What Are We Talking About?
Seasoning a cast-iron pan is something you may have heard of, but it’s definitely something you should do if you ever use one. The cast-iron pan is a definite requirement in any modern kitchen, despite it’s age-old design. When you season it, you’re effectively filling in any cracks and cuts in the pan with natural oils. These cracks reduce the non-stick nature of the pan, and by filling them up, you’ll increase the desired slickness. Additionally, some report that you’ll bring more flavor to the dish by adding some of the natural oils now inherent to the pan to whatever you’re cooking in. Finally, you just can’t make proper cornbread without a good, seasoned, cast-iron pan.
Who Should Do This?
Anyone with a cast-iron pan, which might be found in everything from major restaurants to tiny apartments.
How Do I Season A Cast-Iron Pan?
- Using a food-safe oil or butter (coconut oil/butter seems to work best) and a paper towel, rub and scrub the inside of the pan. When you are finished, there shouldn’t be any actual oils moving in the pan, but it should have gotten into crevices.
- Place a sheet of foil in the oven, and place the cast-iron pan upside down over it. Bake at 350-400 degrees for 30 minutes. Smoking is normal, akin to a dirty oven.
- Turn off oven and let cool.
- Repeat 3-4 times for better seasoning.
- … put the cast-iron dish in the dishwasher.
- … keep the cast-iron dish in storage with the lid on; moisture can collect in it, leading to rust.
- … boil water in the dish; the “seasoning” can come loose and mix with the water.
- … pour large amounts of cold liquid into the pan.
- … leave food in the pan after
Cooking pans are all the same, right? That’s obviously incorrect; different pans use different materials, handles are of different strengths, metals can go to different temperatures, and the experience points required to wield them all differ.
Wait, experience points?
Combat Kitchenware, a new project running on Kickstarter, looks to meet the needs of the Dungeons and Dragons diners. Morlock Enterprises has crafted the Fighting Man’s Frying Pan, a standard variety of pans with an aluminum/silicon handle designed like a broadsword. For various Kickstarter reward levels, you can acquire a different size of cook pan, Epic Quest Cards (recipes), handle kits, and trivets.
What could be down the road for this company? “Meat-tenderizing maces” are teased in the video, but a wide adoption of these pans is the goal.
Obviously, Martha Stewart won’t be using the dishes pans for anything in her kitchen, but those who enjoy a little bit of swords and sorcery with their steak and eggs might find newfound interest in their cookware.… Read the rest
Cutting boards are a requirement for any solid home or restaurant chef, but there’s a good variety of them (a surprising amount for something that equates to “flat piece of material”) and some rules you need to follow with them. With some simple guidelines, you can maximize the use and lifespan of your cutting board.
Plastic will always be the best; you can put something hot on it and it won’t be negatively affected, sure, but the most important reason for using a plastic cutting board is purely for safety. Wood boards can get cuts that can harbor bacteria and glass can shatter (alongside being bad for your knives), but plastic can be washed, abused, and brought back for more.
Avoid Food Contamination
No real issue if you’re going from cutting onions to peppers to carrots, and plan to throw them all in the same roux. The real issue comes in when poultry, or any food that will leak a flavor into others, gets involved. If you’ve got to chop poultry and other ingredients, you should either do the poultry first and clean the board thoroughly, or just do it after the other ingredients (onions aren’t going to make the chicken unsafe).
1 tablespoon of bleach to a gallon of water will help sanitize boards (using unscented bleach only), and no matter how well the board is cleaned, it’ll have to be replaced after time due to various nicks, dents, and cuts. If you must use wood, make sure to dry it after you clean it.… Read the rest
Have you ever watched a cooking competition show and thought, “Man, I really wish that the cast were in a fictitious scenario where they’ve traveled back in time, and their overblown personalities really grated on me for an hour?” If you’ve thought that, you might need to track down Time Machine Chefs‘ first (and apparently, only) episode, having premiered last Thursday at 9:00 on ABC. Will it return? It doesn’t appear to be back on the schedule beyond this reveal, and it doesn’t seem like many will miss it; Wipeout, earlier in the night, had better ratings.
The show starts in China circa 1416 AD (in the heart of the Ming Dynasty), with a time-traveling refrigerator teleporting in. Cut to “595 Years Later- Present Day”… which would be 2011, possibly a sign of how long this program has been languishing in the world of pilots. From here, we’re greeted by our now-nameless hostess and the four chefs that, according to the narrative of the show, will be traveling back in time to cook according to the rules of the era.
Like Chopped, Iron Chef, and any other competitive cooking show, they’re given their selection of items to cook, and a specific goal or purpose to dish up. The four chefs are Art Smith (who loves Lady Gaga and worked for Oprah), Chris Consento (who declares that “if you haven’t eaten duck, you’re f—ing stupid”), Jill Davie (a self-declared “hoot” that features a barfing lemon in her focus video), and Ilan Hall (the nice and normal clone of Chris Consento, down to the glasses).
In China, they’re goal is to highlight crispy duck skin. The real “highlight” of this segment is when the judges, Nancy Silverton, David Arnold, and Silvana Rowe, describe how to make crispy duck skin. … Read the rest
Owning cast iron cookware is great. You can make almost anything in it, and it requires almost no maintaining.
You hear statements like this all the time, and it’s true… but notice the word “almost”. That word is a killer.
Well, because you do have to care for your cast iron. If it’s a Dutch oven, cast iron cooking pot, a pan or some other great piece of cast-iron cookware, you still need to clean and care for it.
Cast iron cookware requires seasoning.
Unfortunately, it’s not a spice. It’s the protective coating that you apply to your cookware. In today’s world, most cookware will come pre-seasoned (meaning that a coating has been applied to the cookware by the manufacturer). Even if you have pre-seasoned cookware, at some point you’re going to burn that blueberry cobbler and will need to re-season.
Seasoning starts with washing your cast iron Dutch oven or cookware with soap and water. This is the one and only time where soap should come in contact with your oven. The basic idea is to get the pan clean and back to the metal finish. Wash and prepare your oven. You can use an abrasive cleaning utensil like steel wool, or a coarse sponge. Clean, clean, clean.
Once it’s clean to your satisfaction, towel-dry the cookware. Make sure that the cookware is free of soap and water.
After cleaning, comes the fun part. Heat up your oven or grill. Between 375-450 degrees will work.
A trick I learned a few years ago is to place the (un-oiled) cast iron inside of the heating element for a few minutes (until it’s warm to the touch). Even after drying the metal moisture can still linger. This will remove any residual moisture for you and ensure a lasting … Read the rest
As the weather warms up, you don’t want to be stuck inside cooking over a boiling stove. You would rather be outside, utilizing your outdoor grill (or if it’s hot enough, a sidewalk and the sun) that you probably spent a fair amount on. In order to enjoy this outdoor appliance for years to come (and not spend close to a grand every few years), you will need to know how to properly and safely care for it. This post will provide you with tips to help you ensure that your unit lasts for several years.
Checking the Chassis
The chassis is the key part of the appliance, since it’s the framework of the machine. Making sure that it is in working order and rust-free is important to ensure that it continues to provide a place to barbecue your food when needed.
Indeed, effective care for the chassis of your grill is making sure that rust does not accumulate. Remember that you must catch rust early as it can eat away at the metal parts, compromising its use. This Old House suggests using a steel-wire brush, or coarse steel wool, such as that you use on pots and pans. Also, painting the surfaces most susceptible to rust with a rust-resistant paint can protect these metal surfaces most vulnerable to corrosion.
Also, make sure the wheels and other parts of the base are tight. You should test these areas with a screwdriver or wrench occasionally. If the parts seem a bit loose, tighten them. This will ensure the stability of the base, and prevent a flaming inferno from tipping over your feet after a few beers while children are running around on a hot cookout day.
However, if the parts of the base, such as the grill’s wheels, or whatever, seem … Read the rest
Dutch Ovens have been around for hundreds of years. You can bet that your great grandmother prepared many meals in a Dutch oven. Today, the Dutch oven is not used quite so much, it could be due to working mom’s and other high tech cooking devices that have come along but a Dutch oven can be a great piece of kitchen equipment. Dutch oven cooking is a lot easier than you ever thought.
When cooking meat in your Dutch oven, first you will always want to brown your meat. You can easily do this by adding a little oil or even bacon grease to the bottom of Dutch oven and placing your meat in it to brown. This will work great with any types of meat. Beef, Pork and Chicken will all brown nicely in your Dutch oven. After it’s browned so that your meat is appealing to the eye you can add your favorite seasonings and a little bit of water, place your Dutch Oven in your oven and let your meat cook at 350 degrees until your meat is thoroughly done.
Veggies also are great item when you are Dutch Oven Cooking. You may choose to add them to the meat that you are preparing in your Dutch oven. Perhaps you are cooking a roast in your Dutch oven, cut up your potatoes, onions and carrots and add them about 45 minutes before your roast is ready to come out. You can also add mushrooms, bell peppers or whatever you choose.
Dutch Ovens are also great for making homemade breads. You can easily make cornbread, biscuits and rolls in your Dutch oven. Follow your own bread recipe and after you have it mixed, place it in the Dutch oven after heating the Dutch oven in your own oven. … Read the rest