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Try some tasty recipes cooked over an open fire

Dec. 18, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

OLIVE HILL, Ky. — For centuries, the flickering magic of a campfire has been satisfying. Food cooked over the coals or in cast-iron cookware often seems to taste better.

Preparing food over an open fire is the most primitive and oldest form of cooking. Television or western movie watchers may be familiar with this type of cooking as they often showed Dutch ovens hanging from a tripod over an open flame.

"People have been cooking over open fires for centuries," said Mary Jo Martin of Huntington, instructor for "Campfire Cookin' is Fun" class at Carter Caves State Resort Park.

This year's class is designed to use the fireplace inside the Welcome Center meeting room at the park. The class, which lasts two hours, begins at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, and 10 a.m. Sunday, Jan. 26.

"This trip gives you the opportunity to learn how to season cast ironware, how to tell the temperature inside a Dutch oven, what types of cookware can be used on an open fire and how to cook over an open fire," she said.

The hands-on class, part of the fifth annual Winter Adventure Weekend, is open to ages 13 and older and children from ages 6 to 12. The cost is $30 and $20 children, including materials.

"No equipment or experience is needed," she said.

Each participant will have the opportunity to prepare a hoecake. Several recipes are also given to the participants to take home with them.

Registration is being accepted by visiting www.winteradventureweekend.com. For more information, contact Coy Ainsley, park naturalist, 606-286-4411.

This recipe, shared by Martin, will be used by participants to prepare during the class.

HOECAKES (JOHNNYCAKES)

1 cup cornmeal

1 teaspoon salt

Water

Mix cornmeal and salt. Add water in small amount to cornmeal salt mixture until thick batter is formed. Heat oil in cast iron skillet. Spoon approximately 2 tablespoons batter into hot skillet. Cook without turning until edges are brown and center of batter is bubbling. Turn; continue cooking until both sides are brown and crispy. Serve warm with butter.

This recipe, also provided by Martin, is a large, round, fried bread that is delicious with cinnamon and sugar, honey, maple syrup, sorghum or powdered sugar.

INDIAN FRY BREAD

5 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons baking powder

11/4 teaspoons salt

11/2 tablespoons melted butter

2 cups milk

Oil for frying

Measure 4 cups flour, baking powder and salt. Sift together; place in mixing bowl. Melt butter; add to milk. Add milk and butter mixture, little at a time, to dry ingredients, beating until dough becomes stiff. Sprinkle remaining flour on pastry board or other flat surface; knead lightly until all flour is worked in. Roll dough into three circles about 1/8-inch thick and 10 inches in diameter. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil in 10-inch skillet. When oil is hot, fry each bread until crisp and light brown on both sides. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cinnamon and sugar mixture or drizzle molasses. Serve hot.

These hot-off-the-coals recipes, provided by "Taste of the South" magazine helps spend nights toasting marshmallows and telling tall tales:

CAMPFIRE BAKED POTATO WEDGES

3 medium baking potatoes, cut into 8 wedges each (about 11/2 pounds)

1 tablespoon canola oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons chopped green onion

Cut three (18- by 9-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil; place one sheet horizontally on work surface. Place another sheet vertically over bottom sheet, making cross shape. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Mound all potato wedges in center of foil. Drizzle with canola oil; sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Bring foil corners together; crimp tightly to seal. Wrap with remaining sheet of foil. Place foil packet on campfire grill rack 3-4 inches above medium-hot coals, or place directly on low-heat coals at outer edge of fire. Cook until tender, turning packet occasionally, approximately 45 minutes. Open carefully to release steam; top with cheese and green onion.

SKILLET S'MORES

12 (1-ounce) squares semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped

4 cups miniature marshmallows

Graham crackers

Preheat broiler. In 10-inch cast-iron skillet, add chocolate in even layer. Sprinkle marshmallows over chocolate. Broil on second rack until marshmallows are lightly browned, 1-2 minutes. (Chocolate will not be melted. This step can be done 3 hours before cooking over campfire.) Place skillet on campfire grill rack 3-4 inches above low- to medium-hot coals. Cook just until chocolate begins to melt, 6-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Serve with graham crackers.

BREADSTICKS-ON-A-STICK

1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated breadstick dough

12 hardwood sticks, such as oak

1/2 cup sour cream

1/4 cup country-style Dijon mustard

Remove dough from can; separate into 12 strips. Wrap 1 dough strip around 1 stick, pressing dough to seal; repeat with remaining dough strips and sticks. Hold stick approximately 2 feet above hot coals; cook, turning frequently, until bread is cooked through, 6-9 minutes. Carefully remove cooked bread from sticks. In small bowl, combine sour cream and mustard. Serve with breadsticks.

SAUSAGE DOGS WITH PEPPER AND ONION PACKETS

3 cups sliced red bell pepper

3 cups sliced yellow bell pepper

2 cups sliced yellow onion

1 tablespoon canola oil

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Sausage dogs, buns, mustard and ketchup, to serve

In large bowl, combine first seven ingredients, tossing to coat. Cut 6 (18 - by 9-inch) sheets of heavy-duty aluminum foil. Fold each sheet in half to form 6 squares; spray each square with nonstick cooking spray. Divide bell pepper mixture evenly into centers of squares. Bring foil corners together; crimp tightly to seal. Place foil packets on campfire grill rack 3-4 inches above medium-hot coals or place directly on low-heat coals at outer edge of fire. Cook until tender, 15-20 minutes. Open carefully to release steam. Serve with cooked sausage dogs, buns, mustard and ketchup.

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