Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hayes State Park - Irish Hills

We went this weekend and had a great time. It wasn't crowded (but I could see that it could get crowded during the MIS season) and the sites were all pretty nice. They have some fishing docks, and the kids got to go fishing, plus there's all the Irish Hills kitschy stuff like the Mystery Hill (and it's AMAZING FORCE OF GRAVITY) and mini golf etc. to visit. It is near MSU's Hidden Lake Gardens, which we didn't visit, but I'd like to do so sometime. We had lunch at Jerry's Pub on Wamplers Lake on the deck, and the food was good and the view was wonderful. It was a sunny warm day - perfect for an Oberon, which we had.

For dinner, I tried Dutch oven cookery, because we're going to be doing it next weekend at Girl Scout camp. Our service unit has cast aluminum ovens - I am wondering if it is easier to burn food in aluminum, because I burnt the pineapple upside down cake I tried to make. Then again, the recipe said 8 coals on the bottom, 14 on top and I put way more than that on top and bottom. My bad! I invented the beef stew recipe I followed - and it came out pretty good:

Mom's Camping Beef Stew
1 lb new potatoes, cut in half
3 cloves garlic, slivered
1 lb baby carrots
2 lbs. beef stew meat
1 onion sliced
3 cans beef broth
(add one bottle beer if you are not camping with Girl Scouts)
salt and pepper
Spring of rosemary or a couple bay leaves

Stuff to add later:
small bag of frozen peas
1/2 c. flour and enough water to fill a cup

Heat a charcoal chimney with about 20 briquettes of charcoal. While it is getting hot, line the inside of the dutch oven with aluminum foil, and add ingredients in the order listed. Cook with 10 coals on the bottom and 14 on top for one hour, check to see if potatoes are soft and beef tender. I was using a 12 inch oven. The general rule of thumb to produce about a 350° heat is to take the size of the Dutch oven in inches, double the number, and use that many total briquettes. Add peas and flour water and stir, replace lid and cook for another 10 minutes or so. Make sure not to drop ash in your pot!


Anonymous said...

Glad to see you back online!
I went to college in Adrian, and we always intended to go to the gravity spot, but never did (or, more precisely, were always too hungover on weekends to do much)

Jen said...

I've been to Hidden Lake Gardens, but not Irish Hills! I've always wanted to go... and I guess we should. I wasn't as thrilled with Hidden Lake Gardens as I'd expected to be, but it's still a lovely spot.

Nice to find your blog! I'll definitely be back.