Friday, July 6, 2007

Jamaican Jaffle Recipe

Found a wonderfully refreshing pie iron recipe today from the British tv show, Great Food Live on the UKtv Food network.

The recipe is for Jamaican baked bean and sausage toasted sandwiches.

What at first seems like a simple baked beans on toast a la pie iron (or in this case, the jaffle) adds a delightful twist with the addition of a cracked egg in the center. Keeping flavors distinct, Chef Emma Sharp presents two variations on the jaffles. One with baked beans as the primary ingredient and one with a jar of vienna sausages. Served with a little mango habanero hot sauce and I think she's got a delicious savory summer dish.

Links -
UKtv Food
Great Food Live
Jaffle Toasted Sandwich Recipe

Monday, July 2, 2007

Cooking Contest & the Birth of the Pie Iron Man!

Here at Rome central, we love to hear about the fun people have using our pie irons. Last year I began corresponding with a group of campers from southern Wisconsin who were going to hold a Pie Iron cooking contest during their annual campout. Wow did they get into it. Going as far as creating a Pie Iron superhero! I'll let the ringleader of the group, Kathy explain futher -

We have a group of campers that get together every August for the Persied Meteor Showers. We call ourselves S.P.A.M. - Special People Admiring Meteors. Meteor watching at night, cooking contests during the day!

2006 was the year of PIE IRON MAN! Inspired by Rome Pie Irons, of course. We even had shirts made up with our favorite Rome Super Hero on it! There were 12 contestants and 3 very lucky judges. Campers made a variety of pies using everything from tortillas to doughnuts and fillings of pineapple to shrimp. Our judges tell us they were delicious. Our champions, Kurt and Liz won a fabulous trophy and other useless prizes. But their big award was bragging rights for eternity!!

First Prize: Pie Iron Pizza Pockets by Kurt & Liz K of Burlington, WI
Flour Tortillas
Sliced Pepperoni
Ground Italian Sausage
Shredded Mozzarella Cheese
Italian Seasoning

For the Sauce:
Your favorite Marinara or Pizza Sauce
Italian Seasoning
Dash of Worchester Sauce
Dash of hearty Red Wine
Garlic Powder
Black Pepper

Add wine, Worchester, and seasonings to taste to the sauce and cook down to the consistency of tomato paste. Brown the Italian sausage and pepperoni slices, drain on paper towels. Lightly butter insides of pie iron. Place tortilla in bottom half of iron. Spread 2 Tablespoons sauce on tortilla. Add a layer of sausage, pepperoni, and cheese. Cover with additional sauce. Place second tortilla over the top, close the iron and trim off the excess. Brown the pie evenly on both sides. Remove from iron and let rest a couple of minutes. Cut into wedges and top with additional cheese and a sprinkle of Italian seasoning. Use any leftover sauce for dipping.

Marinade chef with any leftover wine.

2nd place: Caramel Apple Pudgy Pie by Stephanie D of Brookfield, WI:
2 slices of cinnamon bread
4 caramels
3 tbsp. apple filling
2 tbsp. butter

Unwrap the caramels. Butter the hot pie iron and the bread. Put one slice of bread butter side down on the pie iron. Scoop the pie filling onto the bread. Evenly space the caramels on the pie filling. Add the top piece of bread butter side up and close the pie iron. Toast the pie in campfire hot coals until the bread is golden brown, and the caramel is melted. Now make 10 more, because everyone wants one!

Third place: Ummmmm - Shrimp Pie by Doug J of Palmyra, WI
1/4c. cooked shrimps
4 cloves of roasted garlic
2 T. alfredo pasta sauce
Put in between two tortillas and slow roast in hot coals.

The Judges

The classic Wisconsin Beer Tap Trophy

I have a pie iron and I know how to use it!

Kathy I hope the casting wasn't hot when you put your hand that close

Kit pulls out his antique toas-tite

The battle's on!

Pies waiting to be tested by the judges

foccacia with a dash of culinary art garnish

Our 1st place winners - Kurt & Liz

2nd place - Caramel Apple Pudgy Pie

Doug comes in 3rd place for Ummmmmm - Shirmp Pie

Check out the Apron!


Smokehouse Pies

The Toas-tite was an early brand of sandwich cooker that was popular in the 40s and 50s. Round in design, the cooker had ridges which gave it a UFO look to the sandwich and was quite in keeping with mid-century modern design.

photo of a an original toas-tite circa 1940s (credit mere.mortal) has a fun story about Toas-tites here.

On a related note, I recently I received a letter from John in Groveville New Jersey who told me about growing up eating the tasty pies that his grandma would cook in her "Toast-rite" (I've never heard of the Toast-Rite, so given the similarity in name and the time period, I'm guessing that he's describing the Toas-tite.) which includes the secret recipe to "Smokehouse Pies"


I don't know where you got your idea, but your pie irons take me way back. My Grandmother had a similar cooking device (which I still have and use) called a Toast-Rite. Same principle as your pie iron.

So I couldn't resist myself, I bought one of your through Cabela's, along with your cookbook. Love both. I'm glad I got one.

As I said, I still use my Grandmother's Toast-Rite to make pies. My favorite, which is not in your cookbook, uses fresh blackberries. Grandma used to clean the blackberries, sprinkle a good bit of sugar on them. Then the next day she would take two pieces of bread, butter side out, and fill one with some blackberries, cook over the stove top (gas flame) and they made the best pies. I'd take them in my lunch to school during berries season, and always had kids trying to trade me something for my pie.

Grandma also did this with fresh peaches, apricots, and strawberries. Each one was great, but the blackberries were always my favorite. There was only one better, it was made with Indian Blood Peaches - we had one tree, and they were the best peaches ever. Grandma used to can 20-30 quarts each year, so we had a good supply for pies all year long.

My wife never met my Grandma, so I showed her this Toast-Rite one day and told her about the pies. Well, she went out and got some blackberries and now has to have some every berry season. She calls them smokehouse pies. Our story was simple. Today, it is hard to find bread slices that are large enough to make a fully sealed pie. There is always a small spot that leaks. One day we were making some pies, and the berry juice leaked onto the burner - started smoking - set off the smoke detector - hence Smokehouse Pies. Oh, the pies were even better after that.

Well thanks again for bringing back old memories, keep making pie irons, and we'll keep eating pies.

John T
Groveville, New Jersey"

Thursday, June 21, 2007

reflection reflecting

Being a manufacturer in 2007 involves constantly looking over your shoulder as it seems everyone wants to tap into your market. Sadly this doesn't mean that the competition has developed a new innovation and raised the bar in the product category. No that would be what we call the good ole days of competition. In today's world manufacturers respond to the success of someone else's product by copying the product design as closely as possible. Legal or illegal, moral or not it happens to everyone that tries to design and sell quality, original products. We deal with knockoffs of our products all the time, but rather than dwelling on the followers we just keep doing our best at designing fun products for the open fire.

Funny enough it doesn't stop with products. I just found out the other day that a website dedicated to recipes had taken a bunch of our pie iron recipes and posted them on their site as their own. They even grabbed an introductory paragraph from our catalog. It was thanks to Rome pie iron fan, Shannon from Cincinnati who clued me in -

"...while looking online for some recipes (cause I’m having a hard time finding YOUR Pie Iron Recipe cookbook…) I came across this website, and while looking over the site something looked VERY familiar to me. As I mentioned, I’ve looked thoroughly over your website and I really liked the first paragraph of this page, (the campfire snack/memory paragraph). When I was looking on the above recipe site I realized that they have the same paragraph on their site. I didn’t know if that passage was written by someone at your company and thought I would bring it to your attention…just in case."

Now of course I don't think this is a huge deal, but it's more of an issue of principal. If you're going to print my writing verbatim then just have the courtesy of crediting and linking. Actually I'm only bringing this up on the blog as my emails to the webmaster have all bounced back as undeliverable. Just having one of those "gotta get it off my chest" moments.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Best Campfire Food: The Jaffle

Who am I to argue with that headline? Brie Cadman at the literary lifestyle website Divine Caroline tells of her experience with the Jaffle Iron and offers up this delicious savory frittata recipe.

The Savory Jaffle

One loaf of sliced bread
Scrambled eggs
Grated or sliced cheese
Turkey, ham, pepperoni slices
Pizza sauce
Sliced tomatoes
Grilled mushrooms
Grilled peppers
Butter or oil


Line a slice of bread with ingredients of your choice. Top with other slice.
Coat the inside of the jaffle iron with butter or oil. Squeeze sandwich into jaffle iron and close, hooking latch at end of wooden handles.
Place in fire over coals, cooking for about two minutes each side. Undo the jaffle iron and cut into quarters or halves.

Read the full article

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Dangerous Book For Boys - the pie iron chapter?

For the past few weeks I've been talking about how excited I am about the Dangerous Book For Boys (see the promo clip here) which is a real training manual for getting kids out and playing the way I remember doing it. Building tree forts, rock collecting and just generally being adventurous. So what a surpise it was to receive a letter from Brad Shane the other day that was totally in spirit with the book. In the letter he recounts his boyhood wanderings and how pie irons played a part.

"We lived in Ashville NC when I was a boy. In the summer my pals and I would had off into the woods with our good old 22's in hand ready to live off the land like Davy Crockett or Dan Boone.

Sad to say you can't do that anymore today. We'd take a pie iron - can't say if it was one of your's but it was something big like your panini. It was a big one! We'd always take some cornmeal or biscuit mix with us and have us some feast if we'd get a rabbit. Sometimes we'd only get birds but we'd take him, gut and pluck him, chop off the head and feets. Throw in a little lard and bake it on the fire. Not much better life for a boy. And I feel sorry for the ones who can't even think back to those days."

Friday, June 1, 2007

Marshmallow Tree On The Food Network

Be sure to check out the new Rome product that has been the talk around the campfire. The new Marshmallow Tree will be featured this saturday night on the Food Network's program, "Gotta Get It." This is part of a weekend grill out special for the network and we're thrilled to be a part of the fun.

About the Marshmallow Tree:
Simply stated, it's a 40" long metal roaster that curves and bends like a tree branch. The tree easily cooks up 10 marshmallows at a time and is a true conversation piece.

If you're familiar with Rome, you already know that we make a huge variety of forks. Seriously - look at our collection and you may wonder - is there room for another fork in the product line? Well I don't know - I'd say there's plenty of room for new forks if we stick to the fun category. Obviously a fork needs to be utilitarian, but when I developed the Marshmallow Tree I stepped back and thought - Ok let's do something really fun this time and not even think about price point and how much space it takes up on a store shelf. Pretty much just forget about the business side of the equation and just develop it from the hip. So here we have it - The Marshmallow Tree is out and people really seem to responding to it.

You can find the Marshmallow Tree in national retailers such as Gander Mountain, Dunham's Sports, Bass Pro Shops as well as a wide variety of independent retailers. A listing of stocking dealers and mail order sources is available here.

Rome's Marshmallow Tree on Gotta Get It Schedule
The Food Network

June 02, 2007 10:00 PM ET/PT
(repeat) June 03, 2007 1:00 AM ET/PT
(repeat) June 09, 2007 5:00 PM ET/PT
(repeat) June 10, 2007 6:00 PM ET/PT

Read more about the Marshmallow Tree in the Salt Lake City Weekly.

* photo source fromt he Problem Solvers catalog

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Pie Iron Fusion

When my old buddy Joe told me that he was going camping over the weekend and that he'd be cooking up some pies in the double cast iron, I knew it wasn't going to be cherry pie filling. Creative, adventurous and willing to mix styles - that's Joe. I told him, "make sure you take some pictures as I'm curious to see what you cook up for the Kelly & the kids." He did not disappoint and in classic mash-up style, he presented his hit of the weekend. Here's the recipe in his own words -

The Crazy Girlfriend Panini Sandwich. "Hot , sweet, and a little cheesy."
Rye or whole wheat buttered on pan side. (Dude, honestly, I often use Pam cooking spray on the pie iron -is this a sin?)

Spread mango chutney on open side of bread and layer with sliced chicken or turkey, a slice of your favorite type of cheese, and a square quarter sheet of sushi nori (seaweed).

Cook in Pie Iron until bread is toasted and cheese is melted

Joe looking very serious as he does the assembly work

Daughter Brooke gets the cooking honors

Friday, May 11, 2007

Scout Cookout

Here's a series of photos sent in by an Ohio Girl Scout troop who had a great time learning about and making pies. Not sure if there's some kind of badge for pie irons yet. Maybe it's time to start lobbying for one :)

We've got a full assembly line going here

You can hold them over the fire....

or if you get tired, just lay 'em in the coals & kick back

Hobo Pie - the man, the band

As this blog is a much more efficient way to post your pics, tips, recipes and such I've taken down the "Your Input" section of

This post on Ray Frick, The Hobo Pie Man is from that original page. Since I first posted this a few years ago, I haven't heard from Ray, but from this link it looks like he's still playing music as Hobo Pie. Hey Ray - get in touch!

For over 12 years, Ray and his wife have been using serving up pies made with our round cast iron design at the Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, WV. In this time, they've made over 12,000 pies!!

Here's Ray in his own words -

"I have been making 'pies' for as long as I can remember. Each year at the Appalachian String Band Festival in Clifftop, WV we make literally hundreds of pies for our fellow campers and musicians.

We've come to be known as the 'Hobo Pie People' and the name of the band I'm in is also Hobo Pie. I'm in the process of writing an illustrated children's book, 'The Legend Of The Hobo Pie People', which I will self-publish. After I'm gone... I want there to be a record of what we did at the festival. We've almost achieved folk hero status there. We could not have done it without the Rome Pie Irons and
I tell everyone that asks about your wonderful product and how to get
in touch with you. Last year we went through close to 70 loaves of bread
making pies for our friends over the 10 days we were at the festival.
Your pie irons have provided my wife and me with the opportunity to meet some of the most wonderful friends."

Traditional Philly Cheeseteak Pie
by Ray the Hobo Pie Man from Ambler, PA

A few ounces of precooked Steakum sandwich steak
A good portion of shredded cheese (we use a blend of mozzarella and provolone)
Some finely chopped fried onions and peppers
A gentle squeeze of pizza sauce in squeeze bottle
We use some Italian bread sliced fairly thin.
We always use Pam or some other nonstick spray and only spray maybe once every 15 pies or so....It's as close to a Philly CheeseSteak as you'll find out in the woods.