Monthly Archives: April 2017

Denver Frittata

On the average West Coast diner breakfast menu, the Denver Omelet, also known as the Western Omelet, is a common item. It’s made with red and green bell peppers, onion, ham, and cheddar cheese, and has been one of my favorites for as long as I can remember. So, how to make one in camp or for a crowd? Convert it to a frittata.

Frittatas are simply baked omelets and perform extremely well in a Dutch oven in camp or in a cast iron skillet at home. Like most frittatas, this one starts on the camp stove by sautéing the vegetables. Once the vegetables are soft, the ham is mixed in and the cheese sprinkled on top. The egg mixture is poured over everything and the whole thing is baked until the eggs are puffy and set. The last 5 minutes of baking, you could even sprinkle on a bit more cheese to melt on top before serving. How easy is that?

The Denver is popular and has endured over the decades because of it’s bold flavors. Between the onion and peppers, sharp cheddar cheese, and smokey, salty ham, it is a great breakfast any time of year. Serve with biscuits, hashbrowns, and fruit. It’s sure to be a winner!

Equipment
10-inch Dutch oven or 7×9 or 9×9 baking dish, bowl, whisk.

Ingredients
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced small
1/2 cup green bell pepper, diced small
1/3 cup yellow onion, diced small
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 cup (heaping) ham, cooked and diced small
8 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
Salt and black pepper

Prep
The ham and vegetables can be diced at home and loaded into containers or resealable bags for the ride to camp in the cooler.

In camp, assemble your materials (mise en place) and start 25 coals in a chimney.

On medium-high heat on a propane stove, heat oil in the Dutch oven. Add the bell peppers and onion and sauté until softened, about 4 minutes. While the vegetables are cooking, in a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until well blended. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside. Remove the Dutch oven from the heat and add the ham and toss together. Sprinkle evenly with cheese. Pour the egg mixture over the ham and vegetables. Bake in a 400°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for about 25 minutes or until egg is puffy and set. Serves 6.

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Categories: Breakfasts, Dutch Oven, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Product Review: Italia Artisan Pizza Oven

Earlier this month, our Boy Scout Troop camped on Whidbey Island at Fort Ebey State Park. We were in a group site located on a bluff with amazing views of Port Townsend, Fort Worden, Fort Flagler, the Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and Canada. Friday night, we had gale force wind gusts, which made it a bit challenging to get all the tents up, but we managed.

Saturday dawned bright and clear with only an occasional shower. It was a great weekend and I was cooking for the Scoutmasters, which is always fun. The menu included a few favorites like biscuits and gravy, and cornbread, but I also field-tested a couple of new recipes, so in the coming weeks I’ll have some winners to share. The menu also included personal pizzas for lunch on Saturday, thanks to one of our scoutmasters.

Recently, Mr. Weddle purchased an Italia Artisan Pizza Oven from Camp Chef. It’s a self contained unit that hooks up to a propane tank. It can run on a 1lb disposable propane bottle or a standard bulk propane tank. It puts out 17,000 BTUs and oven temperatures can reach upwards of 700°F. And, it only weighs 47 pounds so it was easy to move.

It was designed to replicate the performance of a wood-fired brick oven from its double walled construction and specially designed burners to its ventilation and cordierite ceramic pizza stone. I’d say Camp Chef nailed it. The pizzas came out great! We were all very impressed.

I have to preface this by saying, in the five years I have known him, Mr. Weddle has never cooked on a campout. So, it was so much fun to see him get all excited to use this pizza oven and he, literally, took over my camp kitchen and personally made pizzas for all 10 of us scoutmasters, including himself. And, yes, that is a little pink rolling pin in his hand in the picture below. It was a gift from his beautiful wife so he could roll out his mini pizzas.

He brought store-bought pizza dough and a couple different jars of pizza sauce. He brought a variety of meats and some shredded cheese. I provided more cheese and some vegetables because he doesn’t “do” vegetables. I’ve mentioned several times in previous blogs how I have to sneak them into whatever I am making. So, between the two of us and a couple of other scoutmasters, we had quite the variety of pizza toppings.

Mr. Weddle divided his dough and made personal-sized pizzas for each of us. He was able to bake two pizzas at a time, and they cooked pretty fast so it didn’t take long at all to make 10 pizzas. The dough was cooked, the toppings were hot, and the cheese was melted and gooey, just as it should be.

Because it was cold and windy, he did struggle a little with maintaining the air temperature inside the oven. As a result, the stone was a little hotter than it probably should have been. Some of the pizzas did get a wee bit black on the underside, but it didn’t affect the flavor too much.

Overall, I’d rule it a success and told Mr. Weddle his pizza oven was welcome in my camp kitchen any time!

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Sausage Cheese Croissant Catastrophe

Another catastrophe for the recipe book. We made this a couple weeks ago while teaching outdoor cooking to Girl Scout adult volunteers at Camp Robbinswold. It was very tasty. The croissants brought a buttery sweetness and the Swiss cheese was nutty and sweet, which were nice contrasts to the savory sausage, green onions, and Parmesan.

It was easy to make in camp. The sausage could be browned at home or browned in the Dutch oven in camp. The first five ingredients are tossed together like a salad. The egg mixture is poured over the top and then it’s all covered in cheese. For a fancier version, you could use Gruyère cheese. Kids can help prep by tearing the croissants into chunks.

I would recommend getting it all assembled and then starting your coals. The catastrophe can rest while the coals get going. After a 45 minute bake, the eggs are cooked through and the cheese is all melty.

Equipment
12-inch Dutch oven or 13×9 baking dish, bowl, whisk.

Ingredients
1 pound ground sausage, browned
1¼ cups (5 ounces) Parmesan cheese shredded
1 teaspoon salt
6 green onions, sliced
1 package mini croissants (about 24), torn into chunks
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
5 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Gruyère or Swiss cheese

Prep
Foil line your Dutch oven if you choose, and coat it with butter or cooking spray. To the Dutch oven add browned sausage, Parmesan cheese, salt, green onions and croissant chunks, and toss together. Whisk together the milk, cream and eggs, and pour over the top. Let it rest so the croissants soak up all the liquid. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in a 350°F oven, using 17 coals on the lid and 8 underneath, for 45 minutes.

Serves 10-12

This post has been shared at Homestead Bloggers Network. If you like this blog and don’t want to miss a single post, subscribe to Chuck Wagoneer by clicking on the Follow Us button in the upper right corner and follow us on Facebook and Pinterest for the latest updates and more stuff!

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Why We Do Not Feed the Bears…or Other Critters

Now that the weather is finally warming up, we’re spending more time outside, which means more encounters with critters that should be simply left alone.

But it’s hard, I get that. When you see a cute little chipmunk or bird sitting on the edge of the picnic table, it’s hard not to reach out with a potato chip in your fingers and see if it will approach and eat from your hand.

As fun and exciting as this sounds, we shouldn’t feed the wildlife, and it doesn’t matter how tame or friendly or cute they are. Here’s why you shouldn’t.

Wild animals needs to stay wild. When animals are fed they become used to people. They become tame, they lose their wildness, and that can make them vulnerable.

Most wild animals already have access to the food that they need to stay alive. They don’t really need us feeding them. And, let’s face it, a lot of what we feed them (junk food) is not good for them.

Fed wildlife lose the ability to find food on their own. If it’s easy for an animal to eat picnic area and campsite trash then what’s the point in even finding food on their own?

Sometimes areas with abundant food trash attract animals and increase population rates. This can increase the spread of disease among animals and disrupt the whole natural ebb and flow of life.

Animals that are normally passive can become aggressive once they are accustomed to foraging out of the garbage or out of our hands.

It’s just a bad idea to get up close and personal with animals that can carry diseases like rabies.

Before you toss a few nuts at a chipmunk, please take a moment and consider the implications and long-term effects on the animal and the delicate ecosystem it lives in, and that we are just visiting.

I understand that maybe you’re just trying to be kind. But we can be kind in other ways by leaving the outdoors better than how we found it. We can clean up trash. We can work to restore rivers and streams. We can make their habitats a better place for them to live in and for us to visit.

Let’s leave the wildlife alone no matter how cute they are and keep our snacks to ourselves.

The only wildlife we should be feeding is our kids!

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