Cooler summer cooking, outside

Even if cooking on the deck didn’t keep the heat out of the kitchen, cooking on the deck would still be worth doing. Cooking outdoors is as much fun as eating outdoors.

I have long used my gas grill for cooking on the deck. But not everything wants to be cooked on a grill. Today I tried out an iron Dutch oven on an induction hot plate. It worked great. The Dutch oven serves perfectly as both an oven or a frying pan, depending upon whether the cover is on it.

I bought the induction hot plate a couple of years ago as an audition for an induction range. I ended up liking it far less than I expected and easily made the decision that an induction range is not for me. Part of the decision was related to the kind of cookware I use. I have several well-loved copper pots, as well as glass cookware. Only steel and iron, of course, will work on induction stoves. So the induction hot plate ended up abandoned, at the bottom of the pantry. As for the Dutch oven, that’s an essential kitchen item. I have a both a glazed and an unglazed Dutch oven, both made by Lodge.

In the photo above, the chicken nuggets are Impossible’s vegan chicken nuggets. You can get them at Trader Joe’s, and they are very good, probably the best of the new fake meats that I’ve tried. Potatoes like nothing better than hot cast iron. The broccoli likes it, too, as long as you give the broccoli some steam during part of its cooking time.

I could have done a better job of regulating the heat. The Dutch oven got much hotter than I expected, even with the induction plate set for 400 degrees or lower. But that’s OK. The slightly burned bits gave everything that mysterious campsite flavor, which I suspect can only be achieved outdoors.

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