04 April 2010

March of the Tools - Cast Iron Pans

It’s April you say?  I should not march out tools?  Well, see, I wrote this in March, but I couldn’t get a decent picture of the pans.  You know, one that communicated how much I love them.  I still don’t have that picture, but I’ve given up now--I’m ready to proceed with lackluster pictures!

I love cast iron pans.  They are safe, easy and last for decades.

I have three nice ones and do almost all of my cooking in them.  They are naturally non-stick and brilliant at distributing heat evenly.  They can go on the cooktop, in the oven, and even into campfires!  The only time I ever get out any other skillet is when I make crepes.  Cast iron pans do lend a little flavor to everything they cook…a lovely savory flavor.  Usually, this is a good thing, but not with crepes!

I occasionally try to convert folks to cast iron pans and people really seem to have the opinion that cast iron pans are tricky to deal with.  This is not true! 

You have to handle cast iron differently than you would non-stick or stainless steel pans, but learning how to handle them is as easy as 1, 2, 3, 4.

The goal of these is to keep the pan seasoned!  A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is non-stick.
1.  Use the pan often.
2.  Always leave a thin layer of oil/grease. (So, if you have to wash the pan, dry it and then grease it).
3.  Never leave food or water in the pan.
4.  Cook with stainless steel spatulas that will scrape your pans (scraping is good!)

You should totally try out cast iron pans!

Start with a medium size one for frying eggs, quesadillas, and learn to use them…you won’t regret it!

I really like the information found here:  http://www.richsoil.com/cast-iron.jsp
Who would have thought that video of a dude frying an egg could be so fascinating? 

However, I would like to note that I cook tomatoes in my pans all the time without any trouble.  Also, he's really into bacon grease as a seasoner, I prefer olive oil.  Figure out what works for you.

Here’s what I made in my pan one night last week:

How to:
1.    Sautéed a couple cloves of garlic in olive oil.
2.    Threw on several handfuls of fresh baby spinach.
3.    Dumped several cups of leftover spaghetti noodles onto the spinach.  Let it sauté that way for about a minute (with the pasta smothering the spinach) before stirring.
4.    Then continue to cook, stirring and scraping the pan every minute or so, until the noodles were heated through and some noodles had a fried look.
5.    Served with parmesan cheese and a tiny bit of sriracha sauce.

(As this photo suggests, I'm a parmesan fiend.)

Less than 10 minutes.  All whole foods.  Delicious.
I can’t believe some people throw out leftover pasta…I make too much on purpose!


  1. I'm still using my grandmother's cast iron-especially love the dutch oven. Considering that I'm a grandmother, these pots are rally old but they're still great!

  2. MMmmmmmmmmm. That looks good. I'm a parmesan fiend and a sriracha fiend!

  3. I totally need to get one of these.

    We have a flat rectangular Lodge pan that we use for making pancakes and it works out really well.

  4. That looks delicious! My husband and I have talked several times about switching to cast iron. I've always been of the mindset that the pans just aren't low-maintenance enough for us. I think your suggestion to start with a small pan and see how it goes is a good one!

  5. I like making spaghetti pie with my leftovers.

  6. oh my god...that's A LOT of parmesan!! my fiance always tells me put tons of paremesan on his pasta too! :D

  7. So i just realized you had a blog - I am a Flickr junkie, and 'Fresh Modern Quilts' is my drug, and your sewing post alone are enough to get you onto my Google Reader list, but a post in praise of cast iron pans is just a bonus! it even gets shared with the man!


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