Monday, March 5, 2012

Cooking with Lodge Cast Iron

Never ever, not in a million years, trust a Southern cook that doesn’t own a cast iron skillet. With qualities that don’t come easy, cast iron cookware is literally a must-have for even the most novice of cooks. No other cookware does what cast iron can do. Naturally nonstick, ready for a killer sear at all times, cast iron is comfortably at home both on the stovetop and the oven.
It’s not often that I look forward to the specific date a cookbook is released. The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook had me checking my calendar and nearly marking off the days like a schoolgirl waiting for summer vacation. The cast iron skillet is the one piece of equipment that bonds all Southern cooks together. We all have one (in my case, several) and most of us list it near the top of our most treasured possessions. Lodge Manufacturing has been supplying cooks with cast iron for over four generations.
Most people cook just a few recipes in their cast iron and are missing out on so much of the fun. Now, thanks to this companion for the trusted cookware, the possibilities are endless. Cooking without Lodge is as silly as spending a Sunday morning on the back pew in a church with no preacher.
Pimento Cheese Panini Sandwich

Nothing is simpler to make for a quick dinner than a delicious sandwich served with a salad or a bowl of soup. This recipe from Gourmet Gadget Gal blogger Jane Gaither twists together two classic southern sandwiches, the pimento cheese and the BLT, and presses them into an oozy melt sure to please your family. If you don’t own a panini press, you can always use a smaller preheated cast iron skillet to press the sandwich down. This recipe makes enough pimento cheese for eight sandwiches but it will keep in your refrigerator for two weeks.

Makes 1 sandwich

Pimento Cheese Spread:
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
One 4-ounce jar diced pimentos, drained
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
A few grinds of black pepper
6 tablespoons mayonnaise (Jane likes to use Dukes)

2 slices (1/3-inch-thick) bread cut from a dense loaf
Softened butter
2 strips thick-sliced bacon (Jane uses Benton’s from Vonore, Tennessee), cooked until crisp
1 ripe tomato, sliced

1. In a medium bowl, mix together the ingredients for the Pimento Cheese Spread. 
2. Butter each slice of bread on one side.
3. Heat a 12-inch Lodge Grill Pan and Panini Press over medium-high heat.
4. Place 1 slice of bread, butter side down, on the hot grill pan. Spoon 3 tablespoons of the Pimento Cheese Spread onto the bread and spread it to the edges. Add the bacon and sliced tomato, then the second slice of bread with the butter side facing up.
4. Take the hot panini press and place it on top of the bread for 2 minutes, pressing gently to flatten the sandwich.
5. Remove the press, then remove the sandwich to a plate. Enjoy!

Vidalia Cornbread

Vidalia onions grow only in south Georgia and are available from late April until mid-September. They can be found in most grocery stores during these months. Carolyn Gonce LeRoy has had this recipe for over forty years and makes it often.

Serves 8

2 cups white self-rising cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg, slightly beaten
2 cups finely chopped Vidalia onions

1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch cast iron skillet.
2. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, milk, oil, and egg until well blended (the batter will be thin). Stir in the onions, mixing well.
3. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake until golden brown, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before cutting into wedges.

Recipes and images courtesy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook (Oxmoor House, 2012)
Copyright © 2012 Rebecca Lang Cooks, LLC. All rights reserved. 

I was supplied a free review copy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook from Lodge Manufacturing.

1 comment:

Barb Freda said...

Always at the top of my list of essential kitchen tools! I have my eye on their combo-cooker since it's my new favorite way to bake bread, thanks to Tartine Bread by Chad Robertson. Trouble is, it costs $90 here in Bermuda!...I will be hand carrying one back in the near future...only $30 Stateside. Anyway, I digress...I look forward to checking this cookbook out. I love Lodge.