**Please note: To see the photos contained within a post, you must click on the title of the post to open it separately. Why? I don't know. I just know that it needs to be done to see the pics. :)
Whilst there is a big following of comfort food amongst TPH followers, we still like to take our taste buds around the world. This excerpt below was part of a Washington Post Q&A with food writer Charlotte Druckman, the author of ‘Stir, Sizzle, Bake: Recipes for your Cast Iron Skillet’ (which you can find here on Amazon).
Q: Teriyaki hack in a cast iron skillet?
I noticed that Japanese restaurants with the best teriyaki seem to cut the vegetables, bread the tofu or meat, and pour house made teriyaki sauce over the cast iron plate. Then the plate is broiled until things are golden and sizzly. Could i recreate this at home with a 12″ cast iron skillet? Instead of cast iron plates? My main concern is that the cast iron is needed for the right caramelization, but cooking it this way may leave teriyaki very hard to remove from my skillet without tin foil or ramekins.
A: Charlotte Druckman
You have just warmed my heart because I love cast iron and know a lot more about it than I do Japanese cuisine, which I’m only just beginning to scratch the surface of. You can and should use the cast-iron skillet for this, YES. But, make sure it’s well-seasoned, because that will reduce your changes of sticky-gross teriyaki aftermath significantly. But what I think the real trick to this would be is adding the teriyaki at the very end. If you look at the tsukune recipe in my story, you’ll see that the chicken meatballs are made then set aside, and the glaze for them (not so unlike a teriyaki) is made in a few moments (2 to 3 minutes) in the already-hot skillet, and then the meatballs are just quickly coated in them, in the pan, at the last minute. That’s what I’d do here.
The full Q&A from the Washington Post can be found here.
Never being one to turn down something involving chocolate, I just happened to run across a recipe for chocolate waffles, which somehow made it into waffle testing! Unless you’re planning on going into diabetic shock, I would recommend that you save this for dessert rather than breakfast.
Mmmmm, chocolate chips. This batter was fun and easy to make, and it was inspired by our Valentine’s Day post. The recipe, from Joy the Baker, is here. It seemed thickish, but workable. As usual, I made this before heating the waffle iron.
The Cast Iron
In honor of both my love of chocolate, and Valentine’s Day, I used this lovely Antique Andresen Cast Iron Rosette Heart Waffle Iron. This is the only heart shaped waffle iron in our inventory at the moment, but I will share that there is another in the restoration process, so my single heart won’t be lonely on the shelf for long. I substituted the base from my EC Simmons Waffle Iron from Round 2, as it was a better fit for my stove. The iron didn’t fit all that well into the temporary base, and it was a bit of a chore flipping it, so if you want to mix and match, try and stay within the same brand.
Wary of overcooking in Round 2, I heated the iron 4 minutes on either side. I didn’t have all the smoke from Round 2 when I opened it up to add batter, so things were looking good.
Somehow, I managed to overcook my first waffle again! Is anybody sensing a theme here? Still – the heart shaped waffles look pretty impressive.
I dialed down the heat to medium low and cooked the waffles for about 4 minutes per side, and they came out perfectly! Once again, we had no sticking problems in the pan. If you’re going to err, err on the side of overcooking rather than undercooking. It may be a little crispy, but it will come cleanly out of the waffle iron. If there is uncooked batter, there’s going to be a mess.
I served with whipped cream and strawberries. The recipe provided also gives you the option to make chocolate sauce, but we found it perfectly balanced with the chocolate chips in the waffles, the cream and the fruit.
Lessons – Round 3Don’t be afraid to branch out into different waffle flavors, Expect to sacrifice a few waffles to the learning curve. You may need to play with your temperature and cooking times to find what’s right for your iron, Spray Pam on your iron between waffles, Err on overcooking rather than undercooking
After the success of Round 1 of Waffle Testing, I was excited to get into Round 2, so without further ado, I’m going to quit my waffling and get into it!
This batter was from well known chef Alton Brown and I found it on the Food Network, right here! Like the last round, this recipe uses butter and not oil, but it also adds buttermilk, and mixes both whole wheat and all purpose flour.
Once again, I made this first to give it time to sit, and once again, it came out really really thick. Nevertheless, I let it sit, and moved onto heating my iron.
The Waffle Iron
For this round of testing, I used the super unique EC Simmons Keen Kutter Waffle Iron (No. 8). It looks all innocent from the outside…
But once you open it up, you’ll know that your waffles will not look like all the other waffles out there!
There is no way I would have done waffle testing without using this waffle iron. It is just way too cool!
With this pan, I did the identical steps to the Griswold in Round 1. I heated both sides for about 5 mins each on Medium – High, but it was immediately obvious that what worked the first time round wasn’t going to work in Round 2. The pan was smoking! The best time to put in the batter is when the pan is just beginning to smoke, but this was about to set off the smoke detectors. Clearly, the EC Simmons pan heats up faster than the Griswold.
I turned the pan down, and put in the batter. It started cooking way to hard and fast, another indication of a too-hot pan. I took a picture as it was a clear example of what not to do!
I reduced the cooking time down to 4 minutes, but I don’t think I reduced the heat enough for this (it was set at Medium), and the waffle ended up browner than I would have liked.
This pan not only heated up faster, but it produces a thinner waffle, so you’ll need to heat up on a lower temperature, and cook for less time to get a great waffle.
The taste, however, was fantastic! Alton really hit the nail on the head with the flavor. The waffle didn’t taste dense either, which I attribute to the thinner waffle size.
I tried adding some water too (a cup) and it became quite runny. It impacted the cooking time (needing less) and it made the waffles almost too light to be able to cope with the toppings I had chosen for today (cottage cheese and blueberries). In retrospect, Alton’s recipe was perfect the way it was written for this waffle iron. When diluting batter, don’t do what I did and lump in a cup of water at a time, add it in 1/4 cup increments. Learn from my mistakes!
Here’s a later waffle with the diluted batter.
And once again, nothing stuck to the paddles! Clean up was going to be a breeze!
Lessons from Round 2Use a really cool waffle iron, If your paddles are smoking like a chimney, they’re too hot. Let them cool a little before pouring in the batter. You may need to play around with the heat time and temperature before you find the perfect setting, You may need to play around with the cooking time before you find the right time for your particular iron You’ll still need to flip the waffle iron to cook both sides of the waffle When diluting batter, add your water in increments and test. You may need to vary the density of your batter depending on your waffle toppings.
In Round 3, we’re making Chocolate Waffles, and they will be awesome!
Welcome to the Wonderful World of Waffles!
I’ve received quite a few questions recently about how to cook waffles in our irons, so I figured it was time for a blog that answers all the questions and lets you in on the secrets of making perfect waffles in a vintage waffle iron. I think that vintage waffle irons are some of the most unique and beautiful of the cast iron cookware. I love that they look nothing like waffle irons of today and I was excited that I could spend some time cooking with them!
First – a confession. I have never made waffles in my life. This wasn’t a matter of learning how to adapt normal waffles or waffle batter to the vintage iron, it was learning it all from scratch. Hopefully this will help me provide enough detail for all of you to be able to make your own vintage, but highly edible waffles!
Before we get into the equipment, it’s important to note that the conditions in your kitchen, such as temperature and humidity, will impact your results. My kitchen was kept at 70’F with dry humidity, as being winter in Minnesota, I run our forced air heating 24/7. I also cooked on a Viking gas range.
I used 3 different waffle irons for this testing, and 3 different batters!
Now for the fun part – the waffle testing!
My first batter was from allrecipes.com. It uses butter, not oil, and is rated 4.5 stars by nearly 2,000 people. I figured it would be pretty good! You can find it here .
I made the batter first, as a lot of people recommend that your batter sits for 10 minutes or so. It turned out pretty darn thick though, but for my first waffle, I was going to make it exactly as written!
My first waffle iron was this gorgeous Griswold American Waffle Iron No. 9, pictured below. The No. 9 is a bit larger than your average waffle iron, but this is a deliciously minty piece and I just couldn’t resist. It has since sold (not surprising) but you can find all our waffle irons here.
Here it is sitting on my gas stove, ready for a busy day!
So as with most cast iron cooking, the thing to always do is to heat your pan. When it comes to waffle irons, this means both sides. This is my biggest burner, and I had it set to somewhere between Medium and Medium-High. After about 4 – 5 mins I flipped the iron and heated the other side. Another 4 – 5 mins later I sprayed Pam inside the paddles, and after another couple of minutes I poured in the batter. As I suspected, it was way too thick. Batter had come over the sides, and I didn’t have a good feeling about this.
Next thing I did was turn down the heat! I went to just between Medium-Low and Medium. I let it cook for 4 – 5 mins on that side, then flipped it over and cooked it for another 5 mins. I opened the iron, and I was amazed. Perhaps a tiny bit dark, but it looked perfect!
It came perfectly out of the iron with no residue and was cooked perfectly all the way though. The proof though, was in the eating, and it turned out to be too dense. This waffle iron makes for thick waffles!
With a ton of batter left to test, I added water to the batter and tried another. It was better! I added again, until I’d put in about a cup or so, and it was perfect. I also tried using melted butter instead of Pam in between waffles, but it tended to make the kitchen a bit smokey and I didn’t notice a difference in the taste.
Here’s our finished waffle, after we added water (and butter and maple syrup, of course)!
The biggest surprise was how good this waffle pan looked after a morning of waffle cooking. All I did here was wipe off the dribbles of batter on the side. You can’t tell it had been used! I had zero sticking issues.
Lessons from Round 1Make your batter first so it can sit Heat your pan before cooking Always flip to heat both sides Turn down the heat once the batter is added If your waffle is too dense, dilute the batter with water. Always flip to cook both sides Don’t be surprised (like I was) if your waffles look awesome first go!
Stay tuned for Round 2.. a new waffle iron, and a new recipe!
As you may have heard, I’ve taken over The Pan Handler LLC from Mary, who is off on new adventures and will try very hard to be retired.
Now the initial flurry of activity from taking over is calming down a little, I wanted to introduce myself, and chat a bit about what’s going on with our pans!
First things first – like Mary, I live in Minnesota, though a different part of town. I’ve known Mary for about 9 years now, so The Pan Handler is an old friend. I’ve been fortunate enough to go on camping weekends with her when she brings her iron and does recipe testing on us, out over the open fire. She found me a wonderful, enormous griddle that we take camping. We use it for pancakes in the morning, and steaks and brats for dinner. We absolutely love it.
Although I’m originally Australian, I’ve been here for 11 years this year, and my husband Rob is from Wisconsin, so I’ve definitely settled in the Midwest. We have two fur children that we adopted last year, cats called Myst and Mango. One is black, and one is orange, so we call them our Halloween Cats. Both my husband and I love cooking, so you’ll be seeing recipe and pan testing from both of us.
Your big question might be – what’s going to happen to www.thepan-handler.com? There is nothing to worry about – we’re keeping this company just the way you love it, with gorgeous iron, lovingly cleaned and restored for future generations of Teflon-free cooking. I’ll be sharing recipes on Twitter and Facebook, of course, but also cooking, blogging and showcasing more of our products. Everybody LOVES cast iron skillets but there are so many other fabulous pieces that slip under the radar, and we want to make them shine.
I’ll also be unveiling a “Before and After” page, where you can see pictures of how bad some pans can really look when we purchase them, and the wonderful treasures that appear once we’ve cleaned and seasoned them. Some of the transformations are amazing!
Mary will be doing some guest blog posts, and is coming to some auctions and cast iron meets with me to help find some gorgeous pieces for you. We’ve got some camping trips coming up this summer with her, Linda and some other friends, and we’ll be taking our iron and trying out some more fun ideas for campfire cooking in cast iron.
We have a big stack of every type of cast iron cookware waiting to be cleaned, I’ve been secretly hunting it down since Mary and I started talking about this last year, and there’s a lot of inventory waiting to come online. Linda has a busy time ahead of her! The first few pieces are ready and will be listed this week, so keep an eye out as there will be a lot more coming over the next few months.
Finally, if you have a question about any of our products listed online, or if you think there’s something we can do better, don’t hesitate to let me know!
I’m really excited about this year, and bringing you beautiful cast iron for your homes and family.