Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Skillet Corn Bread

I have a favorite recipe for cornbread from Redstone Restaurant, but I typically make it in the "regular" oven in a "regular" pan. However, I have always wanted to try cast iron corn bread... This was my feeble attempt, and I was quite pleased. The cast iron skillet worked perfectly in the hearth oven! The temperature must have been evenly distributed, it was crisp on the top and bottom, yet really moist in the center!

Corn Bread
adapted slightly from Redstone

3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
1 1/2 tablespoons baking powder
4 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 can cream corn (7 oz)
2 oz diced green chilies (optional)
1/4 cup melted butter
1/2 cup shredded cheese (monterey jack and cheddar blend)

Mix ingredients in order listed. Pour into 8" or 9" cast iron skillet, or 3 small ones...
Bake with flame at about 450 degrees. It takes about 20 minutes or until a clean birch stick comes out clean (in case you forget the toothpick) (:
This is really good with maple butter...pure north shore maple syrup mixed into butter...mmmm

Looking forward to hearing about some other cooking adventures in the neighborhood brick oven on the shore!


Monday, July 19, 2010

Loin of Pork

Saturday night we decided to try an entire meal in the brick oven. The menu consisted of pork loin with a mustard topping, roasted vegetables, corn bread, focaccia bread. The biggest trick was going to be... timing. No. The biggest trick would be...temperature. Well. The biggest trick flies!

Loin of Pork
recipe adapted from Barefoot Contessa in Paris
oven specifics adapted from Wood-fired Cooking

1 pork loin, 5 bones
1 T olive oil
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp whole grain mustard

Roast at 550 degrees approximately 1 1/4 hours.
We used a cast iron pan, rotated it periodically until the top and sides were evenly browned, and then loosely covered it with tin foil until the desired temperature was reached.
The cookbook we used recommended keeping the flame in the oven...and to keep stoking the fire at the back of the oven with small kindling to keep the fire alive. We forgot...and let the fire go to coals, so the meat took 45 minutes longer. Not a huge problem, but the wine we were planning to drink with dinner was consumed before dinner. (:

The hungry fire master...wondering why it is taking so long...

...and his revived fire...

...and yes! It is done!

It was a fun experiment and the meat was moist and tasty....definitely worth the wait!, the black flies finally gave up and left us alone.

Bran Creation revisited...

For those of you who have not been on the shore recently, the stone work is in place and it looks rustic and gorgeous! Thanks to the guys who hand picked the stones out of the ditches by Lutsen, arranged and mortared them, then sanded them to perfection. It is nothing short of amazing! Also new to the structure is a beautiful timber railing so no one will topple over the edge....

Now to continue on with Bob's creations.... I still don't have the exact recipe....
...but Pat got involved, added some walnuts and raisins, and ta da! Fruity, crunchy, nutritious bran....even better then before! I might come to the oven every Sunday morning to sample the baking projects! The oven temperature was 350 degrees, and seemed to be perfect for this!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bob's Bran Creation

Some cooks use toothpicks to see if their baked goods are done. These two sophisticated bakers are looking for a specific temperature on their probe....180 degrees to be exact....!

Even the dough looks good!! Once again, we got so excited to taste it, that we forgot to take a picture of the final baked product!! (:

Bob somehow adapted a bran muffin recipe into scones. He casually mentioned something about a mix from the Amish bakery in Beaver Bay, MN but I don't know the exact details. I only know that they tasted wholesome, wonderful, and worthy of praise! They would also be good with butter, blueberry jam, or North Shore honey...

What a fantastic way to start a summer day! Now we just have to pry the recipe from Bob... (:

Friday, July 9, 2010

Peach scones

Needing to use our last remaining peach after the busy July 4th weekend, we used our trusty dial-up internet service and googled peach scones. The biggest question we bake the scones directly on the hearth, or leave them on the baking pan? We thought we would try both methods! This was a taste test after all! The dough seemed sticky, so I assumed we would not be able to slide them on the hearth. However, with the help of semolina flour dusting the pizza paddle, we were able to easily move three onto the hot bricks. The remaining three were baked on the sheet pan.Below is an example of one of them from the baking pan...minus a chunk ...a scone attack by a hungry husband... and his assessment? They are burned.

The scones baked directly on the hearth were
perfect! I grabbed a picture before another attack....

Peach Scones
from Sugar Plum

1 egg
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp honey
1/3 cup finely chopped peach, peeled
2 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick butter, chilled and cut in small pieces
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
1/4 cup white chocolate chips (optional)

Whisk together egg, milk, honey. Stir in peach.
Whisk together dry ingredients, then add the butter using a pastry blender until mixture resembles pea size lumps.
Stir in pecans, white chocolate, and milk mixture until dough comes together. Don't overmix it.

Place dough on floured surface. Pat into round 3/4" thick. Slice into 6-8 triangles and sprinkle lightly with sugar. Put on baking pan, pack your bag, and make the trek to the oven...don't forget your coffee...

Dust the paddle with semolina flour, and put triangles on the paddle. I did it one at a time because I'm not very confident with my 'sliding' skills... Unlike pizza, once they are on the hearth, they are soft and impossible to move around until they are totally baked. This took approximately 22 minutes...and registered 180 degrees with a temperature probe.

The brick oven temperature was 440 at 8 am. We used it for pizza the night before, and left the coals in oven overnight to see how it affected the temperature. It was perfect for baking these scones.....

I can't wait to try some bread! Any bread advice out there?? jan

Brick oven on the shore

Welcome to the food blog for our community brick oven on the shore of Lake Superior! This hopefully will be a way for us to share successes and failures...what works and what doesn't! We would like to hear about how everyone makes and then tweaks their pizza crust. For example, Bob has found that freezing the balls of dough works like magic!

But, this blog is also meant to encourage all of us to try new things. Almost anything that is done in a conventional oven can be done in the wood fired oven. (hmmm... maybe not popovers...)

Since wild blueberry season is soon upon us, we decided to start with a rustic blueberry pie. This was made with huge blueberries from Costco, but we are convinced that the small north shore blueberries we pick ourselves, have much more flavor! (You don't have to reveal your secret blueberry patches, but if you feel so inclined, we are always looking...)

Rustic Blueberry Pie

The temperature of the oven was 350 degrees, but we would recommend 450 degrees. This was baked in the afternoon after someone made pizza the night before. I believe the morning temperature would have been perfect for baking!

Pillsbury pie crust from the infamous
North Shore Market

any favorite blueberry pie recipe
...this is from Two Harbors, Betty's Pies cookbook. We used half the recipe, so 2 cups of blueberries.

Roll pie crust a bit thinner. Heap blueberry filling in the middle of the crust, leaving approximately 2-3 inches around the edge.
Beat together 1 egg and a tablespoon of water, and brush on the top of crust for a nice brown glazed finish.

Bake approximately 20-25 minutes, depending on the temperature you find the oven (: or until
crust is nicely browned, and the blueberries are bubbling!
We have no pictures of the finished product! Fortunately, Pat and Bob brought up ice cream when they saw what was cooking, and Steve and Steve happened to walk by! The pie vanished before we remembered to take a photo! This is a great example of spontaneous community time at the oven!

As long as we are talking about successes, we feel compelled to mention our failure. The second rustic pie in the oven is a strawberry-rhubarb. It look awfully good going in to the oven, but the filling ooooooozed out almost immediately. I think it was a combination of too much filling (we used a whole recipe), and the temperature was not hot enough for the crust to firm up enough to hold it. The real beauty of this, is that we did not have to clean the a fire took care of it, and it was ready for pizza in only two hours!

All of us will be able to post on this blog, and it will be fun to hear what is happening on the brick hearth! Don't forget to bring your cameras!