Archive for the ‘Cooking’ Category

My first ever waffle!

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 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!

Waffle Batter No. 1 (


Waffle Iron

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!

Let’s Cook!

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.

No sticking!

Lessons from Round 1

Make 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!

Happy Cooking!


Happy New Year!

Firstly, everybody here at The Pan Handler (Anna, Linda and Mary) all wish you a happy and healthy 2017!

Whilst everybody else is writing articles about how to de-clutter your house, get washboard abs or pay off your mortgage in record time, we have written our own Cast Iron Resolutions for 2017!  We think they’re a bit easier, and more fun than 100 sit ups every morning.

The Pan Handlers resolve the following…..

To never put a cast iron pan in an open fire To always heat the pan before adding any food To bake more! To always use a pan handler (yes, I have the burns to prove I don’t) To put a piece of paper towel on the pan before putting it away with other cookware To always clean it after use To find all the special pieces our customers have us looking for!  We have a list of things you want that we don’t have on the site, so we can keep an eye out when we go hunting for treasures. To go camping more, and we’re taking our cast iron.  Our pans travel! To experiment with all our different bread pans – French bread pans, bread stick pans, bread fingers, corn bread…. the possibilities are endless! To search further and wider than ever before to find the best cast iron cookware for y’all!

Do you have any cast iron resolutions?  Feel free to share them with us on our Facebook page!


Another Blue Apron meal, though admittedly not my favorite. Somehow, the mixture of beef and yellow raisins just doesn’t do it for me. If it does for you, however, perhaps you’ll love this one! If you’d like to see the original recipe, you can find it here.

Spiced Beef Skewers w Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Rice

Makes: 4 servings Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 25–35 minutes

Ingredients 1-1/8 lb. Ground Beef 8 Wooden Skewers 1 Egg 3/4 c. Jasmine Rice 4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced 2 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, halved, sliced into 1″ slices 3 T Golden Raisins 1 T Red Wine Vinegar 1/3 c. Panko Breadcrumbs 1/4 c. Labneh Cheese


Make the rice: In a small pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium-high until hot. Add half the garlic; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, 30 seconds to 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add the rice, a big pinch of salt and 11?2 cups of water. Heat to boiling on high. Once boiling, cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook 12 to 14 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed and the rice is tender. Remove from heat and fluff the cooked rice with a fork. Set aside and keep warm.

Roast & dress the squash: While the rice cooks, place the squash on a sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Arrange in a single, even layer and roast 22 to 24 minutes, or until browned and tender when pierced with a fork. Remove from the oven. Top with half the vinegar and a drizzle of olive oil.

Assemble the skewers: While the squash roasts, combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, raisins, egg and remaining garlic in a large bowl; season with salt and pepper. Gently mix to combine. Using your hands, form the mixture into 8 oval-shaped patties, each about 1 inch thick. Transfer to a plate. Working one at a time, insert the ends of the skewers through the patties. Season with salt and pepper.

Cook the skewers: While the squash continue to roast, in a large cast iron skillet (I used my Griswold Iron Mountain number 12)  heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil on medium until hot. Working in batches if necessary, carefully add the assembled skewers. Cook, loosely covering the pan with foil, 5 to 6 minutes per side, or until browned and cooked through.

Season the labneh & serve your dish: While the skewers cook, combine the labneh and remaining vinegar in a small bowl; season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving dish.

Transfer the cooked skewers and roasted squash to a serving dish. Serve with the garlic rice and seasoned labneh on the side. Enjoy!


Man oh man, I could eat this every day of the week. It is DELICIOUS!

If you read my blog, you know that I have been enjoying cooking Blue Apron meals for about a year now (no, I’m not a paid sponsor, yet…Hello, Blue Apron, are you listening?) This recipe for sure is one of my favorites. I made very few modifications to the recipe; added more veggies and liquid and cooked a bit longer. The version below is my version; you can find the original Blue Apron recipe here.

Of course, I made this soup in my Iron Mountain (by Griswold) cast iron chicken pan. That pan sure does get a workout in my kitchen!

Italian Wedding Soup with Pork Meatballs

Makes: 2 servings Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 35–45 minutes (I let it simmer longer than this, to ensure the pork was cooked through)

Note: as I added additional veggies; my version easily would have served 4 people or 3 very hungry people.


10 Ounces Ground Pork 1?2 Cup Semi-Pearled Khorasan Wheat (if you can’t find this in your market, I expect that barley or wheat berries would work equally well) 1 15-Ounce Can Diced Tomatoes 4 Cloves Garlic, peeled and minced 2 Carrots, peeled and diced 2 Stalks Celery, diced 1 large Yellow Onion, peeled and diced 1?2 Bunch Collard Greens (Blue Apron sent me two HUGE leaves – bigger than the size of my head!), stem removed and chopped 1?4 Cup Grated Parmesan Cheese 1?4 Teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper Flakes – more or less to taste. 1 Teaspoon Pork Meatball Spice Blend (1/2 t. ground fennel seeds & 1/2 t. ground dried oregano)


Cook the khorasan wheat:

Heat a medium pot of salted water to boiling on high. Once boiling, add the khorasan wheat and cook, uncovered, 16 to 18 minutes, or until tender. Drain thoroughly, reserving 4 cups of the khorasan wheat cooking water.

Form the meatballs:

Combine the ground pork, spice blend, half the cheese and the red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper. Gently mix until just combined. Using your hands, form the mixture into 14 equal-sized meatballs; transfer to a plate.

Brown the meatballs:

Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in your cast iron chicken pan over medium heat until hot. Add the meatballs and cook, turning occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until browned on all sides. Transfer to a paper towel- lined plate and set aside in a warm place. Drain the oil from the pan and wipe it out, leaving any browned bits (or fond) in the pan.

Start the soup:

Add the carrot, onion, celery and garlic to the pan of reserved fond; season with salt and pepper. Cook on medium, stirring occasionally, 4 to 6 minutes, or until slightly softened and fragrant.

Finish the soup & plate your dish:

Add the collard greens, diced tomatoes, browned meatballs, cooked khorasan wheat and about 3 cups of the khorasan wheat cooking water to the pan; season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer. Once simmering, cook, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Add additional khorasan wheat cooking water if you think it necessary.

Season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon the soup into bowls. Garnish with the remaining cheese. Enjoy!


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.

You can see that the group is on pins and needles awaiting the taste test of the root gratin vegetable dish. We are a pretty high-strung group. 🙂 Anna and her husband, Rob, are in the middle of this photo.

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.

Even after all these years of life on this Earth, I cannot for the life of me pare a vegetable with a knife. Debra, however, is an expert and came to my rescue.

Debra and Jerry added their sweet potatoes to the recipe. They were a nice touch!

We left the holder for the vegetables at home – that little thing with prongs so that you don’t slice your fingers? Debra made do. What a champ!

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.

Pan Apprentice Linda, getting the cream mixture ready. It was raining. Linda persevered, however! The briquettes on the fire grate are cooking down and awaiting the camp oven placement.

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.

Debra arranging; Jerry standing watch.


With the parmesan sprinkled on top.

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).

Every 15 minutes, turn lid 45 degrees. Turn pot 45 degrees. The goal is to avoid hot spots as possible. As the charcoal wears thin, add more. 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.


w Panko.

Stirred and ready to serve! Scrumptious!

Scoop up and enjoy! The dish received rave reviews from our hungry campers.