**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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mountain heat smoke fire ring set starter 3 5 8 chicken pan lid cover top griswold griswald grizwald old antique vintage cast iron skillet pot pan fry fryer frying for sale sell purchase buy get find cookware cook ware kitchenware kitchen bakeware baking bake roast roasting camp outdoor grill cooking user use display restore restored clean cleaned usa us america american made 1035 1031 1030 1033 “Cleaning” a crusty pan by throwing it into a fire or conversely…pouring cold water into your hot, hot pan.  Big temperature shocks can and will damage your pan. In addition to serious warpage and potential cracks, here’s what else can happen if you throw your pan into a fire…and it’s not reversible. See the tell-tale dark red areas on the pan? The iron is also flaking in areas. It makes me so sad to see an heirloom piece treated this way. When you come across a pan like this, it will often have serious warpage. Cold on a hot pan can also damage the pan. If you pour cold water into a hot hot pan, you risk a crack. Just say NO! Cleaning your vintage cast iron pan in the dishwasher. Hello, rust! As tempted as you might be to just put your pan through the dishwasher, don’t. Not only will it not remove the crud on the pan, it will surely result in a fine coating of rust. And so, you’re back to where you started…only worse! Sandblasting your heirloom pan. With really crusty pans, I know that it can be tempting to throw your hands into the air and hand off your old pan for sandblasting instead of going through the sometimes tedious chore of cleaning and scrubbing and cleaning and scrubbing (see the FAQs section for information on how I clean and season my pans). In addition to turning the patina of the pan an odd dull shade of grey, the “regular” sandblasting process often changes the surface texture of the pan. Pans with altered surface textures are not considered collectible. Overly aggressive sandblasting can also cause pitting to your vintage pan. I have read that some sandblasting – walnut shell blasting, for example – can work well and not damage the pan. Would I try it? No. I have found, however, that in addition to other cleaning methods, a pressure washer can work great at removing stubborn crud from your pan. Taking a tool to your heirloom pan that changes the surface texture.  Aggressive use of tools can mar the surface of the pan and change the texture. Once it has been changed, it can’t be reversed. In the photos below, you can see the results of heavy-handed use of a wire wheel on a beautiful old Griswold Iron Mountain pan. Forgetting to thoroughly clean your pan before putting it away. You know how you’ve seen those old pans at flea markets or antique stores that are covered in burnt-on crud? Those pans were not properly cleaned before they were put away. Many of the old pans I source are covered with carbon crud when they come into my hands. While some like to call this “seasoning,” I disagree. I don’t have any interest in cooking my food in a pan that is covered in crud from unknown sources. If you fail to thoroughly clean your pan after use – getting all the stubborn bits off – your pan will start to have food stick to those areas. Food sticking equals burnt buildup of crud. Your pan will lose its “non-stick” quality when enough crud builds up.

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!

 

Photo Aug 16, 14 31 38

Summer Skillet Series #2 – Scrambled Eggs

This is a great way to use up excess vegetables in a scrumptious breakfast.  Today we’re using corn and tomatoes, for those who still have them, but you can always substitute pretty much anything else and it still works. We particularly love chives in our scrambled eggs too – they are one of the hardiest herbs in our garden.

Add fresh chives, corn and tomatoes to your scrambled eggs.  When using fresh corn, take it off the cobb and cook it for about 3 minutes in the microwave before adding it to your eggs.  If you love cheese, add a tablespoon of grated cheese for each egg as well.   Don’t forget salt and pepper.

Tip 1: To make them extra creamy, add 1 tbsp cream for each egg when they are just starting to cook at the bottom of the skillet. Tip 2: Don’t put the veges into your scrambled eggs until they are starting to cook on the bottom of the skillet. Tip 3: Always cook scrambled eggs on low heat!

PSSST – I’m posting this on a Saturday so you can be ready for scrambled eggs on Sunday.  Enjoy!

Bibimbap12

I subscribe to Cook’s Illustrated, and try to make at least one recipe from each issue. From the May and June 2016 issue, I chose Dolsot Bibimbap. This was my first-ever effort at making a Korean rice bowl, and actually the first time I have ever tasted one. And my goodness, it was delicious. I had two guests for dinner, and all  three of us loved this dish. We ate heartily, and had enough for three additional servings, which I packaged up for lunch for all of us. It was almost as good the next day when I had it for lunch. 

I made the rice bowl in my Griswold Iron Mountain #12 cast iron skillet; the size was just about perfect for this substantial dish. I could probably have used a #14 pan and it also would have been fine. Or, I could have made them in individual #3 or #5 pans and served them in the skillets at table. Next time!

Dolsot Bibimbap, slightly adapted from Cook’s Illustrated May & June 2016 issue

You can find more information about Dolsot Bibimbap from Cook’s Illustrated here.

Ingredients

Pickles:

1 c. cider vinegar 2 T sugar 1-1/2 t salt 1 cucumber (I used an English cucumber), cleaned, cut lengthwise into quarters and thinly sliced 4 oz (2 cups) fresh bean sprouts, rinsed and drained

Chile Sauce:

1/4 c. gochujang (red chile paste – I found mine at World Market, but you can also find it at Asian markets) 3 T water 2 T toasted sesame oil 1 t sugar

Rice:

3 c. short grain rice (I used the shortest grain I could find from the Asian section of my supermarket) 3 c. water 3/4 t. salt

Vegetables:

1/2 c water 6 green onions, thinly sliced white and ~2″ of green tops 3 T soy sauce (I like Lee Kum Kee Premium soy sauce) 5 small garlic cloves, peeled and minced 1 T sugar 1 T olive oil 1 small bag shredded carrots (about 2 cups) 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced. 10 ounce bag baby spinach

Bibimbap

2 T plus 2 t olive oil 1 T toasted sesame oil 4 large eggs

Directions

Prepare pickles: whisk vinegar, sugar, and salt together in medium bowl. Add the cucumber and bean sprouts; toss to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours. My pickles marinated about 4 hours; they were delicious! Prepare red sauce: whisk gochujang, water, oil, and sugar together in small bowl. Cover and set aside. Cook rice. I used my well-loved rice cooker. Works every time! Keep warm. Prepare vegetables: While rice is cooking, stir together water, scallions, soy sauce, garlic, and sugar. Heat 1 t oil in size 12 or 14 cast iron skillet over medium heat until hot. Add carrots and stir until coated. Add 1/3 of the scallion mixture to carrots. Stir until coated and slightly softened and liquid is evaporated, about 3-5 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer carrot mixture to small bowl. Heat 1 t oil in now-empty #12 skillet. Add mushrooms and stir until coated with oil. Cook, stirring frequently, until mushrooms are tender and moisture has evaporated; about 3-4 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to second small bowl. Add 1 t oil to now-empty #12 skillet and heat. Add spinach and remaining scallion mixture. Cook, stirring frequently, until spinach is wilted but still bright green; about 2 minutes. Remove spinach from pan with slotted spoon and place in third small bowl. Prepare Bibimbap: Wipe out #12 skillet with paper towels. Heat 2T oil and 1 T sesame oil in skillet over medium heat. Add the warm cooked rice and press down into a layer on the bottom of the skillet. Cook without stirring for about 2 minutes. Transfer carrots to pan and layer smoothly atop rice in pan. Transfer spinach to pan and layer smoothly atop carrots in pan. Do the same with the mushrooms. Reduce heat under pan to low. Cook eggs: Crack eggs into bowl. Pour bowl contents into second smaller skillet (I used my #8 Griswold slant logo with heat ring) which has been pre-heated at medium and coated with a small amount of oil or butter. Cook to desired doneness without stirring. Slide eggs onto bibimbap mixture in #12 skillet. Drizzle about 2T chile sauce over eggs. Serve! Bring your big skillet to table and place atop cork trivets. In front of your admiring guests, take a wooden spoon and first stir / break up the vegetables and egg mixture, being careful not to disturb rice crust. Then, take your spoon and scrape large pieces of the rice crust and mix into vegetable and eggs. Serve in individual bowls or on plates. Pass pickles and extra chile sauce to add as desired.

ENJOY!

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Yay! We recently acquired 70+ gorgeous pieces of Griswold cast iron cookware. Anna, Linda, and I are working pretty much ’round the clock to get the pieces cleaned, seasoned, photographed, and listed so that the inventory is available well in advance of the 2016 holiday gift-giving season. I know you don’t even want to think about the holiday season yet, but as a retailer, we start planning months in advance.

Although we never know until the pieces are cleaned and seasoned, I believe that many if not most of the pieces will be near-mint or better. That belief has been borne out by the ~10 pans from the lot that we have cleaned and seasoned so far.

We will be putting the pieces up as they are completed.  A few from this lot have already been posted and more will be posted this weekend (in fact, in the past week we have posted 31 new listings..but who’s counting?) We hope to have many if not most of these beautiful pieces on the site before November 1.

Watch the site for the new inventory in the coming weeks. In addition to other sizes and types, we have many Griswold large block and slant logo number 8 and 9 skillets, a few number 12s, and loads of (my favorite!) Iron Mountain (by Griswold) pans, including some wonderful chicken pans.  As you know, every piece is one of a kind. Our minty and near-mint Griswold pans typically sell almost as soon as they are listed. If you see one you like, you’re well-advised to snap it up!

Happy shopping, Griswold hunters!

Showing circular area on bottom of pan.

This is a cool pan. It is one of the “second series” of ERIE pans; manufactured by the Griswold Mfg. Co. in Erie, PA between about 1886 to 1892. The pan is a size 9; it measures 11-1/4″ in diameter and it is 2-1/4″ tall. It has an outer heat ring.

One of the interesting things about this pan is that there is a subtle yet distinct circular area on the bottom where it appears that the pattern for the skillet had been “buttered” to cover up a marking on the pattern. It is in the middle of the bottom – you can see it in the photo below.  The second series pans were made before pattern numbers were placed on ERIE skillets on the bottom; it is interesting to speculate what might have been in the center of the pattern of this pan. You can see more photos of the pan on its listing; here. 

I wonder if this lovely pan could have been made from a Griswold ERIE spider skillet pattern? The spider skillet is not known to have been made in a size other than 8. It’s such a distinct circle…it’s fun to speculate about what it was hiding, in any event!

Have an opinion? If you’d like to weigh in, shoot me an email via the “contact” form. I’d love to know your thoughts on this mystery!

Showing circular area on bottom of this pan.

ERIE spider skillet owned by Marg and Larry O’Neil, Tacoma WA. Photo (c) and courtesy S. Lamb Photography. Note the similarities of the characteristics of the two pans, though the spider skillet was not known to have been made in a size other than 8.