Thursday, February 16, 2006

too many cooks: a photo essay in two parts

click here for way bigger, way gooder image

E and I made some new friends! One half of a couple from Rochester, NY randomly surfed into the blog while looking for Dutch oven stuff and found me. After a few emails we decided we should get together for a Dutch oven gathering à quatre. I'm really glad that they did, not just because it was very fun cooking for an army and feeding only a platoon, but because they brought their excellent camera. All of the photos in this post were taken with it (but not as taken as I am with it). Some of the photos here serve merely as thumbnails; do yourself a favor and click the linked ones to se much larger and more detailed versions.

no larger version available We decided to get together last Saturday night and cook up a storm. To this end we all did our requisite shopping. The jalapeños above came automatically in our organic vegetable box, as did the purple onions below, but the mushrooms and habaneros (also below) were store-bought. For the rabbit boudin sausage above I hit up the fatted calf, and for the barely visible cuts of lamb on the lower grill of the smoker I needed to go to Rick's Quality Meats. It was my first time there but I'm sold.
I began the smoking process well in advance of our guests' anticipated arrival, out of respect for how long it typically takes. This time I used much more hickory than mesquite. The next time I'm in the mountains I'll pick up some apple chips and try them out. At any rate, I kept feeding the smoker to get it up to its ideal heat, so when the fellow participants arrived with a two-pound pork roast I was ready for it. Into the smoker it went as well, displacing the peppers, lamb and rabbit boudin. At this time I also added some calabrese sausage (not pictured here, but in the completed meat platter below).

no larger version available

Before I go further, I have to let you know what the menu was for the evening. In short it consisted of:
  • Rabbit and lamb stew with dumplings
  • Pork roast
  • Smoked vegetables
  • Yorkshire pudding (large and small)
  • Scones

The Scones were C's (our female friend) concoction. She had been wanting to try them in a Dutch for a while. What with E's baking expertise I figured we could make the transition to a Ductch without any wrinkles. The dumpling stew, of course, is old hat but it's great for a demonstration which is what they wanted. The Yorkshire pudding I've been making all my life but in a Dutch oven I've always used a tiny muffin tray. Not so this time, we used half a recipe to make one giant one the way it's done in England. The meats and vegetables on the smoker are just an excuse to use the smoker. It makes everything better!

Hell YES there is a larger version availableAbove are the rabbit boudins, jalapeños, and calabreses fresh out of the smoker. Below are the lamb, habaneros, onion, and gigantic fennel that I bought at the market that day:

no larger version available The fennel is propped up by a 750ml bottle of home brew that our gracious guests brought. We polished off more than a little of that that night. They had three or four different flavors, each gooder than the last.
At this point E was working inside chopping vegetables for the stew and I was outside racing to get enough coals ready for all the ovens we were going to be using, which ended up totaling four.

much larger version available one click awayThis is a fantastic photo of the 'sidecar' I improvised. It's made of an oven tray we never use, bricks, and an old wooden aquarium stand that I built years ago but has fallen into disrepair. We ended up using every cooking surface available outside, including the smoker, gas grill, hibachi and this helpful guy in the picture above.

That's it for this half of the post. Tune in soon for the rest. Aside from this one, I have several more culinary adventures to share.


Blogger Dr. Jones said...

I never know when a post will generate a whole bunch of responses and when it will gen none. I was suprised with this one though since it has the best foto-graffy of any post to date.
I also just got my own digital camera (finally!) and so from now on the bloggeroo will look a lot better.

8:37 PM  
Blogger chilebrown said...

Get of your horse and talk to us you cast iron fool!!!!

7:35 PM  
Blogger drbiggles said...

Is you alive? Or is you daid?

3:59 PM  
Blogger Dr. Jones said...

i am lagging lately. i have dozens and dozens of cool food fotoz to up but no time...started a new job, tired as hell.

3:16 PM  
Blogger drbiggles said...

Maybe you should quit. All that college and work is going to do nothing but take all the fun out.


4:47 PM  

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