Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Cast Iron Cooking - My New Obsession

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I have a bad habit of wanting to try everything and do everything.  I have craft supplies like you've never seen and of course I've already shared my new oil obsession.  So what is next?  Cast Iron cooking.

Where did this new obsession start? Well, honestly I've always been intrigued.  I've seen famous chefs on the cooking channel making amazing dishes in their cast iron skillets.  However there were some practical problems with jumping into this new style of cookware.

  • The pans are heavy

  • The pans are pricey

  • There is work involved with seasoning 

  • You can't wash the pans

See that list?  Those are all great reasons to skip trying this new or rather old fad.  Then something happened.  I went through another set of non-stick cookware.  That is the 4th set in 15 years.  I'm tired of flaky non-stick stuff coming off my pans.  I've read articles that say how toxic those pans are and I'm tired of replacing them.  So one day I was scrolling through facebook and a picture of this skillet set popped up on my feed.  I thought - WHY NOT!  So I took the plunge.

This is the set I bought. 

Amazon shipped the pans in two days and they honestly sat in the box for another week.  I had to get some knowledge, there is some prep to cooking with these things!

So after scouring the blogsphere I found each site said about the same thing.

  • You have to season your pan - even if it is pre-seasoned.  I did this by cranking up the heat in my oven to 400 degrees and putting a little crisco shortening on the pan.  I cooked it for about 10 minutes that way.  Then I wiped the residue out and it was prepared enough.  Seasoning truly is a process that never ends.  Building layer upon layer on the pan.  Until the pan has a sheen of seasoning and is almost non-stick.

  • You can wash your pan but it is better not to.  See you thought I would say don't ever touch the pan with soap!  Well, from my vast reading I can tell you that it is okay but your going to have season afterwards.  It is also best to wait until you have seasoned it a bit and built up some layers too.  

  • Water is a problem.  Yes you have to rinse/wash the pans after every use.  Being sure to scrape them of food.  The big thing you have to consider is that you can not put that pan on the rack to dry.  You have to dry it and be sure it is dry.  What I did was wash the pan then dry with a paper towel.  Then I put it in the oven for about 10 minutes to be sure there was no moisture left behind.  Worked perfectly.  What happens if you don't do this?  The pan can rust and you'll have to work at getting it off (it is possible!).  

So what did I cook? I've only made one dish so far and it was a fried onion!  I put some olive oil on the bottom of the pan and slowly cooked the onions, moving them around occasionally.  In my mind I thought they would burn or stick to the pan but they didn't.  Instead they browned beautifully!  Some of the best caramelized onions I've ever made!

Overall, I'm so glad I took the plunge.  I can see this pan lasting forever and becoming a favorite cooking tool in my kitchen. 

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