. butter
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
3 Tbs. Parmesan cheese
Melt the butter in a 10" dutch oven over a full spread of coals. Add the Parmesan, garlic and Italian seasoning. Quarter the biscuits with kitchen shears. Add the cut biscuits to the pot and stir well to coat. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes. Use 1 1/2 rings plus 2 coals on top and 1 ring on the bottom. Serves 4-6.
The Finished Product
My camera is charging, I'll have the pic up in a little while!
This is one of my kid's favorite breads. I can' believe I didn't post it before now. It is garlicky and cheesy and delicious. Grade A.