Tag Archives: cast iron skillet

Basics

12 Feb

If you don’t have one, run out and get one. What in the world am I talking about? A cast iron skillet. It is a kitchen must have. A basic. But don’t go to an expensive kitchen store to get one. Go to your local hardware store. You will find the best brand at your good old hardware store-Lodge.

As I love to cook, I have a couple cast iron skillets. One  of my favorites has ridges to sear a lovely tenderloin, grill some delicious hamburgers. or make a creamy warm panini. There are a zillion ways to use your cast iron skillet. If you keep it seasoned, it will also become something you can hand down through the generations. Here is one of my well seasoned cast iron skillets.

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How do you season it you ask? It is easy. But remember, you need to continue to season your cast iron skillet every so often. Here are some tips to season your skillet:

  • Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water.
  • Rinse and dry completely.
  • Apply melted solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware inside and out. Too much oil will result in a sticky finish so keep your application thin.
  • Set oven temperature to 350 – 400 degrees F.
  • Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven to prevent pooling.
  • Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.
  • Store the cookware uncovered
  • Repeat as necessary
  • When I use and wash my skillet, I dry it not with a towel but over low heat on a burner.

I recently used this skillet to sear some zucchini for dinner. I simply split the zucchini lengthwise, and sprinkled it with salt, pepper, and olive oil. Next, I got my cast iron skillet good and hot on the stove. Then I seared the zucchini halves with the flesh side down first.

Grilled zucchini in my (very inexpensive) cast iron grill pan.  It was sizzling and searing.  Yum! I seared it much like a piece of meat. After searing one side, I turned it over and seared the second side. I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top. Ooh! So yummy!

I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top.  Ooh!  So good!

This recipe is a keeper.  It was super quick, hardly any ingredients, and so very tasty!  It was beautiful on the plate as well.  So look for variety not only in your food, but in ways to prepare them.

 

 

 

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Zucchini-Grilled

30 Mar

I really like vegetables. Even more than fruit.  Eating seasonally and taking advantage of farm fresh vegetables all year long not only provides great flavor and variety, but eating seasonally is budget friendly. My kids and I are adventurous when it comes to food, so I am challenged to find new ways to cook veggies.

Since it is winter, root vegetables have been the staple lately.  Luckily, my family enjoys carrots, potatoes, squash,beets…all the delicious colorful winter vegetables.  Did I say all?  Um, I meant most.  My kids aren’t crazy about one winter vegetable…brussel sprouts.

My kids tend to delight in normal kid stuff like, well, farts.  Brussel sprouts, closely related to cabbage, are notoriously gas producing.  Shouldn’t that be my number one selling point in adding brussel sprouts to our dinner repertoire?  I mean, what could be more fun than that for my kids….seriously.  With their competitive nature, I see this as a win win food offering, if you catch my drift (waft, hang time…).

And that’s how I tried to sell it to my kids. They know enough to know what a cruciferous vegetable is, and what that produces.  Slow roasted fresh brussel sprouts gently browning in the oven smell, well, cabbage like.  Rats.  That wasn’t going to sell my kids on these delicious sprouts.  Of course my mouth is watering, but the kids are scrunching their nose up.  So in the interest of family peace, I now reserve brussel spouts for when I dine at a restaurant.   So I took the sprouts out of the family dinner rotation, but continue on a quest for a fresh seasonal change.

Still wanting variety, I reverted back to another inexpensive vegetable…zucchini.  I like to roast these with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, with perhaps a few shreds of fresh parmesan.  But on this particular night, I was pinched for time and looking for a quick veggie option.  I still used zucchini, but took it in a super quick and easy direction.

Splitting the zucchini down the middle, I then pulled my cast iron grill pan out and heated it up.  I drizzled with zucchini with olive oil, and onto the grill pan it went.  I seared it much like a piece of meat, not quite knowing how it would end up.   After searing one side, I turned it over and seared the second side.  I then put a bit of fresh parmesan cheese on top.  The result was fantastic.

Grilled zucchini in my (very inexpensive) cast iron grill pan.  It was sizzling and searing.  Yum!

Grilled zucchini in my (very inexpensive) cast iron grill pan. It was sizzling and searing. Yum!

I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top.  Ooh!  So good!

I flipped the fleshy side of the zucchini up and put a little freshly served parmesan on top. Ooh! So good!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a keeper.  It was super quick, hardly any ingredients, and oh so tasty!  It was beautiful on the plate as well.  So look for variety not only in your food, but in ways to prepare them.

Oh, and  you may want to take a page out of my book and order your brussel sprouts out at your favorite place Saturday night!

 

 

Tale of a Saturday morning

18 Mar

Today is just a regular Saturday.  I got up, did a load of laundry, and made a big lunch for my son heading out to a long day of life guarding class.  While I was doing this, I nibbled on a bagel.  Trying to shake the long week off, I head to the gym for  a workout with Denis.

At the gym, we hopped on some treadmills for a good 40 minute run.  Then we headed over to the free weights for a little strength training.  Such a great start to the weekend!  We zipped on back home, and were surprised that the workout didn’t leave us super hungry.  Peculiar, I thought, as we usually have a pretty healthy appetite!  But knowing post workout major food craving comes on fast and strong, I decided to make something when we got home anyway.  Eating some protein after a workout is important.  Since it was still morning, I thought eggs would work for the post workout nibbler.  And what better way to eat eggs than a big honkin frittata?  (Okay, maybe deviled eggs, but that’s a story for another day!). There were 2 goals here-a great post workout dish plus plenty of leftovers for my teenagers!

I went the fridge and pulled out 1/2 dozen eggs.  Then I started digging.  My frittata would be totally dependent on what was on hand.  As Denis would say, I am the best refrigerator cook he knows.  I can pull any meal together with the odds and ends in my kitchen.  I dug into the pantry, the freezer, and the fridge.  Here is what I pulled out:

4 pieces of uncooked leftover bacon

1/4 bag leftover frozen hash brown style potatoes

1/2 an onion

1 package frozen chopped spinach

jar of roasted red peppers

6 eggs

skim milk

A chunk of sharp cheddar cheese

First, I got my trusty ol’ cast iron skillet out.  Then I turned the oven to 450 to preheat.  Next, I cut the left over bacon into small pieces  and tossed it into the skillet, which was on medium high heat.  That started sizzling, and I cracked the eggs into a mixing bowl.  To cut down on the fat, I used 4 whole eggs and 2 with the whites only.  I whipped those while the bacon was cooking, and added about 3/4 cup skim milk.  I let that sit.  While I was working on that, Denis chopped 1/2 the  onion, 1/2 the jar of roasted red peppers, and shredded about 1/2 cup of the cheese.

When the bacon was done, I scooped it out of the skillet and put it on some paper towels to soak up the grease.   I tossed the chopped onion and the potatoes into the still hot skillet.  That started cooking.  I cooked it, stirring twice, until the onions were translucent  and the potatoes soft, about 4-5 minutes.  While that was cooking, I put the package of frozen spinach in the microwave to thaw, then squeezed it dry.  After the onion and potatoes were cooked, in went the red peppers and spinach.  I gave everything a good solid stir and let it heat through.

After about 2 minutes I gently poured the egg mixture into the pan.  I gave the whole thing a good stir.   Only one.  That was it.  The heat was still medium high, and I left the skillet on the heat until the eggs started to set, about 4 minutes.  I sprinkled the cheese on top, then popped it into the oven for 10 minutes.  I toasted some whole wheat bread to accompany the frittata.  It was a yummy dish, I used up some leftovers, and it was ready in a snap.  With all the vegetables I added, it was also packed with nutrients.

So what is in your pantry, your fridge, your freezer?  Have some fun, get creative, and whip up something fun!