Category Archives: Tips & Tricks

Live Like An Islander

Well, maybe just a little bit.  So, we can’t all live on the Hawaiian islands, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy some fresh pineapple.  Especially, this time of the year (March – July) when pineapples are at their peak.

What’s holding you back?  Not sure how to pick a ripe one?  Don’t know how to cut it?  Do you buy this?

Instead of this?

I find the fruit tastes so much better when I pick it out and cut it myself, and I think you will, too.  Yes, I know it isn’t as good as freshly picked in a tropical location, but I can settle for a tasty second best if you can.

How to choose?  Look for the largest and plumpest ones with crisp, dark green leaves.  It should be firm to a gentle press and only yield slightly.  If you have a good nose, you should be able to get a faint, pleasant pineapple aroma at the base of the fruit when it is ripe.  Avoid pineapples that are overly soft, wrinkled, cracked, or have yellow or brown leaves.  Don’t believe folks who tell you that a pineapple is ripe when a leaf can be removed from the crown easily – it is often a sign the fruit is rotten.

Once you’ve gotten the fruit home, you need to cut it for eating.

I use a large knife and a cutting board.  Place the fruit on its side and slice off the lid and the base.

Stand the fruit upright again, and slice down the the side from top to bottom to remove the rough skin.  Try to leave as much of the sweet flesh as possible.  I trim off any remaining eye spots (those brown areas) as I go.

Once all the skin is removed, I lay the fruit on its side again in order to cut the pineapple into slices.

We most often enjoy fresh pineapple as is – I don’t add it to recipes.  Because of that, I just cut it into bite-size wedges, so I cut each slice in half.

Then, I trim out any remaining brown eye holes and remove the core from each half.

I further cut each half into smaller pieces.

Your cut pineapple should be stored in an airtight container (I just use a big zip-top bag) in the refrigerator for no more than 3 days.

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What the Heck Is Bromate?

What the heck is bromate?  That is the question I asked myself while staring at flour labels in the grocery store.

Never bromated. Is that something I want?  I decided to come home and do some research.

Bromate (potassium bromate) is a slow-acting oxidizer added to flour in order to strengthen dough (thereby reducing mixing times) and create higher rises in bread while in the oven, also known as oven spring.  Bromated flour means that the flour has been enriched with potassium bromate.  Some commercial bakers use bromated flour because it yields dependable results, and it makes a stronger, more elastic dough which can stand up to bread hooks and other commercial baking tools.

Without much work, I was able to learn on several government health websites that the use of bromate has been linked to cancer in laboratory animals.  In theory, the bromate should bake out of the dough as it cooks, but if any residue does remain, it could be harmful, especially after repeated consumption.

In many countries (even China!), bromated flour has been outright banned.  The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled bromate a carcinogen (cancer-causing agent).  But, the US Food and Drug Agency (FDA) hasn’t banned its use, just encouraged bakers to voluntarily stop using it.  Some flour producers have switched their additive to ascorbic acid, which has similar properties without the potential health risks.

Now a number of baked good companies and retailers have stopped using bromated flour, but some public health agencies recommend that consumers avoid bread, rolls, doughnuts, cakes, and other baked goods that list potassium bromate or bromated flour as an ingredient.

If you know me, you know that I bake a lot.  My husband and I go through quite a bit of flour every year.  This information has made me decide to only buy flour that does not contain potassium bromate and to read food labels and avoid the ingredient.  I am curious to know if any of my readers share my concern.

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Bar Stool Fridays – Infused Vodkas

I think most commercially flavored vodka tastes like chemicals.  I don’t like it at all.  I do like the concept, however.

So I decided we should just make our own flavored vodka by infusing it with fresh fruit.  We made two different batches – one with lemons and limes and the other with fresh pineapple.  They both turned out beautifully and couldn’t be easier.

You just need fresh fruit, vegetables, or herbs, vodka, a glass container, and time.  You may be tempted to use cheap vodka, but don’t – you’ll be disappointed.  Use a vodka that you don’t mind drinking.  You can also use another kind of spirit, too – be creative.

Lemon Lime Vodka
Makes one 750-mL bottle

3 – 5 limes, thinly sliced
3 – 5 lemons, thinly sliced
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Layer the citrus fruit along the bottom of a large glass container.

Pour in vodka.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

The citrus oils can be very strong tasting.  You may want to filter the vodka when you bottle it.

Discard the used fruit – all the flavor has been steeped out by the vodka.

My brother and his friend enjoyed this vodka so much on ice that they drank it before I had time to make a cocktail with it.

Pineapple Vodka
Makes one 750 mL bottle

1/2 to whole fresh pineapple
1 bottle vodka (750 mL)

Peel and dice the pineapple.  You can use one-half to a whole pineapple.

Arrange in the bottom of a glass container.

Pour vodka on top.

Cover and store in a cool dark place for 4 to 6 weeks.  Take a sample taste after a month and then try the spirit once a week until it reaches the appropriate flavor.

Once you are ready to bottle, discard the used fruit.

New Orleans is hosting Tales of the Cocktail festival this weekend.  I wish I was there.  Instead, I made a cocktail like something I might sip there.

Tales of the Pineapple
Makes 1 drink

2 oz pineapple vodka
2 oz spiced rum
2 oz pineapple juice
2 oz mango nectar or juice
2 oz orange juice

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled shaker.  Shake well.

Serve over crushed ice with a pineapple slice garnish.  Goes well with sunshine and good company.

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Did You Eat Your Veggies Today?

I really enjoy the taste of vegetables, and I appreciate that they are good for me, too.  But, I like to ensure that I’m doing what is best for my body and I am not consuming or serving harmful chemicals.

Because of that, I choose to shop for organic produce.  And, to me, organically grown fruits and vegetables taste better.

But, organic produce not only avoids harmful pesticides or herbicides, they may also have more nutrients.  Recent research has shown that the conventional farming industry’s desire to grow bigger vegetables more quickly by selective breeding and synthetic fertilizers can decrease produce’s ability to synthesize nutrients or absorb them from the soil.  Without the use of synthetic fertilizers, organic farming creates more stress on plants.  This stress causes plants to protect themselves by producing more phytochemicals, like antioxidants.  This higher amount of phytochemicals benefits humans who eat them.

Trust me, I understand that sometimes you don’t have a choice between organic or conventional produce or you can’t afford the options.  I do buy conventional produce occasionally, and I remain cautious about pesticide consumption.  Luckily, the Environmental Working Group has created a handy shoppers’ guide of the fruits and vegetables most likely to test positive for high levels of pesticide (the Dirty Dozen) and those least likely to test positive for pesticides (the Clean Fifteen). I downloaded an application for my IPhone that helps me keep track of what I should pursue as organically grown, or what is acceptable as conventionally grown.  So, I try and buy (or pick my own) organic options for at least produce from the “dirty dozen” list, but I’m willing to go the conventional route sometimes for the “clean fifteen” list.

The Dirty Dozen: peaches, apples, bell peppers, celery, nectarines, strawberries, cherries, kale, lettuce, imported grapes, carrots, and pears.

The Clean Fifteen: onions, avocados, corn, pineapple, mangoes, asparagus, sweet peas, kiwifruits, cabbages, eggplants, papayas, watermelons, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.

Here’s something you can do with your pesticide-free sweet peas…

Pecan Honey Butter Peas
Serves 4

16 oz package of frozen peas
1 1/2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp honey
1/4 cup pecans

Spread pecans on a baking sheet and toast in a 250 degree F oven until fragrant.  Cool and then chop.

Prepare peas according to package directions.  Drain well.

In a saucepan, melt butter.  Add honey, and chopped pecans.

Combine well and add peas.

Quickly stir, remove from heat, and serve.

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Farmers’ Market Tips


This weekend I volunteered at a local farmers’ market.  It was a great way to get to meet some local farmers and I was able to enjoy a sunny day here in DC.  After watching the patrons and answering questions, I realized some tips to make the most of a farmers’ market experience might be helpful to my readers.

Come Prepared.  Bring your own shopping bags and cash.  Most markets are not equipped to accept credit cards, although that is changing.  Also, try to be considerate of the vendors and bring smaller bills.  Don’t count on vendors to supply you with bags, especially if you live in a jurisdiction that is regulating the use of plastic bags.

Scope, Then Buy.  I recommend doing a little reconnaissance when you first hit the market.  As you walk through you will notice similar items from more than one vendor, but with different prices and sometimes different quality.  More than one farmer could be selling tomatoes, but one may be certified organic, and more than one farmer could be selling brown eggs, but one may be $1 cheaper.  Because groceries will be stacked on top of each other, you may want to shop for the sturdiest stuff (think potatoes or melons) first.

Taste Test.  Most vendors will offer sample tastes of their products.  Sample strategically to try and broaden your palate and be adventurous.  Some farmers have recipe and preparation suggestions, too.

Talk to Strangers.  Take the opportunity to learn how to prepare something new.  Most farmers are happy to talk about their goods, their farm, or how they prepare the product, and if they are too busy with other customers, you’ll likely get advice from others in line.

Timing.  Hit the market early if you want a less crowded experience and your pick of the freshest goods.  For a more bustling or energetic scene, hit the market at its midpoint.  For bargains, keep in mind that farmers often slash prices about an hour before closing.

Think Beyond Veggies.  Many markets are inviting a wide variety of vendors to participate.  You may see flowers, yarn, baked goods, cheese, meat, preserves, pasta sauce, and many other things.  Local musicians, jugglers, and other entertainers may also be present at your market.

More on Bargains…

Embrace the rejects.  The less attractive produce and sometimes be cheaper, and can make a great sauce or can be hidden in a casserole.

Pay for flavor.  No matter how you consider it, I think ten bucks is a lot to pay for cheese.  I splurge on stronger or more pungent varieties that add big taste in small doses.

How do you find a local farmers’ market?

The resource I have found most helpful is searchable database of farmers’ markets of the US Department of Agriculture.

http://apps.ams.usda.gov/FarmersMarkets

I have also found useful information about markets from the private organization, Local Harvest.  http://www.localharvest.org

In the Washington, DC metropolitan area, many markets are run by the organization FreshFarm Markets.

http://www.freshfarmmarket.org

Happy Shopping!

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DIY Whiskey

Readers of this blog will recall, the trip my husband and I took to Wasmund’s Copper Fox Distillery.  While there we not only took a tour of the distillery, but purchased some clear spirits (aka moonshine) and a barrel to age our own whiskey.

It made us feel a little like distillers without the chemistry knowledge or potentially explosive home still.  And, oh yeah, that whole illegal thing, whatever…

The experience really helped us understand the impact wood has on flavoring the spirit.  The smell, taste, and appearance of the whiskey changed dramatically as it aged in the barrel.  Additionally, because our barrel is so small, the aging process is accelerated.  In only months, we had something worth tasting and drinking, as opposed to the years it takes with a full-sized barrel.  Yay, homemade whiskey!

Now, you can’t jump right in to aging the whiskey when you get your barrel home.  First, you need to ensure your barrel won’t leak.  The easiest way to do this, is to fill the barrel with hot water and let it sit until the seepage stops.  The hot water helps the wooden barrel slats expand and fit together more snugly.  We also found it helpful to use a spray bottle to moisten the areas where it was leaking.  It took us a couple of days to get a tight barrel, but it is worth it.  I mean, you don’t want to lose a bunch of precious whiskey, right?

Once you have a secure vessel, pour the spirits into the bung hole on the top of the barrel.

(Everytime the phrase “bung hole” was recited, my husband immediately followed it with a laugh from Beavis and Butthead.  Yeah, I’m proud.)

Push the bung back into its hole and then practice patience as you wait for your whiskey to be ready.
Additional ingredients can be added to your whiskey before you seal the barrel, if you’d like.  For example, Wasmund adds cheesecloth bags full of fruitwood chips to enhance the flavor of their whiskey.  We elected to play it straight this round and didn’t add anything else to the barrel.  We tinkered with the spirits a little later in the process, though.
You can see from the pictures that the barrel has a spigot.  This made it easy to sample every few weeks to check our progress and gauge how the barrel changed the whiskey.  After regular samples and acquiring additional raw spirits to refill the barrel, we decided to bottle our aged whiskey at the seven month mark.  (NOTE: You don’t want to leave your barrel empty because you will have to deal with big leaks again.)
It was at this point that we decided to try the chipping technique that Wasmund practices.  We created a little cheesecloth bag of toasted applewood chunks to suspend like a tea bag in a portion of the aged whiskey once we removed it from the barrel.
The whiskey we wanted to “chip”, we poured into a sealable glass container.  We gave this batch an extra month before bottling, and it seems to have made a big difference.  In fact, I think the addition of wood chips seemed to “age” the whiskey to the tune of several more months, instead of just one.  It smoothed the rough edges of the alcohol and created a depth of flavor to make a unique beverage.
The rest of the whiskey we poured back into the bottles that once contained the raw spirits.  Wasmund thoughtfully gave them labels that give room for bottling dates and tasting notes.  A great detail, in my opinion.
It is important to provide some level of filtering of your whiskey as it comes out of the barrel to keep out wood dust and any other residue that could reside in your little barrel.  As you can see, we just used a coffee filter in our funnel, but some folks use more advanced methods and purchase filters for that purpose.
The spirits are quite strong and high in alcohol in the barrel.  Wasmund provides raw spirits at around 120 proof.    For that reason, you may find it desirable to add some distilled water to your bottles once your aged whiskey is ready.  In fact, Wasmund actually designs its bottles with a subtle mark on the side to create a fill level for the whiskey at barrel strength, allowing room for water to be added and thereby reducing the alcohol level.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Wasmund’s whiskey (on right) and our home-aged whiskey (on left).  Pretty close, I think…
We definitely like this whiskey, but we’ve really enjoyed the applewood-chipped batch.  And, it looks lovely in a crystal decanter (wedding gift!) on the sideboard (thanks, VA!) in our dining room.  Cheers!

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Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Cook

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It cannot already be December 10.  Can it?  I’m usually in full holiday mode by this time.  This year I seem to be having trouble jump-starting the Christmas spirit.  I started my holiday baking yesterday, and that helped a bit, but I still have several things I want to do before Christmas yet no matching motivation.  Perhaps thinking of presents for others will get me going…
Looking for some great gift ideas for the cook in your life?  Well, look no more.  I’ve compiled a list of useful and fun items for cooking, eating, and drinking.  I promise this is not a list of frivolous gadgets or trendy cookbooks to clutter their kitchen.
Microplane Stainless Steel Zester
Microplane Zester - I have had mine for years and am continually surprised by how often my husband and I pull it out of the drawer to use.  Any one who cooks regularly will be thrilled to have this in their stocking.  Use it to zest citrus and grate hard cheeses or spices.
Rosle 8.6-Inch Flat Whisk
Flat Whisk - I find that in my kitchen the flat whisk is much more useful than the more common balloon whisk.  The balloon whisk is best to whip egg whites or cream, but I have electric mixers for those tasks.  The flat whisk is great for sauces, vinaigrettes, or scrambling eggs.  Plus, the flat whisk fits more easily into my counter storage system,  and it is easier to clean.  (I do not have a dishwasher.  Gasp.)
Polder 510 Glass Candy/Deep Fry ThermometerCandy Thermometer - Yet another goodie for your loved one’s stocking…This handy tool is used to take the temperature and therefore determine the cooking stage of sugar and is also helpful to measure hot oil when frying.  I use it frequently for making candy and preserves.  I find the traditional liquid thermometer is easiest to use and I appreciate having a clip to attach to the pot or saucepan so I may have my hands free for stirring or      adding additional ingredients.   Make your gift more special by giving this with a handwritten recipe.
Lodge Logic L5SK3 Pre-Seasoned Cast-Iron 8-Inch Skillet
Cast Iron Skillet - If you do not yet have a cast iron skillet, what is holding you back?  Right.  I know, your glass or ceramic cooktop.  Well, for those of you without the fragile cooktop, you want one of these.  I have talked about them before, and I even told you how to take care of it.  
Oneida Polished Black Mandolin Interchangable SlicerMandoline Slicer - This tool is not only useful, but also kinda fun.  It is great for slicing and cutting all kinds of vegetables to a uniform thickness which not only makes your dishes more attractive, but ensures equal cooking time for both frying and baking.  This one has several attachments so you can create different types of cuts, and it has a carrier to help you not slice off your fingertips.  A plus!
Silpat Baking Sheet - 11.63x16.5"Silicone Baking Mat - No more need for parchment paper with this non-stick baking mat.  It is really useful for sticky batters or toffee.  Get them more than one.
Keys to Good Cooking: A Guide to Making the Best of Foods and Recipes
Keys to Good Cooking by Harold McGee - This book can serve as a useful companion to any cookbook, and can be a resource to a kitchen novice or experienced chef.  Learn the science of what is happening in your cooking and improve what you turn out.
KitchenAid K45SS Classic 250-Watt 4-1/2-Quart Stand Mixer, White
Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer - Don’t wait until you get married…get one now.  I have the classic version and I love it.  I don’t really need to tell you why you or your favorite cook want one.
Okay, here are a couple of gifts that are a little less practical and a bit more fun…
Fred and Friends Gin and Titonic Ice Cube Tray
Gin and Titonic Ice Cube Tray - I got this for my birthday and they still make me smile.  Perfect for any drink, but I certainly enjoy them in my gin and tonic.
Everything Tastes Better with Dog Hair Apron

Fun Apron – Help your favorite cook protect their clothes and make a fashion statement in the kitchen.  I like this one because it helps support the ASPCA.

Happy Holidays, and have a great weekend!

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A Pot of Beans

Canned beans are a constant staple in my pantry, and are great at helping me get dinner on the table quickly.  But, if I have a little extra time or I need to feed a crowd, dried beans fit the bill.  Cooking the beans myself is cheaper, leads to a better texture and flavor, and a lower sodium content than canned beans.  (Although, I always rinse my canned beans to reduce the salt levels.)

Dried beans are not as hard to prepare as you may think.  Don’t steer your grocery cart away from the bags of dried beans!

First things first, I always wash dried beans before using.  Just rinse in a colander under cold water and remove any damaged or split beans.  You may also see little pebbles or other particles that should  be discarded.

The US Dry Bean Council (yeah, they have a council) recommends boiling the beans briefly and then soaking them.  Place the beans in a large saucepan and add water to cover.  Typically, you should use three measures of water to one measure of dry beans for soaking.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and let stand, covered, for about an hour.

Now you are ready to cook the beans.  Drain the soaked beans and return them to the pot.  Cover with fresh water and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until tender, 1 to 3 hours depending on the type of bean.  Cooking beans in a slow cooker will take at least 6 to 8 hours, or you can set it up overnight.

Ingredients that contain sugar, such as molasses, and acidic ingredients, including tomatoes, vinegar or wine, slow down the softening process, so add them toward the end of cooking.  If you live at a high altitude or have hard water, you might need to increase cooking time.

Beans that refuse to soften may simply be too old.  Make sure you purchase beans from a store that has a quick turnover.  Inspect the package and look for firm, clean, whole beans with a minimum of cracks and broken seed coats.  The color should be bright, not muddy, and the beans should have a slight sheen.  Opened beans should be stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place and used within in a year.

A heaping half-cup of dried beans is equivalent to a 15.5 ounce can of beans.  Sometimes, I’ll make a pot of beans on the weekend, and then package them in sealed containers for my freezer to help make meal preparation a little easier.  The beans keep in the freezer for 3 to 4 months.

Black Beans with Chorizo
Makes about 12 servings

1 Tbsp olive oil
about 1 lb chorizo sausage
3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
1 lb dried black beans, rinsed and soaked
4 cups chicken broth
at least 2 cups water
3 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
salt, to taste
sour cream, optional for serving
fresh tomato, option for serving

Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large pot with a lid.  Brown sausage, remove any casings and break up into pieces.

If the sausage is fatty, pour off all but about 3 tablespoons of grease.  Return the pan to the heat, and add garlic, onion, and celery.  Saute until onions are translucent, maybe 2 to 3 minutes.

Put the rinsed and soaked beans in the pot with the meat and veggies.

Cover with chicken broth and water.

Add herbs and spices and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer gently until the beans are very tender.  If you’ve soaked the beans, it should take about 90 minutes, if not, probably around 3 hours.  Add additional water as necessary to keep the beans moist.  Taste near the end of cooking time and add salt or additional flavorings, as needed.

Serve the beans by themselves, over rice or grilled vegetables, stuffed in roast acorn squash or pumpkins, or to fill tortillas.  My husband likes his garnished with sour cream and fresh tomatoes.

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That Old Hatch Magic

For an all too brief time each year in the late summer, chile heads covet a New Mexican long green chile, known commonly as a Hatch chile.  But, you can help make the magic last throughout the year by roasting and freezing them.  Most vegetables lose texture and taste in the freezer, but Hatch chiles do really well.  And, the longer they are stored in your freezer, the hotter they get.

Choose Hatch chiles that are a glossy, bright green.  They should be firm and heavy for their size.  For easy roasting, pick out relatively straight or flat peppers because they will turn more easily and blacken evenly.

There are several methods for roasting, but for each method use tongs to turn the peppers until the skin blackens and blisters evenly.

On the grill, place chiles about 5 inches above a gas or charcoal fire.

If you have a gas stove, you can position the chiles on a stove top grill over high heat.  If you have an electric stove, use a cast-iron skillet.  Place the skillet on a burner over high heat.

You can also broil the peppers.  Position chiles on a baking pan and set under the broiler for 6 to 8 minutes, or until skin blisters.

After roasting, place chiles in a sturdy plastic bag and close.  In about 10 minutes, the steam will soften the skin so that it peels off more easily, using your hands or a knife.  Don’t rinse the chiles under water because it will remove flavor.

Peeled, roasted chiles can be frozen in plastic bags.  And while I can’t imagine them not being eaten sooner, frozen chiles will keep up to two years.

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Care & Feeding of Cast Iron Cookware

No Texas kitchen is complete without at least one cast-iron skillet.  I have two.  One is a 10-incher that I bought new in Marshall, Texas at Marshall Pottery when I first set up my own kitchen.  The other is a 13-inch monster that I inherited from my Aunt Mary Lee.   It is hard for me to lift with one-hand, and I’m a strong girl.  Here in my rental kitchen, I’ve enjoyed another large skillet and a really nice Dutch oven.  It makes me want to cook like a cowboy.

I use cast-iron for all kinds of things and I’m not sure how I would make some of our favorite dishes without those skillets.  I’ve realized that not everyone shares my preference for cast iron, though.  I suspect it has much to do with the seasoning process.  See, cast-iron is a porous surface, and it needs to be seasoned to fill in and smooth that surface.  Otherwise everything you try and cook will burn and/or stick to the pan.

Here’s how to season cast-iron cookware:

Wash, rinse, and dry the piece.  Some folks say never use soap on cast-iron.  It is okay to use soap as long as you are re-seasoning after.  Make sure it is rinsed thoroughly and dried completely.  If you have a piece that is rusty and it doesn’t come off with soap and water, you can scour it off with steel wool or a scrubby sponge.

Use a solid vegetable shortening (I use Crisco) to grease the inside surface.  Use the same amount as you would to grease a baking dish for a cake.

Place the greased pan in your oven and turn the heat up to 350 degrees F.   Let it bake in the oven for about an hour.  Then, turn off the oven and you can let the cast-iron cookware cool in the oven.

If you’ve bought or inherited cookware that is in really bad shape, you may need to repeat this process before you use it.  Also, until your cookware is well seasoned, you should avoid cooking highly acidic foods, like tomatoes, because they can be corrosive to the cast iron.

Tips for cleaning cast-iron cookware:

After cooking something with little to no residue, like tortillas, I just wipe my skillet clear with a damp towel or sponge, and dry it promptly with another towel.  For messier dishes, I rinse the pan in very hot water and use a sponge or sometimes a nylon brush to clear it of food bits.  If things are really stuck, I boil some water in it on the stove top until it loosens.  Finally, I do sometimes use soap, never a harsh cleanser, because I’m concerned the spices used in a dish were absorbed my the skillet and could flavor the next item I cook.  I only do this when I am prepared to re-season the skillet.  Never wash your cast-iron in a dishwasher.

It is important to dry cast-iron cookware very well after each use, or it could rust.  Do not let it air dry.  After rinsing my skillet, I usually just put it back on the stovetop and turn the heat on low or medium low for a few minutes until it is dry.

With use the cast-iron cookware will darken from a steel grey color to dark grey or black.

I recommend everyone give cast-iron a try in their kitchen.  You can buy them new or pick them up for pretty cheap at a thrift store or yard sale from someone who doesn’t know the treasure they have.  Even if you buy a piece pre-seasoned, these tips can help you keep your cookware in top shape.

Search Amazon.com for lodge cast iron

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