Sunday, May 11, 2008

Happy Mother's Day

Well, the party’s over, and the cleanup is done. I even had a day of rest today. Now it’s time to write it all up.

The cool thing about it is that all of these recipes were things I’ve done before, with the exception of the appetizer (the stuffed mushrooms). The dessert (the Paradise Pie) is one I’ve done, but I didn’t post the recipe, for some reason. I don’t remember why not.

The day itself, while long, went pretty smoothly. There were only a couple of bumps.

I started out making the dessert at about 10:00. It was all according to plan. The recipe follows here. I also started the sausage for the stuffed mushrooms, which also follows. The other recipes are posted here as links to the original blog entries.

That was all interrupted by a sudden need to run an errand with my wife. Brendon was kind enough to pull the cookie dough off the coals in time, so that went well.

At about 12:30 or so, I was getting the bread dough mixed and kneaded for the first raising.

After that, I started peeling the tomatoes for the soup, and preparing the other veggies. The next step was to prepare the roast meat and get that on the coals.

Soon after that, the bread had risen, so I shaped it into three long strips, braided it and put it in the dutch oven for proofing.

At this point, the soup was cooking, the meat was roasting and everything was in order. I started preparing the veggies for the roast. Also, throughout this effort, I would take a few minutes to work on the stuffed mushrooms. I also would step downstairs to prepare the tables.

The last thing I put out on the coals was the bread. This is where the panic hit me. After a little bit of baking, I came out to turn the lid and found that the bread had puffed up in the Dutch Oven so much that it had actually lifted the lid! I wasn’t sure what to do! Would it still bake with a big gap in the lid? Would the coals on the lid burn the upper crust? I didn’t know what to do!

In the end, I finally realized there wasn’t much I could do. I couldn’t transfer it to a different oven. The bigger ovens I had were either in use, or very cold, and would take time to heat up. I did notice, however, that since there was a gap in the lid, I could stick a thermometer into the bread. I’d heard somewhere that baking bread is done at a specific internal temperature, just like meat. Soft bread is done at about 200 degrees. So, that way I knew when it was done!

It turned out OK. It was delicious, even if it had a pretty thick upper and lower crust. I figured out what had gone wrong. I had forgotten that the recipe I used made enough dough for two 12” dutch ovens of bread. I had put all that dough into one. I had prepared an orange and brown sugar glaze, too, but since the lid was resting on the bread, I decided not to use it!

At last, everything was getting done. Guests started to arrive. I served the stuffed mushrooms with crackers and cheese upstairs as an appetizer.

The table was already set, but I first served the soup in bowls, with a slice of bread on each plate. The guests came down and sat ate the soup and bread. After that, I passed around the salad ( just a tossed salad with a couple of types of lettuce, radishes, carrots, celery, and mandarin oranges), and I served up the roast and the veggies.

We were all having a great time just hanging out and talking. Finally, we were getting ready for dessert. I put the 10” dutch oven back on the coals to reheat the cookie mixture of the Paradise Pie. I also made the cinnamon sauce in my 8”. Then I brought all that down and served that up.

It was a lot of fun. There were about 10 people there, and the conversation was lively the whole night. A great night, and a wonderful tribute to all the moms there, especially Jodi, the one that brought me our children!

The recipes:

Dutch Oven Stuffed Mushrooms

12” Dutch Oven

20+ coals below for the sausage
8 coals below, 16 above for baking

  • ½ lb Italian sausage
  • About a pound of fresh mushrooms (not portabello)
  • 1 package cream cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese

First, I put the sausage in the dutch oven over the 20 some-odd coals and cook it, crumbling it as I go. I want it in small crumbs, so they’ll fit better into the mushrooms.

While that’s cooking (or afterward, if circumstances are better), I rinsed off the mushrooms and break the stems out of them (if you’ve got enough to be picky, then just do it on the bigger ones, and eat the others as you go).

I pulled the cooked sausage off the coals and out of the dutch oven and let it cool. I’d actually leave a coating of drippings in the dutch oven. This time, I used the oven and the drippings to start the soup.

Meanwhile, I chopped up the mushroom stems and mixed that with the sausage, the parmesan, and the cream cheese. With a spoon, I filled each mushroom “cup” with the mixture and placed it into the greased dutch oven. Finally, when they were all in, I sprinkled on a layer of grated cheddar. I put that on the coals listed above for about a half hour. They’re great!

Chili’s Paradise Pie Knockoff in the Dutch Oven

Warning: This recipe has been officially condemned by many heart and health organizations worldwide. It is not recommended for anyone on weightwatchers, body for life, Atkins, or any other weight loss plan. It IS delicious, however…

10” Dutch Oven

7 coals below, 14 coals below

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), softened
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • vanilla ice cream
  • chocolate syrup
  • caramel syrup
  • more chopped walnuts

I started by combining all the dry ingredients in the first set. Then I blended the sugar and butter from the second set together, whipping it as best I could. I added in the other wet ingredients and mixed them all up, then added the dry mix from the first set. That was my basic cookie dough.

I put the 10” dutch oven on the coals and melted the butter with the sugar. While that was melting, I crumbled the graham crackers. Once the butter was melted, I brought it in, and added the crumbs, smoothing it all into a crust on the bottom of the dutch oven. Onto that went a layer of chocolate chips. I would have added the walnuts at that point, too, but my wife doesn’t like walnuts, and so, we don’t have them in house.

On top of that, I spread the cookie dough. That all went on the coals and baked for about 35 minutes or so.

Now, I did this early in the day, so I could focus on the main meal dishes right before serving. So, I came out and reheated the cookie part. If I were serving it right away, I would prepare the butter drizzle, and get out the ice cream and the garnishes and serve it right up. It is amazing!


  1. Sounds like everything was wonderful! I did not know you could check the temp of the bread to determine when done. Sounds like your advance planning was perfect! I would have panicked about the bread but it seemed to work out. It didn't burn at all? The mushrooms sound really good. I might have to try those someday!

  2. No, actually, the bread didn't burn! I was surprised. The crust was thicker and darker than I like usually, but it wasn't burned.





Related Posts with Thumbnails