Tuesday, March 2, 2010

This past Christmas, my hubby surprised me with a copy of Clay Pot Cooking.
He also gave me one each of the above Flameware skillets from Clay Coyote. I had been looking at these skillets out of pure curiosity, wondering how stoneware could withstand the heat of a direct flame. I had fun reading the cookbook...but not one recipe looks tempting to try. Also, the skillets are recommended for egg dishes...especially quiches...and I am very allergic to eggs. Ha! Until I can figure out what to cook in it, the stoneware makes a nice candleholder. Ruthie bought the blue rocks at the Dollar Store. The candles smell nice (Ocean Breeze scent). Then I found this old copy of the Clay-Pot Cookbook at the thrift shop...and now I'm sold on clay pot cooking! There are dozens of recipes in this book that I now want to try. But the cookbook says you have to use an authentic Romertopf Clay Baker for the recipes. When Maggie and I went to the thrift shop last week (outside Andrews Air Force Base), I found this Schlemmertopf Clay Baker for $8.48...and it was brand new! (These regularly sell for $49.99.) I didn't know what the difference between a Schlemmertopf and a Romertopf was until I got home. A Romertopf has no glazing whatsover. The Schlemmertopf bottom is glazed for easier cleaning. I figured it was worth a try for such a great deal.
Before baking anything in the clay bakers, you have to soak both the bottom and top in water for 15 minutes. That could be tricky for some folks. I already had food in my bottom baker when I thought to take a picture. There is just enough room in my sink for both pieces if you fill the water to within a half-inch from the top.
The first thing I made was the apple cobbler dessert. Ten green apples, peeled and sliced, a little sugar, cinnamon, cloves and butter.
Cover with a basic pie crust; poke a few holes in the top for venting, then cover with the clay top.
Then put the baker in a COLD oven. (Never make the baker be exposed to extreme temperature changes suddenly. It will probably crack and split in half.) Then turn the oven temp to 485 degrees. Bake for 45 minutes.
It was definitely the best cobbler I've ever made. Yummy!
Sunday morning I put one of Allen's free-range chicken roasters in the clay baker and set it at 300 while we were gone 5 hours for church. It was perfectly done...falling off the bone. Even though my family loved it, there were parts that were dry. The reason for that is because you are supposed to cook the chicken for 70 minutes at 480 degrees...and baste twice during the baking. Also, the chicken is supposed to be upside-down in the baker. I am sure that would prevent the top from being dried out. But still very tasty! I will definitely do this again.

So yes...I am sold on the clay bakers. I look forward to many experiments. But I am also watching the eBay sales to find a good deal on the largest baker. Allen's roaster barely fit into the baker...and the apple cobbler only made enough for everyone to have one serving. I'm not in a rush though.

While looking on eBay, I found these three clay bakers from Romertopf for corn, bananas, and apples. I think these are cute...but impractical. But it has given me the idea to experiment. I bought a bunch of bananas today with the hopes of putting them in my baker with some drizzled honey and slivered almonds. I'll let you know how that turns out.

One last thing about these bakers. Cleanup was a breeze. I let the baker cook off completely, then soaked for a while (half-hour?). I used a new scrubbie sponge and the baker cleaned right up...not even heavy scrubbing. Wonderful!

It's been fun learning about clay bakers. I can't wait to bake a loaf of sourdough in it.

Clay Coyote also makes this tagine. I thought it was called a tandoor. So I did a little research this morning at 3 am while suffering from insomnia. There are many different clay bakers used by many cultures. For more info, try this website from wise-geek.com.

Tomorrow is my day off and not a moment too soon. For some reason we have not been good at housekeeping lately and it is really affecting me. The only reason I have two clean ovens is because yesterday I turned on the self-clean feature! So I am looking forward to doing some deep cleaning...before and after we meet my parents for lunch.

Many blessings ~ Kathie

1 comment:

Clay Coyote Pottery and Gallery said...

Hi Kathie,
Thanks for your mention of our pots. Now, we've got to get those candles OUT of that skillet and get it on the stove. These flameware pieces are a special type of stoneware, specifically made to go on the stove top. They are especially good for things that need cooking and simmering. An explanation of flameware and a bunch of recipes are on our blog http://bit.ly/How_to_Cook_w_Flameware .
If you've got more questions, write me at claypot@hutchtel.net .
And again thanks.