Saturday, October 1, 2011

5 guys and pizza

You might be wondering....what is Wolf Pack?

Yep. You guessed it... 5 guys, and like a wolf pack they are athletic and agile while tripping up trails. They are trying desperately to chip off the entire Superior Hiking Trail, two days per year. This is year 4, and they have hiked from Grand Marais to Tettegouche State Park!

This is the pack last year...cold and wet before even starting their 22 mile hike...

...and this is one year later....takin' it easy...deciding to only hike 8 miles...focusing on a different goal... perfecting pizza in the woodburning oven...

...even having time for shrimp appetizers!

Here is the nearly perfect shape of Keeley's Kreation...topped with sausage, peppers, gruyere cheese, and parmesan cheese.

Oops....nice photo...lost some peppers from the first pizza...and forgot to put the fresh arugula on the brie, pine nut and grape pizza. Still mighty tasty though! Putting fruit on a pizza is very man-ish...

This is perfection! ahhhhh... Good job Jake ( we will give you his phone number if you leave a comment)

Mushroomsmushroomsmushroomsmushrooms...crispy parmesan, carmelized onions.....absolutely DYNAMITE Bob and Todd...

...discussing the route for 2012 ... deep pondering... is there a need to slacken the pace for the old guy in the pack?

The wolf pack meanders home...until next year....when the pack comes back!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Caribou Crunch

Ahhh....the raging Caribou River after a rain...

Ahhh....the favorite granola of everyone in our family. My daughter likes it better than Captain Crunch...however, it took about 20 years to convince her...

Ahhh....after routinely making it twice a month in my electric oven, I finally got to try making it outside!! Yes, the woodburning oven can even make granola...

Both the hearth and the arch registered about 4oo degrees the morning after a pizza party, so I swept out the ashes and started baking things I would not normally attempt outside! I had already promised Sonja, my granola addict, another batch, so....let's try it!

Caribou Crunch

8 cups old fashioned oatmeal
2 cups sliced almonds
(can also add sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, pecans or whatever you want!!)
2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup pure maple syrup or honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 tablespoon good vanilla

Mix almonds with oatmeal and cinnamon. Heat brown sugar, oil and maple syrup in small saucepan until sugar is dissolved and mixture is thin. This takes about 5 minutes. Add the salt and the vanilla. Pour over oatmeal mixture and stir to coat. Divide in two sheet pans. Put in 350 degree conventional oven (or flameless brick oven) and bake for 15-20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until it is dry and slightly browned. It can burn quickly toward the end! After removing from the oven, stir again so it doesn't stick to the pan, and let cool before packaging.

I usually keep a batch of this in the freezer so it is always fresh tasting!

It is delicious topped with toasted coconut...or dried cherries...or fresh blueberries....or just about anything. We grabbed the picnic blanket and coffee, and wandered down to the Caribou River with our fresh granola.....another ahhh moment...

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Paella

I can't believe the last posting on this blog showed a snowshoe trail to the oven! Now it is almost July! I have missed cooking with the water...surrounded by trees! Our spring was busy busy busy.... two of our kids graduating from medical school; then three of them moving; then one of them getting married! Such a fun spring! But we were ready for some down time...and since it was our anniversary...we seized 5 days and escaped to Lake Superior...

I pondered (agonized actually) over what to give my husband for our anniversary! Finally, I decided to give him a paella gift basket, with the paella pan and all the fixings he would need. Just so this does not appear as a self-serving gift, I have to add that he truly has been wanting to try this meal in the woodburning oven!! He likes the Spanish tradition of everyone eating directly out of the pan...probably because it cuts down on his dish washing responsibility...

He seemed very excited with the gift, and started organizing and chopping the ingredients so the assembly of the paella would be simple at the oven.

Once all the ingredients were chopped and put into little zip-lock bags, we loaded up the necessities ... including the picnic blanket...

...into the "golf cart" that is usually used for hauling rocks, dirt, and such... Today though, it will whizz all of our paella ingredients to the brick oven on the shore!

We got the oven to about 500 degrees, and started to "organize" our ingredients. It looks organized doesn't it????

Once the onions had been sauteed, we added the garlic for 2 minutes; then the chorizo for 5 minutes; then on to saute the rice for 5 minutes...

Then we added the canned tomatoes, added the chicken broth with seasonings, added more wood (to the fire, not the paella), closed the door, and didn't peek for 20 minutes. This was really really hard.... the not-peeking part.

We stirred it once...and only once. Evidently this is critical for the crust to form. After about 30 minutes, when much of the liquid had evaporated, we added the rest of the vegetables and stirred lightly, keeping extra chicken broth and white wine handy if the rice got too dry.
The oven could have been a bit hotter...maybe 600-650 degrees to get a really crispy crust. But the end result was wonderful....woodsy....

Now....... on to the Caribou River for Sangria....

Roasted Tomato and Artichoke Paella
slightly adapted from the Kitchen Window, Minneapolis

1/2 cup reserved olive oil from Oro Cori Grilled Artichokes in Oil
1/4 cup reserved olive oil from Pomodoraccio Semi-Sundried Tomatoes in Oil
1 large onion, medium diced
5 cloves garlic
8 oz Palacios Hot Chorizo (dry cured), thinly sliced. I would double this...
1 red bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
handful of sugar snap peas
1 cup semi-sundried tomatoes, halved (type is listed above with the oil)
1 jar grilled artichokes (type is listed above with the oil)
1 14 oz can whole preminum tomatoes (San Marzana or Muir Glen)
2 cup Bomba rice
4 cup chicken stock
1 tsp pimenton
1 tsp tumeric
1/4 tsp saffron
1/4 tsp oregano, dried
salt and pepper to taste
1 Tbsp minced parsley
optional shrimp, clams, serrano ham...

Because this was a gift, we had all the specialty items ... the grilled artichokes, semi-sundried tomatoes etc...that were purchased at The Kitchen Window in Minneapolis. Certainly, other brands from a regular grocery store could be used.

The recipe calls for this to be done on a grill, which is why we wanted to tackle it in the woodburning oven... (:

Add tumeric, saffron, pimenton, oregano, salt and pepper to your stock and set aside.
Heat the oil in an 8 person paella pan. Add the onion and saute until transparent but not brown.
Add the garlic and cook until softened but not brown.
Add the chorizo and cook for about 5 minutes.
Add the rice and saute for 5-10 minutes
Pour in the stock that has been combined with dry seasonings, and the can of tomatoes.
Stir once, but do not stir any more. Close door to your oven ...or grill
Cook for 20-30 minutes or so, until the bottom appears crispy.
Using a spatula, turn over the rice, scraping the (hopefully) crispy bottom.
This is where we added the vegetables...and alittle more broth if needed...and some white wine..
Avoid scraping the bottom of the pan and disturbing the crust...
Cook for 5-10 more minutes or until the liquid has been mostly absorbed and the rice is tender.

Serves waaaay more than 2 people....these two forks are working hard...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sourdough Bread

I canceled my piano students this week, and drove to the cabin to spend some time with my daughter. While she studies and does her required rotation in Grand Marais, I get to stoke up the brick oven, cook, read, knit and snowshoe. Three whole days of bliss! Where should I start??? The trek to the oven....on snowshoes of course...

This sourdough bread recipe called for forming the loaves the evening before, and letting them rise in the refrigerator overnight. They looked positively beautiful in the morning! But alas, the journey to the oven deflated them a bit....

Somehow though, this brick oven can make things poof...and magically turn blobs of deflated dough into loaves of bread!

It is hard for me to tell when bread is done. Various bread books say to tap the loaf and it should sound hollow. hmmmm...I don't get that. How does hollow sound exactly? This digital thermometer took that stress away! According to the recipe, it should register 200-205 degrees. Now that I can understand!

Ahhhhhh....a quick cool-down in the snow....and then, please pass the butter...

Sourdough Bread
from Annies Eats

Sourdough Starter
2 cups warm water
1 tbsp. sugar or honey
1 tbsp. active dry yeast
2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Pour warm water into glass bowl. Stir in sugar or honey to dissolve. Stir in yeast. Gradually whisk in the flour. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel (not plastic wrap) and place in a warm area. Let it develop at room temperature 2-5 days, stirring once a day due to the separation that will occur. When bubbling has subsided and a sour aroma has developed, stir again and refrigerate until ready to use. I used a screw top glass container.

To maintain the starter, replenish it every time it is used by adding 1 cup flour and 1/2 cup water, and letting it sit at room temperature for 12 hours. This should be done every 2 weeks.

Sourdough Bread (makes 2 large loaves)

1 1/2 cup lukewarm water (100 degrees F)
4 tsp. active dry or instant yeast
1 tbsp. honey
1 cup sourdough starter
5 1/2 -6 cup bread flour, plus more as needed
1 tbsp. unsalted butter, melted
2 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. bread flour mixed with 1 tbsp. yellow cornmeal

Using an electric mixer bowl, whisk together water, yeast, honey and sourdough starter until smooth.

Cover with plastic wrap until slightly increased in bulk and bubbly, approximately 1 hour.

With flat beater, using low speed, mix in 3 cups of the flour, butter, eggs and salt.

Increase speed to medium low and beat 1 minute. Add 2 more cups of flour and beat for 2 minutes.

Switch to the dough hook. With mixer on low speed, add remaining flour, 1/4 cup at a time until a very soft dough forms that pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on low speed, adding a tablespoon of flour if dough begins to stick, until dough is smooth and elastic, tacky but not sticky... about 6 minutes.

Form dough into ball. Transfer to lightly oiled bowl, turning once to coat. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise until double in bulk... about 1 1/2-2 hours.

Line cookie sheet with parchment paper. Sprinkle generously with the flour-cornmeal mixture.

Divide dough into two equal portions, and form into tight oval loaf. Place on prepared baking sheet.

Sprinkle tops with flour and gently rub in.

Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rise in refrigerator, 8-12 hours.

Before baking, make three slashes across the top with a sharp razor blade or sharp knife.

Here is where the recipe deviates from Annies-Eats.
For a wood burning oven:

If using a brick oven, the oven temperature should be about 550 degrees, and the hearth about the same. (so much for the exact science of bread baking...)

If the bottom of the loaves seem to be getting too dark, you can use an overturned baking pan and place the loaves on that in the oven. That seems to protect the bottoms from getting burned if the hearth floor is too hot.

Bake until the temperature registers 200-205 degrees. I think it took about 25-30 minutes, but my cell phone was my timer, and I lost service. Another "exact science" moment....

For a conventional oven, here is what Annies-Eats recommends:

Using a baking stone, preheat to 450 degrees.

Place loafs on stone and bake for 10 minutes.

Lower heat to 400 degrees and continue baking for 25-30 minutes.

So I can safely picnic today?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

artisan bread

I've tried to make artisan bread too many times to count. I've tried the sourdough starter thing...keeping a jar of it in the refrigerator at the cabin until one of our kids called with horror "what is that jar of moldy gray stuff in the frig???" OK. I guess trying to keep sourdough alive and well at a cabin is not possible... However, when I tried a recipe from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day" I got re-inspired!! This is easy! No sour mixtures sitting in the frig! No kneading required! And as an added bonus, it tastes wonderful!

The recipe I tried was European Peasant Bread. There is a small amount of whole wheat flour, which of course, made me feel like I could eat the whole loaf and not feel a bit guilty. Whole wheat is good right? Never mind that it is only 1/2 cup whole wheat to 5 1/2 cup all purpose....

European Peasant Bread
from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day

3 cups lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup rye flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
5 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt and water.

Mix in the remaining dry ingredients without kneading. You can use the dough hook on a mixer or just a wooden spoon.

Cover and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses, flattening on top. This should take about 2 hours.

The dough can be used immediately, although it is easier to use if it is cold. Now (this is the best part) it can be stored in the refrigerator for 14 days!! Just make sure it is in a lidded but not airtight container.

On baking day..."dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a grapefruit-size piece. Dust with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go. Allow to rest and rise on a cornmeal-covered pizza peel for 40 minutes." After 20 minutes, liberally sprinkle top of dough with flour and slash with a serrated bread knife. You can slash whatever design you want...a cross, 3-4 parallel lines, or tic-tac-toe!!

Here are the options for baking:

...outside in woodburning oven. The oven should be about 550 degrees without a flame. Bake about 30 minutes until browned. You can see it gets pretty dark in the wood burning oven. If it gets too dark, just throw handy-dandy tin foil over...

...conventional oven on a pizza stone. Preheat the stone in a 450 degree oven. Place a broiler pan on any shelf in the oven that won't interfere with the bread rising. Slide loaf onto hot stone, immediately pour 1 cup hot water into the broiler pan, and quickly close the oven door. Bake approximately 35 minutes until top crust is deeply browned and very firm.

...conventional oven in a dutch oven casserole. I think this is the easiest. Make sure the knob on your casserole will withstand 500 degrees. Evidently the plastic knobs will start smoking at 450 degrees! Not a pleasant odor for your fresh bread to absorb...

1) Shape the boule, and let it rest on parchment paper for about 40 minutes.
2) Preheat the pot with the lid on for about 20 minutes at 500 degrees.
3) Slash the dough about 1/4 inches deep.
4) lift the dough and drop it carefully, paper and all, into the preheated pot. Replace the lid and slip it back into the oven.
5) After 15 minutes, remove the lid, turn the heat down to 450 degrees and bake another 15-20 minutes. The lid initially enabled the dough to bake in the steam and now without the lid, the dough will develop its wonderful caramel color!
6) I would try using an instant read thermometer to determine if the bread is done. From what I have read, the bread should be 205-210 degrees. I think this loaf was not quite done...but I did not have a thermometer to check it...

The directions I used for this method came from the following site: (Baking Bread in a Dutch Oven)
It has thorough directions...and better pictures! (: Also, I would recommend the book!

Fun.....delicious....and easy enough for fresh crusty bread every night!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Herb-roasted turkey breast

Our son used the cabin last week with friends from his days at St Olaf college. While he was there, neighbor and ovenbuilder Greg called the cabin and said the oven was going to be stoked for the New Years weekend. Needing something healthy that was compatible with getting rid of the 5 lbs accumulated over Christmas, I searched Ina Garten's new cookbook! Herb roasted turkey breast caught my eye. It sounded really fresh tasting with all the herbs....and it was!!

The turkey breast I used was half the size that the recipe called for...but I made the same amount of marinade, rubbed most of it over the breast, and tried to smear some of it under the skin.

Herb-roasted turkey breast
from Barefoot Contessa

1 whole bone-in turkey breast (approximately 7 pounds)
2 tablespoons good olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 tsp greshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup dry white wine

We prepped the oven to roasting temperature...approximately 450-500 degrees, and kept a small flame burning. After rubbing the marinade over the turkey breast, and pouring the wine in the bottom of the roasting pan, we roasted it approximately an hour until the thermometer registered 165 degrees. We covered it with tin foil when it started to brown too much, and rotated it a few times for even cooking. Letting it rest for 10 minutes after cooking was the hardest part....we wanted to dive right in! Roasted yukon gold potatoes and brussel spouts completed the meal!

Wood-Roasted Shrimp

What a beautiful snowy December we had here in Minnesota!! We decided to fire up the wood burning oven for Christmas...but with something less stressful than a turkey! Roasting shrimp takes only 6 minutes! Standing in the snow at 10 degrees, one can only handle about 6 minutes!

Wood-Roasted Shrimp
from Mugnaini's At of Wood-Fired Cooking

2 pounds shelled raw shrimp
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Prepare the oven for a roasting environment, which means it has been prepped to reach pizza oven temperatures, then allowed to drop in temperature. There should be a medium sized bed of coals and a small flame. The hearth temperature should be about 550 degrees, and no less than 450 degrees.

Place shrimp in medium bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Place onto a sheet pan (we used a paella pan), set in oven and roast for 6 minutes until pink and firm to the touch.

from Barefoot Contessa

1/2 cup Heinz chili sauce
1/2 cup Heinz ketchup
3 tablespoons prepared horseradish
2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

Mix together, and serve with the shrimp.

Easy and delicious!!