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Lodge Cast Iron Nation Cookbook Release & A Giveaway!!

Lodge Clafoutis

I don’t often talk about work. Not the work that goes into this blog but the work that sometimes keeps away from it for long period of time. It’s no lack of recipes cooked and photographed though. I photograph cookbooks. That’s my full time job and one I absolutely love. Everyday I photograph recipes that you will hopefully cook and enjoy. Nothing gives me greater joy.

Everyday I get the chance to give a visual voice to words on a manuscript. As Senior Photographer for Oxmoor House publishing, I have the privilege of shooting for brands such as Southern Living, Cooking Light, Sunset, independent authors and big companies such as Lodge Cast Iron. I work closely with a creative team of editors and designers and spend my days on set with super talented food stylists and prop stylists. Our passion for food and photography unites us everyday over the same goal, to give beauty and visuals beyond the words on a page that you will read later and enjoy in your kitchen.

Lodge Beef Ash

That’s the best I can describe my full time job. And I love it. When I moved to Birmingham to come work at Oxmoor House, I had no idea of what was ahead of me, the connections I would make with like minded people in the industry and all the beautiful cookbooks I would get the chance to work on with our amazing food and prop stylists. We are a tight unit taking our responsibilities to authors and recipes incredibly seriously. With their talents and our ideas, I am able to dive in my own photography freely and geek out, take risks and have a load of fun at the same time.

This past Fall, we worked on an amazing book for Lodge Cast Iron, the well known original American cast iron cookware. And what a blast we had. It’s not easy to shoot things in black skillets let me tell you… but we were given complete creative freedom with just the directive of "make it beautiful, make it Lodge". This iconic brand deserved gorgeous imagery blending its natural rustic look and feel with modern styling and photography techniques and compositions.


Lodge Cover

I loved how we all came together and worked our butts off to make it happen. I was able to work with my dear fried, Tami Hardeman, professional food stylist and the voice behind  Running With Tweezers, who came to spearhead the book with our food stylists. We were all gelling for sure. Some of my favorite shots if my career so far grace the page of this book. I am super proud of the work accomplished by all involved and I hear the company is absolutely thrilled about the results too. Woohoo!

The book, entitled Lodge Cast Iron Nation, came out a couple of weeks ago and is collection of tried and true recipes, family favorites and sophisticated yet attainable restaurant recipes. Some were ones I cook at home regularly such as clafouti or chowder while others were completely new and surprising (and delicious) such as chicken cooked over hay.


Lodge Chowder

I am a bit late coming to share it with you (I will post about my trip and workshops to New Zealand soon!) but I am doing so today with a couple of presents…

To celebrate its release, Lodge Cast Iron is giving away a copy of the book as well as a 12-inch cast iron grill pan (I have it and love it to pieces).

To enter: leave a comment on this post between today, Saturday April 5th and Tuesday April 8th (midnight), one entry per person, no anonymous comment please. Super easy… The winner will be drawn at random and announced promptly after. Good luck!

I am leaving you with two tasty recipes that I enjoyed photographing for the book. And eating, let’s face it, we ate really really well on set!!


Lodge Hay Chicken


Serves 6 to 8

For Tanya Holland,
cookbook author and chef-owner of Brown Sugar Kitchen in Oakland, California,
this dish is a celebration of her cooking experiences. “My paternal grandmother
in Virginia always fried apples in a cast iron skillet. My maternal grandmother
in Louisiana always toasted pecans in her pan. Cherry clafoutis was one of the
first ‘exotic’ desserts I made when I was taking cooking classes at Peter
Kump’s New York Cooking School…at 23, I felt so sophisticated just being able
to pronounce it!”


¾ cup pecan pieces

1 ½ pounds firm, semisweet apples, like Fuji or Pink Lady

¼ cup (½ stick) unsalted butter

1 cup sugar

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

4 large eggs

1 cup whole milk

1 tablespoon apple brandy

1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Powdered sugar (optional)

1. Preheat the oven to 375°. Pulse the pecans in a food
processor until finely chopped; be careful not to process into a powder. Set

2. Peel and core the apples. Slice the apples in half, then
cut each half into 1⁄8-inch-thick half moons.

3. Heat a Lodge 10-inch cast iron skillet over medium heat;
add the butter. When melted, swirl to coat the bottom. Add the apples, 1⁄4 cup
of the sugar, and the cinnamon, and cook until the apples soften, about 10
minutes, stirring a few times.

4. While the apples cook, whisk the eggs, remaining 3⁄4 cup
sugar, the milk, brandy, and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Whisk in the
pecans and salt, then slowly whisk in the flour to avoid lumps. Pour the batter
over the apples in the pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 375°, then reduce the oven
temperature to 350°, and cook until the clafoutis is nicely puffed up and
browned on top, another 35 minutes. Dust with powdered sugar, if desired. Serve

From Lodge Cast Iron
Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast/ Oxmoor House



No, not Down East
Maine, but North Carolina. All along our Outer Banks and Southern Outer Banks
is home to this style of chowder. Somewhat akin to the chowders of Rhode
Island, this style is more about the clams than the thick, cream- based
chowders of New England. “It’s a type of chowder,” says Fred Thompson, a
cookbook author, resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, and publisher of Edible
Piedmont, “that you’ll find at a local’s home.”


1⁄4 pound salt pork or slab bacon, sliced 1⁄4 inch thick

1⁄2 cup chopped onion

4 cups water, or half water and half clam juice

1 teaspoon salt

1⁄4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 quart coarsely chopped chowder clams

4 cups diced (1⁄2-inch) potatoes

2 dozen small clams in the shell, scrubbed (farm-raised from
North Carolina are perfect) Milk, half-and-half, or light or heavy cream, as

Sliced white bread (optional)

Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish

Oyster crackers

1. Cook the salt pork in a Lodge 5-quart cast iron Dutch
oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove the pork, and discard, reserving the
rendered fat in the pot. Add the onion, and cook until tender (but don’t let it
color), about 5 minutes, stirring a few times. Pour in the water, then add the
salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Add the chowder clams, reduce the heat to
low, and slowly simmer, uncovered, until the clams are tender, about 1 hour.

2. Add the potatoes, increase the heat to medium, and simmer
until they are tender, about 20 minutes. During the last 10 minutes, add the
clams in the shell, and cover the pot. Add the milk, if using, right before
serving, but give it enough time to warm (a couple of minutes usually works).

3. If you like, set a slice of bread in the bottom of each
large shallow serving bowl, then ladle in the chowder, making sure to get a
couple of the shell clams. Sprinkle with parsley, and serve with oyster

Serves 10 to 12

Sidebar: How Fred Makes Chowder

1) The key to a good chowder is timing. Wait until the
potatoes are fork tender before adding the clams in the shell, because they
don’t take long to cook.

2. Be careful not to overcook the clams. They will be
completely cooked when their shells open wide (about 10 minutes). Discard
shells that remain closed.

3. To thicken this chowder like the locals do, place a slice
of white bread in the bottom of each serving bowl before ladling the chowder
into the bowl.

From Lodge Cast Iron
Nation: Great American Cooking from Coast to Coast
by Lodge Manufacturing Company/ Oxmoor House

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Paola Thomas April 5, 2014 um 6:56 pm

These photos are GORGEOUS Helene. After watching John Ondo at work at your workshop I bought a stack of cast iron skillets, so I really need this book. Just a subtle hint…

Jean | April 5, 2014 um 7:00 pm

Helene, this is one cookbook I'm willing to make room for in my cookbook library, even if it means donating one I already have!

Tiffany April 5, 2014 um 7:06 pm

What a coincidence! I was just looking for a cast iron skillet today =]=]

Unknown April 5, 2014 um 7:11 pm

I don't have a good cast iron pan and would love a new Lodge pan. Also the food photography in Cooking Light is beautiful – amazing!

Giles Farrington April 5, 2014 um 7:15 pm

Amazing photography loved the modern rustic look!!! I keep your plate to pixel next to me for constant inspiration.

Sarah April 5, 2014 um 7:24 pm

My hubby and I love our cast iron skillet… A cookbook of recipes to make in it would be great!

Laura April 5, 2014 um 7:33 pm

I love my Lodge skillets so much they rarely leave my stovetop. I cook 90 percent of my meals in them & have been eyeing this book since it came out!

Tiffany @ Savor Home April 5, 2014 um 8:00 pm

Amazing work!!! I need a cast iron skillet badly!

Nicole M. April 5, 2014 um 8:08 pm

The chowder looks amazing! I would love to make it for my dad!

sally April 5, 2014 um 8:10 pm

How exciting! These recipes look great!

Vaedri April 5, 2014 um 8:16 pm

I inherited an old cast iron pan my father had from his bachelor days, forty plus years ago. I'm still learning how to use it properly, but I always enjoy trying!

Moore Musings April 5, 2014 um 8:56 pm

I love this book so much that I already own it… but I know someone whom I would be happy to gift it to! 😉 I still want a few of these images up in my kitchen. I LOVE what I have made so far, and can't wait to try more. Num num num

Eliza April 5, 2014 um 8:59 pm

The photography is absolutely stunning!

Cindy M April 5, 2014 um 9:01 pm

Hi Helene, I was just thinking of buying a cast iron skillet. I'm going to hold off and see if I win this giveaway!

Unknown April 5, 2014 um 9:54 pm

Gorgeous photos, as usual – makes me want to jump right through the screen1

Liana April 5, 2014 um 10:01 pm

Would love to try all those recipes…I actually went to a restaurant today and the food was served on an cast iron, but the were purchased from Morocco 🙁

Tracy Grant April 5, 2014 um 10:14 pm

I am so excited to see this! I don't know anything about Lodge cast iron so I want to learn more 🙂 I Have 5 cast iron skillets, in varying size and age, that I cook with frequently. Here in the Traverse City area,there is a local catering company (Epicure Catering) that has a "Leelanau Berry Cake, " that is basically a clafoutis that my family loves me to recreate in the pans.
Thank you for your gorgeous work and giveawy.

Cindy O April 5, 2014 um 10:34 pm

Beautiful photos! Brings back memories of my grandmother and her well loved cast iron pans.

April April 5, 2014 um 10:37 pm

Absolutely beautiful photos, congrats!! I would love to own a cast iron pan! 🙂 April 5, 2014 um 11:40 pm

You did an incredible job with the photography and I was so honored to be a part of the cookbook, representing the Gulf Coast of Florida with Chefs Irv Miller (Pensacola) and David Cunningham ( 30A South Walton).- Best, Susan

Ellen April 5, 2014 um 11:44 pm

cast irons are the best — or so I've heard… I think it'll be an amazing addition to a college girl's pantry!

Jacqui April 5, 2014 um 11:59 pm

The recipes sound absolutely delicious!

ravestheraven April 6, 2014 um 12:02 am

From biscuits, to short ribs, to chess pie – Oh My! Love your blog and cast iron. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

The Neil April 6, 2014 um 12:05 am

Winner, winner, chicken dinner! (hopefully)

Eva April 6, 2014 um 1:22 am

What a fun giveaway!

Kathleen April 6, 2014 um 1:44 am

I love your blog! Thanks for sharing all the these wonderful recipes 🙂

-Kathleen Zdenek

Kathleen April 6, 2014 um 1:45 am

Thanks for sharing all of your wonderful ideas 🙂


Courtoise April 6, 2014 um 2:04 am

I LOVE Lodge. In fact, I just happened to buy a Lodge griddle this morning and made some awesome blueberry pancakes for Breakfast.

Shelly April 6, 2014 um 2:16 am

Very strong, impactful images, Helene. Beautifully done. And we can "hear" the passion in your voice. Congratulations!! I love cooking with cast iron and certainly would LOVE to add your new book to my collection. 🙂

Sarah April 6, 2014 um 2:18 am

I love my cast iron pan, though it have to admit that 80% of its use is for Dutch Babies! I would love to have this cookbook as well as another pan for the collection.

Madie April 6, 2014 um 2:58 am

My brother was just raving about his Lodge Skillet! Would love to have one of my own! 🙂

Unknown April 6, 2014 um 3:01 am

I have a thing for cast-iron dishes for a while now (you should see my pinterest…). I just need a cast-iron pan to start trying your recipes 🙂

Philomene April 6, 2014 um 3:03 am

My husband was a chef and will only cook in the big cast iron pan that is always on our stove.
Your blog is my very first I have read and it is amazing. I love it!
I could see spending many hours discovering beautiful ideas here! Thank you for the great recipes.

elizabeth April 6, 2014 um 3:41 am

I love my Lodge cast iron and would love this cookbook!

Anonymous April 6, 2014 um 5:32 am

Beautiful photos in a beautiful cookbook! I love cooking with cast iron.

Sam April 6, 2014 um 5:46 am

I have never have a cast iron skillet. To me they are so American, so culturally unknown to me, I am a little scared of them, I don't now how they should be used. This book seems like the perfect solution and the photographs are sublime. After 13 years living in the US it's about time I mastered this calssic piece of American cookware!

Sina April 6, 2014 um 6:39 am

These photographs are beautiful! It must be so fun to go to work every day!
I love my lodge cast iron tol

Sasha April 6, 2014 um 11:33 am

I share the same passion for cooking and photography…Thank you for being a great inspiration!

Karla April 6, 2014 um 2:21 pm

The pictures are amazing, and the recipe looks good too! Thanks for the opportunity!

scotfi April 6, 2014 um 2:27 pm

Looks like beautiful food in a beautiful pan. My mum had one when I was growing up and I hope to one day have one too!

k. wong April 6, 2014 um 2:38 pm

Would love to own a cast iron skillet!

Kate April 6, 2014 um 2:56 pm

Ahh, no wonder the photos are so gorgeous!!! I'm halfway thru the cookbook and loving it. You really made the recipes come alive. Now, I'm hoping to win the grilling pan and have another copy of the cookbook to give as a gift 🙂

AnneK April 6, 2014 um 3:18 pm

I have always wanted to try cast iron and you have inspired me. (Hopefully this has only posted as one comment. I had trouble accessing my gmail account)

TK April 6, 2014 um 4:54 pm

The clafoutis looks so good! I love anything with apples in it. And I would love to try out a Lodge pan too! Thanks for the giveaway 🙂

Unknown April 6, 2014 um 5:20 pm

Amazing photography and I would love to have a cast iron skillet myself! Thanks for all your inspiration 🙂 Ciao, Letizia

Kelly April 6, 2014 um 5:21 pm

This looks like a beautiful cookbook. I think food tastes and looks so much better when cooked in a cast iron skillet. I'd love to win a copy…Thank you for the opportunity!

jenthebaker April 6, 2014 um 7:42 pm

I love cooking with cast iron!

Unknown April 6, 2014 um 8:44 pm

I love Lodge and I love your blog… now i have to cook some chicken thighs in my lodge pan!

Adana April 6, 2014 um 8:53 pm

More to be inspired by. Thanks Helene.

Pam April 6, 2014 um 10:04 pm

Being a 'Foodie' I was firstly drawn to your blog because of the recipes. BUT, being inspired by your photographs, I then undertook a food photography course, I now find myself with an new passion. Here's were you get the 'pay back'– that passion for food photography and blogging has now been passed on to my students. Brilliant. Chef Pam

Nicolle April 6, 2014 um 10:52 pm

Cast irons are great! 🙂

eyo April 6, 2014 um 11:54 pm

We love our Lodge skillet.

Chef Plana April 7, 2014 um 12:50 am

Lodge Cast Iron pans have been the work horse of our family kitchen all my life and I hope to past it on to my children.

Unknown April 7, 2014 um 1:08 am

I love Lodge products! And your photos are amazing!

Mari April 7, 2014 um 1:14 am

Delish! I still have to test doing an irish soda bread on a cast iron! I was told to do it that way… Would love to use it more often.

kelli April 7, 2014 um 1:18 am

These photos are absolutely stunning. I want to eat all the things. And I really could use another cast iron skillet, as once my old nonstick set is wearing out, I plan to replace them with cast iron and stainless.

Unknown April 7, 2014 um 1:23 am

Beautiful pictures!

Margaret@Kitchen Frau April 7, 2014 um 1:32 am

I am wildly curious about that chicken cooked over hay – and would love to have the cookbook and a pan to try it out myself! Beautiful photos, by the way!

Unknown April 7, 2014 um 1:39 am

congrats Hélène. you're a huge inspiration to me and I love how your career has taken you to a wonderful place in the food photography universe.

Unknown April 7, 2014 um 2:37 am

Love your blog and the pictures! Would love to get the book too.

The Devil's Food Advocate April 7, 2014 um 2:59 am

The photos and recipes are so inspiring! There are some things that are just so much better prepared in a cast iron pan. Thanks for the lovely post!

martina April 7, 2014 um 1:54 pm

These pictures are gorgeous, vibrant in color and really appetizing!!! I would love to have to cook with cast iron pan! Peek me, peek me

~ in the Middle April 7, 2014 um 2:35 pm

I have a Lodge griddle and it is quite possibly my favorite "pan." I would love a skillet. Plus, the photos truly look beautiful!

Lizabeth April 7, 2014 um 3:04 pm

This recipe book looks great! YUM!!!!

vanessa April 7, 2014 um 3:11 pm

I miss having a cast iron skillet! This looks like a gorgeous book full of great recipes.

Marie April 7, 2014 um 3:22 pm

The book seems very neat

Jessica April 7, 2014 um 4:01 pm

these dishes look soo tasty. thanks for the chance to enter!

jessicarwarfield at gmail dot com

Rebecca April 7, 2014 um 4:27 pm

First time to your site, but you won me over with the photography and the Clafoutis!

Unknown April 7, 2014 um 5:46 pm

I had no idea that you were a professional photographer, but in hindsight it makes so much sense! You have such a wonderful eye for composition. Thanks so much for sharing your gift with us.

Abby @ Happy Food Happy Home April 7, 2014 um 6:45 pm

Chicken over hay?!? Well now you've piqued my interest! Love the photos; drop dead gorgeous!

Christina H. April 7, 2014 um 6:52 pm

I can't wait to try the apple pecan clafoutis. That looks so devine!

Isadora April 7, 2014 um 7:18 pm

Your job sounds amazing and I always love looking at your photos! You have been such an inspiration to me and my evolving food photography, thank you!!

A day with V April 7, 2014 um 8:19 pm

Hi I'm Valentina, these pans are really really nice, I've not had one yet and I have so many ideas about what to cook in… hope lucky will pick me!
Beautiful pics!

Steve S. April 7, 2014 um 8:51 pm

I LOVE Lodge and your photos are absolutely amazing!

Cristin April 7, 2014 um 9:03 pm

Chicken over hay… who knew? Looks absolutely delicious!

Mary April 7, 2014 um 9:04 pm

Memories of Girl Scout Camp come back to me with discussions of Cast Iron Pans! However, I have one that is in use at least every week if not more!
As always, your photos are so inspiring, Hélène. Bon travail!

Mary in Oregon
[email protected]

The Fam April 7, 2014 um 10:33 pm

Whoa, drooling!

Melissa Fritz April 8, 2014 um 1:14 am

I have suggested your site to many of my friends because of your gorgeous photography, and fail-proof macaron instructions. This cookbook looks delicious!

Camille April 8, 2014 um 1:27 am

cast iron is the best! i've slowly been building up my collection, and i find that i reach for it more and more –so versatile! these recipes look amazing!

Lucy Vaserfirer April 8, 2014 um 5:02 am

Love Lodge, love your cookbooks!

Penny April 8, 2014 um 1:44 pm

I love cooking in cast iron and have visited the Lodge outlet in Knoxville to buy several pans. They are very lucky to have you as the photographer for the cookbook. Thanks for the giveaway.

Amy L April 8, 2014 um 2:07 pm

I love the results I get when cooking and baking in cast iron. I could put this book to good use. How exciting that you traveled to New Zealand!

Unknown April 8, 2014 um 3:54 pm

Wonderful to hear how much you love what you do. Your passion shows through in all your beautiful photographs!

Bon Appégeechee April 8, 2014 um 4:41 pm

A 12" cast iron GRILL PAN?!?!? . I LOOOOVE my Lodge original 12". It's my #1 go to pan. I even mention that in my most recent post! BEAUTIFUL PHOTOS! The roast chicken in hay is GORGEOUS!
Deittra@Bon Appégeechee

Jeanne G April 8, 2014 um 5:03 pm

Would love to make skillet brownies! Can't wait to see the cookbook.

Judy M. April 8, 2014 um 6:17 pm

The cookbook looks amazing.

Laurence Talon April 8, 2014 um 6:49 pm

I love your work. I love the passion you put in everything you do.

Jackie S April 8, 2014 um 6:53 pm

I love cooking with cast iron! The book sounds lovely.

Barrette April 8, 2014 um 6:55 pm

I've been very hesitant at entering the world of cast iron, but a book by Lodge could be the ticket!

Barrette April 8, 2014 um 6:55 pm

i've been hesitant at entering the world of cast iron, but a book by lodge could be the ticket!

Carissa April 8, 2014 um 7:29 pm

That chicken looks so good!!!

J April 8, 2014 um 8:03 pm

The recipes look and sound delicious!

Lynne Jerome April 8, 2014 um 8:42 pm

Your photography is amazing! I'm always amazed by the light and the colors, and then, of course, I love the recipes, too. Thank you for doing what you do!

Peggy April 8, 2014 um 9:22 pm

You make everything look so delicious and gorgeous. I have a couple of cast iron skillets and a pancake pan and love, love, love them. One I got from my mother in law so it is old. I'd love for this cookbook to become a part of my collection.

Jill April 8, 2014 um 10:05 pm

I would love to try all the recipes in the cookbook and many more in that awesome cast iron skillet.

Dawn April 8, 2014 um 10:28 pm

Would love to win cast iron…trying to make my family's kitchen healthier!

Unknown April 9, 2014 um 12:30 am

I am not much of a clam lover; however, the clam chowder looks scrumptious! Is it the pan?

Victoria Garrett April 9, 2014 um 1:44 am

Just made a pear clafoutis in my cast iron last week! been knee-deep in 19th century southern recipes and my cast iron is my best friend. this giveaway is so exciting!!!

Holly April 9, 2014 um 1:58 am

It would be lovely to win the cookbook. I have cooked some in a cast iron skillet, but confess that I don't use it enough and just reading about (and seeing your beautiful photos of )all these recipes makes me want to get it out again and learn!

G April 9, 2014 um 2:06 am

Love the pictures, love the book, love the giveaway!

tribomo April 9, 2014 um 2:22 am

I love food -cooking and eating! – and I really enjoy beautiful food photography, I can spend hours browsing food books and blogs. Great giveaway, and amazing blog.

steph- whisk/spoon April 9, 2014 um 2:49 am

the chicken cooked in hay looks beautiful! congratulations on your latest project!

~ Laura April 9, 2014 um 3:59 am

We bought our first cast iron pan a few weeks ago after years of being scared of it! Seems silly now now that I see how lovely it really is!! 🙂 Same thing happened with a pressure cooker…maybe someday I will learn!! 🙂

Alex t April 9, 2014 um 4:58 am

Your pictures are amazing! I get hungry just looking at them.

sloeginfizz April 10, 2014 um 7:12 pm

I can not wait to get my hand son this cookbook. My two cast iron skillets are the workhorses of the kitchen and every picture here looks amazing!

Ugo G April 11, 2014 um 6:40 am

Well i dont comment too often indeed, the recipes are amazing and the pictures gives you the push to make itlook good in a plate! Now this book looks amazing and i do miss the cast iron i used to have before a moved away… Let chance work a bit of magic 😀

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