Cast Iron Cooking

We are a cast iron household. Period. And I don’t mean the dolled up Le Creuset kind, however pretty it may be, but the old school, time-tested, solid black kind. There are a few second-hand Calphalon items in the mix but that’s reserved for pots. When it comes to skillets, griddles, fryers, and dutch ovens…you guessed it. My dad’s parents always cooked on cast iron over the gas stove. You knew something good was being made just from the click-click-click of the burner lighting and the sound of the heavy metal pan landing upon it. We’re not as lucky to have the gas stove part just yet, but that doesn’t stop us.

I have to give credit where credit is due, to my father-in-law. An unofficial cast iron official, he started refinishing old cast iron for his collection. And what an impressive collection it is. He’s built a cast iron empire from low cost, seemingly-ruined, cast iron collections on Ebay, and refinishes them with a lye wash and oil seasoning. And they’re beautiful. There’s nothing I love more than bringing back something that was, and still is, so useful. Two of the smaller skillets I grab all the time are two he refinished and gave me almost two years ago. You wanna talk about a seasoned skillet….Other favorites include an original Griswold corn stick pan, a double sided griddle, and the dutch oven. What we can’t obtain as older pieces, we refer to Lodge Logic.

Griswold cast iron began in the mid 19th century and domineered the town of Erie, Pennsylvannia for almost a century of manufacturing. It began as Seldan and Griswold which led to The Griswold Manufacturing Company. It held its ground until the early 20th century when it began to tumble and was bought by the Wagner Manufacturing Company and moved to Ohio. By the time of its buy out, the products were no longer deemed as valuable or as high of a quality.

Some of my favorite dishes can only be cooked in cast iron including a simple spaghetti sauce. To taste it after it’s simmered in that dutch oven for an hour or so is just unlike any other. Fried porkchops and crispy flounder…same deal. I’ll leave you with one of my husband’s recipes for my favorite porkchops. I say one because he’ll come up with some new concoction every time—and they’re always so yummy—but this is my favorite:

While your cast iron skillet’s heating oil (vegetable or olive), mix flour (all purpose or gluten free rice flour), salt, coffee grounds, pepper, and my favorite new seasoning by The Gourmet Collection—Paprika Lemon & Lime. Also preheat your oven to 350–400 degrees. After running chops through an egg wash, coat with your dry mix and repeat. Make sure your cast iron’s hot and ready and throw in your chops until browned and crispy on both sides. Then place chops uncovered in oven for 15–20 minutes until finished.

Sorry for the lack of measurements—we generally don’t cook with them. The main thing is to flavor how you want to taste. Also make sure when mixing your seasonings to flour ratio, you have enough seasonings that your flour still doesn’t look white. You need to be able to primarily see your seasoning in the mix.

What are some of your favorite cast iron based recipes?


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