Let's start with success!
I love soups when it's cold out and it's been REALLY cold out. I took the dutch oven for it's inaugural test drive by cooking an interesting Shrimp Chowder from Williams Sonoma. To make it extra hearty I added some frozen corn and whole wheat orzo pasta. On the whole, the recipe was surprisingly easy...while you chop the veggies you roast the asparagus and shrimp in the oven and then just add them in at the end.
It's also relatively healthy because it's jam packed with veggies, has the lean protein from shrimp and gets it's creaminess from just a cup of nonfat evaporated milk.
All in all, this is a great recipe that I will make again. It was definitely hearty enough as a main course for dinner and the leftovers made a nice lunch the next day. I would actually recommend this recipe to even a novice cook...seriously, this is SUPER easy, FULL of flavor and is actually quite "impressive" looking at the end. Also, the dutch oven worked beautifully for this dish! It heated the soup evenly, was a snap to clean (whoever invented that enabled finish is my hero!), and the pot is heavy enough that it doesn't shift on the stove as you stir.
Annnnnd on to the failure.
I'm more of a cook than a baker, but I have definitely baked my share of bread in my time. I have been reading about Mark Bittman's "quick bread recipe" for the last year and always wanted to give it a try. The catch was that I never had a dutch oven so this was my first opportunity! In short, this recipe was a disaster. I'll spare you the play by play, but, just like in life, there are NO SHORTCUTS IN BREAD.
Looking ok if not a little flat.
"Turn the loaf out onto a rack and let cool".
Why does my "loaf" more closely resemble a cow-pie?