If at first you don't succeed... order pizza.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Recipe Request!: Dowel Picnic

I am pretty sure this is a Dishes and Disasters first! A recipe request!! :)

I had a good friend from Rochester write me today and ask if I could post on... let's see how she put it, "those tasty things we used to make around the campfire at your parents. It was like dough on a stick and then you cooked it over the fire and pulled it off and filled it with cheese and some kind of sauce..."

I just had to use her words because they perfectly describe this fantastic dish from my childhood.

They are called Dowel Picnic and my family has been making them for probably more than 15 years. Where they came from? I am not completely sure. What are they? Besides amazing, you mean?

Dowel picnic is a meal in a biscuit, and yet you don't even have to turn on the oven. (And according to my sister, making them in the oven doesn't even compare!) All you need for this summer favorite is a campfire, some thicker dowels (about 1.5 inches across), peanut butter, large raw buttermilk biscuits, shredded cheddar cheese, and leftover spaghetti meat sauce.

Sound confusing? Let me explain.

Once the fire has burnt down to mainly coals. Take the wooden dowel and a small amount of peanut butter and spread it thinly on one tip and down that side about 6 inches (this allows the biscuit to slide off easily).

Next, take one buttermilk biscuit, place the center directly on the tip of the dowel and slowly stretch it thinly down the peanut butter covered end. You will want to make sure you do this gently to avoid tears. Be careful to maintain the same thickness so the entire biscuit cooks evenly.

Then, cook it over the coals. You will want to use the rotisserie method and turn the biscuit quite frequently to prevent burning. Remember, you are cooking a biscuit here and not a hot dog. Simply charring the outside will not cut it. Another tip? The tip burns easily so make sure it isn't always pointing down into the fire.

Once the biscuit is completely cooked (takes about 5-10 minutes, depending on the heat of the coals) simply slide it directly off the dowel. Be careful, its hot!

Finally! Fill with cheese and warm spaghetti sauce and enjoy!!

The actual filling strategy has seemed to evolve over the years. At the beginning, we would alternate small amounts of cheese with small amounts of sauce in order to ensure getting some of each in every bite. Now we have figure out that if you cut it in half length-wise and just fill each half with cheese and then cover it with sauce, you a) get to enjoy it twice for the same amount of work and b) it takes a lot of the work out of the stuffing part of dowel picnic.

You can take your pick, if you want this to be a completely knife and fork free meal then just alternate fillings and there ya go! :)

Trust me, give this dish a try. You will most likely be making it 15 years from now.

If you don't have leftover spaghetti sauce, here is my mom's recipe:
Saute 1/2 cup diced onions and 1/2 cup diced celery in a small amount of butter until soft and translucent.
Add 1 lb. ground beef and cook until completely browned.
Add one jar of Prego (whichever flavor you prefer) and simmer for about 30 minutes.

(Correct me if any parts of this are wrong mom!)

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