I Want a Dutch Oven Cookbook!

I Want a Dutch Oven Cookbook! - Purchase your very own Dutch Oven Cookbook from Nimbus Publising

Monday, October 24, 2011

C is for Cookie!

Halloween Sugar Cookies - Dutch Oven Detour (recipes that should have been in the Dutch Oven)

There’s no sugar cookie recipe in the Dutch Oven Cookbook! What up with that Dutch Oven Cookbook? In light of this glaring oversight - we bring you this brief intermission from the Dutch Oven Diaries to present you with this Halloween Special Edition Post!

What is it about a sugar cookie? The SUGAR perhaps? What’s not to like? In all seriousness though, for us, it’s all about the presentation. Peter has great memories of the sugar cookies his Aunt Carolyn would painstakingly paint by hand every Christmas. As a young lad he was mesmerized by the colourful cut-out cookies that were “almost” to pretty to eat. Little individual masterpieces in the shapes of Santa’s, snowmen and Christmas trees were layered with brightly coloured icings. There’s no doubt that Aunt Carolyn’s cookies left a lasting impression on this foodie in training.

Although our methods may be a little different than Peter’s Aunt Carolyn’s, the end result remains the same. A simple cookie is turned into a delicious, whimsical piece of foodie art. As anyone who’s made cookies like this knows, it’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time! However the end results are so worth the effort, especially having the opportunity to share them with the little ones (or big ones) in your life, who receive them with wide eyed excitement.

Here’s how we do it…

Martha Stewart’s Ideal Sugar Cookie Recipe

Royal Icing for Sugar Cookies (also see video on this page for icing technique known as flooding).

As a wise foodie once said: “C is for Cookie, that’s good enough for me. Arr arr-umm-umm-umm!” – Cookie Monster

Enjoy and have fun!

But Beware! Beware of the sugar cookie cramp...similar to tennis elbow or carpel tunnel. After hours of flooding and decorating, your hand is sure to seize up like a narled witches claw. Even at the risk of permenant disfigurement, it is well worth the pain.

The Dutch Oven Diaries will be on hiatus for a week or so as we’re heading to the Big Apple for some food, fun and adventure! If you’d like to follow our foodie fun in NYC join our facebook page at www.facebook.com/thedodiaries!

Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Say YES to the Dress...ing

(recipe adapted from) Dressing – Meat & Fowl, Pg. 134–Violet D. Allen (Mrs. L)

Dressing, as it’s referred to on the east coast of Canada is known as stuffing to many North Americans. By many it's considered to be the hands down starring side dish next to the bird around the holiday dinner table. Turkey dinner just isn’t turkey dinner without it.

This recipe is very similar to the recipes that our mom’s make and likely that our grandmother’s made. The base begins with seasoned mashed potatoes, combined with sautéed onions and apples for sweetness, dried breadcrumbs for texture, and of course summer savory! Summer savory in Atlantic Canada is what sage is to the rest of the world. Summer savory is what makes dressing...well...dressing!


2 medium potatoes
3 cups dry bread crumbs
1 medium onion (chopped finely)
1 small apple (diced)
3 Tbsp butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp summer savory
¼ tsp pepper


Boil potatoes until tender in salted water. Drain and mash with 2 tbsp butter. Add dried bread crumbs. Sauté onion and apple in 1 tbsp butter until softened. Add onions and apple to potato/bread mixture along with salt, pepper and summer savory. Mix until well combined. Transfer dressing to baking dish.

Dutch Oven Tips & Tricks:

This recipe is quite small; we’d recommend doubling it to serve any more than 4 people. It can also be modified in case you prefer a higher potato ratio to bread – just increase the amount of potato and use fewer bread crumbs. Speaking of bread crumbs – we used regular old white sandwich bread (America’s test kitchen suggestion) and dried the bread crumbs at a low temperature (200 degrees) in the oven for about 20 mins. We found this recipe is a little light on the summer savory – those who like it, like it lot (like our Keith’s) – we suggest you season to your own taste. Lastly – the recipe in the Dutch Oven suggests roasting the dressing in the cavity of your bird – does anyone do this anymore? We prefer to dress our bird rather than stuff it, so we simply transferred the stuffing to a baking dish for storage and heated in the oven to serve with the turkey or chicken.

Regardless of whether you stuff your bird or dress it, we recommend you say YES to the dress…ing.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Petah's First Chicken Dance!

Roast Chicken – Meat & Fowl, Pg. 134 – Violet D. Allen (Mrs. L)

It seems hard to believe, but Peter’s never roasted a whole bird. Chicken parts, slabs of beef, hunks of ham – not a problem, been there done that – but never a bird. Maybe it was watching his mom prepare the annual thanksgiving turkey and the day long process that made it appear too daunting. Perhaps it’s the fact that you can purchase a pre-roasted bird from the supermarket for the same price, without the work. Or maybe it’s a generational thing – although Jan’s tangoed with a turkey, she’s never cha cha'd with a chicken – turns out many of our other friends haven’t cooked a bird either. Who knows?! In any case, it turns out it’s not daunting at all and it’s much tastier than any store bought bird.

The DO recipe was pretty basic – S&P & Butter; so Peter Martha’d it up a bit. Here’s what you’ll need:


5-6 lb Chicken
1 Tbsp butter
Salt & Pepper
2 medium onions (peeled and sliced crosswise, ½ inch thick)
1 lemon (halved)
3 cloves garlic (peeled and slightly pressed to open)
4 Springs fresh thyme
1 Lemon


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the giblets and/or organs from the cavity of the chicken (ick!). Wash bird thoroughly with cold water. The Dutch Oven suggests to singe the bird if necessary, but unless you’ve just freshly plucked your bird, hopefully this won’t be necessary. Dry thoroughly with paper towel. Sprinkle the cavity of chicken liberally with salt and pepper. Place sliced onions on the bottom of your roasting pan (Peter used a round cast iron dutch oven). Place lemon, garlic and thyme in the cavity of the chicken and place atop the layer of onions. Bring chicken legs forward and tie together. Spread the softened butter over the chicken and sprinkle liberally with salt and pepper. Suggested roasting time is 20 minutes per pound (or until the breast temperature reaches 180 degrees and the skin is golden brown). Occasionally baste chicken while roasting. When chicken is done let rest for 10 to 15 minutes to allow juices to settle before carving. Pan drippings can be reserved to prepare gravy.

This little chickie was tender and juicy. The aromatics of lemon, thyme and garlic gave this bird an edge over the competition (whoever that is). So if you've been on the fence about roasting a bird - get out of the coup, call on your inner chicken and DANCE!

Blueberry Blunder!

Blueberry Cake - Cake. Pg. 254 - Lila E.D. Kinley (Mrs. J.J.)

Mmmm…blueberries. When it comes to blueberry desserts, it’s hard to imagine anything comparing to the sensational, one of a kind, blueberry buckle (see recipe here). Jan loves her buckle, and when Jan finds something she likes, she tends to stick with it. She knows what she likes and likes what she knows (pssst…she only thinks she knows what she likes). Blueberry season means taking advantage of any and all DO blueberry recipes (even blueberry pudding - not the custard kind, but the other one)….but for that we’re procrastinating and will come at a later date – maybe next season. It took a bit of convincing to get Jan to think outside of her blueberry box…but alas, we bring you blueberry cake!

A seemingly simple cake - a handful of ingredients. Same old same old…right? WRONG! 2 cups of sugar should have made us question this petite gateau. Then – combine the fact that it has double the amount of sugar of any normal cake recipe; with sour milk…we were ready to throw in the towel. But then we thought to ourselves…No! You can’t quit. Weird and wacky as the ingredient volumes are, it will not get the better of us. We trudged onward.

We saw it through, but oh what a blueberry blunder. This cake’s got issues...first off it was as heavy as a brick, and sweet enough to send any adult into a sugar coma and any kid climbing the walls and ceiling. All the blueberries settled to the bottom of the cake, and it turned out extremely dense with little rise. Probably more suitable for a doorstop, we dressed it up with a little simple vanilla glaze and voila! – It looked good enough to eat…and we did, we have no shame – if it’s sweet and has frosting, chances are we’ll eat it.

It did inspire us however to seek out alternative recipes, a quest to find the perfect blueberry cake! Peter and Jan checked with their people, and their people’s people, and so on. After reviewing all the family recipe archives – we decided upon Jan’s great aunt Gladdys’s recipe. Pulled from the secret recipe files of Jan’s Nanny, it was similar to some of Peter’s family recipes.

And that was our placebo second throwdown. And oooooh, it was delicious. Winner winner chicken dinner we say. Light and fluffy, topped with a sweet crunchy streusel topping – blueberry cake perfection! More is more we say - we topped this one with a little lemon glaze – blueberry plus lemon = yummiliscious.

Gladdy’s Blueberry Cake:


1 cup sugar
½ cup butter
2 eggs (lightly beaten)
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cups sour milk (we just used regular milk)
Zest of 1 lemon (optional)


Crème 1 cup sugar and ½ cup butter together, add 2 beaten eggs. Sift together 2 cups flour, 3 tsp baking powder, ¼ tsp salt. Add the dry to the sugar/butter/egg mixture – alternating with wet, per normal batter rules of the universe. Add zest of one lemon (optional). Add 1-2 cups berries to batter…{we prefer wild…but cultivvated would be fine}.

Topping: ½ cup brown sugar and 1 tsp cinnamon – topping gets added over batter.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 mins…or until baked through. Recommended square pyrex or Bundt pan (greased and floured).