Dangerously Cold Oatmeal


1 cup steel-cut oatmeal
2 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups water
pinch of salt

Bring water and salt to a boil. Melt butter in a saute pan over medium heat. Add the oatmeal and cook until toasted (careful not to burn it).

Remove pan from heat and slowly add boiling water. Return to stove on low and cook until it reaches the desired consistency (about 20 minutes for tender, but not gloppy), adding more water as needed.

Serve topped with cream, warm maple syrup, and toasted walnuts or pecans.

New Pans!

It’s a happy day in Dave’s world! My dear wife got me an early birthday present – new pans! After managing to cook through a couple of sets of Calphalon, we moved up to the All-Clad d5 stainless. Not only are they some damn pretty pans, they cook like a dream and ought to last a lifetime (am I a food geek or what?).

The first dish out of the chute was just a simple breakfast skillet casserole, but it was perfect with a crispy bottom and a bubbly top. I’ve only had the pans for a couple of days, but am already impressed with how evenly and efficiently the pans cook. Dishes that I would have cooked on medium-high just need medium heat now.

I’m now pouring through Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking to find some more demanding dishes that’ll give the pans a real workout.

Thanks, honey!

2010 – The Year in Review

We’re coming up on the end of the year and, all in all, it’s been a good one here at Food & Fire. I thought I’d share some of our milestones:

I finally got around to naming my Big Green Egg – Bella, and got her a personalized handle.

With the help of my dear wife, we cooked pulled pork for a graduation party of 120 people.

I updated the site to include a rating section for each recipe. This has really helped me to evaluate the dishes and make notes on what worked and what didn’t.

We got a new deck that gives us a whole lot more eggin’ and entertaining space and hosted a deck warming party that featured the best prime rib I’ve made to date.

Food & Fire hit its 200th post.

We roasted hot dogs in the fireplace during our first ice storm and ensuing power outage.

We had family over for a nice Thanksgiving and I made the best grilled turkey. The nieces thought it was so juicy that they called it “steak turkey.”

We survived the “snowmygawd” blizzard that dropped 17+ inches and took down the Metrodome.

I bottled my first hot sauce.

Thanks for your readership, support, advice, and comments throughout the year. I hope 2010 has been just as good for all of you too! I’m looking forward to see what 2011 brings our way.

Roughing It

Dinner by lantern light.

Our first snow storm of the season dropped 8 VERY HEAVY inches on us Saturday and knocked our power out for 22 hours. No biggie. We pulled out the extra blankets, dug out the camping equipment, and got a nice fire roaring in the fireplace.

Now that's live fire cooking.

My dear wife roasted some huge hot dogs, I made up mac and cheese, and we snuggled in for a evening of chatting and watching the fire.  Not at all bad.

New Deck!

Not exactly a food post, but we live and cook outside as much as we can. Our old outdoor space was a modest-sized slab of concrete on top of our potting shed. To give us a little more space and a nicer place to entertain, we decided to deck the slab – bumping it out and adding a privacy wall and new stairwell.

As you can see, Bella the Big Green Egg has a nice new home in the corner with a great view and it’s own matching chaise, so I’ve got a place to relax while supervising those long cooks.  Wow, life is tough.

Memorial Day

Arlo & Janis

Man, this sure hit home. I’ve been down with a nasty cold and hadn’t planned on doing anything today. But after reading this, I worked up enough energy to throw some brats on the grill. My dear wife made some very tasty pasta salad, and we had a nice dinner out on the deck.

Gotta make the most out of the time you’ve got. Happy Memorial Day!

Link Love

Some sites that I’ve enjoyed recently.

No Reservations – Techniques My favorite culinary bad boy, Anthony Bourdain, hosts some world-class chefs demonstrating their cooking skills.

Macon Dinner – My life in food Lots of great-looking and innovative dinners.

Grill Knuckles Another Egger. I can relate to the singed hair.

The Pioneer Woman – Plowing through life in the country… one calf nut at a time Why didn’t anyone tell me about Ree sooner?!? Great recipes, even better photos, and a wonderful take on life.

Foodbuzz – food blog community Chris at Nibble Me This turned me on to this excellent resource for food bloggers.

In Praise of Bacon Grease


A little over a year ago we moved to a lower-carb, no-trans-fat, no-high-fructose-corn-syrup, gluten-free, don’t-eat-it-if-you-can’t-pronounce-it way of eating. While it makes eating more complicated, it’s been worth it and we’re both feeling a whole lot better.

Cleaning up our diet doesn’t mean we don’t have a few guilty pleasures – bacon grease being one of them. We keep a jar of greasy goodness in our fridge and use it to enhance the flavor of a whole range of foods:

  • Fry eggs – just adding a teaspoon or so to the olive oil we usually use  really bumps up the flavor of the eggs and helps get those brown, crispy edges.
  • Use it in place of butter in corn bread recipes.
  • Saute greens in it – spinach and garlic wilted in a little bacon grease with a touch of sugar and vinegar makes a quick side salad.
  • Sawmill gravy – bacon grease (or sausage drippings) + flour = milk = heaven.
  • Umami – looking for that chichi foodie “5th taste?”  Bacon grease is the mother of umami – adding a savory depth to a recipe.
  • Beans – I doubt that there is a bean dish out there that wouldn’t benefit from a touch of bacon grease.
  • Barding – turkey breast too dry? Slip a little bacon grease (or strips of bacon) under the skin before roasting.
  • Sandwiches – my father fondly remembers eating brown bread, bacon grease, and molasses sandwiches as a child.
%d bloggers like this: