Boy, did we have fun!
I had decided to add more “in action” cooking shots to the site and listings, to show how some of the pieces are used. And what better way to do that than to have a party?
I had six friends over for the cast iron cooking extravaganza. Everyone pulled out old tried-and-true recipes and made a dish or two in cast iron. The very talented Sarah Lamb, of S.Lamb photography, was on hand to take pro shots for a magazine piece that is in the works. Sarah is also the talent behind the famous Playboy sexy pan photo. More and better photos of the party will be forthcoming from Sarah, along with recipes for many of the dishes detailed herein. 🙂
Linda and I started out on Friday night by making a ton of rosettes and patty molds in my Griswold deep fat fryer. We used all of the Griswold molds and rosettes, as well as the Griswold patty mold bowls. We also used a myriad of the Handi Hostess molds; I’ve been on a bit of a Handi Hostess bender, though I haven’t yet listed any of the sets for sale.
It took a little while to get the hang of it, but once we did, we were on a roll. We must have about 100 shells and rosettes. I haven’t had time to fill them yet, but have ideas and product and hope to get to it soon. Thinking chocolate, berries, pudding, jams and jellies, crab salad, cream cheese…the possibilities are pretty much endless!
I did also give the Griswold deep fat fryer a try earlier in the week; I used the Handi Hostess “Lil Frankie” set to make mini corn dogs. I used a recipe I found on the web that had a little more “jazz” than the Handi Hostess recipe; they were fabulous and decadent albeit messy. I don’t often eat hot dogs and even less frequently deep fry anything, so it was quite an fatty fried adventure. Linda agreed that they were very tasty – we both think they’d be a huge hit with kids.
Back to the cooking extravaganza. Saturday started early with me making a tart in a cracked #9 pan. This was an interesting revelation for me. So often people (me included) are terribly disappointed when cleaning a pan and a crack is discovered. I think that often such pans are discarded as worthless. This little experience proved, however, that pans with defects can have new life! You just have to think outside the box.
The pan worked great for baking the tart. I roasted some Roma tomatoes, sautéed some shiitake ‘shrooms and asparagus, cooked up some bacon, made cream fraiche, added eggs and goat cheese and thyme, popped on some Kalamata olives, topped with Gruyere cheese slivers, and heated the whole thing up in the oven on a pastry.
Voila – it was fabulous!
I cooked up the remainder of the asparagus in a skillet, hit it with some seasoning salt and lemon zest, put a
bit of parmesan shavings on top and … yum. That was my breakfast and a tasty start to the day.
Mike was the first to arrive. His job was to make a roast and Yorkshire pudding. He selected the fabulous Griswold No. 5 oval roaster & trivet for his roast, and it was a perfect fit for the 4-lb prime chuck roast he had selected. After working some magic and dredging and tying the roast, he popped it into the roaster along with some vegetables and secret spices. This was the first time I have seen a roast cooked on the stovetop.
Linda arrived next, with Sarah following shortly thereafter. Linda and I busied ourselves by changing wardrobes and posing in picturesque settings while holding my chicken pan (a request of the magazine for the article). Sarah took a lot of snaps of us and the pan. Linda and I then set out to collect a sampling of pans and bring them to a room with good natural lighting, so that Sarah could start photographing part of my collection.
In the meantime, Bonnie and Doug arrived. Doug’s job was fried chicken (in my faithful Iron Mountain chicken pan, of course). Doug had prepared the chicken the previous evening. Bonnie was to make a vegetable side dish.
Bonnie got to work making a beautiful roasted vegetable dish in a Griswold #12 skillet. Bonnie roasted parsnips and turnips, carrots and onions and peppers and garlic, and dressed it all with capers, spices, lemon and oil, and fresh herbs from Mary M’s garden. The veggies roasted uncovered in the oven, and she sautéed the grape tomatoes in my trusty #5 Griswold Iron Mountain skillet.
Linda then started making a pineapple upside-down cake in her small logo grooved handle #8 Griswold skillet. The last time Linda made a pineapple upside-down cake was with her much-loved “Nana” when she was a child. It meant a lot to Linda to duplicate the experience that she had such fond memories of with her Nana.
I have some great shots of Linda’s face as she popped the cake out of the pan; a few of the pineapple rings didn’t easily separate from the pan and she was worried the recipe was a failure.
It was not; it just required a little extra prying with a fork.
Added some maraschino cherries and it was a beautiful and tasty treat! In the photos, you see it pictured on my Mom’s cake stand; that stand was a wedding gift to my Mom and Dad in 1946.
Mary M. arrived a little late, after having had a few unplanned mishaps at the grocery store. She passed out fresh parsley, thyme and rosemary from her garden, and got right to work making some fabulous cranberry orange muffins.
The recipe was from a Williams Sonoma cookbook. As Mary forgot the nuts, we decided that when we reprint the recipe, we can say it was “adapted from Williams Sonoma.” 🙂 Mary cooked the muffins in a Griswold #10 cast iron muffin mold. They were delicious!
We couldn’t wait for the main dishes to be completed; we ate the muffins right as they came out of the oven.
Doug started frying the chicken in my favorite pan – my Griswold Iron Mountain chicken pan.
I am a fan of fried chicken, but not an expert by any means. Doug told us that one of the secrets to good fried chicken is to not crowd the pieces as you are frying.
Working quickly, he then whipped together Yorkshire pudding in two Griswold No. 18 6141 cast iron muffin pans.
We then sat down and had a feast. The roast was probably the best I have ever had, and the vegetables were a perfect healthy complement. The chicken was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside, just as it should be. The pineapple upside down cake was to die for; Linda said it was almost as good as her Nana’s. I contributed two bottles of 2005 Turley Zinfandel; we all had purple teeth and filled tummies by the time we were done.