This past weekend, I decided to prepare for my most recent and grand experiment. Open fire cooking. Now, I suppose that I could have simply done this on the BBQ grill with charcoal, and it would have, likely, been easier. There's just something about an actual fire... Indeed, I was amusing myself, as well as my son, who probably likes fire a little too much. lol
I first needed to begin acquiring what "tools" I didn't already have. Among them, the single most important... the fire pit. (I just didn't think Housing would appreciate me digging a hole in our front yard and creating one there. So, I decided to compromise...)
Now, my neighbors have a fire pit that we often congregate around together... I didn't want to have to borrow theirs, though, and I could have purchased one like theirs for a good deal less than I spent on the one I ended up with. But, as I told Dh when we were discussing it, I wanted to spend a little more and buy one that would serve us well in the years to come, even after we're on the land in Missouri.
As I was shopping, I took many things into consideration because, let's face it, there are a lot of options on the market at the moment. I could have bought a metal one, one with a table around it... The things I was thinking about as I bought it was something that would last; something that was sturdy because we have a lot of kids between our family and our neighbors', and something that would be good in which to place a Dutch Oven. I also didn't want to break the bank! The result was a clay fire pit, which I picked up from Lowes...
I figured it wouldn't be too much different from cooking on a hearth, and, as Dh mentioned, it will probably be more weather resistant than a metal one would have been.
So started our grand cooking experiment...
Now, we have a cast iron Dutch Oven... somewhere... It's likely among the camping stuff that has been "buried" in the garage behind Dh's workbench. (Did I mention that cleaning out the garage is on my list of "things to do" while Dh is deployed? Something else I'll share once that occurs...) Given that I just wasn't up to digging in the garage yet, I decided to cook with aluminum foil.
For the experiment, I cooked chicken and garlic, which I drizzled with a little olive oil and white wine, shrimp with garlic, a mix of yellow squash, zucchini, and mushrooms, and red potatoes, which I cubed. For dessert... because I had a sweet tooth later that evening, we had a revised version of "campfire sundaes", which comprised of cut up bananas, peanut butter, and a couple of marshmallows. Everything was cooked on coals in aluminum foil pouches...
How did it go? Not too bad for a first time. I do have to work on my sense of timing a bit. The chicken actually cooked more quickly than I had expected, so I sat it off to the side to "keep it warm" while I cooked everything else. Unfortunately, it ended up getting a bit over-cooked and dry.
The shrimp... (Mental note: Use uncooked shrimp) I had forgotten that it was already cooked and should have only been heated up... So, that came out a bit rubbery.
The veggies and potatoes came out really well, though, and the sundaes were delicious.
So, it wasn't a complete failure... Definitely a learning experience and something that I will be doing again over the course of the summer.
On another note... My son is very happy that we now have a fire pit of our own and is talking about using it, even during the winter. Might have to try out a recipe or two that I have for hot drinks. We'll see... After all, it gets really quite cold up here during the winter.