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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Practical use of the sportsman's cooker

This is the Lodge sportsman's cooker. It's no longer made.

It was meant to expand the usefulness of the Lodge sportsman's grill.

As you can see, it fits nicely on two gas stove burners; It wouldn't work well across two electric burners, though.

I never used this pot before, but I was told it makes great baby back ribs.

If you don't have this pot, not to worry-- you can make baby back ribs in any cast iron pot.

Mix 1/2 cup white vinegar, 2/3 cups ketchup, 1 cup sugar*, 1 cup beef broth, worcestershire sauce and onion flakes.

*Brown sugar would work well too.

Put the ribs in a pot and pour the sauce over.

The recipe came from a crock pot cookbook, actually, but I cooked it covered, in the oven at 300.

After 3 hours, increased the temperature to 325.

They were falling off the bone. The only thing that would have made them better was if I had cooked beef ribs, instead of pork.

Practical use of the 17 inch skillet

This was my first time using the Lodge 17 inch skillet.

The picture is not what I was cooking; I was boiling water in it afterwards, for easier cleanup.

I used it to make "breakfast for everybody". Now, in my house, "everybody" is two people, but I did it all at the same time, in the same skillet.

Six slices of bacon and four eggs fit in this skillet. More could have fit, but there's only two of us.

The bacon went in first, then after they shrunk a little I added the eggs.

I was going to fry the eggs, but the yolks broke, so I just scrambled them.

If I had some potatoes, I'd have cubed them up and thrown them in too.

It was just like the old days, except on a propane burner instead of over a fire.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

I thought "ragout" was a spaghetti sauce

The following recipe is from a "5 ingredient" crock pot cookbook.

I used a cast iron pot*, and it's actually more than 5 ingredients. It's called Beef and Bean Ragout.

*Anything that can be cooked in a crock pot, can be cooked in a cast iron pot, on low heat.

I always thought "ragout", prounounced like Ragu, was spaghetti sauce. Frankly, this turned out to be very similar.

Cut some roast into cubes*. Brown in oil, in the bottom of the pot.

*This was my first time using Adolph's meat tenderizer on anything. I sprinkled it on the meat before I cut it. So far, I like it.

Add a can of roasted garlic diced tomatoes, a can of tomato sauce, half a pack of frozen loose pack hash browns (diced, not shredded), chopped onions, minced garlic, and a can of red kidney beans drained.

The recipe also called for chopped bell peppers; I loathe peppers, so I left them out.

I added some bacon bits too; That wasn't in the recipe.

At first I thought there wouldn't be enough liquid, but the frozen potatoes generated plenty of it.

Let it cook at first on medium, because the potatoes are frozen, then reduce to low.

I added shredded parmesan cheese afterward.

If this wasn't supposed to be spaghetti sauce, it sure was close to it! Spaghetti sauce with added potatoes and beans.

Actually I'd have preferred 93% lean ground beef instead of stew meat. After all, that is how I make spaghetti sauce.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

zucchini carrot cake

The following recipe is from "101 things to do with a dutch oven", and it's specifically for the ultimate dutch oven.

There are three recipes for that dutch oven in this book: sausage spinach wreath, zucchini carrot cake, and chocolate cake.

I don't make desserts very often, and if I did, it probably would not be zucchini carrot cake. The recipe looks good; it's just not something I would pick to make.

I would, however, like to try the chocolate cake recipe.

But for now, I will post the zucchini carrot cake recipe.

Keep in mind, you don't need the ultimate dutch oven for this; A 10 inch camp oven should work fine.

In a large bowl, cream 1/2 cup oil, 2 cups sugar, 3 eggs, and 3 tsp vanilla.

Stir in 2 cups shredded zucchini and 1 cup shredded carrots. Add 1 can crushed pineapple with liquid. Mix.

Add 1 tsp salt, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp baking soda, and 3 cups flour.*

*If you use self rising flour, you can omit the salt, baking powder and baking soda.

Fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts.

Bake at 350 in the oven, or using 10 coals on bottom, 14 on top*. Should take 40 to 50 mins.

*That coal combination is for the ultimate dutch oven; Use the appropriate amount of coals for your size.

For the frosting, mix 8 oz softened cream cheese and 1/2 cup softened butter until smooth.

Add 1 tsp vanilla and 4 cups powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time until blended. Frost cake after it cools.

Now, that's MY kind of salad!

I'm surveying the cookbook "How to cook everything: The Basics", and found a very simple salad that even I would make.

See, I don't do salad much, because I don't like lettuce. When I do make it, it's a "lettuce free salad".

The salad consists of tomatoes, cubed mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil leaves.

I love tomatoes, I love mozzarella cheese, and I love basil. So I declared, "That's MY kind of salad!"

Personally, I'd spruce it up with some greek olives too, and bacon bits.

So that's what you do with the 5 inch camp oven

I never sought out a 5 inch camp oven, because I couldn't imagine it being useful for much, except as an outdoor melting pot.

I'm still not going to pay $300 for one, which is the going rate for a Lodge. It's a very hot collector's item.

But after reading this recipe in "101 things to do with a dutch oven", I now understand why it can be useful.

On the other hand, the Lodge 6 inch camp oven is just as useful for the same purpose, and a lot cheaper!

I don't have that one either. So, what is this purpose I discovered?

Making cinnamon rolls. You make your bread in the regular camp oven, and the cinnamon frosting in the tiny camp oven.

In other words, it's an outdoor melting pot.

There are recipes out there specifically for this pot, and eventually I will try them in my 1 quart pot.

I've never made cinnamon rolls, so my first attempt would almost certainly be in the kitchen instead of outdoors, but this recipe looks good.

It calls for a 12 inch camp oven AND a 5 inch camp oven (or 6 inch, if you'd rather save money):

In a bowl, combine 2 cups flour, 1 tsp salt, and 2 tsp baking powder.* Cut in 3/4 cups of shortening.

*Or just use self rising flour.

Add 1/2 cup of milk and mix until dough forms. Roll out to 12 x 16 inches, about 1/4 inch thick.

Grate 3 or 4 apples and place evenly over the top; Sprinkle with cinnamon.

Roll the dough like a jelly roll, and cut into 12 rolls. Place in the large camp oven.

In the small camp oven, melt 1/4 cup butter. Add 2 cups water, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup brown sugar, and cinnamon.

Melt together until smooth. Brush over rolls.

Bake rolls for 30 minutes at 350. If doing this outside, that means 8 coals on bottom, 16 on top.

Similarly, you can make hot buttered rolls by melting butter in the tiny skillet and then brushing over your favorite rolls.

shrimp pasta prepared two ways

In the cookbook "How to cook everything: The Basics,", there were two recipes for pasta, and I decided to try them both.

The original recipes did not include shrimp; That was my addition.

I boiled linguine in a pot, and sauteed the following two combinations in separate cast iron skillets:

The first was minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, shrimp, and crushed red peppers.

The second was butter, fresh sage*, and shrimp (no garlic).

*Yes, it does need to be fresh, not dried. It makes all the difference.

Added shredded parmesan cheese to both.

The second was my favorite, by a long shot. I really liked the fresh sage!

The first one needed sprucing up, so I topped with basil pesto. That made it much better.

If I were to do this again, I'd combine the two, and make it with butter, fresh sage, minced garlic, and parmesan cheese.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

My second attempt at potato cakes

I mentioned in this article that I once tried to make potato cakes out of leftover mashed potatoes, but all I got was a brown crust stuck on the pan and hot mashed potatoes.

I wondered what I had done wrong?

So I tried it a little differently this time.

I sprayed the pan generously with Pam; One batch I cooked cold out of the fridge, and the other batch after the potatoes got to room temperature.

This time, at least the brown crust didn't get stuck to the pan...

It was essentially, a patty of hot mashed potatoes, with a very thin brown crust on the outside.

Every recipe I find, says to cook them while they're still cold. Personally I didn't see any difference between the two.

I'd have liked if they were crispier. I wonder if there's a trick to that, besides maybe cooking them longer?

Or perhaps adding bread crumbs...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

my first smoked salmon, first time using the ultimate dutch oven

This is my first time using the ultimate dutch oven.

I'm using it to smoke salmon outdoors, on a propane burner.

It's on my outdoor cooking table, which is built from cinder blocks and patio stones.

Tonight I discovered a feature of the ultimate dutch oven that I did not realize was there: It has a notch between the lid and pot, to insert a meat thermometer.

I knew the ultimate turkey roaster had one, but didn't realize this one did too.

I smoked some mesquite wood chips in water for about an hour, then put them in the bottom of the pot.

You don't necessarily have to soak them in water; You can soak them in beer, liquor, or other liquid for flavor.

I cut up the salmon fillet into four pieces. I did not season beforehand; I put some black pepper on it afterwards.

I could have used the bottom rack for the fish, but I decided to use the top rack. (I left the bottom rack out).

Turned on the burner, left the lid cracked until it started smoking, then put the lid on.

I checked after about 30 minutes and it was done.

It tasted like smoked salmon. While I normally don't really like smoked meat, I can say that I like smoked salmon.

You can do this in a regular dutch oven; Just use a round cooling rack on top of the wood chips.

Cleaning this pot wasn't nearly as much of a hassle as it was for the turkey roaster, which is a major pain to clean.

So now I have this pot next to my back door. I'll try using it again, and maybe I'll warm up to it.

Two recipes calling for two identical Lodge pans

This is a Lodge 2 quart casserole dish. It's discontinued.

There's a recipe in "A Skillet Full", which calls for two of these pans; You'll be lucky if you can find one!

Luckily, the Lodge 10 1/4 inch skillet is about 2 quarts, so you can use those for this recipe.

Since I have my own stuffing recipe, and I generally only make stuffing at Thanksgiving, it's not likely I'll be trying this one. So I'll just post it here:

Donny's Dressing

1 stick butter, melted
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
3 8 oz packages plain stuffing mix
1 1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 large can sliced mushrooms
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped
6 cans chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350. Saute onion and celery in a little of the butter.

In a bowl, mix stuffing mix, pecans, mushrooms, sauteed onion an celery, eggs, broth, and remaining butter.

Add additional broth if mixture is not moist enough. Pour into the 2 casserole dishes. Bake 30 to 45 mins.

The next recipe from the same cookbook, calls for two Lodge 10 inch square skillets.

If you don't have two of those, then one square and one round, would work just fine. Or two round skillets!

Once again, I only make stuffing at Thanksgiving, and I have my own recipe, so I probably won't be making this one.

So I'll post it here as well:

Mrs. Reed's cornbread dressing

1 skillet of cornbread (your favorite recipe)
8 cups chicken broth (as much as needed)
1/2 cup chopped green onion
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp sage
6 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Make cornbread and cool. Crumble into a big bowl. Add onions, carrots, parsley, eggs, black pepper and sage.

Stir in enough broth to make a thin mixture.

Pour into greased hot skillets, and bake at 400 for 30 minutes until brown.

two skillet breakfast

The following recipe is from "A Skillet Full" and it calls for two Lodge 12 inch skillets.

I don't have two regular 12 inch skillets; I used one 12 inch regular, and one 12 inch pro logic.

I halved the recipe, which was still plenty. The recipe is called "egg casserole for a crowd."

It called for chopped dried beef, but I used chopped ham instead.

In one bowl, mix 1/2 pound of chopped ham, some "real bacon" bits, and 1/2 carton of fresh sliced mushrooms.

In another bowl, mix 8 eggs and 1/4 cup evaporated milk.

In one skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter. Whisk in 1/4 cup of flour, then 1/2 cup of milk. Add black pepper. Whisk until it's a creamy gravy.

Turn off heat, mix in ham and mushroom mixture, and set that skillet aside.

In the other skillet, melt 2 tbsp butter and pour in the egg mixture. Scramble the eggs.

When the eggs are done, pour into the first skillet, then top with a few more mushrooms.

Into the oven at 275.

It would have been even better if I had sauteed the mushrooms in olive oil and Worcestershire sauce ahead of time.

The recipe didn't call for shredded cheese, but I bet it would be good, topped with that.

There's no way the whole recipe would fit into one 12 inch skillet, so if you're doing a whole recipe, you'd have to divide it between both of them to bake.

Friday, July 22, 2011

the simmer mat

This is a simmer mat.

It's not cast iron, and it's not a trivet, although it can be used as one.

It's meant for putting on your gas stove burner, to help diffuse the heat so that the food doesn't burn as much.

I discovered this when I was trying to find a solution to my food burning on the bottom, when I was trying to simmer on my gas stove.

You can use it on electric stoves, too.

Check out their website for more information.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Been looking for recipes for the ultimate dutch oven

I have an ultimate dutch oven that I have never used, so I would like to put it to use at some point.

So I've been looking for recipes, which aren't very easy to come by.

There used to be an Ultimate Dutch Oven cookbook, but it's been discontinued.

The recipes I do find, I'm quickly realizing that most anything that can be made in the ultimate dutch oven, can be made in a regular pot.

And, if it can be made in a regular pot, it almost always can be made in the ultimate dutch oven.

The other night I made a recipe that came with the manual, but since it was a dessert, I used a smaller pot to make it.

I just can't justify making any dessert, bread, soup or stew in this pot*, when I can more easily make it in a smaller pot.

*You certainly CAN make that stuff in the ultimate dutch oven. I just wouldn't, if I can use a smaller pot that's easier to carry and clean.

Nevertheless, I'm seeking out things that I am willing to try-- mostly meat dishes.

I can see how it would be useful as a small smoker, but smoked meat isn't my favorite.

I am willing to try smoked salmon, since I've never had that. I don't have an ultimate dutch oven recipe for smoked salmon, but I'm sure any recipe will work.

Now, there's one interesting, yet ridiculous looking recipe that I will probably not try, because sausage isn't my favorite thing, and it appears to be a hassle.

It's in the cookbook "101 things to do with a dutch oven", and it specifically calls for the ultimate dutch oven:

Sausage spinach wreath

1/2 pound fresh ground pork, browned and drained
1/2 pound pork sausage, browned and drained
1 package cream cheese, softened
1 can water chestnuts, drained and chopped
1 box Knorr vegetable soup mix
6 oz chopped frozen spinach, thawed
2 green onions, chopped
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed

In a bowl, mix all ingredients except pastry, cover, and set aside.

I'm going to skip the fancy complicated stuff you're supposed to do with the pastry to make it into a wreath.

Just cut it in pieces, and lay them on the bottom of the dutch oven rack. It'll be fine.

Place meat mixture in a ring over the puff pastry pieces. Then put some more pieces on top.

I'm pretty sure you could use pie shells in place of the puff pastry.

Place the rack in the preheated dutch oven; Bake at 400 degrees using 15 coals on bottom and 20 on top.

Should take 40 to 50 minutes; check with a meat thermometer and make sure it's 160 degrees.

It's possible I may try the meat mixture itself and make a pork meatloaf. But I wouldn't need the ultimate dutch oven for that either.

This cookbook has three recipes specifically for the ultimate dutch oven: sausage spinach wreath, zucchini carrot cake, and chocolate cake.

skillet pot pie

I used the last of my ultimate roast to make a pot pie in a skillet.

Pot pie is very simple; You just use your choice of meat, veggies and sauce, between two pie crusts.

I've often used leftover stew, using my stew to pot pie trick.

My veggies always include carrots, mushrooms*, onions, and minced garlic. Celery is optional, so are peas.

*fresh mushrooms. friends don't let friends use canned mushrooms.

You can use potatoes if you want but I usually don't, since it makes it too starchy for me. If the stew contains potatoes, I take them out.

The "sauce" can consist of cream of chicken soup, or you can make your own beef gravy.

Bake in the oven at 350 until done.

"loaf pans are great to cook in!"

Before I started really cooking, I never saw any need to have a loaf pan; After all, I could buy bread from the store-- why would I need it?

And one day it was suggested to me, whether you plan to make bread or not, "Loaf pans are great to cook in!"

I've talked about using loaf pans in my blog before. I use them for making bread and meatloaf, of course.

I've also used them for precooked frozen turkey loaf, and answered a question about how many pounds of beef fit in a loaf pan.

So besides that, why else are they great to cook in?

It's all about thinking outside the box. You can use them to make side dishes and desserts too.

Anything that can be cooked in a small pot, can be cooked in a loaf pan.

I made cobbler in mine:

Mix 1 cup bisquick with 1/2 cup of milk (more if needed),1/2 cup of sugar, and 2 tbsp melted butter.

Put your fruit in the pan first, then pour the mixture over the fruit. Into the oven at 375.

Lodge had discontinued their loaf pans for a few years, but now they're back by popular demand.

Since it's cast iron, you can use it on the stovetop as well as in the oven.

Old Mountain makes a loaf pan, but the ends are slightly beveled, not straight like a traditional loaf pan.

My first loaf pan was a Sante Cabin because I couldn't get a Lodge one. I kept that one, but sold the Old Mountain one.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Two different Lodge chef platters

This is a Lodge chef's platter, with a wood underliner.

It's part of their sizzleware serving platter line.

The one pictured above is about 11 x 7 inches.

Recently, Lodge released a second chef's platter, which is 12 x 15 inches and is called the Jumbo chef's platter.

So, don't be confused if you decide to order one; Make sure you're getting the size you want.

They're usually used to keep hot food hot, but you can also chill them in the refrigerator to keep cold food cold.

Actually, you can do that with any cast iron griddle or skillet; I had not realized that.

I don't have either one of the chef platters, and don't anticipate needing one.

I have the special steak platter with the au jus well, which I had written about in a previous article, thinking I would not get one because I didn't need it.

Famous last words.

In any case, if you have a fajita pan or small griddle, you can use it for the same thing.

Lodge divided rectangle mini server

What on earth do you do with this?

This is the Lodge divided rectangle mini server. It's part of their tableware line.

You can't really cook in it, unless you want to make three brownies or three cornbread squares*.

*A consumer suggested it was "great for mini meatloaves for the kids."

The Lodge website suggests serving three chicken wings, or heating and serving three different types of sauces.

I figured it might be good for serving sushi. But as many sushi places as I've been to, I've never seen it used for that.

I've really never seen it "used" at all.

There's a recipe posted on the Lodge website which can be served using this: Steamed Appetizer Sampler.

Note that you can't COOK it in this pan; you SERVE it in this pan.

I don't have one, don't plan to get one, just thinking about it and wondering what I'd ever use it for.

contest for the Lodge oval mini server

This is the Lodge 9 oz oval mini server.

It's not to be confused with the new 36 oz oval server, which is bigger.

You can read more about Lodge tableware mini servers here and here.

Now why would I be writing a dedicated article about this little piece of crockery?

Because there's a contest going on right now.

Apparently Lodge mini servers are used in restaurants across the country, although in my years of going to restaurants, I've never seen one.

So if you go to a restaurant and order something served in this particular mini server, take a picture of it and upload it to the Lodge facebook page, along with the recipe.

The best photo and recipe will win FOUR of those oval mini servers.

Personally, I don't even need one, let alone four of them!

The Lodge website says they're "perfect for asparagus tips and mushroom tips".

I'm sure they're great for looking cute when having guests over for dinner.

They are about 6 inches long and 3 inches wide. So if you can picture, that's smaller than a 6 inch skillet, which is plenty small I think.

Again I say, 100% useful for its intended purpose, BUT the small skillets serve the exact same purpose and more.

And the skillets are cute too!

I sold some of my cast iron!

Yes, it's true. I looked at my cast iron collection and decided I had entirely too much, so I listed some stuff on ebay.

Just a few "non Lodge" pieces that I wasn't using, and probably wasn't going to.

As I've said before, the first to go was the ultimate turkey roaster, for various reasons.

Next to go was my two pie pans. I wasn't using them, and I have two #7 skillets and a 9 inch skillet, which can be used for pie.

I really prefer a handle that I can grab when removing stuff from the oven, so my oven gloves don't get dirty.

And then the Old Mountain loaf pan.

Now, loaf pans are wonderful to cook in, but I really don't need five of them!

Old Mountain got the ax because it's shaped slightly different than a standard loaf; The edges are beveled, instead of straight like a normal loaf pan.

Finally, the four small griddles from Sante Cabin. Brownie skillets, cookie skillets, whatever.

Not because they aren't useful, but because I have plenty of small Lodge pans that are useful for the exact same purposes.

I tried to sell the Old Mountain 4 quart oval pot, but nobody bought it and nobody would take it for free, so I guess I have myself a pot.

There was nothing wrong with it; I just wasn't using it. In fact, I made my most recent pork tenderloin in that pot just so I could say I used it once!

I prefer round pots to oval.

Soon I'm going to sell one of my #9 skillets (11 inch), which is the perfect size I think... but I just don't need two of them.

At some point I'm going to purposely try and use my ultimate dutch oven to see if I want to keep it. I haven't used it yet; haven't had reason to.

Some might say hey, you can't have too much cast iron! Admittedly though, I looked around and thought to myself, yes, I have entirely too much.

My first camp oven dessert

This is a Lodge camp oven.

Traditionally, smaller sized camp ovens have been used to make desserts, and I made my first camp oven dessert.

Right now there is a burn ban in Midland, so I could not use coals; I just put it in my regular oven at 350.

This recipe came from the manual for the ultimate dutch oven, which is the smaller cousin to the ultimate turkey roaster.

See my earlier article comparing the two.

Even though the recipe came with the ultimate dutch oven, I decided to use a 4 quart Lodge camp oven, which fit the recipe just fine.

The recipe was Cherry Soda Cobbler, but I like strawberry better so I used that.

2 cans of pie filling, 1 yellow cake mix, 1 can of Sprite.

First add the pie filling, then the yellow cake mix, then the Sprite.

Into the oven at 350. I checked on it after 30 minutes and left it in a little longer, until I could smell it.

It was good, except that I completely forgot the cool whip. Never forget the cool whip!

I think next time I will use only ONE can of pie filling, or perhaps frozen strawberries.

The cake mix I used was Duncan Hines.

recycled ultimate roast

I made enough of the ultimate roast last night to have it another night.

But I decided it needed some sprucing up, so I strained the liquid, put it in a skillet and made a gravy out of it with wondra flour.

Then I added bacon bits to the gravy.

Poured it back onto the roast and veggies. It was quite good!

There's still some left. I'll probably make a pot pie out of the rest.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

can you make brown n serve rolls in a french roll pan?

This is a french roll pan.

I wondered if those brown n serve rolls that I like so much, could be made in this pan.

They come in packs of 12, and there are 12 spaces for rolls.

So I put one in each space; Since they were a bit narrow, I laid them on their side.

They came out perfect!

Curved bottoms on baking pans allow for better air circulation underneath, so you don't have a flat overcooked bottom.

So... yes, you can make brown n serve rolls in this pan!

Monday, July 18, 2011

recipe calling for two 10 inch skillets?

This recipe caught my eye, for the very reason that it calls for two Lodge 10 1/4 inch skillets.

Normally I'd be tempted to try it out for that reason alone. I only have one of those skillets, but there are others that I can easily substitute for the other, such as the Lodge square skillet.

But because I loathe peppers of any kind, I'm not a fan of "mexican cornbread" which is what this recipe is.

So I'll just post the recipe without trying it out myself, OK?

It's from the cookbook "A Skillet Full".

"Mexican Cornbread for a crowd"

4 tbsp cooking oil, divided
3 cups white self rising cornmeal
1 1/2 cups plain flour
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup finely chopped bell pepper
1/2 cup diced pimentos
2 or 3 Jalepeno peppers, finely chopped
1 2/3 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 15 oz can cream style corn
1/2 cup cooking oil
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
3 eggs, beaten

Put 2 tbsp oil in each skillet and place in oven while preheating to 400.

Mix cornmeal, flour, and sugar. Add onion, bell pepper, pimento, jalepeno peppers. Stir carefully.

Add cheese, corn, cooking oil, buttermilk, sour cream, and eggs. Mix well.

Divide into hot skillets. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until done.

Apparently you can also use a Lodge bundt cake pan, but those are no longer made and hard to find.

Good to know, though, that two skillets can be substituted for recipes that call for a bundt pan.

Ultimate Roast

Ultimate Roast is the final recipe in the manual that came with the ultimate turkey roaster.

I've already tried the other recipes, which were for ultimate veggies, yankee ribs, and cornish hen.

Since I no longer have my turkey roaster, I used the Lodge 7 quart pro logic pot. I think it was my first time using that pot!

I seasoned the roast with Lawry's seasoned salt with cracked pepper. Melted butter in the pot, and browned the roast.

Added quartered red potatoes, baby carrots, onion quarters, whole mushrooms, a few corn cobs, minced garlic, 1/2 can of Coke*, and more seasoning**.

*I wonder how it would have tasted with beer instead of Coke?

**I should have added bacon bits. That would have been tasty! Whole garlic cloves could also be used, instead of minced.

Covered the pot, into the oven at 300.

After 2 hours it wasn't done yet, so I upped the temperature to 350. Although it's always better to cook roast "low and slow".

After it was done, I added Worcestershire sauce for flavor.

When I was eating it, I added "bacon salt", which gave me the idea that I should have added bacon bits. It was my first time trying "bacon salt" on anything.

Having tried every recipe in the manual, I can now discard it, since I no longer have the pot.

I conclude that there's nothing you can cook in the ultimate turkey roaster, that you can't cook in any large cast iron pot.

I do acknowledge that the convection cone speeds up the cooking process, as the recipes do take longer than stated in the manual. But, it was cumbersome and such a pain to clean.

At first I thought I might regret getting rid of it; I don't have any regrets, nor am I sorry I tried it out.

I do still have the ultimate dutch oven and plan to try that out eventually.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The 10 inch camp oven lid fits on a 5 qt dutch oven

Some people want a camp oven without legs, which Lodge does not sell.

Pictured above is the Lodge 10 inch camp oven lid, on a Lodge 5 quart dutch oven.

As you can see, it fits.

Note that the 12 inch camp oven lid will NOT fit on the 7 quart dutch oven, even though they are both 12 inches.

This is because the 7 quart dutch oven has 2 pour spouts on either side. So, it will not make the proper seal required with dutch ovens.

The pro logic 7 quart pot does not have the pour spouts; I tried the 12 inch camp oven lid on that one, and it "sort of" fits, but again, not with a proper seal.

So, if you want to have a pot with a flat lid, but no legs, then the 10 inch camp oven lid with the 5 quart pot, is the combination you want.

If you want a bigger pot with a flat lid and no legs, then I don't know what to tell you, except to buy a camp oven and cut the legs off with a grinder.

high desert cornish game hens

The following recipe is modified from the manual that came with the ultimate turkey roaster.

I don't have my ultimate turkey roaster anymore, so I used a 5 quart cast iron pot.

First you have to make the stuffing:

Chop a sweet yellow onion and cook down in olive oil, in a cast iron skillet.

Put the onions in a bowl, along with wheat bread broken into 2 inch pieces, and a can of cream of chicken soup.

Add sage and "grub rub" seasoning*. Mix.**

*Grub Rub is an all purpose seasoning available in my local store; you can order it online.

**The recipe called for Camp Chef Sidewinder wing seasoning, which I do not have. So I used grub rub.

The recipe called for stuffing the hens with this mixture, but I baked it separately in a skillet.

Coat the cornish hens with "grub rub" and sage. Spray with olive oil Pam. Place in a cast iron pot, in the oven at 350.

I removed the stuffing when it was done, after about 45 minutes.

After an hour and a half, the hens still weren't quite done, so I took the lid off and roasted another 30 minutes. It helped to brown the skin.

I have to say, the stuffing and the birds were quite good.

Next I'm going to try the final recipe in the manual, which is ultimate roast.

Previously I tried the other two recipes which were ultimate veggies and yankee ribs.

Lodge dutch ovens with spiral bail handles

This is a Lodge indoor dutch oven with a spiral bail handle.

The 9 quart dutch oven ONLY comes with this handle.

But the 5 and 7 quart dutch oven can come with this handle, or with 2 side loop handles.

The difference amounts to personal preference; The loop handles make it easier to handle the pot in and out of the oven.

The bail handle is for hanging your pot over a fire, of course. The spiral in the middle is for comfort when lifting.

The pots with the loop handles are cheaper than the ones with the bail handles, so if you don't plan to cook over a fire...

Isn't it ironic, that I would call a pot with a spiral bail handle, an "indoor pot"?

I refer to pots without legs as "indoor pots" because they can be used in your indoor kitchen, in the oven or on the stove.

As opposed to "outdoor pots" with legs to be used over coals.

But I recognize that if you're using this pot over a fire, then it becomes an outdoor pot!

Friday, July 15, 2011

The griswold #9 dutch oven

This is a Griswold #9 dutch oven. Why is that so important?

For the past couple of years, I've been searching for a 6 quart pot for indoor use, in regular cast iron.

In this article, I lamented that Lodge makes a 6 quart enameled pot, and a 6 quart camp oven, but NOT a regular 6 quart pot, in regular cast iron.

And neither does anybody else!

Now, why was that so important? Because I had a pot in every quart size, EXCEPT 6; I could not find one.

Thirty years ago, Lodge did make a 6 quart pot; The model number was 9DO. If you find one of those, it's very rare.

And twenty years ago, they made a 6 quart flat bottomed straight kettle, which I've been looking for, and have not found.

So I saw this Griswold pot on ebay. It was a #9. Pots used to be sold by model number, not volume.

So, since the Lodge 6 quart pot was a #9, I guessed that the Griswold 6 quart pot was also a #9. It was a gamble, but I had to try it out.

At first I did a visual check next to my 5 quart pot. My face fell, because they looked nearly the same.

Then came the water test; Indeed, 6 quarts of water filled this pot.

So, if you're looking for a 6 quart cast iron pot, suitable for indoor use... The Griswold #9 is the one you want.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Lodge 36 oz tableware server

This is the Lodge 36 oz tableware server.

It's not to be confused with the Lodge oval mini server, which is only 9 oz.

I wrote about it in this article, although I did not have a picture of it, nor had I actually seen one.

The picture makes it appear smaller than it really is; It's about the size of a standard fajita pan.

At 36 oz, it's slightly over 1 quart. So it can also be considered a 1 quart casserole dish.

And as an 8x8 square baking pan is approximately 1 1/2 quarts, you can make most recipes that call for a square baking pan, in this dish-- such as this recipe.

Recently, Lodge put out a contest: Whoever submitted the best BBQ sauce recipe, won this item for free.

As I've never personally made BBQ sauce, I did not enter this contest. I should have found a recipe and tried it out, but I didn't.

The mini servers are meant for tiny servings of appetizers or desserts, but this server is big enough for a small meal.

my first borscht

Borscht is a Russian soup.

I got this recipe from a "5 ingredient" cookbook.

It was pretty simple, really.

I browned beef cubes in cooking oil, in a cast iron skillet before transferring to the pot; The original recipe did not include that step.

With the beef cubes, I added a can of beets (two would have been better), a jar of red cabbage, an envelope of Lipton onion soup mix, and some beef broth.

The original recipe called for water; Broth is always better.

I had trouble finding the jar of red cabbage; It was by the kosher foods in the grocery store. I figured it would be by the sauerkraut, but it wasn't.

Apparently you can also add onions, carrots and potatoes, but this recipe didn't include those ingredients.

Serve topped with sour cream.

Since I'm from South Louisiana and we eat rice with our soups and stews, I cooked some rice to pour it over.

This "5 ingredient" cookbook appears to be too simple for me, but I still can get ideas from it.

The Lodge 14 inch camp oven lid

This is a Lodge camp oven lid. Why is that so important?

I learned from this blog article that you can use the 14 inch camp oven lid as a cover for the Lodge wok.

(The 12 inch camp oven lid fits the discontinued Lodge stir fry skillet).

Woks traditionally do not have lids; The main purpose would be to keep food warm, and to keep the moisture in, before serving and during the meal.

The author of that article likes to cook extra and have leftovers for lunch the following day. So the lid is quite handy for preserving those leftovers, without having to package them up immediately after cooking.

I also believe that a lid would greatly expand the usefulness of a wok, since you can now use it as a covered skillet or pot.

I saw a video once, where a man scrambled a dozen eggs using the 14 inch camp oven lid. Personally, I'd prefer to use a skillet.

Now, researching the price of a Lodge 14 inch camp oven lid, I've found that the camp oven itself is not much more.

What causes me to balk, is the simple fact that I don't need another pot.

But if I were to get one, it would probably be the 14 inch deep camp oven, and here is why:

The 14 inch regular camp oven is 8 quarts, and so is the 12 inch deep camp oven, which I've already got. So, another 8 quart pot would be redundant.

The 14 inch deep camp oven is 10 quarts, and would be great for roasting a turkey over coals, which I've never done and would like to try.

I've sold my ultimate turkey roaster for reasons outlined in past articles*, so this would make a nice replacement.

*Mainly, turkey is best roasted in dry heat, and the ultimate turkey roaster "steams" the turkey.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

"a pork rub"

When a friend told me he used "a pork rub" on pork tenderloin, I figured I could just go to the store and buy pork rub.

But there were none to be found, so I made up my own: sage, thyme, allspice, and paprika.

Then I put that on some pork tenderloin and basted it with apple juice.

Into the oven, in a covered cast iron pot, at 350.

When the pork was done, I removed it from the pot, poured in more apple juice, and reduced* it on the stovetop to a thick syrup.

*"reduce" means to boil it until it reduces, or thickens.

Then I poured in some more apple juice and reduced it some more. Returned the roast to the pot.

It was wonderful that way.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Roasted pork tenderloin

I made roasted pork tenderloin in a cast iron skillet.

Marinate the tenderloin in coconut milk, worcestershire sauce, a little bit of dijon mustard, minced garlic.

Then when ready to roast, put sliced mushrooms and onions in the skillet with the tenderloin, along with more coconut milk and worcestershire sauce.

Roast in the oven at 325, until the internal temp is 160.

Pork has never been my favorite thing, but this was delicious.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

ranch burgers

For the 4th of July, I made burgers a different way: with Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix.

Use 1 packet of dressing mix per pound of meat. Mix it in with the meat.

I added worcetershire sauce as well, because I like it.

Grill the burgers as usual.

There has to be a better way to make cod

The other night, I made some cod fish similar to how I made this recipe, except that I used French's honey mustard instead of regular mustard.

The former recipe was great, but this wasn't quite so good. I figured, there has to be a better way to make cod.

So I tried it two different ways. One was with parmesan crusted chicken shake and bake, which turned out fantastic.

The other was similar to this pork chop recipe.

I seasoned the cod with black pepper and italian seasoning, then I laid it in a cast iron skillet along with some chopped celery and onions (I didn't have mushrooms), and minced garlic.

Then added coconut milk and put in the oven at 350.

This recipe was good too although I liked the parmesan crusted chicken one the best.

Yes, the box says it's for chicken, but apparently it's good on fish too.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

the cast iron hot dog cooker

There aren't exactly any cast iron hot dog cookers; The closest you will come to one is the above pie iron, which is specially shaped for hot dogs and sausages.

But I recently discovered that the wonder skillet is an excellent stovetop hot dog cooker.

It perfectly fits up to four standard sized hot dogs. I'm not sure about "bun length" hot dogs; maybe two if you put them diagonally.

Just heat up on the stove and cook the hot dogs. Be sure you turn frequently, to avoid black spots on the dogs.