Sunday, June 3, 2012

Cast Iron, Love it.

I do.  I love cast iron.  I love the look of it, the feel of it, everything about it.  I get excited when I see a shelf of it at a sporting goods store.  And I've amassed a pretty good collection of cast iron cookware - dutch ovens, both stove top and campfire style; skillets in various sizes, a turtle, and a couple of griddles.  By far, the skillets get the most use, now that we've retired from Scouting.  In those days, we never left for a campout without at least two dutch ovens on board.  But I think I also love my skillets the best.  I have a huge Lodge that I can't even pick up by the handle when it's full of fried chicken.  I have several smaller ones (mostly old Griswolds that my mom or I have picked up at estate sales), and they're all seasoned well and very useful.  I use them all the time out on the grill, but my dirty little secret is - I use them all the time on my glass stovetop.  I know, voiding the warranty.  I promise you, my warranty was out a long time ago.  And I can attest to the fact that I've never scratched the surface with cast iron.  I'm thinking of cast iron right now because we used it a bunch this weekend.  When I got home from work Friday night, Don and David were manning the grill making three different types of street tacos.  Beef fajita, chicken and picadillo meat.  All the toppings, lots of chips and white corn tortillas.  My beautiful, large lodge was cooking up the sweet caramelized onions, while two others were frying the picadillo meat and warming the fajita meats.  It was a beautifully proud moment to see it all out there on the grill waiting for me.  I know, food nerd!  So fast forward past that lovely evening of goodies (plus swimming and campfire by the pool with s'mores), and then you have...the clean up.  No, WAIT!  It's cast iron, remember?  It cleans up wonderfully!  Once you get these puppies seasoned, it doesn't take much to get them clean; and then just rubbed down with a little oil.  I don't like to put mine away immediately, so I usually leave them out overnight on the stove (yes, the glass top!)  And when I got up Saturday morning, well, there they were again, begging to be used and not filed away in the cabinet.  So what else to do, but make a batch of chilaquilas from the leftovers.  Fried up another onion, added eggs and some cheese, a few crushed up tortilla chips - voila!  Of course, I only needed one, so the rest did get put away.  But again, cleaned the breakfast skillet up, and again, left on the stove to "cure."
I know this is getting long, but bear with me.  So now for today.  I found some beautiful beef filets at Sam's this morning, so I decided I'd replicate a dish I had just seen on Chuck's Day Off (Cooking Channel) where he pan seared some ribeyes (in a cast iron skillet, of course) and then roasted them in the oven to finish.  I'll let the pictures do the talking.

A little ciabatta bread sprinkled with olive oil, salt and pepper and toasted in the oven; fresh asparagus lightly sautéed in olive oil and a splash of balsamic, a fresh green salad and oh yeah, a few sautéed mushrooms thrown in over the steak - and you've got a great Sunday night meal.

The Scallops?  well, that was my indulgence.  They were beautiful.

So go get that cast iron off the shelf in the garage.  Dust it off and give it a good seasoning.  And get busy.  It'll make your food world rock.

Happy eating!

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