Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category


I got it into  my head that I should have a patty mold party. I think it is because I somehow became transfixed with patty molds – both cast iron and aluminum – and had a plethora of them but had never given them a whirl.

I decided to make both patty molds and rosettes. Before I became immersed in patty molds, I hadn’t even realized there was a difference. There is. Molds are basically cups in various shapes (round cups, shells, fish, hearts, stars, flowers, etc) that you fill with whatever your heart desires. Rosettes are little crispy cookies that are traditionally dusted with powdered sugar.

Griswold & Handi Hostess patty molds and rosettes.

I pulled out all kinds of Handi Hostess aluminum patty molds, shells, and molds. I also gathered my Griswold patty molds, rosettes, and patty molds sets. Gave everything a good scrub.

Let’s talk rosettes first.


There is an art to making rosettes. I haven’t yet mastered it, but I’m surely better than I was.

Sad first tries at making rosettes. Of course, I ate them anyway.

We heated canola oil in my Griswold deep fat fryer (which I have since sold). You can of course use a regular saucepan. We used a candy thermometer to watch the heat of the oil; the frying works best when the oil is at 375º.

Griswold deep fat fryer, patty bowl w batter, and candy thermometer.



We tried several different recipes for batter. The one I liked best is the old tried and true one from the Griswold patty mold manual. It had a nice light consistency, and made rosettes that were a bit lighter than the other recipes I tried.

Voila! Rosettes!


For about 40 rosettes:

2 eggs 1 t. sugar 1 c. flour 1/4 t. salt 1 c. milk

Lightly beat the eggs, add sugar, salt, milk. Gradually stir in flour, beat until smooth. You can add a bit more sugar if you prefer your cookies to be very sweet.

I poured the batter into the Griswold patty mold bowls.

Griswold patty bowl in foreground w batter; Handi Hostess aluminum molds and Griswold cast iron molds and rosettes.

When the oil reached 375°, I screwed the rosette form I wanted to use onto the handle, and placed the form into the hot oil. It sizzled!  Once hot, I removed it from the oil and placed it into the batter, being careful to come only about 2/3 of the way to the top (if you go over the top, the rosette will not easily come off the iron).

Heating the mold in oil before dipping into batter.









The batter easily adhered to the mold. I placed it into the oil and stood and watched it sizzle for between 20 – 35 seconds. Once it is the color you wish it to be (typically a nice golden color), remove the rosette from the iron. I found that if I lifted the iron partially from the oil, the rosette would drop off the iron. I could then evenly fry it to the color I desired, and remove it from the oil with tongs or a slotted spoon. Place the rosette on paper towels to drain. I lined cookie sheets with paper towels; this worked well both for draining and for transporting the cookies to a different location when I needed more room.

If you like, you can sift powdered sugar onto the top of the cookies. They are best eaten within a day, but you can store them, loosely covered, in the refrigerator for a few days if need be.


Now…on to patty molds! I made the same batter for the molds as for the rosettes, though I slightly cut down on the sugar.  Same procedure: 375° oil, heat mold, dip into batter 2/3 of the way, plop into oil, sizzle, drop off, brown evenly, take out with tongs or slotted spoon and drain on paper towels. 

For me, the patty molds were more intriguing than the rosettes. What I learned is that you are really limited only by your imagination as to what you use for filling for the molds. Pretty much anything you put into a pastry shell can go into a patty mold shell. I consulted all kinds of sources. I queried my friends. I sent emails. I scoured the web and read cookbooks and wracked my brain. I tried to think of both sweet and savory fillings.

You can create just about any kind of filling for the molds. I came up with a number of fillings for the molds that sounded wonderful:

Savory (all cooked – preferably in your cast iron pan! – and then spooned into the mold):

Apple, blue cheese & bacon Mushroom, brie & onion Shrimp, garlic & lemon zest Mushroom, bacon, & cheese Turkey Italian sausage, spinach, cherry tomatoes, chopped olives & cheese


Cranberry & orange Apple, cinnamon, & cheddar Pumpkin pie filling with whipped cream Pudding with berries and / or chocolate chunks Jam, jellies, marmalade, lemon curd – topped with fruit pieces or orange, lemon, or lime zest Chocolate ganache and berries (I am a berry fan) Cheesecake with graham cracker crumbs and berries

Crab salad in Handi Hostess shell mold.

Mini Handi Hostess molds filled with jellies and jams, topped with kiwi. Berries, because I like berries.

Griswold heart and cup molds, filled with chocolate and vanilla pudding and … again … berries. Because I like berries.

Griswold heart and cup molds.















And of course, you could also fill the larger molds with fruit, chicken, egg, tuna, shrimp, or crab salad. One thing I learned is that the size of the mold does to a certain extent dictate what goes in the mold. With little teeny-tiny molds, it’s easiest to just swipe some jam or jelly into the mold. They make cute and easy sweet appetizers that you can just pop into your mouth. With larger molds (such as the Handi Hostess fish mold or Griswold heart or cup mold), it calls for more of a salad that you eat with a fork. The larger sizes are not conducive to popping into your mouth.

One other thing I learned…fill the molds shortly before serving or you will have sad and soggy molds. And soggy party patty molds are never a good thing.

Happy molding!




I am often asked whether vintage cast iron is really “non-stick” as is claimed.

My answer is that a properly cared-for, properly cleaned, and properly seasoned vintage cast iron skillet will be non-stick once seasoning is built up.

The Pan Handler pieces are sold only after being cleaned to bare iron and then subsequently heat-seasoned with Crisco (and sometimes Pam). Therefore, when you purchase a piece from The Pan Handler, it has just one layer of seasoning. To achieve full non-stick properties, it needs more than that one layer. I typically recommend cooking fatty foods in the pan when first received to help build up that seasoning. Generous use of your preferred cooking oil also helps with this process.

Sometimes you will see a vintage piece offered for sale with a claim that the piece is “well-seasoned.” Unfortunately, that is often code for “I didn’t know how to clean this pan” or “I didn’t want to take the time to thoroughly clean this pan” or “OMG, this pan is a mess…I know, I’ll call it SEASONING!”  The pan may have decades of burnt on food, carbon, and rust. That is not “seasoning.” That is decades of crud that needs to be removed.

I made a little video of me cooking my morning scrambled eggs in my vintage Griswold Iron Mountain #5 skillet. You will see that this pan is indeed non-stick; it’s not just hype! Just be sure to thoroughly clean and dry your pan after use, and then put a light layer of protective oil on it. I use a quick spray of Pam on a paper towel; that works well for me.

Enjoy the vid!

In the vid, the 2 eggs were cooked on a pre-heated skillet without the use of additional oil (hello, waistline!) Plopped two eggs into a bowl, sprinkled on some seasoned salt, gave it a few stirs with a fork, and into the skillet they go.

Once the eggs are removed and the pan cooled a bit, it’s quite a simple task to pour in a little water and give it a rub with the chain mail scrubber til any bits are removed. Be sure to remove any bits; otherwise the next time you cook, your food will stick to the bits, and there goes your non-sticked-ness! Dry the pan thoroughly with paper towels, then spray a bit of Pam on the cooking surface and give it a rub with your paper towel to coat the entire surface.

Voila! Your new old non-stick pan! And doesn’t it feel better to be eating off of your cast iron instead of your scratched up old teflon pan that is leaching chemicals into your body? Give yourself a pat on the back for being healthy!

pinterest cast iron cookware cooking vintage antique old pan fry fryer frying pin save recipes for sale


Screenshot of my cast iron cookware Pinterest page.

The holidays are coming, and that’s got me thinking about many things – and of course many of them revolve around pans. And food. Not that I’m into pans or anything. 🙂

I go through bouts and spurts of Pinterest pinning. I love Pinterest because it enables me to save things that look interesting to me (especially recipes!), and come back to them later. Have you checked it out? I especially like saving recipes, and then when I am entertaining (hello, Thanksgiving!) I can go back and plan a menu based on things I had previously saved.

In my current frenzy of cast iron cooking, I have a jones for recipes that are well-suited to cooking in cast iron. Wanted to share my Cast Iron Cookware Pinterest board with y’all…if you’re interested, follow along!













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. 🙂

Sarah, Linda, Bonnie, me & Maisie, Doug, and Mike.

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.

Griswold deep fat fryer heating; Patty mold bowl with batter.

Oil should heat to 365 for perfect patties.

Griswold patty bowl; Handi Hostess aluminum molds and Griswold cast iron patty molds.

Handi Hostess molds and Griswold molds and handles. Lil’ Frankie in the left rear.

















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!

Linda hard at work!

Frying away!

Just a small sample of our bounty.

Handi Hostess cast aluminum rosette molds in the forefront.

Griswold cast iron patty mold.

Fresh off the mold.

























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.

Coming out of the deep fryer.

Frying the lil’ Frankies in the Griswold deep fat fryer.

Dipped in batter; ready to fry!

Corn bread batter.

Hebrew National Beef dogs, cut into thirds and dipped into the batter.




















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.


Cooking up the bacon bits in my Griswold Iron Mountain #5 cast iron skillet.

Shiitake shrooms in Linda’s Griswold small logo #8.

Tart before popping into the oven.

Yummy veggie and bacon tart with Gruyere cheese slivers.

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

Sautéing asparagus in a Griswold 8.

bit of parmesan shavings on top and … yum. That was my breakfast and a tasty start to the day.

Asparagus with lemon zest and parmesan.








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.

Mike hard at work prepping the roast.

Ready for the stove top!

Mike sautéing onions prior to adding the roast.

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.

The very talented Sarah Lamb of S.Lamb photography, assisted by Maisie.

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.

Doug’s prepped chicken.

Bonnie’s veggies ready for roasting (Griswold #12) and sautéing (Iron Mountain #5).

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.

Linda’s pineapple upside down cake, pre-batter.

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.

The pineapple upside down cake cooling.

It was not; it just required a little extra prying with a fork.

Oh no! Oh no!

And…how is it?

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.

Mary M hard at work making 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!

Delicious and done!

Ready for the oven!

Cranberry orange muffin batter.












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.

As Doug was frying the chicken, Mike removed the pot roast from the roaster and used an immersion blender to blend the vegetables and other magic ingredients into a gravy.

Working quickly, he then whipped together Yorkshire pudding in two Griswold No. 18 6141 cast iron muffin pans.

Yorkshire pudding.







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.

Games and merriment followed; a good time was had by all!




Griswold Grizwald Griswald 20 hotel skillet pan cast iron fry frying fryer outdoor cooking cook bacon eggs potatoes camp camping


One of my camping friends, who loves to make breakfast for our camping group, asked me to bring the largest cast iron pan I had with me to camp this weekend. I have a group of excellent friends who really enjoy tent camping. We just finished enjoying a weekend of tenting and hiking in beautiful Minnesota fall weather.







Knowing I had to bring a huge pan for Doug, I sought out and acquired a #20 pan. It was made with a Griswold mold but it is not a “true” Griswold as it does not carry the Griswold logo. This pan was made after Griswold closed its doors in 1957.

The big #20 pans are also called “hotel” pans; presumably because they are so huge that they are perfect for cooking for a crowd. 20″ in diameter!







Doug was thrilled when he saw the big pan, and immediately announced he was going to purchase it from me and hang it on the wall in his man cave when it was not otherwise in use. Doug made a wonderful breakfast for the group in the pan; it was perfect for cooking outdoors for the group. One pan cooked a one-pot breakfast for all of us!







Thought you would enjoy seeing some photos of our feast; made in a #20 Griswold-mold skillet. Potatoes with onion mushrooms and spices, bacon, scrambled and fried eggs. Nothing like a hot camp breakfast in cool weather. It was delicious – thank you, Doug!