Tuesday, July 29, 2008

We Went Scouting Today....

Nope! Nothing to do with Boy or Girl Scouts, altho both are highly admirable organizations! (My oldest son was a Life Scout, and my youngest an Eagle)
We went looking for new campgrounds to try out. Had a great time just hanging out with William and seeing the sights that to be seen when you're in the Newberry Crater area of Oregon. Fasinating place!

William and Jake at the Obsidian flow.

The hillside at the Obsidian flow...hard to see, but there's a LOT of black glass on that hillside!

My goofy, adorable, ever-so-sweet husband, behind a large Obsidian boulder.

William at Paulina Lake.

Jake loved biting at the weeds that were washing up to shore at Paulina Lake! It was hilarious....until we went to get in the car! Dogs have absolutely NO sense of political correctness when they're wet and drippy! NONE!

We went to the top of Paulina Peak, at the rim of the cauldron...What fantastic views!
~happy lil sigh~ Ain't he handsome? :)

Don't panic! It's just a fat girl with a poodle! This is Jake and I at the Deschutes River.

A view of both Paulina Lake and East Lake from Paulina Peak. We'll be camping down there next week! (Note to self: Bring long johns!)

This is the oldest tree in the state of Oregon! They estimate it's age a about 500 years, it's height at 165 feet, it's diameter at 8.6 feet, and board feet at over 25,000! It's got a lot of character, this tree....wish you could see it in real life!

So here's the skinny! We're going camping/fishing at Paulina lake next Tues-Weds. Anyone want to join us? I'll be cooking in the dutch ovens...and hopefully we'll catch a fish or two! The state record for a brown trout came from Paulina Lake...a 28 1/2 pounder caught in 2002...it's time to break that record, I'm thinking! (I'm also thinking that if *I* can be the one to break that record, that William won't let me go fishing anymore with him! NOT necessarily a bad thing!! ~grin~)

Let Me Introduce You to Walton Lake!

Just a few images of the beautiful lake that is nestled in the mountains of Central Oregon. I enjoyed our camping trip here last week. Well...to be more honest about things...I enjoyed cooking in my Dutch ovens during this trip last week....wouldn't you know it? I forgot to take photos of the FOOD AGAIN!!

That dot you see in the lake? That's my sweet hubby doing his fishing thing! He caught a few too!

All of these photos were taken by me standing just outside of our camper in the campground at Walton Lake...absolutely beautiful country!

Friday, July 25, 2008

My New Obsession!

Cast iron! In particular, DUTCH OVENS!

I've cooked with cast iron for years. I learned to cook in cast iron. I love my cast iron! I admit, I allowed myself to be lured away from it for a time....teflon was attractive to me! That whole "no stick, easy wipe LIGHTWEIGHT" allure... Then I discovered that while my cast iron sat unloved in the cabinet, I was spending lotsa dollars on that teflon crap! Had to replace it every year or so... and to top it off, I find out that it's not only not good for you health-wise (did you know that Americans have high levels of teflon in their blood? And it doesn't break down?) our landfills are FULL of the stuff! Microscopic particles of teflon floating around in your home will kill your pet birds if you have them. I have cast iron that is generations old. Would you want to cook in a teflon pan that is from the early 1900's? I wouldn't. And yet, some of the cast iron being used out there today is from the 1800's!

So I went back to my cast iron. I have a skillet that is so well seasoned that I think I could cook an egg in it with no oil...and it wouldn't stick! All of my skillets are now cast iron. No more teflon. Ever. Period. Wouldn't even consider arguing about it.

Then we bought...."The Man Cave". That's what we call the camper trailer. Gonna paint that on the side of it even. Along with "Remember the GUY CODE" on the back of it. But I digress. (And THE GUY CODE is a subject for another post)

Anyway....we bought the man cave. That meant camping. That meant that I was going to have to go out and experience nature. Nature Girl, I'm not. Don't like it. Bugs bug me. Cold is something I don't deal with in a likeable and cheerful manner. So we compromised. I would go camping if we could eat something other than hotdogs and hamburgers. We had a Dutch oven. Let's put it to use!

So out it comes from the back of the cabinet. Into the sink for a good scrubbing, onto the stovetop for a "flame-dry", and then a good coat of Crisco before making it's way to the outside grill for a high temp (500 degree) "bake". (Also known as "seasoning") Let the pot bake for an hour and then cool down again. Another coat of Crisco and back on the grill for another bake!

By the end of the second bake, the pot was black and shiny. It was also non-stick. We went camping and took the precious 12D pot with us. Looked for a recipe prior to going and found Byron's website ( http://papadutch.home.comcast.net/~papadutch/ ). From that website I found an easy recipe for Orange Peach Cobbler. It was YUMMY!!!! We stayed home the next week, but the week after that we were off and running again. This time, we went with not only the ever precious 12D....we also had a new 10 inch pot. Along with taking along the regular kitchen black pots....a legless 10 inch DO, a legless chicken fryer, and a skillet.

Oh my, did we have plans! We invited 3 couples to join us, and one of them brought 3 teenagers! In the afternoon, I started a large pork roast. Took two sets of coals to cook it til it shredded easily. It smelled sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo good! After it cooled a bit, we shredded it, rolled it with some cheese in flour tortillas, and then smothered it in the green chili and more cheese...baked again for about 45 minutes. LOVED IT! Also baked a berry cobbler in one of the other ovens for desert...along with homemade vanilla icecream. YUM!

Last week, it was a Tex/Mex casserole with a Pina Colada cobbler for desert. Again...it was yummy!

I'm loving this Dutch oven stuff. There are tons of Dutch Oven websites out there...I have a few links...check them out, or Google "Dutch oven cooking". You don't have to camp to use `em! We've even cooked in the backyard with the black pots. Good stuff!