STARGAZER CAST IRON

Stargazer gave us authorization to use some of their photos and info.  The images and their story is lifted off their website.  We would like to extend a huge thank you to Stargazer’s Luke Trovato for corresponding with us and authorizing the use of their images and text.


Also today I placed an order for one of their skillets.  We will have a future article to let you readers know how this all went.  We also intend to do some cooking as soon as it arrives.  We will be putting the cast iron through its paces.

I personally am drawn to the Stargazer brand Cast Iron due to the fact this is made in USA.  Secondly I own numerous vintage skillets such as Griswold, BSR and the like.  Vintage pieces from back when the cooking surfaces were smooth, compared to other rough modern Cast Iron Cookware.

I am very curious to test out this surface.  As a member of an active Dutch Oven Cooking group I often cook in competition.  There isn’t an event that goes by that we aren’t discussing Cast Iron.  The cooking surface is often a topic.  All of use have wondered why no one was producing smooth cast iron cookware like the “old days”.  We also all want USA made.

I just hope they start producing some Dutch Ovens too.

Check back for the rest of our story.  The Cooking and the Testing.  Most importantly the tasting!

The Stargazer Story:

In the cast iron marketplace, we’re the new kid on the block. Stargazer Cast Iron was founded in 2015 by three old friends with a shared vision: creating the best cast iron cookware around.

It started with an obsession. Peter Huntley, professional designer and hobby cook, went searching for the perfect skillet and came up empty-handed. Dissatisfied with the options on the market, he turned to vintage cookware to find the quality he was looking for. After nearly a year of collecting, restoring, and cooking with vintage cast iron, he saw the untapped potential and decided it was time for something new. He created a unique cast iron skillet from the ground up: reimagined, redesigned, and revitalized. Huntley enlisted the help of two friends to bring the vision to life and Stargazer Cast Iron was born.

Our cookware is made using the same proven materials and manufacturing processes that were used over one hundred years ago, now aided by CNC machining for unrivaled precision. Our designs are practical and our quality is second to none. We believe we have created the finest cast iron skillet available today, or anytime for that matter.

Click here for their Website.

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DUTCH OVEN COOKING COMPETITION Sept 16 2017


It’s nearly that time of year again.  Camping and Dutch Oven Cooking Competition at Cathedral Gorge State Park near Panaca, Nevada.

Link to the official State Park information

Actual competition cooking is on Saturday September 16, 2017

A group of us camper/Dutch Oven cooks have been attending this event for years.  The rangers at this State Park make this the best cooking competition we have ever competed in.  Aside from the awesome prizes the rangers solicit from supporting businesses, they just make this plain fun.

This is not IDOS sanctioned and the rules are lax.  Just plain old fun!  Be prepared to come up against a lot of very good cooks.  The competition is tough!

Be prepared to arrive early and to stay until after dark.

Even if you don’t participate in cooking.  The whole day can be taken up hiking early in the morning, then wandering around watching the cooks prepare the food.  Judging and serving food to the public, is early evening.

Buy your raffles tickets and take a chance on winning prizes and supporting a great event.

Many of us start arriving Thursday and Friday to also spend a few days camping.  Sites are first come first served.  Though the rangers have always made room for everyone even if it means “dry camping” off the edge of the pavement near the picnic area.

This time of year expect warm days and cool nights.  The Milky-way will blanket you in the sky above.  The coyote’s will sing you to sleep at night.

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CORN STICK PAN verses CONVECTION

Las Vegas in the middle of summer is easily hitting 110°F daytime temperatures. For some that is not conducive for enjoying a hot bowl of Chili. Many reserve that cuisine for chilling winter days.

Not me. I enjoy Chili year round. Then Chili isn’t at it’s best, unless you have cornbread as a side to accompany it.

On a hot day outside I often drag out the crock-pot to make a batch without heating up the kitchen. While I am a cast iron connoisseur, I am certainly not firing up some charcoal and Dutch Oven cooking when it is a scorching +110°F outside either. Thinking about getting the kitchen oven up to 425°F for a batch of cornbread doesn’t sound too appealing either. That heats the whole house up.

This is where vintage Cast Iron meets the modern Counter-top Convection Oven. The combination works well together and doesn’t kick my air conditioner on more than normal.

Now I am sitting back enjoying a bowl of Chili. Dipping my hot buttered corn sticks in some maple syrup. What a killer combination. Both in the cooking technique, as well as the food paring.

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CHUCK BOX 2

This is “Chuck Box V.2” for me.  My current upgrade, from previous Stanley “Fat Max” tool boxes that I used for several years.  My latest upgraded version uses these Rigid Brand Stackable and Wheeled tool totes, shown in this article..

Ever since covered wagons,  I would imagine the Chuck Box has been a common term.  Before that, I am sure migrating people had a simpler and smaller means of transporting some of their precious spice items.  Those items that were not easily obtained foraging natures surrounding supplies.

If you have camped many years you have probably changed out your own method of carrying your own staples.  Having your items with you, rather than being dependent on an inconvenient source to purchase (forage) your own items while camping.  I say this is version 2 for me, but that is version 2 in a recent sense.  In reality I have tried numerous configurations over  a  lifetime of camping.  All common containers many people use, such as Tupperware or plastic shoe boxes.

My current method is “Rigid” totes.  I hope people viewing the blog take the time to forward us photos of your own “tried and true” method. We want to add them to this article. So tell us a little about yours and about yourself.  Or what you think of ours?

Ours does not have the “coolness ” factor of a handcrafted wood Chuck Box, but they are highly functional.  The boxes have been along on multi-day trips, Dutch Oven Cooking events, and regular campground camping.  We have ours loaded so we are not wanting of anything.

We use 3 Stack-able and Wheeled totes made by Rigid.  Finding ours at Home Depot for about $130.  They seal well against rain, have latches to slow down critters, carrying handles, and side handles that also serve to latch all 3 together as one unit.

The totes are often left on the picnic table at all times (unless in bear country) and they have never had the critters get in them.  They also sit out, getting rained on at times.  When we return home from camping, the used items are replenished.  Everything is kept inside the house so the ingredients are always fresh and ready to go for the next trip.

Dry Ingredients such as flour, pancake mix, etc is rotated when we replenish.  We dump the unused portion out on foil. Refill the used portion from new supply in the house, then dump the older ingredient now on the foil, back in on top to fill our camp container.

 

The top box is all spices and several small containers of Crisco.  This box is equipped as well as my home kitchen.

 

 

The middle box is the dry ingredient box.  Larger containers of things like Flour, Sugar, and Coffee.  In in their own larger screw lid containers.  There is also extra room for cookbooks and bags of backup items.  A couple containers do double duty.

 

The largest box, on the bottom is also wheeled and has a telescoping handle to assist in wheeling all three boxes as a single unit.  This bottom box is my catch all for small cutting boards, utensils, knives, and silverware.

Here is a list of items in my three boxes.  I cook with large groups and can cook or bake anything with what I carry.  Adjust your items to suit your needs.

Top Box

(8) 1/4 Cup containers of Crisco
Spray oil
Salt
Pepper
Cilantro Flakes
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Italian Seasoning
Paprika
Corn Starch
Baking Soda
Baking Powder
Nutmeg
Cinnamon
Ginger ground/powder
Nutmeg ground/powder
Clove ground/powder
Burger Seasoning
Chili Powder
Cumin Powder
Vanilla Extract
Sage
Dry Milk
Cayenne Pepper
Bay Leaves
Vegetable Oil
Dry Yeast

Middle Box

Flour
Sugar
Powdered Sugar
Coffee
Brown Sugar
Vanilla Coffee Powder
Buttermilk powder
Oatmeal
Cornmeal
Pancake Mix
Cookbook(s)/Recipes

Bottom Box

Utensil Box
Mixing Bowl
Cutting Boards
Hand Mixer
Tongs
Serving Spoons
Several sets of Knife, Spoon, Fork
Oval Metal Plate
Butcher knife
Bread knife
Paring knife
Can opener
Wine/Bottle Opener
Measuring Cups
Measuring Spoons
Whisk
Scissors
Pot holders
Ladles
Wooden Spoons
Spatula
Biscuit cutters
Rubber Batter Scrapers
Butane Lighter Sticks
Spare Lantern Mantels
Aluminum Foil
Plastic Wrap
Sifter
Small Vegetable Oil
Vinegar
Agave Syrup
Pancake Syrup

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