15 July 2017

Weekend Cooking: Will It Skillet? by Daniel Schumski

Review: Will It Skillet? by Daniel ShumskiI love my cast iron skillets and use them almost daily. Yes, I said skillets, I have six or seven and have thought about buying at least two more. Despite being an experienced iron cooker, I knew I had to have a copy of Will It Skillet? by Daniel Shumski.

If you're new cast iron, you'll be happy to know that Shumski starts by introducing cast iron skillets and providing sage advice on seasoning, cleaning, and restoring pans. Note too that the recipes in Will It Skillet? are for 10-inch skillets, measured from outside rim to outside rim.

As you'll learn after looking through the book, some of the dishes can, of course, be made in any skillet (paella, charred tomato salsa), but most of the recipes take advantage of cast iron's ability to withstand high temperatures and move from stovetop to oven to table (carnitas, savory stratas).

A couple of things I always make in my cast iron pans are roasted veggies (check out the "Snacks, Dips, & Sides" chapter) and roasted chicken (not in the cookbook). Will It Skillet? also includes several recipes for bread and bread dishes, another great use of your cast iron cookware. Don't forget to look through the breakfast chapter for egg dishes, pancakes, and even a giant muffin.

Review: Will It Skillet? by Daniel ShumskiAlthough I often forget cast iron works well for desserts (see all the photos and scans!), Shumski did not. The dessert chapter contains recipes for puddings, cakes, and more.

More than just providing recipes, Will It Skillet? offers tips for success and fun cast iron facts as well as variations for many of the dishes. More important, the recipes are easy, use common ingredients, and are absolutely family friendly. Finally, because this is a Workman book, you know the photos are beautiful, the design is attractive, and the recipes are well edited.

In the introduction, Shumski notes that this cookbook is "more a beginning than an end" and is meant to get you started with using cast iron in your kitchen. I'm a seasoned (ha!) cast iron cooker but still found plenty of new information and recipe inspiration. I recommend Danial Shumski's Will It Skillet? for everyone who loves, or wants to love, cooking and baking in cast iron skillets. For more experienced cooks, like me, the cookbook provides not only solid recipes but also fresh ideas. For newbies, the book serves as a complete guide to getting the most out of your cast iron cookware.

Peaches are just coming into season in central Pennsylvania, and the cast iron peach cobbler in Will It Skillet? was calling to me. I'm a little biscuit challenged, so my topping doesn't look very biscuit-like, but it sure was yummy. Note that I didn't peel my peaches.

Peach Cobbler
Serves 8

  • Review: Will It Skillet? by Daniel Shumski3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 6 cups peeled and sliced peaches (about 6 medium peaches, cut into eigths)
  • 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpouse flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut inot small chunks
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 375F with one rack in the middle.

2. In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup of the sugar, the cornstarch, and the cinnamon. In a medium-size bowl, pour the sugar mixure over the peaches and toss the peaches to distribute the sugar mixture evenly. Spread the peaches on the bottom of the skillet.

3. In a medium-size bowl or a food processor, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and the remaining 1/2 cup sugar. Stir with a fork or puse several times to combine.

4. Add the butter and rub it into the flour, working the lumps of butter between your fingers until only very small bits of butter remain. If using a food processor, add the butter and pulse 10 times.

5. Using a fork, stir in the egg and vanilla unti the mixture is dampened and about the consistency of thick cake batter.

6. Drop the mixture onto the fruit about 1 tablespoon at a time, being sure to cover the fruit. The mounds should touch one another but might still leave bits of fruit exposed.

7. Place the skillet in the oven and bake until just starting to brown, about 40 minutes.

8. Remove the skillet from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool until warm but not hot, about 30 minutes. Leftovers can be stored for 1 day at room temperature in the skillet, covered loosely with plastic wrap. Portions can be frozen in covered containers for up to 3 months.

NOTE: The photo of the peach cobbler is my own. The other photo was scanned from the cookbook. The recipe and photo were used here in the context of a review; all rights remain with the original copyright holders. I bought this book.


bermudaonion 7/15/17, 7:41 AM  

I have a couple cast iron skillets and rarely use them. I even have a cookbook about baking in cast iron skillets. I think I need to spend more time in the kitchen.

Jackie McGuinness 7/15/17, 8:07 AM  

Funny, I don't have any iron skillets but d have pans that can go into the oven.

Mae Travels 7/15/17, 8:38 AM  

Cast iron skillets served me well for years -- I had a couple that belonged to my mother and grandmother. I gave them all away when I changed to a smooth-top stove: which brands me as a hopelessly un-hip cook. Your peach cobbler is a great idea.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

gluten Free A_Z Blog 7/15/17, 9:00 AM  

I used to have 2 cast iron skillets years ago, but unfortunately I did not know how to take care of them nor restore them. They looked rusty so I got rid of them. Wish I still had them..
Your peach cobbler looks delicious ..

Godmotherx5 7/15/17, 9:07 AM  

Great info. I have a skillet that needs to be refurbished. This book is going on my TBR. Your cobbler was picture perfect!

Claudia 7/15/17, 12:03 PM  

I have two I use a lot, especially the 10", but this book would probably enable me to get even more use out of them. That cobbler looks delicious.

Deb in Hawaii 7/15/17, 12:14 PM  

It sounds like a book that would help me get more use out of my two cast iron skillets for sure.

Your cobbler looks amazing. Is there anything better for summer than homemade peach cobbler--especially served warm with vanilla ice cream? Now I'm drooling. ;-)

Vicki 7/15/17, 1:21 PM  

My mom always used cast iron skillets, and I have her 10" but want to buy a few more. My daughter has a set and loves them.

Claudia 7/15/17, 6:59 PM  

Beth, you might take one of those I put up off, I was getting the error message again and should have just waited for it to work itself out.

sherry fundin 7/15/17, 7:37 PM  

What's a skillet? LOL Mr Wonderful does all the cooking.

sherry @ fundinmental

Heidenkind 7/16/17, 11:47 PM  

Six cast iron skillets! I'm not sure we have six skillets, total. We do have two cast iron skillets and I love them though I feel they're a bit underutilized. I will have to look for this book from my library.

Have you tried ATK's recipe for butterflied chicken cooked in a cast iron skillet? That's one of my favorites.

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