Preparation of a family meal on a wood stove in January 2024We have a Hearthstone Heritage model 8022 wood stove that we got after the Freeze of February 2021 when the propane delivery person said he could not deliver to us because our tanks were half-full and the ice prevented them from getting more propane. We also have lots of wood on the land that would be better burnt in an EPA-approved stove than being burned in the open air for disposal.
The stove works well in heating the house when outside temperatures are in the 30s-40s. When the outside temperatures are in the 10-14 F range, it can heat about half the house if it is kept supplied with new wood every 1-2 hours. (Removal of ash becomes problematic after a day or two however.) The maximum difference between inside and outside temperatures is about 55 degrees with the wood stove and 65 degrees with the propane heat, suggesting that the latter can supply more heat than the former.
We have found that it is important to open a window in the house somewhere to allow adequate airflow into the stove. The good news is that our house must be reasonably airtight! For a recent family occasion, we thought it would be fun to use the stove to prepare the hot dishes. Below we describe how we did it. We thought this would be of interest because we took some of shortcuts, and the results were terrific to our untrained palates!
Creamy salmon stew made with coconut milk ( https://gardeninthekitchen.com/easy-20-minutes-salmon-stew/)From the ingredient list, we used salmon (about 2.5 lb) with garlic, yellow onion, 8 oz tomato paste and some added water, a 13.5 fl oz (400 ml) can of coconut milk, a whole green pepper, and 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes. We omitted olive oil, salt and pepper. As above, we substituted yellow onion for white onion and tomato paste with water for tomato sauce.
In preparation, we dumped the onion, garlic, and bell pepper in a pot and cooked for about 15 min until the ingredients were reduced in volume a bit. We then added the coconut milk, tomato paste, and pepper flakes; and cooked these while we cut up the salmon. The salmon was cut into cubes about 1 x 1 x 2 inches (with skin), and cooked on a woodstove for about 30 min more. The temperature of the hottest are of the stove was about 500-550 F and of the adjacent areas about 250-300 F. The pot was moved back and forth occasionally to make room for another salmon stew that we were preparing at the same time.
These steps differed from the instructions, which called for sauteing the garlic and onions for 2-3 min and then simmering them with the tomato sauce and coconut milk for 2-3 min before adding the salmon and bell peppers, by cooking the bell peppers with the onions and garlic.
The result was delicious, and provided us with seven meal portions.
Savory salmon stew made with jalapenos, curry, and smoked paprika ( https://cheflolaskitchen.com/hearty-salmon-stew/)From the ingredient list, we used about 2.5 lb salmon, one red bell pepper, 4 tomatoes (about 2" diameter), about 1.5 yellow onions (minus a portion for another recipe calling for some onions that we made at the same time), 2 jalapeno peppers about 2" long and about 3/8" diameter (split lengthwise to wash out the seeds before cutting crosswise), about 5 cloves of garlic, 1/2" ginger, 2 tsp tomato paste, 2 tsp curry, 2 bay leaves, and 1 tsp smoked paprika. We did not use oil, thyme, bouillon powder, salt, pepper, parsley or cilantro. We mixed all the ingredients except the tomato paste, salmon, curry powder, and paprika in a pot and cooked on a wood stove over an area heated to 500-550F until the vegetable volume was reduced (meaning the onions were cooking). We then added the tomato paste, curry powder, and paprika, mixed, and then added salmon cut into 1 x 1 x 2 inch pieces (with skin). This mixture was cooked for about 30 min, with the pot being moved accasionally to a cooler area on the stove that was heated to about 250-300 F.
The result was delicious, and provided us with six meal portions.
Dessert with home-made buttermilk biscuits and topped with home-made applie pie fillingTip from the recipe: to make buttermilk from whole milk, add one tablespoon lemon juice or white distilled vinegar, let stand 5 min, then stir and use.
For the buttermilk biscuits, we used all the ingredients in the list except for melted butter/heavy cream to brush the tops. We cut the stick of butter into three portions lengthwise, yielding 9 strips of butter that we then could cut crosswise into the desired final pea-sized portions. Dropping these into the triple-sifted dry ingredients followed by addition of the buttermilk prepared as above, let us knead and proceed to cutting out the round disks (about 3/4" thick) with a drinking glass whose opening was 2" in diameter. We cooked the first batch in an oven until they were golden brown on top.
The second batch was cooked in a cast iron pot. For the second batch, we added the apple pie filling (prepared as below) on top of the frozen biscuit disks, and heated on a wood stove with the top on. This was a mistake. We removed the lid, which allowed the biscuits to dry. The result was a batch of delicious apple-infused biscuits that were burned at the bottom. The enamel-coated iron pot was cleaned by soaking and gentle abrasion of the char with a fingernail.
We made the apple pie filling in an ordinary saucepan on an electric range by cutting 4 cuts of cubed apples and mixing with 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. We omitted the 1/4 tsp salt, and erred in adding the vanilla extract before rather than after heating. We did not use cornstarch. After heading for 20-30 min, the apples softened and turned into sauce. We then allowed the pot to cool and put it in the refrigerator for the use the next day.