Skillet S’mores

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Some have been asking about this simple recipe, so I thought I would throw it up here.

You need:

Enough walnuts (or your favorite nut) to cover the bottom of the skillet.

Enough butter to cover the nuts when heated

Chocolate chips

Marshmallows

Graham crackers

 

Directions:

On your stovetop, heat butter in a cast iron skillet. Place nuts in the skillet and toss in the butter. Let heat. Once you start to smell the nuts cooking, add chocolate chips and marshmallows. Move to oven under the broiler for 40 seconds or until marshmallows are golden brown.

Forget The Recipes!

I heard a famous chef recently say, “Forget the recipes! Nobody can learn hundreds of recipes. Learn a few techniques and master them; that is what makes a great chef.” With that in mind, I wanted to share a grilling technique. Tonight I made Buffalo Chicken Legs, but the recipe is not important, the technique is for Bone-In Chicken. Learn that and you can make Buffalo, BBQ, or any other kind of bone-in chicken your heart desires.

The Technique:

IMG_5210Nothing is worse than floppy skin on chicken. So, I use direct high heat to sear the chicken on all sides, about 90 seconds per side.

IMG_5211After the chicken is seared on all sides, I move it to the indirect side of the grill (no charcoal directly under the meat) and let it cook for 25-30 minutes with the lid on (LEAVE THE LID ON). If you’re lookin’ you’re not cookin’!

IMG_5212After 25-30 minutes over indirect heat, you end up with this. You can sauce at this point or just serve it as is.

I will, from time to time share other techniques that I have picked up along the way. But for now, chicken is cheap, go try this one out and tell me how it works out for you. Can’t wait to see your work!

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Amy’s Peach Cobbler

IMG_4315My wife, Amy makes the best Peach Cobbler. Saturday, I finally found her the perfect vessel to bake it in. It is a 100-year-old Griswold “Chicken Frier”. So now, her cobbler looks as cool and rustic as it tastes. She made it last night for a church function and once again brought home an empty pan. It is easy and cheap to make. Whether or not you have any vintage cast iron, try it and it will instantly be a family favorite.

Ingredients
4 cups peeled, sliced peaches
2 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
8 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 cups self-rising flour
1 1/2 cups milk
Ground cinnamon

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine the peaches, 1 cup sugar, and water in a saucepan and mix. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
Put the butter in a 3-quart baking dish and place in oven to melt.
Mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, and milk slowly to prevent clumping. Pour mixture over melted butter. Do not stir. Spoon fruit on top, gently pouring in syrup. Sprinkle top with ground cinnamon, if using. Batter will rise to top during baking. Bake for 45 minutes.

Dutch Oven Pot Roast

When my brother and I moved out on our own in college, I had to learn to cook or live on Ramen for a year. I chose to cook. The first thing I did was get a slow cooker and make a pot roast with carrots and potatoes. It was heaven (compared to the pizza and burgers we had been living on)! As I have grown as a cook, though, my pot roast stayed the same…pretty blasé. The problem with the slow cooker, in my estimation, is the time it takes to cook and the overabundance of moisture it encourages. I always end up with soggy, bland meat and almost tasteless vegetables.

Enter my new (100 year old) Griswold cast iron Dutch Oven.

Instead of cooking for 10 hours, I cooked my roast on Sunday for barely over 4. The simple directions are below. Hope you try it and enjoy!

You need:

1 Roast (cut of your choice; I prefer Chuck Roast)

2 large Potatoes

4 large Carrots

1 Onion

Salt

Pepper

Olive oil

1 Packet of McCormick Pot Roast Seasoning

Directions:

Rub the roast with Olive oil and Salt/Pepper and sear on all sides in the dutch oven (about 4 min/side over medium-high heat) Remove the roast and put the Seasoning mix into the leftover fat. Whisk until well combined. Slowly add enough beef stock to cover the bottom of the Dutch oven and whisk vigorously until a thick gravy is achieved. Place the Roast back in the pot and place in the oven for 2 1/2 hours on 350°

After the first cook, place half of your carrots and potatoes on the bottom and stir to cover in the gravy. (add water or stock if necessary) Place roast in the center on top of the vegetables. Use remaining vegetables to fill in around the sides (like an insulation against the pan). Drizzle more olive oil over the vegetables and roast. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Roast for one more hour. DO NOT PEEK, JUST LEAVE IT ALONE! Remove from oven allow to rest for ten minutes before slicing.

Maple Sausage Cornbread

 

I got a little creative in the kitchen last night and made a “just throw it in there” kind of cornbread. I used a general mixture for the bread, but added some interesting twists. The result was an amazingly rich and fluffy cornbread that could be eaten as an entree.

You need:

3/4 cup of Yellow Corn Meal

3/4 cup AP Flour

1 1/2 tsp. of Baking Powder

1/2 tsp. of Baking Soda

1/2 tsp. Salt

1 stick Butter

2 Eggs

1 cup Buttermilk

1 tsp. Bacon Drippings

1/4 cup Maple Syrup

4 oz. Breakfast sausage

Directions:

Preheat your cast iron skillet (with bacon drippings) in your oven to 425. Mix your dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together all wet ingredients. Combine wet and dry ingredients and stir to just enough to combine. Add browned sausage and maple syrup. Melt the stick of butter and add it as well. When your oven and pan come to 425, add the entire batter and bake for 22 minutes. Enjoy!

Reclamation!

I got the idea in my mind that I wanted some really nice cast iron cookware. After doing some research, I found that a company named Griswold was the manufacturer of some of the best cast iron cookware ever made. Back in the early 20th century, there were two ways that cast iron cookware was made. The lower quality stuff was just poured into a mold and sold. This method left little, almost indiscernible peaks and valleys, a rough surface. These pans are fine for cornbread, but terrible for more delicate things like eggs. By the way, this is how all modern cast iron cookware is produced (see Lodge)

The finer stuff like Griswold and Wagner was poured into a mold as well, but then was machine milled to produce an extremely smooth cooking surface. These pans are still available today for a pretty hefty price. For a pan in decent condition, on eBay, you can expect to pay anywhere from $45-$500. I just can’t bring myself to pay that kind of money, so I came up with another option. I put an ad on Craigslist and got a reply within 24 hours. The guy said he had several pans left to him by his Granny. I went over to take a look and found a bunch of rusty junk! It was in rough shape, but it was all Griswold and the price was right. I took six pans and one Dutch Oven.

Later that night, I went to Target and got white vinegar, steel wool and some rubber gloves. I soaked the pans in equal parts vinegar and water for one hour. Then I went to scrubbing. Once all the pieces were clean, I buried them well and began seasoning. I use coconut oil, but use whatever you are comfortable with. I rubbed each down with oil, then wiped as much of the oil off as possible with paper towels. 2 hours in a 425 degree oven, cool in the oven and repeat 3x. By midnight, I had soaked, scrubbed, scoured, splashed, scorched,  and seasoned six BEAUTIFUL pans. Last night, I made cornbread in my 100-year old Griswold skillet. What a great experience! I got to take pride in a project while acquiring some valuable pieces with historical significance. WIN-WIN! Do you have any old cast iron? Try my method, and you might just find some treasure!