Monday, December 21, 2009

Joanna Pruess' Cast Iron Cookbook


 As a blogger I've received a few free cookbooks. The author/publisher will send out copies hoping for some publicity. Until I received Joanna's book I had not been given one that I actually wanted to mention.

Too many cast iron oriented cookbooks call for odd ingredients (canned cream of mushroom soup) or processed foods (canned biscuits or cake mixes) or they seem geared towards "slop wagon" style food. Not this one.

I'm still thumbing through the book and it is a very enjoyable read. I've added Post-It tabs to quite a few recipes that I want to make. (Look for her Korean Braised Short Ribs in the near future) 

Joanna scored major points with me when I found David G. Smith - a.k.a. the Panman - had written sections of this book on cleaning and seasoning as well as a nice FAQ. The book itself is a quality hardcover with great photography. 

I can definitely recommend this book. 


Joanna has written 10 cookbooks and has been featured in Food & Wine, Saveur, the Washington Post and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. Joanna's Amazon Author Page


Joanna was nice enough to let me publish these four recipes from the Cast Iron Cookbook. Enjoy!


Clam-and-Corn Fritters
Makes about 18 (2-inch) fritters



These puffy-crunchy mouthfuls are a combination of two beloved classics: my mom’s corn fritters (possibly from an old Joy of Cooking) and New England clam fritters. Top each one with a tiny dollop of curry mayonnaise or Homemade Tartar Sauce.

2 (6-ounce) cans minced clams (about 2/3 cup), drained, reserving 1/4 cup clam broth
2/3 cup defrosted frozen or canned corn kernels, drained
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro leaves + 2 tablespoons for the mayonnaise
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallion, including green parts + 1 tablespoon for the sauce
1 tablespoon finely chopped roasted red bell pepper (from a jar is fine)
1 large egg, beaten
1/4 cup buttermilk or whole milk
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne
Canola or vegetable oil, for frying
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons hot or mild curry paste, according to taste
Tabasco sauce (optional)

Turn your oven on to warm. Line a baking sheet with paper towels.

In a bowl, blend the clams, corn, the 1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, 2 tablespoons of the scallions, and the cayenne. Stir in the egg, reserved clam broth, and buttermilk.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne; stir them into the egg-milk mixture just until smooth.

Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Pour in enough oil to measure about 1/8-inch deep. Spoon the mixture by rounded tablespoons into the skillet, flattening slightly with a spatula, and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes. With a metal spatula, turn the fritters and fry the other side for about the same time; transfer them to the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm. Continue until all the fritters are cooked.

Combine the mayonnaise, curry paste, remaining cilantro, and scallion in a small bowl. If desired, add Tabasco sauce to taste. Serve the fritters on a platter with a tiny dollop of mayonnaise on top of each one.

Mom’s Mac and Cheese with Bacon
Serves 8



When I was growing up, my mother made scrumptious macaroni and cheese with creamy sauce, sautéed onions, paprika, and loads of Tillamook or sharp Cheddar cheese. My siblings and I loved it, especially the crunchy-cheesy topping. Mom baked the casserole in the cast-iron Dutch oven she received as a wedding present.
When I added bacon to the filling and Parmesan cheese and panko bread crumbs to the topping, my kids and friends attacked that mac with a vengeance, thus it took on the name “macattacaroni.” My favorite pasta for this is cellentani, a tubular cork-screw shape that has a ridged surface. It looks very whimsical. For pure indulgence, a fresh truffle or white truffle oil drizzled on top takes this to a special level of comfort food.

1/2 pound uncooked elbow macaroni, cellentani, or other tubular pasta
1/4 pound thick-sliced lean bacon, cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 to 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
3 1/4 cups whole milk
4 cups (1 pound) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1 teaspoon paprika
Freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/3 cup panko bread crumbs, found in the Asian food section of supermarkets

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente, about 10 minutes; drain and set aside.

Meanwhile, put the bacon in a 10-inch Dutch oven and cook it over medium heat for 3 minutes or until a little bacon fat covers the bottom of the pan. Stir in the onions and continue to cook until they are golden and the bacon is cooked through, about 4 minutes more, stirring frequently.

Add enough of the butter so you have 3 tablespoons of fat in the pan. When it has melted, stir in the flour and cook until lightly colored, about 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Whisk in the milk and bring to a boil, stirring until smooth. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens, stirring occasionally. Add 3 cups of the cheese and stir until it has melted. Stir the macaroni and season with paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.

Combine the remaining cup of Cheddar, the Parmigiano-Reggiano, and panko crumbs in a bowl. Spoon the mixture over the macaroni and bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown. If it is not browned enough, turn the broiler on and cook for 3 to 4 minutes longer, watching carefully that it doesn’t burn. Remove the casserole and cool for 5 minutes before serving.

Try any of the following mac and cheese additions: cooked chunks of kielbasa, chorizo, or any sausage; cooked chunks of lobster; diced canned or chopped sun-dried tomatoes; a small white truffle thinly shaved and/or white truffle oil; and, of course, canned tuna...a.k.a. Tuna Casserole!


Mammy Lape’s Roast Beef
Serves 8

I always thought roast beef was the prime ribs my mom made for special occasions. The meat was carved at the table and served medium-rare with potatoes roasted in the drippings. That’s not what my Ohio-born husband thought, as I found out when his daughter Debbie sent me this version of her grandmother’s roast beef, where a large piece of chuck is seared in a Dutch oven and cooked with a few aromatic vegetables for five hours. Milk gravy seems to be Dutch or German, as well as Southern. It’s made with pan drippings thickened with flour and milk.
It’s not the prime ribs of my youth, but judging by the enthusiastic reaction the dish gets when we serve it, it’s a sentimental winner. My only update is to break the cooked meat into chunks (rather than slices) and return them to the sauce, because I think they are more succulent that way. Serve with noodles or mashed potatoes.

1 (4 1/2-pound) piece beef chuck about 2 to 2 1/2 inches thick, tied
Unbleached all-purpose flour, for dredging, + 1/4 cup flour for the gravy
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 stalks celery, trimmed and coarsely chopped
1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 1/4 cups chicken or beef stock
1 cup whole milk

Preheat your oven to 325°F.

Flour all sides of the meat, patting to remove the excess, and season with salt and pepper. Heat a 10-inch cast-iron Dutch oven over high heat until hot but not smoking, 3 1/2 to 4 minutes. Add the oil and the beef and sear the meat well on all sides.

Add the celery, onion, and carrot but no liquid. (The pan juices will provide enough moisture.) Cover the pot and place it the oven for 5 hours, turning the meat once after 2 1/2 hours. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to a bowl or platter. At this point, you can let it cool and remove any fat or simply finish the sauce and serve.

With a slotted spoon, transfer the vegetables to a food processor and process until smooth; return them to the pan along with the stock. Combine the milk and remaining 1/4 cup of flour in a small jar and shake vigorously to mix. Bring the liquid to a boil and add as much of the milk mixture as needed to thicken the gravy to the right consistency, starting with about three-quarters of the mixture. Taste to adjust the seasonings

Cut the meat in slices and serve it with the gravy spooned over it on the plate. Or break it into chunks and return the meat to the gravy to simmer. Serve over noodles or mashed potatoes.



Raspberry-Blackberry Crisp
Serves 4 to 6



I don’t like blueberries, which, I know, for many summer fruit lovers is a sin. On the other hand, I adore raspberries and blackberries, so when I make the proverbial summer fruit crisp—that generations of bakers have made in cast-iron skillets—they are the berries I choose. I think you’ll find the combination is fabulous!

Unsalted butter to grease the skillet
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
4 cups mixed fresh blackberries and raspberries
1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar, depending on how sweet the berries are
2/3 cup quick-cooking oatmeal
1/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
Vanilla ice cream or sweetened whipped cream

Preheat your oven to 375°F. Put a baking sheet in the middle of the oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch cast-iron skillet.

In a large bowl, stir the cornstarch and lemon juice together until blended; add the berries and sugar, and gently stir to combine them evenly. Scrape the mixture into the skillet.

In the same bowl, combine the oatmeal, flour, brown sugar, salt, and butter. Using a fork or your fingers, stir the mixture until it is crumbly and blended, and scatter it over the berries. Transfer the skillet to the baking sheet in the oven and bake until the topping is set and the berries are bubbling, about 40 minutes. Remove and cool for at least 15 minutes before serving the crisp from the skillet with vanilla ice cream or whipped cream on top.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Smothered Pork Chops with Apple Cider, Onions and Mushrooms

 
Comfort Food

Rather than give the exact recipe (which would be hard because I didn't measure much) I'll just go through what I did and you can follow or vary as you like.
  • Brown 4 pork chops in a large cast iron skillet. Remove and set aside.
  • Add 2 sliced yellow onions (axial cuts) to pan and drop heat to low. Cook onions and scrape up any browned bits from bottom of pan. You want the onions well browned but don't rush it.
  • 30 seconds before you are happy with the onions add 2 cloves minced garlic
  • after garlic cooks for a half minute add 2 TBsp flour to onion mix and continue cooking over low. You may need to add some oil if the flour looks too dry. This is your roux. When the flour has cooked for a few minutes and has turned to a peanut butter shade remove the onion/garlic/roux.
  • sautee 1/4 pound sliced mushrooms until done to your preference
  • add onion mix back to skillet and add 4 fresh sage leaves, some dried thyme and some cayenne or other chile + salt and pepper.
  • Put pork chops on top of veggies. Add 1 cup apple cider and 1/2 cup chicken stock.
  • Cook at 350 degrees until pork is cooked (25 - 35 minutes)
  • Pull the chops from the pan and reduce the sauce on top of the stove if you want it to be more gravy like (I reduced it but not to gravy consistency) adjust seasoning.
 If you aren't fond of apples omit the cider or vary the proportions. Please don't use some disgusting filtered apple juice.
    This cries out for mashed potatoes as a base.

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    You Stupid Bloggers Killed Gourmet Magazine

    That is the gist of Christopher Kimball's argument found here.  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/08/opinion/08kimball.html?_r=2

     Kimball is the publisher of Cook's Illustrated, author of several cookbooks, and host of "America's Test Kitchen". He bemoans Conde Nast's decision to close Gourmet magazine (with three others) and he clearly blames you knuckleheads that read and/or write food blogs and search for recipes online.

    "The shuttering of Gourmet reminds us that in a click-or-die advertising marketplace, one ruled by a million instant pundits, where an anonymous Twitter comment might be seen to pack more resonance and useful content than an article that reflects a lifetime of experience, experts are not created from the top down but from the bottom up."

    I would argue that an issue of Gourmet (I once had a free subscription) was a collection of a few recipes buried under hundreds of annoying advertisements. The magazine was more like a woman's fashion magazine than a cooking periodical. To me, it was too similar to other checkout rack garbage to bother renewing when the free subscription lapsed.

    Kimball's rag uses an entirely different business model. His magazine does not contain scores of scratch and sniff perfume and Jaguar ads. Subscription and retail sales drive his business (along with many pull-out mailers hawking their latest book). Maybe he should have focused his criticism on Conde Nast's business model as he has not gone down the same road.

    Cook's Illustrated is another periodical to which I no longer subscribe. I grew tired of all the provincial New England type recipes but what really turned me against the magazine was their God-awful attempts to cook anything that did not include roast turkey or "chowdah". An "Essential" salsa recipe better have more than one jalapeno in it or you are just a bow tie wearing candyass afraid of anything that actually has flavor. Stick to "chowdah".

    Kimball's editorial in the NY Times confirms his status as an effete snob. I will continue to both shun his products and use the Internet to find things I'd like to cook.

    Unlike Mr. Kimball I welcome your opinion. Now, if you will please excuse me, I have to go microwave a SpagettiOs, corn dog and Cheez Whiz casserole recipe I found online.

    Thursday, October 1, 2009

    The last of the Eries



    In 1880 the Seldon & Griswold Manufacturing Company began producing cast iron hollow ware (what we now call cookware) in its Erie, Pennsylvania factory. Labeled "ERIE", the finished product was named after the company hometown.{Sidney and Wapak were also named after their respective hometowns Sidney OH and Wapakoneta OH}

    After reorganizing as the Griswold Manufacturing Company in 1887, a desire to rename the cast iron products resulted in the changes visible in these two skillets. Both were produced between 1904 to 1906 and the design is nearly identical but the "Griswold's Erie" (seen on the number 6) introduced the Griswold name to customers of the time.

    The Griswold's Erie skillets were only produced for a two year period, 1905 and 1906, making them a little more collectible and therefore more valuable than their otherwise identical Erie and Griswold counterparts.

    Cast iron collectors now recognize six series of Erie skillets. The number 8 pictured above is a stellar example of the final series. The inset heat ring and beefier handle are two of the characteristics that one finds in later Eries.

    Both of these skillets are functional and beautiful antiques that showcase the workmanship found in handmade products from over 100 year ago.

    Griswold cast iron went on to become the dominant name in American cast iron until 1957.

    For more info see my Griswold article here LINK

    Thursday, September 24, 2009

    Beware of crap cast iron endorsed by celebrity cooks


    Hey Y'all, watch out for the flying shards of red hot cast iron!

    http://dinersjournal.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/11/paula-deen-cast-iron-pans-are-recalled/

    Low quality casting produces voids and/or inclusions that can cause the cracking or shattering mentioned in the above article.

    Saturday, September 19, 2009

    Cast Iron Skillet Steak



    This is Adam Roberts aka The Amateur Gourmet's food2.com video on cooking a steak. Besides being funny it is a good technique and he gets bonus karma for using a cast iron skillet. 

    One of the more common search phrases that brings people to this blog is something like "cast iron steak" but I am such an A-hole I haven't done anything to address this beyond this post HERE.

    Enjoy.

    http://www.food2.com/

    Sunday, September 6, 2009

    Hatch Green Chile and Chorizo Pizza

    Sometimes simple is best. Whole wheat dough, olive oil, a tiny bit of tomato sauce, green chiles, chorizo, mozzerella & jack cheese with a little cojita crumbled over the top.

    500 degrees on a pizza stone.

    Oh Baby!

    See my Chorizo post > Here
    Some of my ramblings on Pizza can be found > Here

    See 101 Cookbooks LINK for Peter Reinhart's Napoletana Pizza Dough Recipe

    Monday, August 24, 2009

    Blue Cheese and Bacon Burgers + A Bull Moose Visit

    So I've heated up the Weber Kettle and I'm brushing down the hot grill when I hear a "SNAP" from 30 yards away. This big guy has wandered onto my property and is feasting on my Gambel Oaks.
    I was really glad I wasn't about to cook moose burgers as this guy could do some damage if he felt like it.
    Today we were having some 85/15 Grass Fed ground beef from a local ranch. Lately I've been craving a blue cheese bacon burger so this was to be the delivery vehicle.

    Rolls, condiments, and Neuske's bacon were all prepped and ready to go. The blue cheese was stuffed into the burger like I've seen on fine blogs like this and this.
    Not being satisfied with the internal cheese holding capacity of these jumbo burgers (the funny looking one is for my Malamute) I added more cheese and Neuske's after the flip.
    The burgers slid back and forth over the coals and then to a cooler part of the grill to cook more slowly.Some fresh corn and tomato salad (with black beans, onions, jalapenos, lime juice and bacon) was made ready.
    The burgers were built and then Mr. Moose decided to leave. I guess he was offended that I didn't offer him one.

    Wednesday, August 12, 2009

    Almost Wordless Wednesday - Old Lodge Chicken Fryer


    My old cast iron acquisitions have really tapered off but I had to snag this sweet old Lodge Chicken Fryer. The chicken fryer is nice but what really made me buy it is the lid. The old High Dome lids with the wire handles are just so damn cool.

    The Chicken Fryer looks to be from the 1930s and is in fine shape. The lid is even older {approx. 1920-30s}. It was in tough shape when I got it but the electrolysis tank did all the cleaning work.

    Chicken Fryers are a favorite of mine. Do you have one?

    Saturday, August 1, 2009

    Pollo al Mattone


    Pollo al Mattone is Italian for Chicken Under Bricks. Do you like chicken seasoned with a lemon and garlic flavored interior and super crispy (almost crusty) skin? Can you handle a big mess in the kitchen? I'm all over the first question but I'm definitely not in favor of cleaning half the surfaces in the kitchen. This bird is getting cooked outside.

    I prefer to cook outside as much as possible. This is a year round preference for me as I have the typical indoor/office bound job and I'm an outdoors kinda guy. In the summer, cooking indoors just seems dumb, so for much of the warmest season I tend to give my iron a bit of a rest and cook with one of my other favorite mediums, fire. Fire and smoke to be precise.

    Today seemed like a cast iron day. The temps are in the lower eighties and I've already taken the dogs on a 5 mile walk, cleaned the kitchen, worked on an old Lodge Chicken Fryer (you'll see it soon), and fixed a computer problem so it was time for a decent lunch. I had planned on eating the Pollo al Mattone for dinner but after a busy morning I felt like a big lunch and a small dinner.
    Marinate a spatchcocked chicken (spine and keel-bone removed) overnight in the following:
    Olive oil - 1 cup extra virgin
    Fresh Rosemary - 2 TBsp.
    Fresh Thyme - 2 TBsp.
    Garlic - 4 to 6 cloves smashed and roughly chopped
    Chile flakes - to taste
    Lemon juice - 1 whole lemon's worth
    Salt & Pepper - to taste

    One of the better purchases I made years ago was an outdoor propane burner. I use it mostly to light my charcoal chimney starters but it gets hauled out regularly for fire-roasting chiles, frying chicken and fish, stir frying in the wok (it has enough horsepower to really get the wok rocking and rolling). Today the burner was pressed into service for the Pollo al Mattone.
    A BIG skillet is needed for this. I used a 100 year old Griswold #12 that was perfect for the 4 pound chicken. Once you add the bricks or other weight the chicken really spreads out.
    When the pan is heated put the chicken skin side down into the dry skillet.
    A lid from a # 10 Camp Dutch Oven provides a nice base and some steaming. I wanted this bird to be squished into the pan. More iron was called for.
    A # 12 shallow and the # 10 that goes with the lid help to compress the yardbird.

    What? There are no bricks? Who cares! There's at least 25+ pounds of cast iron squashing the bejeezuss out of that bird....
    Happy?

    My outdoor burner has no settings like Low - Medium - High but I would say based on the sound of the chicken cooking that a Medium Low heat is needed. Too high and you'll scorch the exterior.

    I cooked mine 25 minutes skin side down and 20 minutes on the other side. The wind, outdoor temperature, heat from your burner can all vary so stick around and watch everything. One great benefit of this method is the dark and white meat are finished at the same time and both will be juicy and damn good.

    This technique is so common on the Net that even SATAN has a version.

    Thursday, July 16, 2009

    Pork Chops with Cornbread Stuffing from a Camp Dutch Oven

    This meal was inspired by my recent purchase of Johnny Nix's "Cookin' Outdoors All Time Favorite Recipes" from http://www.yalleatyet.com/ . Johnny provides a version of this recipe in his book using a stuffing mix. I like to make my own cornbread stuffing so I went in that direction.

    I'm goofy about stuffed pork chops but they have to be done the right way. Unless you are talking about a pork butt or ribs or some other well marbled piece of piggy brining the pork is mandatory.
    Cooking in a covered Dutch or Camp oven is a method that requires no peeking. Brining gives you extra insurance against overcooking the pork. (Have you ever had a pork chop that squeaked as you chewed it? Not good..)
    After brining for 30 minutes, rinse, pat dry and slice a pocket in each chop. Stuff but don't go crazy and turn them into baseballs. You want some contact with the bottom of the Camp Oven for browning. Season and set aside while you get the charcoals ready.
    Brown the pork chops in olive oil (I added a slice of Neuske's bacon). Barely visible in this pic is the Lodge Lid Stand. This lifts the oven a little higher than the legs and lets you put extra coals underneath for better browning.

    Once one side is browned flip the chops and cover with the lid. I used a #12 shallow Camp Oven with 8 coals underneath and 15 on top. I let the chops bake for 25 minutes.
    These were quite good. Cooking outdoors in a Camp Dutch Oven is a lot easier than you'd think (if you haven't tried it yet) and it gives you an alternative to grilling and barbecuing when the weather is too hot to cook inside.

    The Lewis and Clark expedition lugged their Camp Ovens from St. Louis to the coast of Oregon and then all the way back home. Along their trip they parted with a lot of gear to trade or lighten their load but the Camp Ovens were deemed too valuable to part with.

    Get one and you'll probably agree.




    Stuffing - Make ahead of time
    For the stuffing I used this cornbread recipe and after eating a chunk I crumbled the cornbread onto a sheetpan and dried it in a 250 degree oven.
    After sauteing some onions, carrots, celery and dried cherries the cornbread crumbs were added to the skillet along with chicken stock, salt and pepper and butter on top. The skillet went into a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. I like a moist stuffing for pork. Adjust liquid amounts to suit your preference.

    Wednesday, June 17, 2009

    Beef Fajitas


    What are the true origins of fajitas? Did they evolve from the cooking of Mexican vaqueros who were sometimes paid with cheap cuts of beef? Were they conjured up in Texas?

    I have not a clue and frankly I don't worry about it much. I like them and that is enough. These may or may not be authentic. I'm not wracking my brain cells about something as simple as fajitas.

    The stuff:
    1 flank steak
    1 yellow or white onion, axial slices rather than like onion rings
    1 red & 1 green bell pepper, cut into long strips
    2 jalapenos cut into long strips
    salt and pepper

    Marinade:
    1/4 cup olive oil
    the juice of 2 limes
    3 cloves garlic
    2 tsp. Worcestershire
    1 jalapeno sliced
    1 tsp. cumin
    2 tsp. ancho chile powder
    chopped cilantro
    Mix the ingredients and marinate flank steak overnight in a nonreactive container.
    To cook these I prefer to grill the meat over a super hot charcoal fire. For this cook I used lump charcoal, piled onto one side of my Weber kettle. Mesquite chips were also sprinkled throughout the coals.
    Onions, the green and red bell peppers and jalapenos were tossed in a big cast iron skillet with some olive oil and cooked on the cool side of the grill. I use a 12 inch Lodge 10SK for this and it works great. Start cooking the vegetables 10 minutes before adding the meat.
    The meat doesn't take very long. I let it go for three and a half minutes per side and then let it rest loosely covered with foil. You can slide the skillet over the hot part of the fire to finish the vegetables. Remove the skillet from the grill and set near the resting steak.
    You might as well heat the tortillas over the coals as the cast iron will keep the vegetables hot for quite a while.
    Serve over warm tortillas (slightly crisp is the way I like these) with guacamole, sliced limes and salsa. Most of the time that I make guacamole I'm also making salsa so I just add salsa to mashed avocados and call it good.

    If you'd like to take a stab at cooking these this way you might need these:
    Weber 751001 22 1/2-Inch One-Touch Gold Charcoal Grill, Black

    Lodge Logic 12-Inch Pre-Seasoned Skillet

    Any purchases made from links on this site will help support the improvements I hope to make to BID in the near future.

    For more cast iron on the grill action see this post at White on Rice Couple.

    Saturday, June 6, 2009

    Small Skillets - good things do come in small sizes

    Wagner Pie Logo ~ 1915 -1934
    It is probably safe to bet that the 10.25" skillet would be the most commonly found size in people's kitchens. Number 8s are certainly a useful size when cooking for two. 12" (and larger) skillets are impressive in their size, weight and capacity. I wouldn't want to be without either size (or drop them on my foot) but I've grown to appreciate the smaller skillets.

    A number 3 is usually 6.5" and these are perfect for cooking a single burger or egg. They also work very well as a baking dish when heating up leftovers.

    The pictured #3 skillet is a Wagner Ware "Pie Logo".

    A number 5 skillet is usually 8" and I find these to be a great size for cooking breakfast sausage or sauteing some carrots.
    This skillet is a Favorite #5 and it is unusually deep.
    Favorite "smile" logo - 1916 -1934
    Both of the picture skillets are at least 74 years old and get regular use.

    These smaller skillets are often found in excellent condition because they received less use and therefore have fewer utensil marks. The prices on the smaller skillets are usually lower than the larger frying pans. This is not always true as Griswold #4s and Wapak Indian Head #4s can fetch very high prices.

    If you are considering purchasing an old skillet to see why goofballs like me make a fuss over them consider a small one.

    Do you have a favorite skillet size?

    Sunday, April 26, 2009

    Linguisa and Kale Soup with Potatoes and Chick Peas

    Why am I making soup when it is almost May? Because it is freaking snowing again, that's why!
    (I went snowshoeing yesterday when I'd rather be on my Mt. Bike) Besides the snow, I like it, and it is a good way to eat the greens we all know we should.
    Linguisa is a Portuguese sausage that is one of my favorites.

    Ingredients:

    12 ounces Linguisa sausage

    1 bunch kale, washed and ripped up
    2 potatoes, cubed
    2 carrots peeled and diced
    3 cloves garlic
    1 can chick peas (garbanzo beans)

    1 chopped onion 

    1 quart chicken stock

    1 1/2 quarts water
    salt and pepper
    1 TBsp. paprika
    olive oil
    cayenne or red pepper flakes
    In a big ass Dutch Oven brown the sliced Linguisa with the chopped onion until the onion softens.
    Add your garlic and cook for a minute.

    Add the stock, water, potatoes and chick peas. You'll have to take my word that all that stuff is in there. Cook at a low simmer until the potatoes are soft ~ 25-30 minutes.
    Once the potatoes are cooked add the carrots (under the kale) and the kale. Kale wilts as it cooks so this is not an excessive amount.
    After just a few minutes the kale shrinks down and everything looks good but you should cook this longer before eating it. Add the rest of the seasonings.
    Partially cover and go do something else for a bit and let this cook. This will be another happy marriage of P-I-G and greens if you let it simmer for another 25 minutes or so.
    Finished! I like this with some cayenne and some crusty bread or toast. My soups are always really chunky. If you like lots of broth add more chicken stock and water.