Top 8 reasons to cook with cast iron

EUREKA-MIA...

Our own non-stick cookware was wearing down, and it was just the impetus I needed to quit cooking with a chemical that is hazardous to children and small animals.

With the endorsements of good foodies, and a hefty amount of research, I decided on cast iron. Here are the top 8 reasons for cooking with cast iron:

8) The pros do it. Check out this page of pan-roasting with a cast iron skillet at Bon Appetit and try to tell me you’re not impressed.

7) Function wins: it distributes heat evenly for perfect cooking, and you can move it from stovetop to oven. But since the heat is dispersed evenly throughout the pan, that motherf*cker heats up pretty damn quickly. Watch the handle.

6) A seasoned (oiled) pan functions like a “non-stick” pan and the food in it tastes way better than cooking spray. It just makes sense that food tastes better than chemicals.

5) They’re affordable. Lodge cookware starts at around $15 for a small skillet. This Dutch oven with a lid that doubles as a skillet is a great starting piece at only $35. 

4) You will never have to replace them. They will outlast you. If you have nothing more to pass along to your spawn, at least you can give them some hefty cast iron cookware.

3) You can accumulate a collection over time. And if you’re into this sort of thing, you can even find cast iron cookware at thrift stores. That gives me the chills, but perhaps you can get away with it.

2) If you’re looking for an excuse to clean less, you don’t have to clean cast iron every time – just wipe it down with oil and a paper towel because in 4 minutes on medium heat the cookware is sterile. If that scares you, here’s Design*Sponge’s 10 Second How To: Cleaning a Cast Iron Skillet. And if you share my level of cleanliness or anxiety, you can still clean it with water and mild soap and oil it up again after each wash.

1) Instead of a gun, you can just sleep with your cast iron skillet under your bed. And you don’t have to worry if your kids find it.

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Iced coffee revelation: the things that get me going

These days my world has shrunken to the size of a successful day of sharing. Or getting enough protein in my kid. Or getting a decent cup of coffee.

There was a time, not so long ago, when getting a good cup of coffee was a given. I could walk or drive to my favorite place, or home brew the perfect cup in my kitchen. I actually roast my own coffee when I’m able to (and you can too – it’s easy!). So stooping to the level of bad coffee indicates desperation.

Last week I saw Starbuck advertise their Toddy, the cold-brew coffee method, and Williams-Sonoma has it too – perfect for iced coffees in the summertime.

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Williams-Sonoma’s Toddy Cold Brew System

Cold coffee melts less ice, so flavor isn’t diluted. And I remember reading in the New York Times article Iced Coffee and Tea: (Not) Taking the Heat about how cold-brewed coffee contains less caffeine than if it were hot-brewed. Something about how it extracts less caffeine. And less caffeine is pretty good for me right now since I’m trying to be responsible about the bun in the oven.

But why buy the $35 Toddy contraption when I have a french press and also a manual drip? I decided to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did!

You make this iced coffee the same way you would make it hot except that you use cold water instead of hot water – you could make it stronger if you’re using a lot of ice.

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It’s amazing – low acidity, easy, quick. I feel like I’ve just discovered the secret to life. But then again, it’s probably because I’ve been playing restaurant with my kids all morning so my perspective is a little skewed.

Cheers!

Damn you Martha Stewart

I have a love-hate relationship with Martha Stewart. I love her. I love her entertaining ideas and perspectives. I love her decorating section. I love her food. Her gardening. Her cleaning and organizing tips.

I love how she has figured out how to get paid to do all the things we do for free. Ingenious sonofagun.

But I hate how every time I set out to bake any damn recipe of hers, it almost always falls flat (and I’m usually a really good baker. I swear.). Today I was defeated by her coconut-Key lime squares.

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Photo copyright Martha Stewart.

Seduced by that photo, I set out to make them (with my trusty toddler sous chefs). But 2 hours later, my version is a soggy-bottomed pan of delicious but not quite presentable lime-coconut porridge.

Could have been the rum I splashed in there, despite the fact that there was none called for in the recipe (every little bit helps). But it could have been that I simply am not Martha Stewart.

Damn you Martha Stewart.