Editor’s note: This column in no way suggests moms should cook today. Just file these recipes away to try another time. And Happy Mother’s Day!
A couple of cookbooks worthy of mention came across my desk recently.
“Cast-Iron Cooking with Sisters on the Fly” (Andrews McMeel Publishing, April 2013) by Irene Rawlings is one of those cookbooks that makes you want to rush home and pull out that long-forgotten utensil or appliance and cook.
Sisters on the Fly grew out of a fishing trip between two sisters and now numbers nearly 4,000 women worldwide who get together with fellow Sisters in the great outdoors “to spend a few glorious, sunny days getting in touch with the true cowgirl within.” Their motto: “We have more fun than anyone.”
So who better to tap for a book on cast-iron cooking?
The end result is a collection of more than 100 recipes – some vintage, some newly developed – for appetizers, main dishes, sides, biscuits and breads and desserts.
Rawlings reminds readers of the benefits of cooking in cast-iron cookware, which fell out of favor some years back, replaced by aluminum and nonstick alternatives. Cast iron absorbs heat slowly, distributes heat evenly and is stick-resistant, requiring little oil or butter. It’s easy to clean, too, and can be used on top of the stove, in the oven or over the campfire.
A primer on cast iron precedes recipes, which are interspersed with lots of useful tips and anecdotes from the Sisters.
And if you’re interested in the Sisters on the Fly organization, visit the website www.sistersonthefly.com/.
Here’s a sample recipe from Sister No. 1660:
Cajun Corn Bread
Makes 6 to 8 servings
1 pound andouille or hot pork sausage, sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 cup chopped onions
1 pound grated sharp cheese
1 (14 ounces) can whole-kernel corn
1 (14 ounces) can tomatoes and green chilies, well-mashed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a well-seasoned, cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat, cook the sausage. Drain well.
Whisk together the milk and eggs. Mix all the other ingredients until just moistened, and add the egg mixture.
Reheat the skillet on the stove over medium heat for about 1 minute. Pour the batter into the skillet, over the cooked sausage. Bake 1 hour. Place on a rack and let cool slightly. Cut into squares.
Another cookbook, “Twenty-Dollar, Twenty-Minute Meals” (Workman/May 2013) by Caroline Wright, contains more than 90 recipes that call for simple techniques and fresh, inexpensive ingredients to get dinner for four on the table in, as the title promises, 20 minutes.
Wright’s narrative style offers an easy-to-follow format with highlighted ingredients and notations in red that offer hints and substitutions. Plus, colorful photos accompany every dish – always helpful to novice and veteran cooks alike.
Try Wright’s grilled flatbread recipe:
Grilled Flatbread with Feta, Lemon, Sesame Seeds and Fresh Oregano
Preheat a 10- to- 12-inch grill pan over medium-high heat.
On a lightly floured piece of parchment paper with a lightly floured rolling pin, roll 4 ounces pizza dough into a rectangle or circle to fit the grill pan. Rub the top of the dough with 1 tablespoon olive oil; season with salt and pepper.
When the pan is hot, oil it and place the dough in the pan, oiled-side up. Cook until charred on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Flip the flatbread and top it witih 1 ounce crumbled feta cheese, 1/2 teaspoon sesame seeds and 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves. Grill the flatbread until cooked through, 1 to 2 minutes more.
Transfer the flatbread to a cutting board; cut it into four pieces and serve.
Also try: chopped garlic, fresh rosemary and ricotta.
Liz Rogers is editor of the Observer-Reporter. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org/.