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Cast Iron-What do you cook in it?


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Showing 1-25 of 53 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jul 30, 2012 8:05:15 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
I just bought my first cast iron skillet (don't ask why it took me so long). I used it for the first time tonight to bake stovetop flatbreads. Yummy.

I already have two enameled cast iron Dutch ovens, and I use them a lot. But this is my first "naked" cast iron piece. I'd like to hear the kinds of things you like to cook in cast iron and any tips you might have for their use.

Have at it!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 2:04:51 AM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
Corn bread bakes best in cast iron. Seasoning is key to keeping pans as non-stick as they can be.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 4:28:38 AM PDT
Agree that seasoning is critical. Grew up using case iron, they are treasured and pasted on to the next generation. Online sources have some good information on how to re-season when necessary. Just remember that water isn't its friend. I normally clean my regular "baby" immediately after use: I toss in some coarse salt and use a paper town to scrub the bottom. If you do occasionally use water/soap, dry immediately.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 7:16:22 AM PDT
Grandma says:
S. Kessler, almost everything I cook I cook in cast iron. Once you get that properly seasoned it will be more non-stick than your best non-stick pan. I have a large collection of the stuff, a big chunk of which hangs on my wall. I clean mine with water - and even a bit of dish liquid if need be. The thing to remember is to put it immediately on the burner, heat it until all the water has evaporated and you can feel the heat coming off the bottom of the pan when you hold your hand over it, then add a 1/2 teaspoon of oil to the pan and rub it around with a paper towel. There is a post on my blog that has some excellent videos re how to properly season your pans. (Watched about 20 of them to find the best ones LOL.)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 7:41:08 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 7:41:30 AM PDT
Grandma,

What size pieces do you own, which do you use the most, and do you have lids for most, including your skillets?

I have two well-seasoned skillets that I use a lot. I have glass lids that fit that I use if needed. I consider buying a griddle, and maybe a smaller Dutch oven...wondering which pieces you find most useful. Thanks!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 7:46:54 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 7:47:12 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Thanks for the info on cleaning. I followed the Lodge instructions from their web site which didn't mention heating the pan to dry it. I just used a lot of paper towels and then oiled it as they suggested. I hope I didn't get any rust. What zi found tricky last night, using it for the first time, was how high a flame to put under it. I'm afraid it was a bit too hot for the flatbread I was making and the first one came out a bit burnt (but it was delicious, anyway). I guess trial and error will work it out.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 8:05:19 AM PDT
Grandma says:
Everyone develops their own way I guess. If you live in a fairly dry climate then you may not need to heat the pan, but I've always found that by heating the pan before you put the oil on after cleaning it you refresh the non-stick properties and don't have to reseason as often. Seen this done by many others too. By the way, lots and lots of people deliberately scrub off that painted-on "preseasoning" that so many Lodge pans come with these days and start anew, since that coating is nowhere near as non-stick as a real seasoning is.

You'll find that cast iron takes a bit longer to heat up but it also holds the heat longer, so you can put it over a full-on burner if you want to be able to cook quickly, but then you'll almost always need to turn it down to med or even low. Fantastic for baking in. I have a big Dutch Oven - unenameled - that I use all the time for baking bread and one of the things on my list of things to acquire is the Lodge pizza pan.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 8:17:56 AM PDT
Grandma says:
Oh my April - I have skillets that range from a little 5" square one to a whopping 17 inch one. No lids for any of them. The lid to my big Dutch oven fits a couple of them reasonably and otherwise I jerry-rig with a baking sheet. I have a 6 quart indoor Dutch Oven and a couple of the 3-legged ones for cooking over a campfire/charcoal. I use an electric griddle most of the time. Have four of the oval fajita pans - I love those, great for cooking steak or a burger and then eating out of the pan. Then I have a whole ton of things like cornstick pans, the round pan divided into wedges for cornbread or scones, and some antiques that you can't lay hands on for love nor money, including my grandmother's skillet, made just after the Civil War (I still use it), a bread stick pan and the cast iron waffle iron my mother got the year that I was 6 when we went camping up in Maine. She went into this very old General Store that had been there forever and found a glorious old fashioned waffle iron with the base hidden away in a box under the counter way in the back. Bought it for less than a dollar and made waffles in it every time we went camping for the rest of her life. My sisters desperately wanted it after she died, but none of them could make it work at all, so eventually they thrust the thing at me telling me I might as well take it since I was the only one that could make it work anyway. Been making waffles in it ever since.

If I had to limit what I had, then I would have a 10" skillet, a 5 or 6 quart indoor Dutch oven, the little square pan that is about 5" on a side (perfect for just one grilled cheese or making eggs/western omelets for sandwiches) and a 9-stick cornstick pan (they make the most scrumptious cornbread - like this crisp crust with a little pillow inside) in about that order. The 12-inch skillet is too big for cornbread.

Posted on Jul 31, 2012 8:25:47 AM PDT
Grandma says:
One other thing April - about that griddle. Those are great for camping where you have an even heat source underneath the thing. I do not particularly like stove-top griddles other than a round one intended to be used over one large burner - particularly on an electric stove. They tend to heat unevenly and have hot spots. I use an electric griddle indoors.

If you do go looking for a round griddle, let me warn you about the one that Paula Deen has out. I saw one in TJMaxx last week and was dumbfounded that I could see the large pits and pores in the cast iron from 8 or 10 feet away. It was very poorly cast - in China. Thinking it might be a fluke, I went looking for them elsewhere and they were all the same. Good cast iron is relatively smooth. The best cast iron (not made any more) was machined inside to provide a perfectly flat surface. Lodge cast iron is not machined and you will notice that there is a slight texture to the pans, but it is still relatively smooth.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 9:05:18 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Thanks. I do live in a rather humid climate (at least it's quite humid this summer), so I will try your method to play it safe.

I'm going to bake some cornbread this weekend, I think. If it's not too hot here to turn the oven on.

For my no-knead bread baking, I use a cocotte from Emile Henry, which is made from high-fired clay. The bread comes out wonderfully. And the cocotte is so much lighter than any of my enamel cast iron Dutch ovens, which is a bonus. It also makes a great bean pot (Boston baked beans, anyone?).

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 11:03:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 11:03:28 AM PDT
Grandma, thank you. That is interesting, hearing what you have collected and what you use a lot. I have an old Wagner 10 inch, perfect for corn bread. I used to have a cornstick pan but must have misplaced it, although I like the 'spider' version better anyway. For new, I stick to Lodge too.

Ok, I think a griddle doesn't sound right for me; anyway. I wouldn't use it that much, it doesn't sound too effective inside, and really, I already have a 15 inch skillet that will do what I need. So, a small Dutch oven is what I'll have on my wish list. Thanks again for all the info.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 11:10:29 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 31, 2012 11:11:00 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Note on lids for the 10 1/4" skillet: I was very pleased to find that the glass lid of my Calphalon Tri-Ply 8 qt. stock pot fits it exactly. No need to purchase another one! Yay! It came in handy when I was making the flatbread to create the great steam effect of a stove-top "oven".

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 1:12:20 PM PDT
Kay Shepherd says:
What size Emile Henry cocotte do you use for your no-knead bread? I'd like to get a vessel for my grandma to make that bread in, but the usually suggested cast iron would be much too heavy for her.

Thanks :-)

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 1:59:43 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Get her the 4.2 qt. size. It is perfect for one nice-sized loaf of bread. And is a very useful size for cooking things like a pound of dried beans, chili, stew or soup for 2-4 people, and making a small roast.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 4:10:37 PM PDT
Kay Shepherd says:
Do you know whether all of their casserole/cocotte type items are flame-proof? I take that to mean it can be used on a gas burner?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 5:09:30 PM PDT
S. Kessler says:
Yes, the are flame proof. They can go from the burner, to the oven, to the refrigerator. The only thing they can't do is be used on an induction cooktop.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 31, 2012 5:28:25 PM PDT
Kay Shepherd says:
Thank you!

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 9:21:20 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
I made another batch of flatbreads in my cast iron skillet last night. This time, I heated the pan low and slow. The breads cooked up beautifully, with a light golden crust, no burning, no sticking, and no ruining the seasoning of the pan. I made sandwiches out of them, with the meat of a store-bought rottisserie chicken, sliced tomatoes, cucumbers, and red onion, and a Greek tsatsiki sauce. Very yum and made for a cool kitchen in this summer heat.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 10:02:50 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 3, 2012 1:42:16 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 10:39:26 AM PDT
Kay Shepherd says:
SK, that's how I heat up all my pots and pans (unless it's full of water, like for pasta). Even if the goal is super-hot, I start them out low and slow. I guess I figure it's less thermal stress on the metal.

Glad you're liking your new cast iron...I've been thinking about adding a carbon steel pan to my kit...like this:

DeBuyer Mineral B Element Iron Frypan, Round

or this:

Lodge CRS10 Seasoned Carbon Steel Skillet, 10-Inch

Do you have something like this?

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 11:26:01 AM PDT
S. Kessler says:
No, I don't have any mineral steel in my arsenal. I had a tart pan made of the stuff once, but I didn't care for it properly and it totally rusted.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 2, 2012 7:24:56 PM PDT
hom2vt says:
Hooray - Country Living 2 has it absolutely right.

Posted on Aug 2, 2012 7:39:12 PM PDT
hom2vt says:
I don't care for the mineral steel pans either. In fact, sold them at a yard sale for a pittance. I love cast iron but do use the very few non stick pots I own that arrived as gifts. Well seasoned cast iron pans and pots will last forever - not to worry about something breaking or coming apart. The one piece casting does away with all that - the seasoning of pans is the very important piece for being a happy cast iron user.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2012 3:29:23 AM PDT
Diana Clarke says:
where is this blog? dianaclarke@sbcglobal.net

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 9, 2012 4:14:59 AM PDT
Grandma says:
Hi Diana Clarke - the link to the blog is on my profile. I'll send you a link to the specific page by email, but you might also want to edit your post so that the spambots don't harvest your email address.
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
Participants:  21
Total posts:  53
Initial post:  Jul 30, 2012
Latest post:  Oct 24, 2012

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