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Articles in series Camping in Nantou:
Geotagged Photos by MJ Klein, including DUTCH OVEN COOKING PHOTOS!
I left you in the last installment with a shot of this fire pit, and after talking with the campground owner I decided to build a fire in this pit and cook here. When I rolled down the window as the owner approached our van, he froze and gave me the “foreigner stare” until I spoke Chinese to him. He said that no Westerner has ever been to this campsite before. Can’t say that anymore!
I took the rear seat row out of our VW Caddy, and it served us well when camping. I also want to mention out that the Caddy is a nimble climber, with plenty of torque from the diesel engine, and it’s narrow track makes it ideal for mountain roads.
The wood was smoldering from a previous fire, but there wasn’t enough spark left to ignite anything else. I dumped a bag of charcoal out and lit it with a torch.
In the meantime, Hui-chen and Phoenix settle in our room for the night – in a traditional Taiwanese home (we didn’t use the tent on this trip).
I like the ceiling.
Phoenix, of course, fits right in wherever she is.
Once the fire got going, I put on the 12″ Dutch oven and started some bacon.
Next I added ground pork.
Now come the chopped onions.
The campground owner was selling some food right next to where I was. One thing that surprised me was how many people were interested in watching what I was doing. The only way I could describe the style of cooking was to say “cowboy food” in Chinese.
The meat and onions are coming right along.
I added 2 types of beans to the pot: black beans, and red kidney beans.
This is what the dish looked like right before I put the lid back on and settled in for some slow cooking.
I put the 10″ on the fire next, to burn it out.
Once cleaned, I added bacon to the 10″
I wanted to cook this bacon down to crispy pieces. This dish is Dutch Oven Cheesy Potatoes.
After the bacon was cooked, I added sliced potatoes, onions and cheese (5 types mixed!) in layers, with bacon.
It got dark fast, but I kept on cooking until everything was done.
This is the cheesy potato dish, shot in unnatural light at high ISO. It tasted a lot better than it looked. Now for some reason I did not get a shot of the bean dish, but it was quite good.
People were posing for a photo, so I took the opportunity to shoot this shot at the same time.
This is the area of the fire pit under a mercury-vapor lamp.
The boss lady wanted to introduce us to a local Hakka dish, so she set up 3 tables with stuff and called everyone inside the screened enclosure.
“What is this stuff?”
And what is this stuff?
I honestly don’t know what this is. When I find out I’ll update this article.
First order of business is to break down the lumps in the flour.
I have to find out what this stuff is.
Next comes pork fat.
The idea is to knead the pork fat and rice flour into a dough.
The boss lady gives some instructions.
Leaves to be used later.
3 groups of people were doing this activity.
Finally we have something that looks like dough.
But the boss lady told us it wasn’t kneaded enough. She brought some dough over from another table where it had been kneaded by an energetic man.
Now the boss lady personally demonstrates the next step.
She deftly rolls out some dough in her hand,
Then stuffs it
Expertly closing it up into a type of dumpling,
and places it on a leaf, and onto the pan.
Everyone copies what she did.
Meanwhile, Phoenix takes it all in.
Closeup of the results.
Pretty soon there are several steamer trays of these things,
and they go into the steamer for about 10 minutes.
I couldn’t resist this shot in the weird light.
While the things were cooking, the older gentleman (father of the owner, I take it) invites me for some tea.
One tray comes out, and another goes in.
Sorry to say, they don’t look very appetizing to me. The truth is, I don’t think they tasted very good.
But I like to try new things, so after that I sat by the fire and enjoyed the opportunity to actually have an open fire.
Shots of the campground in the immediate vicinity of the fire.
A nice way to end the day.
The obligatory group photo. Please note that by this time Hui-chen and Phoenix were already in the car, so they’re not in this photo.
Thanks for reading! You know what to do!
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