Tuesday, July 6, 2010


I tried making pinto beans in the wonder box today.  Last time I lost track of time and they set there for 8 hours. . . . too long!!

1.  Cook ham bone in crock pot from morning to afternoon.
2.  Drain the broth into a container and put it in the fridge to chill.
3.  Clean beans and put on to soak overnight.  Reminder is HERE
4.  Next morning, drain and rinse beans.
5.  Pull meat off the ham bone and add to beans.

6.  Scoop fat off the top of the broth.

7.  Add broth to beans, making sure the pan is good and full.  The level of the liquid is very important.  Always have the pot very full for using the wonder box! 

8.  Boil the beans for half hour with the lid on.  This is longer than I usually do, but I am finding that it will help to get the beans soft enough.  
9.  As soon  as you take the pot off the burner, get it into the WB.  

10.  Since this pot has a long handle, I made sure the bag wrapped up around it for a tighter fit. 

11.  As soon as you have it nestled into the bag, get the cover on it.  speed is important.  Every second that it is exposed, you are losing heat!

12.  After 4 hours, the temperature was 180 degrees.  The beans were very tasty but still had just a little "crunch".  At 5 hours, it was 175 degrees and still had that little "crunch".  At this point, I took the pot out and simmered them for awhile until they were completely soft, all the way through.

13.  I happened on this great box that is just the right size.  It is a definant improvement.  It has kept the little critters of all kinds off of the WB.    It gives me something to grab if I need to move it.  It holds the hear in even better.

The dimensions are 19" X 19" and 17.5" tall.  It could be just 14" tall and be fine.  Wal-mart carries these baskets, so if you wanted to get one, they could probably help you out.  They usually are pretty good about saving boxes for customers.


Finally, here is the promised post!
Topping Ingredients:
  • 1 - Egg Yolk (save white for cake)
  • 1 C - Canned (evaporated milk)
  • 1/2 C - Butter (I used to use margarine in the old days, it was OK)
  • 1 C - Chopped Pecans
  • 1 1/2 C - Flaked Coconut
  • 1 t. - Vanilla (oops! not in the pic!
  1. Melt butter or margarine in a pan sitting on the coals.  
  2. Pour that into a bowl or one cake pan.  
  3. Add canned milk, sugar.   Stir it up good.
  4.  Add coconut,chopped nuts and vanilla.  Stir it up good again.
  5. Divide between the two cake pans.

Cake Ingredients:
  • Cake Mix- - -from the store
  • Oil (amount called for on package)
  • 1-white from egg
  • Water
  1. Dump the cake mix into a bowl.
  2. Add the water, oil, and egg white.
  3. Beat it by hand for a few minutes.  Like that clear precise direction?  I ten to over beat cake when using a mixer.  Makes a  very embarrassing DRY cake.  so now, I take out my whisk and beat it good by hand.  When my hand gets tired, I figure it has to be just right.  Make sure it is nice and smooth with no lumps, this a cake, not a biscuit after all.
  4. Now to "spread" it over the topping.  Kind of tricky.  I plop dollops (spoons full) all over the topping. 
  5. Now gently spread the dollops with the back of a spoon by lifting a little while spreading.  That helps the topping stay in place.
Baking These Babies!  - - - In Coals
  1. Place the cake in the dutch oven and put on the lid.  
  2. Sit the dutch oven on top of a layer of hot coals.
  3. Put coals on top of the lid.  I usually put on six to eight coals.
  4. Bake a little longer (five to ten minutes) than the package says to.    The topping is adding a lot of moisture and some insulation on the bottom, so it does take longer to get done.
Baking in the BBQ

1.  One of these really helps!  My hubby lit ours the other day for our foilies  It hit 500 degrees even though  the burners were all on low.  Probably need to use only one of two of the burners.  Our three burner ended up just keeping one on to lower the temp enough.  As you would indoor oven, preheat the BBQ.  I did use one of the little oven thermometers like you would find in the kitchen ware dept at the store before I had one built -in.

2.  Now you can bake the cake in the dutch oven, in the BBQ or just place the cake on the grill like you would indoors.  My best one was baked in the pan, in the dutch oven.

3.  You can check for "doneness" by poking the top with your finger and seeing if it springs back or stick a toothpick in it to see if it comes out clean.

4.  If you leave it in the dutch oven to cool, plan to wait a while!  They do hang on to the heat for a long old time.
5.  Loosen the sides with a spatula or knife, whatever is handy.

6.Tap the cake out onto a plate.  This has been the trickiest part so far.  I usually forget to set a timer and let it cool too long  ;-]   It did help when I rewarmed he bottom a little on a stove burner.

7.  If all else fails, scrape the topping out and reapply to that half naked 

8.  Serve with a lovely, tall, dripping, ice cold glass of milk!!