Growing food for ones own dinner table need not mean a large garden plot or a backyard full of raised beds. With a few pepper and tomato plants in pots on your porch, patio, or drive way will provide you tasty nutritious veggies just steps from your door. Though we have our primary garden spot at a friends place a few miles away I like to have a few veggie plants here at the house. Nothing beats picking fresh tomatoes with salt shaker in hand on ones way to the mail box forty feet down the side walk. For the last several years we’ve lined one side of our drive way each spring with a few pots which one of our neighbors nicknamed ‘Cee Dub’s Pot Farm!
Our drive way pot farm includes the following from Left to Right: One Yellow Banana Pepper, two Jalapeno Peppers, four tomato plants including a Cherry Tomato, two Roma Tomatoes, one heirloom variety and an egg plant. Having these few plants close at hands eliminates any worry about having to run to the store for a tomato or pepper to make a dinner salad. Plus, on one more than one occasion a neighbor has knocked on our door late in the afternoon asking to “borrow a tomato”. Of course we enjoy sharing the bounty.
But…contrary to what some folks might think, a substantial amount of produce can result from having a few veggies planted in flower pots around ones home. The second photo illustrates the first harvest of our little ‘pot farm’. Of course we’ll get more as the summer goes along.
There is no argument the best Bacon, Tomato, & Lettuce sandwiches are made with home grown vine ripened tomatoes and lettuce fresh from the garden. Now you can make your BLT’s even better with bacon you’ve cured and smoked yourself. In the Powerless Cooking ® learning module Makin’ Bacon, Cee Dubdemonstrates how easy it is to brine, cure, and smoke your own bacon. Bacon by the way that beats store bought bacon!
Here at Powerless Cooking ® whenever possible we select, promote, and use “heirloom recipes”. Using both salt and vinegar for food preservation dates back a couple of thousand years which Cee Dub ties into this recipe for “Salt Cured Pickled Fish”. In this Learning Module, Cee Dub provides both historical data and context to the era when ‘pickled’ food was a daily necessity and not condiments or hors d’ oeuvres.
Sign up today for your free three day trial at Powerless Cooking ® to learn how to make your own “Salt Cured Pickled Fish”. With your membership you receive access to all of the Powerless Cooking ® Learning Modules and Cee Dub’s Recipe Data Base.
Many of our favorite recipes in Cee Dub’s cook books and the Powerless Cooking (R) data base trace their origins to leftovers. IN A PIG’S EYEis no exception and became an instant hit. It all started one Sunday morning while rummaging through the refrigerator looking for something to make what I call “a change of pace recipe.” In other words, using whatever ingredients I have on hand, can I whip something up that is worth writing down and fixing again. Now, when we make pulled pork we always set enough aside for a breakfast of IN A PIG’S EYE.
Approx. ½ pound leftover pulled pork
Butter or bacon drippings
2 jalapeno slices, more if desired
2 tailgates – end slices from a loaf of bread
Directions : In a cast iron skillet melt a couple of tablespoons of butter or bacon drippings. Stir fry pulled pork over medium heat for 4-5 minutes until heated through. Spread the pork over the bottom of the pan and reduce the heat a bit. With a spoon make two small divots in the pulled pork. Break an egg into each divot, salt and pepper, and cover for 3-4 minutes until the eggs are done to your liking. In another cast iron skillet, pan toast the two buttered tailgates. Garnish eggs with hot sauce if desired.
I know your first thought on reading my title is ‘salmon’ and ‘candy’ are mutually exclusive , but… read on and I’ll change your mind. Most of us are familiar with the old saying, “Waste Not, Want Not” and it’s this quote that is the inspiration for this recipe. When most salmon fishermen fillet their catch, they discard the backbone and the fins trimmed off before icing the fillets down in an ice chest for their trip home. What they may not realize is they’re discarding the primary ingredients for “Salmon Candy”. The next time you catch some salmon or steelhead save what you normally throw away and make yourself a batch of ‘Salmon Candy’!
In my case I’m lucky enough to work at a small third generation meat market where we routinely fillet quantities of salmon and steelhead. Rather than throw the back bones and fins in the trash barrel I toss them in a tote and brine them as I do the fillets. The fins I keep are the pectoral or collar fins located right behind the gills and the two ventral fins located midway down the fishes belly. The highest concentration of oils including Omega III in salmon are stored along the belly of the fish where the fins I keep are located.
I smoke the backbones and fins for 3-4 hours. They take much less time to smoke than fillets because they’re much thinner. When done I flake the meat off the backbones for use in salads, dips, and salmon chowder. The smoked fins are finger food of the highest order. Each ventral fin off a 6-7 pound salmon or steelhead yields a morsel about the size of a baby carrot and each pectoral fin yields about double that amount.
Try this yourself and you’ll become a believer in “Salmon Candy” and also get a good dose of healthy Omega III fish oil as a bonus.
For more information on brines and smoking techniques check out our Powerless Cooking(R) Learning Module – All About Salmon Part I.
Only folks old enough to remember the CBS Western series Paladin which aired 1957-1963 will make the connection between the business card of hired gun slinger, Paladin, played by Richard Boone, and the title of this blog! It became necessary to write this blog to best answer numerous requests as to why nothing new has been posted on Powerless Cooking(R) since late May. (As an side, Face Book even inquired about my health and well being when the number of “Notifications” crossed into triple digits!)
It starts like this. On Thursday June 4, we signed a multiple year lease on a new home which precipitated the onset of a major move. But, before that could happen we first had to pack the truck and trailer, load the dogs, and head for the McKinley Springs Winery near Prosser, Washington, for our Third Annual Dutch Oven Winery Clinic. According to my trip notes we packed a total of seventeen Dutch ovens. So… after two days of travel and two days teaching Dutch oven and Powerless Cooking(R), we got back and immersed ourselves in card board boxes. Trust me it was an arduous process to pack/move both our household goods and the business inventory. My brother-in-law, Al Kusy, helped us move the inventory, countless boxes, and smaller items before the movers came for the big furniture and appliances on June 19.
My memories of the next week remain a blur of our cleaning the old place and opening enough boxes to find essentials such as toilet paper, bed sheets, socks, skivvies, and bath towels. We completed our walk through at the old place on June 26, and immediately began packing the truck and trailer for our appearance as “Artist in Residency” at The Resort at Paw Up near Potomac, Montana. Again, according to my trip notes, when we pulled out before day break on June 28, there were twenty-eight assorted Dutch ovens, other cast iron cookware, plus the rest of our camp kitchen loaded in the trailer.
I’ve hauled my Dutch ovens to some damn “purty” places over the years, but the Paws Up chuck wagon parked within fifty feet of the Blackfoot River ranks right at the top. A highlight of the trip was cooking a couple of meals for Leonardo DiCaprio and visiting about his new movie, The Revanent, due out in December which tells the story of mountain man, Hugh Glass. Drought conditions worsened to the point fire restrictions were imposed which prevented us from cooking the last two days on our schedule. We pulled out for home well rested early on Monday, July 6, with a stop along the way in North Fork, Idaho, to load my old Majestic Wood Cook Stove from a friend’s cabin where I used to elk hunt years ago.
Up to this point, life was hectic and moving forward; but, of course, all good things must come to an end. About five miles from home I lost the clutch in our truck. Only the skills learned in another life as a long haul truck driver allowed me to shift without the clutch to nurse it those last few miles home and not have to call a tow truck on the spot. It’s now Tuesday morning and I need a new clutch fast as I’m due in Logan Valley, Oregon, near John Day for the Oregon State Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Rendezvous on Friday. We picked up the truck Wednesday evening and on Thursday I packed for my trip to Oregon. For this trip I only packed a dozen Dutch ovens.
If you’re a lover of high cold deserts in the Western United States, I highly recommend the drive from Vale to John Day, Oregon. The landscape changes at John Day where you not only enter the tall timber country of Central Oregon but you leave the electronic universe…meaning no Wi-Fi or cell phone service. What a great way to spend the weekend. It started with 70 dozen fresh Pacific Ocean oysters provided by the Tillamook Chapter of RMEF, then intermittent rains showers to cool the summer heat, and topped off with a prime rib dinner that someone else cooked. Life was good.
As I eased out of camp Sunday morning at the very crack of dawn four cow elk materialized out of the ground fog courtesy of the previous day’s rains and crossed the road in my headlights less than a hundred feet in front of the truck. Before reaching Prairie City I saw more elk, mule deer, and a black bear. What better way to start the new week. That all changed when I re-entered the electronic universe as my phone began chirping to tell me I had text messages and voice mails awaiting. As soon as I read the text message about Mom being in ICU back in Boise, I grabbed a higher gear and headed east quite a bit faster than the law allows. But now a couple of weeks later the good news is Mom is out of the hospital and doing well.
So…After over 1,900 miles, since early June all our Dutch ovens are home and we’re back on track to film and edit new learning modules for Powerless Cooking(R) which we’ll post soon!
Could it be Dutch ovens travel faster because they have three legs? Let us know your thoughts!
PS: If you look closely at the photo at the beginning you’ll see our 2001 F-350 in the background. It just turned over 318,000 miles. Most of those miles included hauling Dutch ovens. So…”Have Dutch Oven – Will Travel” is based in fact!
The most difficult part of making great smoked salmon is catching the salmon…but that is a story for another day. If you’re a fisherman here in the Northwest you already know of the banner salmon runs we’re enjoying right now. I work part time for a family owned third generation meat market, Smoky Davis Inc., here in Boise, Idaho. The past few weeks we’ve been filleting/smoking record numbers of salmon for area fishermen. But…smoking your own fish is easy, economical, fun, and yields smoked fish you’ll enjoy sharing with friends and family.
In our learning module, All About Salmon – Part I, we teach how to fillet, smoke, and can salmon. Here is a very simple brine and the step by step process so can make your own great smoked salmon. This what we call our “Old Fashioned Brine” and is one of three we use in the module. The module consists of thirteen video segments totaling one hour and twenty six minutes. Join “PC” to see the whole show!
1. Fillet fish and cut into smaller pieces. Do not skin the fillet. I like strips that are 3″-4″ long, 1″ – 1 1/2 ” wide and the thickness of the fillet. . But…your preference is what counts and you can smoke a whole fillet if desired.
2. Mix one cup rock salt, 1 1/2 cups brown sugar, with two cold quarts water. Note – all the rock salt will not dissolve.
3. Place fish pieces into a food grade plastic or glass container and pour brine over the fish making sure all pieces are covered.
4. Brine for 12-14 hours or overnight at 40-45 degrees.
5. Drain brine and rinse fish pieces if desired.
6. Place fish on smoker racks and air or blow dry with a small fan until pieces are dry.
7. Smoke with the wood of your choice to a temperature of 145-155 degrees.
As with any other skill there is a learning curve associated with smoking fish. This blog serves as an introduction to our “PC” learning module, “All About Salmon”. Though it’s just a guess I figure I’ve smoked between 2000-3000 pounds of pounds of salmon over the years, I still enjoy the process and the results. When you join Powerless Cooking(R) you’ll have direct e-mail access to me with any of your ‘smoking questions’!
On a side note I show you how to get the absolute maximum yield from your salmon!
Please Check out our selection of electric and propane smokers plus smoker accessories in our Powerless Cooking(R) Store. https://powerlesscooking.com/shop/
Anyone can shop in the store but “PC” members receive a 10% discount on checkout.
With folks heading out for the first three day weekend of the summer we wanted to share our favorite breakfast recipe that we fix on the last day in camp. Every camp cook knows the hassle of trying utilize leftovers and this recipe goes a long way in solving that problem. This recipe was given/taught to me by an old river running buddy at Upper Cliffside camp along Middle Fork of Salmon River over thirty five years ago.
Mel started by having me dice up some onions and garlic. Then he started pulling leftovers out of the cooler including leftover River Baked Potatoes, half a steak, a pork chop, and two grilled chicken breasts and diced these up too. He used beef broth as his liquid as he combined everything in a 12″ aluminum Dutch oven on the camp stove which is the hash part of this recipe. When most of the liquid had reduced off the hash, he made six divots in the hash and broke an egg into each one. While he was stirring the hash I lit some charcoal and pre-heated the Dutch oven lid. With the pre-heated lid it only took about 7-8 minutes for the eggs to cook. The “Wide Eyes” of this recipe are the eggs staring up at you when the lid is removed.
We’ve modified the recipe to use au jus from a Dutch oven brisket which adds much more flavor than the beef broth. By chilling the au jus overnight we’re able to skim off the fat which makes this a healthy as well as delicious way to utilize leftover. You can make this in any size Dutch oven depending on the size of the crew you’re feeding. For a big group we a 16″ Dutch oven as pictured above.
As a side note like most folks I’ve watched more than my share of cooking shows and have never seen a show devoted to leftovers except one of our Public Television episodes where I prepared this recipe. It was a great way to close out filming that series as we were able to use all the leftovers resulting from the filming.
Here are the recipes as given in our first book, Dutch Oven & Other Camp Cooking.
HOME MADE HASH
More than one hunting camp recipe has been the result of
the cook getting bored and throwing all the leftovers together.
So was born this recipe for hash.
2 cups of finely diced leftover elk roast
3 baked potatoes diced into ½” cubes
1 medium onion diced fine
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 cup venison or beef stock (Or 1 bouillon cube
dissolved in a cup of water)
Salt/pepper or whatever other seasonings you prefer
Saute the onion until it’s soft, then add all the remaining
ingredients. Stir to mix and simmer for 15 – 20 minutes until
most of the liquid has been absorbed or reduced. If possible,
make it the night before and just reheat for breakfast.
Scramble up a dozen eggs in another Dutch and serve the
hash as a side dish.
HOME MADE HASH AND WIDE EYES
Try this some morning when you have the time to start a little
charcoal or use a shovel full of coals from the camp fire.
1 batch of home made hash
Salt/pepper (A dose of Tabasco® Sauce works too)
Melt just a dab of butter or margarine in a 12” Dutch. Spoon
in the hash and spread it evenly in the DO. Set the DO in a
fire pan with about five briquets underneath and cook uncovered
just until the hash starts to bubble. While the hash is
heating, shovel the lid full of coals from the camp fire, or place
20 – 25 briquets on the lid. Take a coffee cup and press into
the hash to make a nest of sorts. Break an egg into each nest
then put the lid on the DO for about 6 – 8 minutes. When
you take the lid off it looks like a “Wide Eyed Monster” of sorts.
Dutch Oven Pecan Pie
Most folks in the know consider making and baking pies somewhat of an art form. I know from my own experience the learning curve for making great pie crusts is steep and typically plagued with failure at the onset. Here are two ways to make this great dessert!
¼ cup butter
1 cup maple syrup.
(Real maple syrup is best)
½ cup sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup pecan halves
1 9 inch unbaked pie crust – See below
Melt butter in a skillet and add the syrup, sugar, salt, and
eggs. Beat well with a wire whisk until well blended. Add
pecans and pour into the pie shell. Carefully set the pie
on a wire rack in the bottom of a 12” Dutch oven. Set the
DO in the firepan with 10-12 briquets underneath and
20-22 briquets on the lid. Bake for about 35 minutes or
until filling sets. Note: I’ve found preheating the DO lid for
fifteen minutes prior to baking is best.
Crust Ingredients: Makes one crust for a 12″ Dutch oven or two crusts for 9″ pie pans.
6 oz. cream cheese
1 cup butter (two sticks)
2 cups flour
pinch of salt
Cut butter and cream cheese into flour and work into a ball and flatten slightly. If using a 9″ pie pan divide in half and chill for an hour or so. Reserve the other half for another pie. (This dough freezes well.) Roll out the dough on a floured cutting board and place in pie pan.
For a 12″ Dutch oven roll out the crust to about 12″ in diameter and place it into the Dutch oven. Using your fingers work it halfway up the sides of the Dutch oven. Add the filling and bake as per the instructions above. **
** Check our earlier blog on Dutch Oven Sunday Morning Quiche to see a photo of the crust in the Dutch oven prior to adding the filling.
Not only do I like to make and eat quiche in my cast iron Dutch ovens, one of my favorite cookin’ stories involves a bunch of Texas cowboys and this recipe we call, “Sunday Morning Quiche”.** If you’ve ever driven from San Antonio to Fort Stockton, Texas, on I-10 you’ve driven through Ozona, Texas. In the early 1990’s we were teaching a Dutch oven clinic at the city park there with about twenty Texas cowboys, and some oilfield workers attending. I’ve never seen so much finger pointing at a clinic as when my wife Penny announced to the guys on Sunday morning that one group would be making quiche. I think deep down they all wanted to try it but because of peer pressure they all wanted someone else to make it. The quiche of course turned out great and there was a smile under every cowboy hat.
Everyone who has tried making pie/pastry crusts know it can be difficult and requires a substantial learning curve to get them just right. The crust we use for the quiche recipe is all but fool proof as well as being very flaky and tasty!
The crust as given in the recipe is enough for two 9″ pie pans or can be rolled/pressed out enough to fit in a twelve inch Dutch oven. We chill the dough for 1-2 hours before rolling/pressing into the Dutch oven and we do not pre-bake the crust. We add another 3-4 briquettes underneath the Dutch oven and bake for 35-45 minutes.
Sunday Morning Quiche
6 oz. cream cheese
1 cup butter
2 cups flour
(or, use a ready-to-bake pie crust)
2 cups whipping cream
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. ground red pepper
1/8 tsp. nutmeg
Chopped cooked bacon, ham, etc.
1 1/2 cups Swiss cheese, grated
1/3 cup green onion tops, chopped
2 Tbsp. flour
Other possible ingredients might be chopped morel or other
mushrooms, crab, shrimp, sun dried tomatoes, fresh spinach.
Combine crust ingredients, working into a ball. Roll out
and place crust in a pie pan. Bake at 400-425 degrees for 10-15
minutes. If using a Dutch oven, place pie pan on a rack in
a 12” Dutch oven. Place Dutch in firepan with about 10
briquets under the Dutch and cover with preheated lid using
20-22 briquets, and bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool the lightly
precooked crust and brush with melted butter or olive oil.
Combine other ingredients for filling and pour into crust.
Continue to bake at 300-325 degrees for approximately 30
minutes or until knife poked into filling comes out clean,
using 8-10 under the Dutch oven and 18-20 briquets on the
lid. Let stand 15 minutes to cool.
** Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche, by American Bruce Feirstein, is a bestselling tongue-in-cheek book satirizing stereotypes of masculinity, published in 1982.
What started out as one Powerless Cooking(R) learning module titled, “All About Salmon”, quickly turned from one module into two! Whether you’re a fisherman who catches their own salmon or the person who buys their fish at a fish market, the end game is to end up with great tasting nutritious dishes featuring salmon and their first cousin, steelhead trout. So…we started “All About Salmon” Part One with a filleting demonstration simply because we want folks to get and utilize every bit of this valuable fish. After breaking the fish down and filming segments on brining, smoking, and canning we figured out it made more sense to do two modules instead of one.
Before starting this module I did an informal survey of family and friends and asked them just one question, “What are the first three recipes that come to your mind when I say salmon”? To a person they all answered “grilled salmon steaks” then started scratching their heads trying to think of two more recipes!
So…Part II of All About Salmon is really all about our favorite salmon recipes and providing our members with proven recipes for fresh, smoked, and canned salmon!
Do you know any folks with no desire to eat healthier, spend less money on meals, and have no thoughts of becoming a bit more self-reliant? If you do know such individuals, it would be a waste of time and electrons to forward this link on to them. Why…because as an old cowboy buddy of mine used to say, “It’s like trying to convince a fence post of anything”!
But…an opportunity awaits anyone who “turns the key” or in this digital age “clicks on the link”.
Click the link and you open a door onto the ground floor of a vast storehouse of digital knowledge. Utilizing their combined experiences growing up in rural Southern Idaho in the 1950’s and 60’s, Cee Dub’s career as a back country game warden, writing/publishing Dutch oven cookbooks together, hosting/producing two television series, and eighteen years teaching Dutch oven cooking together, Penny and Cee Dub conceived, designed, and bring to you, Powerless Cooking(R).
Their online Learning Modules bear and share some resemblance to materiel gathered and disseminated by folks who call themselves ‘preppers’. That similarity is well-founded, with the difference between them being Penny and Cee Dub emphasize skills, techniques, ideas, attitudes, and education to move folks toward being more self-reliant rather than a focus on “what if scenarios”!
The Free Lesson Mini Series being offered by “PC” may well be the first step to a healthier and more fulfilling lifestyle for you and your family.
New modules are being added on a regular basis and we encourage membership feedback. In fact, at least one future “PC” Learning Module is the result of a member jotting down an idea and emailing Cee Dub.
A month ago Penny and I launched Powerless Cooking (R) and what a month it’s been. Our first surprise occurred when folks started purchasing memberships within the first hour of the website going live. Each new membership signals to us we are doing the right thing at the right time. Our second and continuing surprise has been the feedback we’ve received from those who’ve signed up and taken advantage of the knowledge in the first four Learning Modules. At our NW Sportsmen’s shows we presented Powerless Cooking(R) to hundreds of folks and again we were surprised by the extremely positive response. But moving forward…
…here in SW Idaho looking out our second story office window today I see greening grass, emerging tulips, and buds swelling on my neighbor’s weeping willow tree. In other words “springtime in the Rockies” is just around the corner. But…while we enjoy the unseasonably warm weather our friends in the Northeast have more snow in their yards than most Western ski resorts and much of the south is suffering from record cold temperatures and remain encased in ice. So…where and how does “powerless cooking” enter into the equation of cooking for one’s family while dealing with Old Man Winter’s temper tantrums?
Seeing the facebook posts the last few days showing bare shelves in stores and reading between the lines of some of these same FB posts indicates to me many folks are basically not prepared. Waiting until the storm is about to hit before preparing and purchasing emergency supplies of food and necessities is like parking on the railroad tracks then calling to update your insurance when the crossing arms begin dropping. It’s just a little late!
Our stated goals of Powerless Cooking(R) include giving folks knowledge, skills, techniques, and the attitude to better take care of themselves and their families on a day to day basis; and even save a little money along the way. To that end whether learning about Dutch oven cooking, baking breads, grinding meat, dehydrating vegetables, growing herbs in a pot on the porch, or any of our current and upcoming Learning Modules, one’s attitude is as important as any knowledge we present in our Powerless Cooking (R) Learning Modules.
Have fun and take advantage of our Free Three Day Trial. Check out all the benefits of being a member of Powerless Cooking(R).
What is POWERLESS COOKING® you might ask? It goes like this…
Hold your hands out in front of you about 18″ apart and think of the distance between as a spectrum of self-reliance. For the purpose of illustration, your right hand represents someone or a family unit in the wilds of Alaska totally living off-the-grid and off-the-land. Your left hand represents a person or family who depends totally on grocery stores, restaurants, and the power grid for their daily needs. Regardless of where your position on that spectrum is, our goal at Powerless Cooking is to give you knowledge, skills, and ideas that allow you to move your left hand closer to your right hand.
What can POWERLESS COOKING® do for you?
Empowerment of the individual is the short answer! All of us have our “bucket list” of things we wish to accomplish in life. So…for folks with a desire to learn and improve their life style, Powerless Cooking® provides an online learning avenue to attain skills and knowledge to make their lives a bit easier and more fulfilling.
I’ve been a teacher of sorts my whole life. My journey began with teaching Hunter Education to eighth graders when I was an Idaho Conservation Officer starting in 1979, and progressed to teaching Dutch oven cookin’ beginning in 1997. Job satisfaction for me is seeing people have that “Aha” moment or the light turns on in their eyes when they realize – I can do this!
My wife, Penny, and I both grew up in rural settings where “chores” as we called them helped provide for our families whether it was weeding the garden, canning produce, milking cows, or helping on “butchering day”. Check the list of POWERLESS COOKING® Learning Modules for things you want to cross off your “bucket list”!
Our first four online Learning Modules go live today. Simply put, every Learning Module on Powerless Cooking® moves that left hand a little closer to the right.