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93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like having a cooking expert standing next to me while I learn to cook
I've always thought of cast iron cookware as too much trouble to bother with and way to heavy. I actually bought this book to help me come up with some ideas for my electric skillet! But - after reading her opening chapter on how to choose cast iron, how to season it, how to care for it I was hooked. I immediately went out to the local Ace hardware store and purchased...
Published on January 10, 2008 by bellydancegurl

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86 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recipes look great but the title is deceiving.
Yes, the recipes seem delicious and the one I made tasted great, but I bought this as a cast iron SKILLET cookbook - for the best PAN in my kitchen (just like the name says). In reality only about three quarters of the recipes utilise a standard 12" cast iron skillet - the rest call for a deep skillet, a dutch oven, specialist pans such as ebelskivers or an 8" or 10"...
Published on June 30, 2008 by Rach


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93 of 95 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Like having a cooking expert standing next to me while I learn to cook, January 10, 2008
By 
bellydancegurl (Nebraska, United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
I've always thought of cast iron cookware as too much trouble to bother with and way to heavy. I actually bought this book to help me come up with some ideas for my electric skillet! But - after reading her opening chapter on how to choose cast iron, how to season it, how to care for it I was hooked. I immediately went out to the local Ace hardware store and purchased my first cast iron skillet. That was a month ago. Thanks to the excellent writing, I no longer fear cast iron. I am confident about seasoning it (I never understood what that was for!), cleaning it, caring for it.

Now for the good news - these ladies can cook! And - they can pass along that knowledge through the written word. I keep trying the recipes in this book and am enjoying them. And - because I'm no longer afraid of cast iron cookware, I'm not afraid to expirament on my own. LOL - I tossed out my old teflon coated crap and ordered two more lodge cookware pieces - all because of this book.

Be prepared to be amazed, as this amazing cookbook takes you from simple food done well to gourmet food. From breakfast through dinner and dessert. The book also has an excellent list of sources at the end of the book for cookware, special ingredients, etc.

To the authors - a huge thank you from a recent cast iron convert. To you who might be considering this book - the recipes are wonderful. You could make them in any skillet it's just that after reading it you'll understand why cast iron can really make a difference in your cooking. At last - I finally understand why my mothers treasured possession is a 100 year old cast iron skillet that belonged to her grandmother!

HAPPY COOKING ONE AND ALL
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96 of 99 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best cookbook purchase in a while!, March 21, 2006
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
This is the best cookbook I have purchased in a long time. I own a couple of hundred cookbooks and I had originally purchased this for my son. Now I have my own copy and have tried 70% of the recipes. The meatloaf is great, so is the stirfry. Love the apple cake as well. Get it, you won't be sorry.
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362 of 398 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Comfort Food with the Undisputed King of Comfort Cooking, January 14, 2005
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
`The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook' by mother and daughter, Sharon Kramis and Julie Kramis Hearne, has roots deep in American culinary tradition based on both the subject and the fact that Kramis senior is a James Beard protégé from Beard's western cooking lessons. Based on the Beard / West Coast connection, the authors get a very nice blurb from senior Beard assistant Marion Cunningham.

This is very much of a `comfort food' rather than a `gourmet' oriented book, with many of the potential weaknesses to which this kind of book can fall prey. The best thing about this book is that in spite of some weaknesses in keeping on message, this is a really nice book to have if you like cooking with cast iron cookware.

The most obvious weakness in the book is that even though both the title and the subtitle, `Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen' suggest that the book is all about the classic ten (10) to twelve (12) inch skillet, the book actually contains recipes for a wide range of cast iron ware, including Dutch ovens, grills, griddles, popover pans, and special molds.

The thing I miss most in this book is a clear explanation of why the seasoned cast iron skillet is better for some tasks than any other cookware material. My understanding is that well seasoned cast iron has the non-stick advantages of a Teflon coated pan without the weakness of teflon in giving a good sear or good color to sautéed protein. Cast iron is not as responsive to heat changes as copper or aluminum, but this is its strong point when it comes to maintaining heat when you add room temperature or cold food to a hot pan. This advantage is especially good when you are cooking on an electric range, where the power to the heating coil turns on and off to maintain a particular level of heat. Thus, the heat in a pan on an electric element may fluctuate much more widely than the same pot on a gas burner. Another advantage is that cast iron is both virtually indestructible and unwarpable. So, a carefully maintained pan is good for one or more lifetimes, at least. According to Alton Brown's excellent `Gear for Your Kitchen', the down side of cast iron is that it is just a bit brittle so that it can literally shatter if dropped hard enough and it is prone to corrosion. It is also highly susceptible to rust, leading to pitting. And, if your seasoning is less than perfect, an acidic dish can easily leach iron from the pot, leading to an unpleasant taste.

It you limit yourself to the recipes for the skillet, you may also feel that many of the recipes are not necessarily optimized in a cast iron skillet. While the cast iron pan is a real champ in sautéing, browning, and cooking quickbreads such as pancakes, I think it's advantages really do not come into play when you are frying in oil or braising. While the authors briefly allude to enameled ware, I personally find that good enameled cast iron may be as good or better than bare cast iron for braising, especially the French `bistro pans' (flat two handled saute' pan shapes with heavy lids) and marmites (large casseroles with heavy lids). The authors' recipes clearly exceed their material when they give dishes such as a paella for which there are classic pan shapes and materials which are not cast iron.

The recipes in this book are almost all relatively simple, with `just enough' detail to enable an experienced amateur cook to be able to execute them. These are not gourmet recipes. They are `good enough' for easy home cooking. This means the recipes include some probably mistaken cooking lore such as the notion that searing protein seals in moisture. It also includes instructions with almost comically mistaken statements such as the Pecan Sticky Buns recipe which instructs us to put the ingredients into a mixing bowl with a dough hook attachment. This will be easily understood by most to be referring to an electric mixer and attachment, but it demonstrates Sasquatch Books typical weaknesses in copy editing.

On the positive side, I am really willing to accept the authors' opinion that a good cast iron pan is an excellent substitute for a wok for stir fried recipes. A cast iron pan will never go higher than the maximum temperature of the burner, but it will maintain a high temperature better than a thinner pan or a pan of more highly conductive material.

The selection of recipes is wide enough so that this little book will go a long way toward filling several different cooking application niches. The two most useful applications by far are the recipes for breakfast and for outdoor cooking. In fact, the authors would have done well to devoting more space to outdoor cooking, as cooking over an open fire is where cast iron can really come into its own. And, the book does not limit itself to all the conventional classics. Some of the more interesting recipes for breakfast are the Dutch baby and the savory Dutch baby, both of which are dishes that fill the pan. Other dishes that fill the pan such as apple tarts and skillet breads are just the thing to have handy for outdoor cookery.

There are some breads that I would not do in cast iron. I have reservations about an Irish soda bread getting the right kind of heat when baked in a pan with 3 inch high sides. The scones recipe is also a little suspect for the same reasons. The scones recipe is also suspect in that it calls for margarine instead of butter or lard and incorporates this fat with an electric mixer, where most pastry experts would call for the fat to be worked in carefully with the fingers or a pastry cutter.
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70 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars delicious, April 14, 2005
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
The Chicken with Calvados and Apples was delicious. I made it along with the Rosemary Roasted potatoes, and it was an excellent dinner enjoyed by my girlfriend and I. The recipes are simple to create, clearly written, ingredients are readily available, and the flavors of the dishes are outstanding. You can certainly do these recipes using something other than cast iron, but the cast iron is part of the "fun".
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, March 17, 2007
This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
Bought some enameled cast iron pots (Lodge, and at a steep discount at a superstore) and after cooking some tried and true recipes with them, decided to expand my horizons and buy a cookbook just for the cast iron pots. I read the reviews and looked at some other cast iron cookbooks before I went to Barnes and Nobles to check it out. Loved how the simple and attractive the book was and really liked how they sounded.

Made my first meal from the book tonight and I love it! Going on another reviewer's suggestion, I made the Chicken and Apples and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes. Worked out fabulously, even though I refused to buy the Calvados for the chicken/apple dinner. Instead I used a much cheaper brandy and a quality apple cider as a substitute, mixing them half and half. It was still absolutely delicious. My college age son even said that I had to show him how to make it before he moved out on his own, lol. That alone says a lot. The rosemary potatoes were good and simple to make.

Very happy with it all. I'm planning on trying the pomegranite glazed lamb chops next with the skillet roasted asparagus.
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86 of 100 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Recipes look great but the title is deceiving., June 30, 2008
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
Yes, the recipes seem delicious and the one I made tasted great, but I bought this as a cast iron SKILLET cookbook - for the best PAN in my kitchen (just like the name says). In reality only about three quarters of the recipes utilise a standard 12" cast iron skillet - the rest call for a deep skillet, a dutch oven, specialist pans such as ebelskivers or an 8" or 10" pan as opposed to the 12" pan that I own. (For the record, I don't know what would actually happen if you tried the 8" or 10" recipes with the 12" pan but the recipes which specify the smaller pan sizes are generally egg-based or baked so I imagine it's important to use the correct size).
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27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate cookware, May 10, 2008
By 
KnottyFella (Phoenix, AZ USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
.

The introduction of the book is dedicated to cast iron pan itself; selection, care and use. The rest of the book is recipes that use the cast iron pan. With cast iron, all you need is the basics to get started and lots of practice.

The soda bread recipe brought me back to my childhood in grandma's kitchen, that alone is worth the price of this book.

My favorite recipe was the Rose-Mary Crusted Rack of Lamb, and there are several others.
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Yummy Garlic Crab, April 6, 2005
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
If you've never owned an iron skillet, this book will make you want to run right out and buy one. I do own several iron skillets, so when I saw this book touted in the New York Times last winter, I knew I had to have it. I used two skillets for a double portion of the garlic roasted crab recipe, and the dish was the hit of a dinner party. Not to mention incredibly easy. What fun!
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the best cook book I own!, May 11, 2008
This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
I have literally bought hundreds of products from Amazon over the past several years and this is the first I've taken the time to write a review for. The recipes in this cook book use basic ingredients that are most likely already in your Kitchen. I've created about half of the recipes and I can easily say that at least 10 are regulars in my meals already. I am now a huge fan of my cast iron pan and this cookbook!
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Simply delicious, November 10, 2005
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This review is from: The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen (Paperback)
I'm a beginning-intermediate cook and I think I'll be able to make about half of the recipes in this book, but no matter what, it's totally charming--the writers really care about food, seasoning and eating! In particular, I'm so happy about the "Dutch baby," which is what my mother always called a "Dutch pancake." She makes it in a pie plate, but I have the feeling it's going to be amazing in my new old Griswold skillet. Mmmm!
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The Cast Iron Skillet Cookbook: Recipes for the Best Pan in Your Kitchen
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