**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. :)
I love camping, and I love cooking. And we all know I love cast iron cookware!
On a June 2016 camping trip – at Frontenac State Park – I brought along a Griswold no. 10 cast iron camp oven / chuckwagon, and made a tasty side dish for the twelve tent campers we had along. Our group typically has a big pot luck supper on Saturday nights. Since we are all a group of “foodies,” it is fun to try something new and hope that the group will applaud.
Applaud, they did. With help from my friends, we made a wonderful root vegetable gratin. The recipe was adapted a bit from one I found somewhere on the wild, wild web.
Here’s how I did it!Root Vegetable Gratin
Recipe said it serves 8; it served 12 with leftovers for the next morning’s breakfast hash.Ingredients: 4 T unsalted butter, divided 1.5 c. Panko breadcrumbs 1.5 c. shredded parmesan 6 or so sprigs thyme, plus 1 T leaves Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 3 c. heavy cream (I used 2 c. heavy cream and 1 c. half and half) 1 c chicken broth 1.5 lb hunk of celery root, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick 1 lb hunk of rutabaga, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick 2 peeled sweet potatoes, sliced 1/16″ thick 1 lb yukon gold potatoes, peeled and sliced 1/16″ thick Pam vegetable oil spray hunk of parchment paper Day before preparation: Melt 2 T butter in size 8 cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs. Stir until golden brown; 5-7 minutes. Let cool. Mix cooled breadcrumbs with 1/2 c. parmesan and 1 T thyme leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Place in quart-sized zip-lock bag and set aside. Camp preparation: Peel the vegetables. Using a mandoline, slice into even 1/16″ slices. Place all slices in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Toss. Bring cream, broth, thyme sprigs, and remaining 2T butter to simmer in skillet or camp oven. Remove from heat. Discard thyme. Cover and keep warm. Take about 24 charcoal briquettes and light; cook til ashy grey. Spray inside of camp oven with Pam. Arrange 1/3 of the veggies in camp oven. Cover with 1/2 c. parmesan. Repeat layers. Top with vegetables. Pour cream mixture over the vegetables. Place a piece of parchment paper directly over the vegetables. Cover. Camp Cooking: Original recipe called for 50-60 minutes of cooking in a 350 degree oven. I used 18 briquettes on top and 6 underneath, in an effort to replicate the temperature charts I’ve found online (one is here). After about an hour, remove cover and parchment paper. Scatter breadcrumbs on top of potatoes. Re-cover. Bake additional 15-20 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
Scoop up and enjoy! The dish received rave reviews from our hungry campers.
It was a nice surprise to see that our vintage cookware is featured on Grub Street as one of 18 things that celebrated American chefs want as a gift this holiday season.
Of course we know how wonderful our old pans are and how well they cook…we are very happy to see that chefs appreciate them just as much as we do!
You can find the Grub Street gift guide here.
I have been saving this recipe on my Pinterest board, waiting for just the right time to give it a try. I knew that my foodie friends (including Anna and her husband Rob – they are major foodies!) would love it. A fall weekend on beautiful Madeline Island was just the right time to make it!
I slightly adapted the recipe. It is from “Cook it in Cast Iron,” a cookbook from America’s Test Kitchen that came out in 2016.Simple Baked Brie with Honeyed Apricots
Ingredients:~1/4 cup honey, divided ~1/4 cup diced apricots 1-14-oz. wheel Brie cheese, rind removed and cut into 1″ chunks 1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary 1 tablespoon fresh chopped chives (I used a bit more, as well as some chopped scallions – my friends like onions!) Crackers and/or sliced baguette for dipping
Directions:As I was planning to serve this on Friday or Saturday evening – traveling to the Island on Friday – I gathered my supplies on Thursday. I plucked the chives and rosemary from my garden, washed them, and placed them into a small ziplock bag with a piece of paper towel. I waited to chop them until it was time to prep the dish) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop/dice the apricots. Toss them with the half of the honey. Add the rosemary and a bit of salt and pepper. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring halfway through. Toss the chopped brie with the apricot/honey mixture. Place into your cast iron skillet (I used a number 8 Vollrath from my friend Mary’s cabin kitchen) oven and cook until just melted – about 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Drizzle the remaining honey over. Sprinkle the chives over. Serve in the skillet alongside a sliced baguette and/or crackers. I used both – Breton wholegrain crackers and a “take and bake” baguette that I warmed alongside the brie.
Enjoy your delicious appetizer with your friends and a nice glass of wine!
Here is our handy-dandy interactive holiday gift guide. We have been working around the clock to get our inventory cleaned and listed. Right now we have over 600 pieces listed; almost all of our inventory!
As every piece is unique, act fast. Once a piece is sold, it’s gone!
To access the 13-page gift guide, view below or click HERE.
Click on the small box within the preview to enlarge to “full-page” view. Once you are within the guide, you can click on the text of any product to be taken directly to its page.
Take the few seconds it takes to thoroughly clean your pan before putting it away. A quick wipe with a paper towel is not typically enough to get the food bits off your pan – you want all the bits off. Here’s a little vid of me cleaning my vintage #12 Iron Mountain (by Griswold) cast iron pan. I have several more videos of my routine cleaning process on my youtube channel. Note: as to the great soap debate, I am in the camp of “if I feel like it needs a bit of soap, I’ll use a bit of soap” camp. Not thoroughly drying your pan and lightly coating it with a dab of oil before putting it away. Once you’ve got the pan cleaned, you need to dry it thoroughly and wipe it with a dab of oil before you put it away. Some folks like to dry their pans in a warm oven or on the cooktop. As for me, I wipe them thoroughly with a paper towel and then spray a bit of Pam onto the cooking surface and wipe it out. I will also occasionally wipe the entire pan with the Pam; so that the surface is protected. If you do not protect the surface of the pan, you will develop rust on the pan. Who wants to eat something that was cooked in a pan covered with rust, however slight? Not me. Here is another vid of me cleaning – this time, my Griswold slant logo number 8 pan with heat ring (that I use on my glass cooktop – another myth busted!) This one shows how I apply the Pam after cleaning. Being afraid to use your vintage pan. As beautiful as it is, it’s meant to be used! I know that sometimes people are intimidated by wonderful old cast iron pans. Don’t be! Can you use soap? (Yes). Can you use it on a glass cooktop? (Yes). Can it be used if it has some movement on the cooktop? (Yes – see my blog post here). Isn’t it really hard to clean? (No). Don’t they need to be treated with kid gloves? (No, though they are brittle and can crack/break). Use your pan. Use it for baking, searing, frying, roasting, making casseroles…really, for whatever you want. After use, clean your pan. Dry your pan. Put a spritz of your preferred cooking oil on the pan and wipe it out. Store it where you want to store it. On the stovetop, in a cupboard or drawer (ideally with a piece of paper towel between the pans to absorb any excess oil or moisture) or in one of our great racks. Voila – that’s it. Now, go cook something in your lovely old pans!