**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. :)

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At my cast iron cooking extravaganza, Mike made a fabulous pot roast and Yorkshire pudding. Both were delicious, but I was particularly entranced by the roast. It was one of the best, if not the best, I have ever eaten. I had to force myself to stop, and enjoyed the leftovers for days afterward!

 

Gluten-Free! Yankee Pot Roast (adapted from The Nantucket Holiday Table, by Susan Simon)

Ingredients

1/4 cup pure olive oil 3 onions, sliced 4 pound prime beef chuck roast (the recipe called for one 3- to 4-pound top or bottom round beef roast; Mike used a prime chuck roast) White rice flour for dredging 8 slender carrots, cut into thirds 3 ribs celery, cut in half 2-1/2 cups Swanson’s beef broth (Swanson’s is gluten-free) 1-1/2 cups hearty red wine 5 or 6 sprigs fresh thyme 1 rounded teaspoon freshly ground black pepper Salt to taste 2 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature 2 rounded tablespoons – more or less – cornstarch

Directions

 

Heat a large heavy cast iron casserole / roaster / dutch oven over medium heat. Add the olive oil and sauté the onions until golden. Tie the roast to hold it together during cooking, then thoroughly dredge the beef in the rice flour, covering all surfaces. Add the roast to the pan; brown on all sides. It is okay if the onions brown or burn a bit. Add the carrots, celery, beef broth, wine, thyme, black pepper, and salt to taste. Reduce heat, partially cover, and barely simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, turning the beef occasionally, until the roast is falling-apart tender. Remove the roast and thyme sprigs from the broth. Add the butter to the broth. Using an immersion blender, blend the celery and carrots into the broth making a slightly chunky gravy.

Mike using the immersion blender to blend the carrots, celery, and onion into the gravy (YUM!)

Place the cornstarch in a small bowl and add water to form a runny paste. Slowly add the cornstarch to the broth while stirring, until thickened to the consistency you desire. To serve, slice the beef and arrange on a platter. Cover with some of the sauce; garnish with thyme sprigs if you wish. Put the remaining sauce in a bowl or gravy boat. Serve immediately.

 

Mrs. Harland’s Yorkshire Pudding (adapted from James Beard’s American Cookery)

Makes 10 regular or 12 small puddings

Yorkshire pudding all done and ready to devour!

Ingredients:

2 cups whole or 2% milk (depending on how “rich” you want the puddings. Drippings from your beef roast 4 eggs, whites and yolks beaten separately 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Directions:

Heat oven to 425°. Place your cast iron muffin pan(s) into the oven and let them heat along with the oven. Beat the yolks with the milk and salt. Gradually add the flour. Fold in the whites. Remove hot pan from the oven and place 1-2 teaspoons drippings into each muffin cup. Pour batter over the drippings. Bake at 425° for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 375° and continue baking until light and puffy. If you have extra drippings, you may pour some over the puddings.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

 

Photo courtesy S.Lamb Photography

Gosh, these were good. And beautiful! They would be a lovely and tasty addition to your holiday table.

At my cast iron cooking extravaganza, my good friend Mary made DELICIOUS cranberry orange muffins in a Griswold pn 949 number 10 popover pan. The pan had 11 cups. We have some Griswold  11-cup muffin pans on the site (of course!) if you are interested. You can find them here. We also have many other muffin pans, including others with 11 cups. If you look at the baking pan area of the site here, you can view a wide variety of them.

Mary forgot to add the nuts, so we decided we could say that the recipe was “adapted” from a Williams-Sonoma recipe.

Mary M hard at work making cranberry-orange muffins.

Here’s the deets:

Holiday Cranberry Orange Muffins (makes 10, or in our case 11, muffins)

2 c. flour 1/2 c. sugar 1/2 c. packed brown sugar 2 t baking powder 1/2 t salt zest of one orange 1 egg 4 T (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

Butter, creamy butter…melted in a Griswold #3, natch.

1/2 c milk 1/2 c strained orange juice 1-1/2 c fresh cranberries 1/2 c nuts (as mentioned, Mary’s were made without nuts, and they were wonderful!) Preheat oven to 375°. Coat the cups of two Griswold 6-cup cast iron muffin / popover pans with Pam, or your choice of vegetable oil, butter, or shortening. **Okay, they don’t have to be Griswold pans, even though ours were. And they don’t even have to be muffin pans; they could be turk’s head pans, corn bread pans, cake pans…whatever you are in the mood for! Stir together flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and orange zest In a separate bowl, mix together the egg, melted butter, milk and orange juice. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture. Stir until just moistened; it will be lumpy and that’s just fine. Fold in the cranberries (and nuts, if you are using them).

Cranberry orange muffin batter.

Spoon the batter into your prepared muffin cups, just short of, or even to, the rim.

Ready for the oven!

Bake in oven 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool slightly before removing from pan.

Eat and enjoy!

Delicious and done!

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Unmarked Martin Turk’s head pan (top left), Griswold brownie pan (top right), BSR corn bread pan (bottom bottom), Griswold french roll pan (top bottom).

I admit that I’m not much of a baker. Baking isn’t my thing as much as cooking is my thing. However,  I realized  I had all of these gorgeous gem and muffin and bread stick pans and I should give them a try!

And so I did. I made a batch of jalapeño corn bread. The directions called for the corn bread to be baked in an 8″ square pan. Instead, I baked it in three different pans: a corn bread stick pan, brownie pan, and turk’s head pan. 

The bread was delicious (would be fab with chili!) and it was fun to see the different shapes that the different pans produced. 

I adapted a recipe of “Hot and Sassy Corn Bread” from the New Basics Cookbook. Here’s my adaptation:

1 c yellow cornmeal 1 c. all purpose flour 1 t baking powder 3/4 t salt 1/2 t baking soda Freshly ground black pepper, to taste 1 c canned cream-style corn 1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels (thawed and drained if frozen) 1/2 c sour cream 1/2 c milk (I used skim because that is what I had; I think it would be better with 2%) 2 lightly beaten eggs 2 T vegetable oil 1 T packed golden brown sugar 1 fresh minced jalapeño pepper.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Spray Pam in your clean and seasoned gem or muffin pan(s). Toss dry ingredients together in a bowl. In another bowl, stir the cream-style corn and other ingredients together until smooth. Add half of the liquid mixture to the dry mixture; stir until just moistened. Add the remainder of the liquid mixture to the dry mixture; stir until just blended. Spoon into the gem/muffin pans. Bake until the tops are golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean; about 25 minutes. Cool before removing from gem pans.

Doesn’t this make you want to make a big pot of chili in your chicken pan and whip up some corn bread? 

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I am thankful for many things this day, and all days. Today I am especially thankful for Linda. Linda has been my friend for several years now. We met through our bicycling group.

As I got to know Linda, I learned that she is a “collector” of various and sundry items. I tease her by calling her a “hoarder;” not a “collector.” For example, she has more than 10 sewing machines! She enjoys visiting thrift and antique stores, loves flea markets, and love love loves to shop for treasures.

We took a trip to Lake Superior in mid-July 2013, and we stopped at many antique and thrift stores along the way. Linda was just as excited when we found iron as I was! We had a great time.

As The Pan Handler began to really take off, I found that I needed help. Despite the fact that Linda works two jobs, has a house and family and pets, belongs to quilting groups, leads a bicycling group AND sells Mary Kay, Linda offered to help. And as I have gotten to know Linda better, I know that this is just like her. Linda is a helper. She is the one who lends a hand, cleans up the mess, reaches out, brings food when you are sick…she is there when you need her. Linda has a huge heart and a warm soul. She laughs easily, cares deeply, and listens well.

Linda started working with The Pan Handler as an independent contractor about a year or so ago, cleaning pans and helping to pack and ship. Her primary role is in cleaning pans after the lye bath – the first stage of our multi-stage cleaning and seasoning process. She is quite expert at cleaning after the lye bath process, and finds it relaxing to work with the pans…as do I. Linda’s favorite waffle iron cleaning tool? Chopsticks!

Linda has gone on several buying trips with me. It is great to have a friend who has a bug for cast iron almost as big as mine. We search and scour and research and learn, and laugh and talk and have so much fun. Linda has also started her own small collection of cast iron – she started with some unmarked pieces, then some vintage Lodge, and now is amassing a full set of Griswold small logo grooved handle skillets. She also has a Griswold lamb mold, and the two of us plan to give that mold a try next Easter. We call Linda the Pan Apprentice. 

Linda is a very good friend to me and an important part of The Pan Handler. I am very thankful for her friendship and hard and dedicated work. Linda is always content to be in the background, but I thought it was high time that you met her. So friends of The Pan Handler…meet Linda, The Pan Apprentice!

Stir fry in my #12 - ready to serve!

There are times when you want a bigger skillet. Making gobs of stir-fried veggies is one of them.

Size 8 and size 12 pans side by side for size comparison.

I snagged a Griswold small logo #12 (about 13-1/4″ in diameter, as opposed to the 10-1/2″ diameter of a typical size 8 skillet), and set to it.

Given that I had already cleaned and seasoned this pan, I didn’t even need to use oil, so calling it a stir “fry” is a misnomer.

Veggies shoved to the side; ready to add the sliced marinated beef. Note the non-stick properties of the pan. No oil was used.

Ingredients:

1 pound, more or less, of bottom, top, or sirloin steak. I used sirloin. 2 T or so soy sauce (Lee Kum Kee is the best according to both me and Cooks Illustrated magazine) 1 T sugar 1/2 t salt 3 stalks celery – cleaned and sliced thin on the diagonal 1 medium onion, peeled and sliced in thin wedges 2 cloves garlic, peeled, smashed and minced about 1 c fresh bean sprouts 1 small can bamboo shoots, drained and sliced thinly 6 oz. snow peas, cleaned and trimmed if necessary 8 oz clean sliced mushrooms 2 c beef broth 2 T corn starch Slice the beef into smallish very thin pieces.  Slightly frozen steak is easier to slice thinly). Put the slices into a bowl or zip lock bag. Stir together soy sauce, sugar, and salt. Pour over the beef slices, cover, and refrigerate at least 1 hour (overnight is also fine). Heat your gorgeous big clean cast iron pan on medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, and celery. Cook and stir until the celery is slightly tender and the onion starting to brown; around 4 minutes. If you like, you can add some fresh ground pepper. *Note: I did not use any oil. If your pan is not well- or properly seasoned, you may need to use a tablespoon or so of vegetable oil. You could also use soy sauce or a stir fry sauce, if you wish.

Celery, onion, garlic. No oil!

Cooking away…

Push the veggies to the side of the pan and add the beef (with marinade, if any is in the bottom of the bowl or bag). Cook and stir the beef until just slightly pink. Add bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, and peas. Continue to cook and stir for a few minutes, until peas start to soften, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms. Cook and stir until the mushrooms are the consistency that you prefer. For me, that’s about 2 minutes. Place cornstarch in a bowl. Add 2 cups beef broth (not the other way around, unless you want lumpy beef broth). Stir with a fork until the cornstarch is dissolved. Pour the mixture over the veggies and beef in the pan; stir until thickened.

Ready to serve!

Serve alongside or over rice (I prefer Jasmine rice) or chow mein noodles. Serves about 6 hungry people, if you serve with rice.

Beef stir fry with Jasmine rice.

You can, of course, modify this recipe in any number of ways. YAs I was eating the dish, I was thinking how good it would taste with some minced ginger – a tablespoon or so (that I would add with the garlic and onion). You can use green onions instead of white, or leave them out all together. You can use chicken or pork or shrimp or egg, or no proteins at all. You  can add a dash of Siriachi sauce if you like a little kick. Freshly ground pepper is always good. You can add sliced water chestnuts, and take out the bamboo shoots if you do not care for them. I think that grape tomatoes, sliced in half, would also be delicious in this dish (I would add when I added the mushrooms). Broccoli, thinly sliced carrots, shiitake mushrooms…the possibilities are limited only by your imagination and taste buds.

YUM.

Leftovers can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator. I always like to make extra rice and then make fried rice the second day.

After eating my delicious dinner, I gave this gorgeous skillet a scrub with the chain mail scrubber (no soap needed), dried it in the warm oven, sprayed a little Pam on the cooking surface and wiped it around to protect the surface. The pan is done for the evening and ready for the next meal!

Enjoy!