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Last week we had a pretty strong winter storm which knocked out our power. We have an electric stove which of course puts a cramp in cooking. However i do have a fire place and cast iron, so i tried cooking with the fire. Haveing never done this before I decided a stew would be easiest. So i chucked a bunch of stuff in the dutch oven, put it close to the fire and let it sit for hours. In the end it needed a long time to be done (5 hoursish) but it turned out ok.
Anyway, does anyone have some suggestions as to the type of food that might led itself well to cooking on actual fire? we get a lot of storms and we loose power for days at a time.

Thanks

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There's always the old camping stand-by: Hot dogs on a stick –  Chris Cudmore Dec 20 '10 at 14:49
    
yeah, marshmellows were my first thought, and hot dogs a quick second, but then i thought...'I should be able to do better than a hot-dog' so we had those for lunch the next day. –  boxed-dinners Dec 20 '10 at 17:06
    
Anything that you'd normally do on a grill. –  derobert Dec 21 '10 at 21:00

3 Answers 3

up vote 10 down vote accepted

As long as you have a dutch oven and are planning on using it, look for camping recipes for dutch ovens. Usually when camping the suggestion is to put a certain number of coals under the dutch oven and a certain number on top to basically simulate oven-like conditions. You can make warm breakfasts and warm dinners this way. You can even bake bread and other baked goods in a dutch oven (Irish soda bread works very well in one).

Other options for cooking in the fire include wrapping food in foil packets. For example you can wrap up salmon with seasonings or a packet of beef and vegetables. Foil packet dinners will be quicker and easier than most dutch oven dinners but the heat control is not as precise.

Another option if you want to invest in some gear is to get a pie iron. A pie iron is basically two sandwich bread shaped pans that clamp together. You can get one in cast iron, which will hold up longest. Using a pie iron you can make cake, cornbread, and all sorts of warm things sandwiched between toast.

Finally if you have some sort of grate that goes over your fire you can also attempt foods similar to grilling.

With your existing tools you can make some fine meals. With a few more purchases you can make enough food variety to keep you happy for an entire winter of power outages - on the dinner front at least.

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The important thing for foil packet cooking is cutting items to the correct size -- you don't want the meat overcooking while the potatoes still need another 20 min of cooking. –  Joe Dec 20 '10 at 21:48

The general rule should be to keep it simple. Don't forget, if you're without power, you don't want something that is heavy in preparation and/or cleanup.

I've always liked cooking in foil packs when using an open fire. It's simple, requires little to no babysitting, and cleanup is a snap. Form ground beef into a patty, add some cut up potatoes, onions, and carrots, seal it in foil, and toss it in your fire. It usually takes about 20-30 minutes to finish cooking. It is not haute cuisine by any means, but it is a tasty balanced meal that can be prepared in primitive conditions.

For dessert, cut the top off an apple, then cut out the core. Fill the cavity with butter, cinnamon, and sugar, put the top back on (wrapping it TIGHT in the foil), and throw that into the fire for about 15 minutes. That's always been one of my favorites.

Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the Boy Scout Handbook. You'll find lots of options for campfire cooking that you can adapt to your fireplace, options which are very prep and cleanup-friendly.

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When you are without power you also might be bored enough to want something time consuming to keep you entertained and busy. It's person-dependent. –  justkt Dec 20 '10 at 16:30
    
having been a boyscot I'm filimar with the foil-packets... we used to call them 'skunks', since they really stunk if the foil broke in the fire. - but great idea about the apple –  boxed-dinners Dec 20 '10 at 17:05

I recommend Native Cree Bannock Bread. Cooked over a fire on a stick. It's incredible with a little jam or honey. It's not bad on a cooking stone either, but I personally prefer roasting on a stick. Putting it in the fire and the smoke is really adds to the flavor. Below is a recipe that is close to what I use. I don't like putting in raisins in, we add some dark brown sugar instead, usually about a cup to a cup and a half. honey can be used too.

Authentic Native Cree Bannock Bread

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Gotta try that.... –  RolandTumble Dec 20 '10 at 20:05
    
Most fireplace used as stove tops effectively emulate a slow cooker. If the top heat dispersion grill can be removed you may have a medium heat stove top –  TFD Dec 20 '10 at 20:25

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