Sigh. Mammoth. I've been hearing about the wonders of this little tucked away part of California for probably 10 years. And for the past 6 years I've had an annual invitation to join a group of friends on their yearly trek to The Cabins. But for this reason or that, I've never managed to make it out there. Well this year, I was told. I must go. Seriously, Kim, you just have to make the time. So I did.
The Cabins, which are cozy and rustic, have no electricity or running water, but they do have two ovens with stoves run off propane. The night we arrived my friend Andrew excitedly described the delicious veggie lasagne he was preparing, and as the time drew near for the lasagne to bake, we found out the hard way that both ovens were, indeed, out of order. Always determined, especially when it comes to eating, we had a brilliant brainstorm and decided to transform the bbq firepit into a makeshift oven.
The firepit is built in a sort of U-shape out of cinder blocks and even has a stovepipe. It has multiple levels for a variety of grills and grates (lest you think this is fancy, one of the "grills" is a former metal refrigerator shelf), and there happened to be two large heavy pieces of metal nearby that fit perfectly over the top and in the front. So into the oven the lasagne went, and after a bit of trial and error, and at least 1 or 2 hours and many bottles of wine later, we had a gorgeous and delicious lasagne.
This got us to thinking. What else could we bake in our little wood-fire oven? We'd all been gorging on fruit, and all it took was the mention of cobbler, and I was on it. Our next to last night in Mammoth we managed to find a bag full of local, organic apricots, and, after scavenging through everyone's coolers, I came up with about 8 cups of mixed fruit. The recipe for the cobbler biscuits was another story. I had no internet access or cookbooks available, so I went on instinct and tried to vaguely remember a biscuit recipe and the ratios of flour to butter to baking soda/powder to buttermilk.