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Sunday, December 29, 2013

The song is the same, but the meaning has changed

I know this blog is titled "ramblings on cast iron" and not "ramblings on songs Kathy wrote years ago."

But I would like to post the lyrics of one of my favorite songs that I personally wrote, in 1998.  

Back then it was referring to different people and a different situation, but, it applies to me today, so I'm posting it here.

There was a time when I finally was a part of something
I was useful, I was loved, I was so happy there.
But then one day they turned and locked the doors without a warning
They claimed that God shut it down.

But why would God betray me?
Why would God yank from me what he knows is so dear to me? 
I could never see, for the life of me, how God could be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.

Did God really betray me?
Was it really God who yanked away what was so dear to me?
The places God has taken me, I know that he could never be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.

She came into my life and said that she just wants to love me
She took me in and gained my trust and helped me grow.
But then one day she turned and walked away without a warning
She claimed that God told her to go.

But why would God betray me?
Why would God yank from me what he knows is so dear to me? 
I could never see, for the life of me, how God could be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.

Did God really betray me?
Was it really God who yanked away what was so dear to me?
The places God has taken me, I know that he could never be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.

Don't try to tell me what I know is not the truth.
Don't try to tell me that I don't know what I'm saying.

I took the risk and came to trust a man I so respected
He seemed to be so wise and so full of compassion.
But then one day he said "you're not to ever talk to me"
and he claimed that God told him so.

But why would God betray me?
Why would God yank from me what he knows is so dear to me? 
I could never see for the life of me how God could be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.

Did God really betray me?
Was it really God who yanked away what was so dear to me?
Those of you who made such claims, how dare you tell me God could be so cold
That is nothing like the God I used to know.
No that is nothing like the God I used to know.
No that is nothing like the God I used to know... 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Is your spouse cheating on you?

I realize this blog is "ramblings on cast iron" and not "ramblings on cheating spouses."

However, my recent life tragedy, which explains why I haven't posted much at all in the past few months, has prompted me to write an article as a public service to others out there.  

Here are some warning signs to look for, based on my recent experience, indicating that your spouse may be cheating on you:

1.  A close friendship with someone of the opposite sex, that excludes you.  There's nothing wrong with having friends of the opposite sex, but if your spouse is spending a lot of time with that friend, and not including you, that's a red flag.  For example, the day my husband went to a job fair with a female coworker; It's completely understandable that the wife would not accompany her husband to a job fair.  But several hours later, he had not returned, nor called.  So I called him, to find that he had gone out to lunch with her after the job fair, and now he was at the bowling alley with her.  Now, as his wife, why had I not been invited out to lunch with them?  And he KNOWS I like to bowl-- why didn't he think to invite me to go bowling with them?  Because he was having an affair, that's why.

2.  He buys an article of clothing that is out of character for him; It's a style or color that is not something he normally chooses.  For example, when my husband bought a new pair of running shoes.  He almost ALWAYS buys grey shoes with navy blue trim, but these shoes were fluorescent orange, pink and green.  Not only does he NEVER wear those colors, he's quick to criticize ME when I wear them!  His female friend had taken him shoe shopping, and she had picked out the shoes.

3.  Money missing is a dead giveaway.  Not only large ATM withdrawals, but purchases for which there is no merchandise (because he bought it for someone else).  For example, my husband spent $67 at a store, right after he lost his job; When I asked him what he bought, he said it was something for his female friend.  What was he doing buying stuff for another woman, when he just lost his job?  And how could SHE let him buy stuff for her, knowing that he had just lost his job?

4.  Which leads to the next sign:  He loses his job for no apparent reason.  He told me it was due to "budget cuts", but had that really been the case, they would not have immediately replaced him with another employee.  The real reason was, he had snuck off the job have sex with his female coworker.

5.  Unexplained online purchases, for which there is no merchandise.  Many adult dating sites charge a membership fee.  Do a search on the phone number and see what comes up. 

6.  He wants to kowtow to the wishes of this opposite sex friend, even at the detriment to the family.  For example, right before we had a counseling appointment one night, his friend called, wanting him to go to the gym with her.  He whined, "I don't know what to do!  She wants me to go with her!"  I said well, tell her you have an appointment, and you can't go!  I mean, seriously?  If 1.5 hours a week to save the marriage, is that much of an undue hardship and an extreme burden... 

7.  Which leads to another sign.  If you are in marriage counseling, and he walks out of every session whining about "having to go through this bullshit" and "It's not fair, wah wah", he's probably cheating.

8.  This opposite sex friend has a concern about a mole on his chest, and wants you to make a doctor's appointment for him.  Obviously at some point, she had seen him up close with his shirt off.

9.  He avoids your friends.  Most of the time, when I wanted to go out with my friends, he would either decline outright, or ask me to leave without him and he would join me later; Of course, he almost never did.  In one case, he had a ticket for a play that had cost $20; He showed two hours late.  I found out, he had been with his female coworker behind my back.  In another case, he purposely scheduled a get together barbecue at her house, on a night that he knew we had plans to meet with my group of friends.

10.  He surfs; that's the local prostitute listings.  No, he is NOT "just looking at the pictures".  And if he's calling the numbers, he is NOT "just talking to them."  Nobody goes to the barbershop just to look at pictures or talk to the barber!

There are lots of other signs, and this list is not all inclusive.  This is just my personal experience; Looking back on the two months before I found out what was going on, those were the "red flags" shown to me.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Another impromptu ribs recipe

Just another recipe for baby back ribs.

This was done in the crock pot, but there's no reason it can't be done in a cast iron pot too.

Brown the ribs in a cast iron skillet on the stove.

Put in the crock pot.

Add liquid smoke, a can of coca cola, some BBQ sauce, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and some beef broth.

Cook all day on low until done.

They fall off the bone!  I serve with BBQ sauce on the side.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

bacon gravy

I saw a recipe online for bacon gravy, and one day I'm going to make real bacon gravy.

Although the other day, I made bacon gravy out of a mix.

Yeah, I know.  That's cheating.

I used J&D's Bacon Gravy country style mix packet and followed the directions.

Anyway, the recipe I found for real bacon gravy, is pretty much the same as for classic southern sausage gravy.

Except instead of sausage, you use bacon grease for the grease, and little bacon pieces.

2 tbsp bacon grease, 2 tbsp flour, 2 cups milk.

Heat up the bacon grease, whisk in the flour, add the milk.

Then add tiny bacon pieces and mix in.

It's the same as for breakfast sausage gravy.

Serve over biscuits.

Monday, September 2, 2013

My first real red beans and rice!

Yes, you read that right.  I'm from South Louisiana and had never made real red beans and rice before!

Oh, I had made them from a can.  I'm talking about from scratch, from dried red beans!

Ideally you should use Camellia brand red beans.  Those can be bought from cajungrocer.

First you soak your dry beans in water.  I soaked them overnight.

Drain the beans, then put them in a pot and cover them with chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, simmer.

Be sure you stir the beans regularly so they don't stick to the bottom of the pot.

While the beans are simmering, melt 1 tbsp of butter in a cast iron skillet.  Then saute some sliced smoked sausage (or some cubed ham), chopped onions, chopped celery, and minced garlic.

When the onions and celery are soft, add them to the pot, along with a couple of bay leaves.  Continue simmering.

When the beans are done, add a little bit of thyme, and cajun seasoning; I used Tony Chachere's.

If you want to make the beans "creamy" new orleans style, take a cup or two of beans out of the pot and mash them, then put them back in the pot and stir.

Serve over rice.  Don't put the rice in the same pot with the beans; They're meant to be served separately.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My latest cooking blunder, don't do this, and how I fixed it

So I was recently given this great recipe for roast; It's a clone of how my grandmother used to do it.

However, don't do what I tried to do:  Instead of a roast, I used top sirloin steaks.

You see, roast is meant to be cooked all in one piece, and then sliced afterwards.

If you slice a roast before you cook it, it will become dry and tough, like shoe leather.  And of course, steaks are already sliced.

I was able to fix it by putting it in a crock pot with some beef broth, and cooking it on low all day.  That helped moisturize it.

But anyway, the following recipe is awesome for roast:

Season the roast with seasoned salt, brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper.

Put cooking oil in the cast iron pot.  Sear the roast on all four sides.

Add more of the above seasonings, plus worcestershire sauce.  Add some chopped onions and minced garlic.

Cover and cook on low heat for a couple of hours.  This can be done on the stove or in the oven.

After the roast is done, remove it from the pot into a shallow pan, and slice it.

Mix a packet of brown gravy mix with 1 cup of water, and pour over the sliced roast.

Add kitchen bouquet if you have some.

Serve with rice.

This can be done with a beef roast or a pork roast.

Just don't do it with steak.  

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Another way to make bland vegetables, delicious

My last post talked about a great way to make bland vegetables, delicious.

I discovered another way!

This works with canned, fresh, or frozen vegetables.

Add butter and extra virgin olive oil.  Add seasoned salt and sugar.  Cook.

If you're cooking carrots, you might opt for brown sugar instead of regular sugar... but carrots are also great with regular sugar!

I'm often not motivated to eat vegetables, because plain vegetables are bland.

But this recipe, as well as the previous recipe, would definitely motivate me to eat more vegetables!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to make bland vegetables, delicious

Everyone knows that plain vegetables can be very bland.

Here's something you can do with many vegetables, including green beans, peas, and carrots, that will make them delicious.

You can do this with canned, frozen, or fresh vegetables.

Cut up some onions and red potatoes.  

Smother them down in a skillet with olive oil and minced garlic.

Add salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.

Then add the vegetables, stir, and cover.

Cook covered on medium heat until the vegetables are cooked down.

Friday, June 21, 2013

I am so done with MySpace.

Like many other people, years ago I was very active on the social networking site called myspace.

Like many other people, I used it to communicate with my friends and family, and try to reconnect with friends from high school and college.

And like many other people, I used the blog feature, to write about things I was currently dealing with.

Well, in case you haven't heard, myspace decided to delete everyone's blogs and messages on a whim, with no prior notice whatsoever.

That means, if you used to have a blog on myspace, it's gone.  If you used to correspond with friends and family on myspace, those messages are gone.

Now, granted, I haven't used myspace in years; Nevertheless, I would have appreciated the opportunity to backup my old blog writings, before they were deleted. 

Wouldn't you?

These are peoples' personal writings, that are irreplaceable!

Myspace has offered NO apology whatsoever.  Not for deleting our writings, nor for failing to notify us so we could back them up. 

And, no, a blanket "We know some will be upset by this, BUT..." statement, is NOT an apology!

Further, myspace is adamantly refusing to comment, or respond to our feedback.  

They are deleting our comments from their Facebook page.

They are hoping we will shut our mouths and "just get used to it".

This shows complete disregard, and utter disrespect for their userbase. 

That is the childish, coward way to do business!

Admitting to a grave mistake, and taking steps to make it right, is the professional, responsible adult way to do business.

We'll see what happens eventually, whether they choose to continue being cowards, or choose to grow up and be adults.

Regardless, I am completely done with myspace.  

If this issue matters to you, I encourage you to contact their sponsors, Bud Light and the Jimmy Kimmel Show, and explain to them why you will not support their product.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

What do you do for a lid for the Lodge 15 inch skillet?

What do you do for a lid, for the Lodge 15 inch skillet?

There is no lid that is sold today.

So you either have to search ebay for a #14 skillet lid, which can be very expensive.

Or, you can use the Lodge pizza pan as a "makeshift" cover.

It doesn't cover it perfectly, and doesn't form a seal.

But, it's better than nothing.

Perhaps a 16 inch camp oven lid will work too; I haven't tested it.

But the 16 inch camp oven has been discontinued, so if you want one, then hurry.

Incidentally, a friend of mine has stated that she intends to use the 15 inch skillet as a pot pie pan, since she doesn't have a lid, and you don't need a lid for pot pie.

Now that would be one heck of a pot pie!

The skillet that was "lost", then "found", soon to be "lost" again

I can't believe I never posted about when I finally got my "new lost skillet".

Either I can't find the article, or I just forgot.

Yes, I finally did get a #11 skillet, which is a very rare size. 

It's bigger than a 12 inch, smaller than a 13 1/4 inch.

It's about 12 1/2 inches.

And I never used it.

So now I'm selling it.

According to the Wagner and Griswold Society, this skillet is from approximately the 1860's-1870's.

The only markings on it are on the handle, which is PPS 11.

Hopefully I can find a buyer, since the bottom of the skillet is very pitted.

I'm sure I will though.

Can't believe I let this slip through the cracks of my blog postings!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The Lodge five piece cookware set

This is the Lodge 5 piece cookware set, which I've never blogged about.  

I never had reason to.

I never did buy the set, but I have everything in it.

What prompted me to post this was, someone posted to the Lodge facebook page, that they had this set, and would like to sell it.

"What?  The Lodge facebook page?  I thought you were banned from that page!"

Well yes I am.  

But you see, not only am I a cast iron expert, I'm also very computer savvy.  

As a result, I can, and will, continue to assist people with their questions about cast iron, whether the Lodge PR manager likes me or not.  This isn't a popularity contest.

Anyway, this person wants to sell their set for $165.  Which is astronomical!

This set sells for $74.99 at Target.

While cast iron does improve with use, the market value of very common items doesn't necessarily go up.

Special pieces that are no longer made, are sought after by collectors.  

But even an old 8 inch Lodge skillet would not sell for much, since new ones are a dime a dozen.

Anyway, I politely advised this person to check online for the going rate of this cast iron set, to get a good idea for what someone would be willing to pay.

A smart shopper, anyway.  Someone who doesn't know any better might think it's "vintage".  But, it's not.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New use for the Lodge Ash Tray

This is not my photo.  I found it on the internet.

Someone evidently found a new use for the Lodge Ash Tray.

And yes, I said ash tray.  That's exactly what it is!

They changed it to "spoon rest" to be more politically correct, but actually, it does not fit a normal sized cooking spoon.

Although it would fit a table spoon.

Mine just sits on my stove, unused, for decoration.

This lady found some quail eggs, and decided to fry one in the ash tray.

Quail eggs are tiny.  A chicken egg is slightly too big to fry in this, I would think.

So, if you ever happen to obtain quail eggs, you can fry them in the Lodge ash tray!

Or just use the 5 inch skillet.  Then you can fit two of them.

Friday, June 7, 2013

chicken and waffles

So, I recently heard of a dish that has gained popularity in restaurants in recent years, called "chicken and waffles".  

And I thought that sounded very good.  I really wanted to try it!

Well, I finally tried it tonight... and, it's fried chicken and waffles.  


It tastes exactly like fried chicken and waffles.

If you'd like to make chicken and waffles, then fry some chicken and make some waffles, and then serve them together.

Or if you don't feel like cooking, then go buy some fried chicken and bring it home.  Then put some Eggo waffles in the toaster.  Serve them together.

That's chicken and waffles!

Here is an interesting article about the history of this dish.

Friday, May 31, 2013

another deal I simply could not pass up

So as you know, Lodge sells a stainless steel cookware set.

They don't sell the individual pieces; You have to buy the complete set.

Which normally costs more than I would want to pay for a set of cookware, which is why I never got it before.

Tonight, I came across a set for half of what it normally costs, plus free shipping!

And what made this deal even sweeter was, it was used -- so, the Lodge company will not benefit from my purchase.

This article will explain why I only buy used Lodge cookware now.  

I like the cookware, just not the company.

Stainless steel is my second favorite type of cookware; In instances where cast iron is not ideal, then I use stainless steel.

This set comes with a 10 1/4 inch Lodge skillet, and I already have two of those.

I could give it as a present or something.

Or more than likely sell it, if I feel like going to the trouble.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Beef Tips on the fly

I had some extra stew meat, so I decided to make beef tips with gravy and rice, without looking at a recipe.

First I melted some butter in a cast iron skillet.  Browned the stew meat, along with chopped onions and mushrooms.

Should have added minced garlic, but didn't think of it.

Added black pepper and worcestershire sauce.

When it was all browned, I transferred everything to a crock pot.  

In retrospect, I could have browned it in a dutch oven and then just added everything to the pot.

Deglazed the skillet with beef broth and red wine, and added Wondra flour to thicken.

Added this sauce to the crock pot.

Added more Worcestershire sauce, and then some ketchup.

Added more black pepper.

Turned on the crock pot and let it cook.

Served over rice.

Pretty good for not even looking at a recipe!

I just got a bargain, now what am I going to do with it?

Lodge has decided to discontinue its 16 inch camp oven, due to lack of sales.

This isn't the first time; It was discontinued back in 2000, and brought back by popular demand.

I never got one, because I never had a need for one.  

And I still haven't figured out what I'm going to do with it, once I get it!

But at $97.66 on Amazon with free shipping, I couldn't turn that deal down.

And here's the best part:  Lodge will NOT benefit from my purchase, because the item was used!

I have no issue with Lodge cookware at all.  

It's the people who run the company, who for whatever reason, decided to act like petty high school girls.

I'm not one of the "cool kids", and never will be.

But I'll come up with something to do with this pan...

You know, I saw a video once that showed a guy scrambling a dozen eggs on a 14 inch camp oven lid.

So, consequently, you can do it on a 16 inch camp oven lid too.

I'd try it, if I had people to cook a dozen eggs for.  Or maybe I'll just eat eggs for three days.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

I knew the Lodge facebook page would ban me again, eventually

When Lodge unjustifiably banned me from their facebook page back in November, I went public with it, posting about it not only on my blog, but on several cast iron forums.

As a result, Lodge backpedaled, claimed it was "only a temporary ban" and that they would be "more than happy" to reinstate me.  

But I knew it was just a cover up, due to my speaking out about it.  And I knew it was only a matter of time, before they would come up with a reason to ban me again.

The reason this time was, two customers had uploaded photos of very old Lodge skillets, and they wanted to know the monetary value (possibly for auctioning purposes).

Lodge does not tell their customers what their old skillets are worth, and I'm no expert at appraising skillets either.  

But, the Wagner and Griswold Society has several "old cast iron" experts, who are usually very good at pinpointing an approximate resale value.

So, I referred those two people to the WAGS forum website for help.

And, this is what I was told:

"Referring Lodge customers inquiring about the history of the Lodge brand to the Wagner-Griswold chatroom.  Although members of WAGS are knowledgeable of the Lodge brand, they are not representatives of Lodge Manufacturing and do not have complete knowledge of our history and products, copies of old Lodge product catalogs (for reference purposes) or maintain communications with members of the Lodge family who have in-depth knowledge and familiarity of our brand."

Actually, that is false; the Wagner and Griswold society has a very extensive section dedicated to Lodge, complete with old Lodge catalogs (visible to members only).

If anybody would be able to answer a question about Lodge products, new or old, it would be somebody on that forum.

When I posted to the WAGS forum about being banned the first time, several members were quick to defend Lodge, and chastise me for speaking out about such a great company.

I wonder how they would feel to know what Lodge REALLY thinks of them.

The fact is, Lodge's public relations manager, who runs their facebook page, has disliked me for a very long time.  

I first got that vibe two years ago, after I posted some suggestions on creative things to do with a Lodge cornstick pan; He accused me of attempting to initiate a marketing campaign that I was not authorized to do. 

He does not like the fact that I know as much as I do about Lodge products, and can give very detailed answers to most customers' questions.

After all, that's supposed to be HIS job, and the company might deduce that there's no need to pay HIM, to do what I've been doing for free.

Especially when some answers he gives are wrong, such as when he suggests olive oil as an acceptable seasoning agent.

Obviously, he'd rather his customers have no information, or WRONG information, than compromise his pride.

I will probably get grief for posting this article.  However, this is NOT an "advertising blog"; I post things exactly as they are.

Honestly, I have nothing against Lodge products, and I have no clue what their public relations manager has personally against me.  

I never did anything to him, except possibly know more than he cares to, about the product he's being paid to know and represent.

Monday, May 13, 2013

easy beef stroganoff

Beef Stroganoff was one of the first things I learned how to cook... except it wasn't really beef stroganoff.

I liked the recipe back then, but not very fond of it now.

The recipe was ground beef, worcestershire sauce, mushrooms, cream of mushroom soup, and sour cream, served over egg rolls.

I used to really like cream of mushroom soup, but I don't really anymore.

This recipe, which I made the other day, is better, and  closer to the real thing:

Brown some stew meat, along with some chopped onions, minced garlic, and fresh mushrooms, in a cast iron pot. 

Then add two cans of GOLDEN mushroom soup, which is different from cream of mushroom soup.

Add worcestershire sauce, 1/2 cup of beef broth, garlic salt, black pepper.

Into the oven at 300 for a couple of hours, until fully cooked.

A few minutes before serving, cut up an 8 oz block of cream cheese into cubes, and add to the pot.  

Heat until the cream cheese is melted.  Stir until combined.

Serve with sour cream over egg noodles.

This recipe can also be done in a dutch oven over coals, or transferred to a crock pot after browning the meat, onions, garlic and mushrooms.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

my first salisbury steak

I used to love TV dinners, and one of my favorite varieties was salisbury steak.

Mind you, frozen salisbury steak doesn't hold a candle to homemade!

I got this recipe off the internet and it was indeed awesome.

If I were to do this again, I would add a chopped onion and mix it in with the meat, like I do with my burgers and meatloaf.

I used the Lodge 13 1/4 inch skillet with lid for this!  

I have a gas stove; that skillet should not be used on an electric stove because the burners are too small.

Crumble two pounds of ground chuck in a bowl.  Mix in an egg, minced garlic, plain bread crumbs, worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and 1/3 cup of Campbell's condensed French Onion soup*.

*You don't need to add salt or other seasonings, because the French Onion soup is plenty seasoned. 

Form into patties.

In another bowl, mix the rest of the can of Campbell's condensed French Onion soup with 1 tbsp of flour.  

Then add more worcestershire sauce, ketchup, black pepper, and mustard powder.

Heat up the cast iron skillet, then brown the patties on both sides.  

Add the mixed sauce to the skillet, cover, and continue cooking for about 20 minutes.

Serve with mashed potatoes.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

grilled dinner!

This is not really called "grilled dinner."  

And I haven't actually made it yet; I had it last night, at a midnight barbecue.

But it's so easy to make, and so good, that I had to post it!  And it's all made on the grill!

The main dish is grilled chicken tenders.  You can buy boneless chicken breast and cut it into strips for this purpose.

I would hammer down the chicken strips to make them flat, so they will cook quicker.  Then marinate in Italian salad dressing; Add onion powder, garlic powder, and Tony Chacherie's Creole Seasoning.

If you don't have Tony Chacherie's, you can add any type of cajun seasoning, or none at all.

Then put them in a cast iron grill pan, on the BBQ grill.  You COULD put them directly on the grill, but because they are chicken strips, a grill pan is probably better.  Grill until done.

The first side dish was grilled corn on the cob.  Take the husks off the corn, spread butter on them, wrap in aluminum foil, and grill.

The second side dish was baked beans.  This was made with canned Bush's grilling beans, with added butter and chopped onions.  Put in a cast iron pot, and heat it up on the grill.

The garlic bread was also grilled; Slice a loaf of french bread, and butter each slice.  Add onion powder, garlic powder, McCormick's garlic bread seasoning, and some dried minced garlic.  Wrap the whole sliced loaf in aluminum foil, and put it on the grill.

There was also homemade potato salad that was not grilled, but very good.  

This potato salad was seasoned with Tony Chacherie's instead of paprika.

I realize that I broke normal protocol by posting a recipe before I actually make it.

But I will!  Soon!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cooking beans in a bean pot

Pictured above is a Lodge 6 quart flat bottomed straight kettle, which took me two years to find.

It's also known as a "bean pot"; Due to it's shape, which is taller and more narrow than a regular pot, it's more fuel efficient for foods that require long cooking times.

If you don't have one, don't worry; You can cook beans in any pot!

This was my first time cooking dried beans on the stovetop; I usually use a crock pot.

I read somewhere that you can't beat beans cooked over an open fire.

Well, this wasn't an open fire, it was a gas stove.  But I have to admit, these beans were VERY good!

I just cooked them; I didn't add any seasoning or flavoring.  Perhaps I should have, but they were still good!

They were pinto beans.

I soaked them overnight in water, drained, put them in the pot with enough water to cover them.

Brought to a boil, then reduced to medium heat and left them on the stove until done.

I noticed that I did not have to add water while cooking, like I usually do when cooking beans in a crock pot.

I had so many of them that I ended up making baked beans.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Baked dinner!

OK, it's not really called "baked dinner."  But, it was baked, and it was dinner!

I went to a friend's house for dinner recently, and liked it so much that I copied what she did the next day.

She got all her recipe ideas from pinterest.  Which I have not yet become involved with.

The main course was baked shrimp:

Lay out pieces of uncooked shrimp on a cast iron pizza pan. Pour on some olive oil, and add rosemary, oregano, tarragon and thyme.  Into the oven at 350.

The first side dish was smashed red potatoes:

Boil red potatoes, whole.  After boiling, smash them with a potato masher so they're flat.  Lay them out in a cast iron pan.  Pour on some olive oil, add a little bit of grated white cheese*, and add rosemary, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.

*White cheese could be any white cheese you like, whether it's mozzarella, parmesan, provolone, or white american.

Into the oven at 350 at the same time you're baking the shrimp.

Depending on how much room you have in your oven, you may need to bake the second side dish separately:

Slice some red tomatoes.  Lay out on a cast iron pan.  Add a slice of provolone (or any white cheese).  Pour on some olive oil, and add rosemary, oregano, tarragon, and thyme.

This is a very easy and VERY GOOD dinner!

And nothing is better for baked dinner, than cast iron.

Bacon is not politically correct?

First, let me say that there are many different ways to "season" cast iron, in order to make it non-stick.

In fact, there are as many different ways to season cast iron, as there are people who use cast iron.

And while everyone has their own preferred method, it's also a well known fact that some methods are more effective than others.

One quick, easy, tried and true method to seasoning your cast iron pan, is to fry bacon in the pan a few times.  

What I do is, after frying the bacon, put the pan in the oven at 250 degrees for an hour or two; The bacon grease "bakes into" the pan and makes a great non-stick surface.

Since this is my preferred (and very effective) method, that's the one I usually suggest.

Well yesterday I came to find out, bacon is not politically correct!

Bacon is a (gasp!) animal product, you see.  

And bacon has (gasp!) fat in it, you see.

You think I'm joking?  This is what I was told:  

"We are receiving complaints on your referencing bacon for the remedy to many problems.  Many folks on our site are vegetarians, or do not use bacon or other animal fat for any of their cooking needs."

Well for pete's sake!  You don't use olive oil to season a cast iron pan!

Just because the celebrity chefs on TV use extra virgin olive oil in every recipe, and just because extra virgin olive oil is indeed VERY good to cook with, doesn't mean it's any good for seasoning cast iron!

In all seriousness, animal based fats are much more effective for seasoning cast iron, than vegetable based oils.

If you do not use pork for religious reasons, use butter.

If you don't want to handle fat because it's messy, use butter (or lard, which can be purchased on the bakery aisle).

If you are a vegetarian, use butter.  

If you are vegan, coconut oil, or peanut oil, are the best "non animal" products to use.

I simply cannot, with a clear conscience, suggest olive oil, or vegetable oil, as an effective seasoning agent for cast iron -- no matter how popular, trendy, or politically correct it is.

Olive oil is wonderful to cook with, but because it has a low smoking point, it cannot get hot enough to effectively season cast iron.

Vegetable oil, when used for seasoning cast iron, leaves a very sticky residue that must be removed before the pan can be used again.

Here's what I think is going on:

Cast iron is much more than a cookware:  It's a lifestyle.

Vegetarians and vegans traditionally have not used cast iron.  

After all, there's little point to using cast iron to make steamed vegetables; All you need for that, is a plastic bowl and a microwave.

Young urban professionals traditionally have not used cast iron, because they are obsessed with dieting, and want to copy the celebrity chefs they watch on TV.

Lodge wants to market their product to populations that traditionally have not used cast iron.

Suggesting bacon is not "trendy"; It puts off people who are obsessed with dieting and refuse to use animal products.

So, suggesting bacon is contrary to their current marketing efforts.  

Suggesting olive oil "looks better", and makes their product more appealing to those people.

It's like trying to market leather gun holsters to residents of New York City; You wouldn't dare suggest it be used to hold your gun, but rather to hold your cell phone.

And you wouldn't dare suggest conditioning it with saddle soap-- how countrified!  

This blog is not, has never been intended to be, and never will be, an advertising or marketing blog.

I only endorse Lodge products on my blog because they are indeed the best quality cast iron currently in production.

Believe me, it's not because they are my friends-- in fact, I'm sure they would love to see me go away.

So again I say, the fastest and easiest way to season your pans, is to fry bacon in them, and then stick them in the oven for an hour at 250.

It's obviously not "popular", but then again, neither am I.

Monday, March 18, 2013

not only have I HAD boiled dinner, I've MADE boiled dinner!

So I decided that I wanted to try "boiled dinner", thinking that I'd never tried it before.

Until I did a search for the recipe.  And I discovered that not only have I HAD boiled dinner before, I've MADE boiled dinner before!

It's corned beef and cabbage.  And I could have sworn I've posted the recipe on this blog before, but I can't find it.

I just always thought it was corned beef and cabbage.  I figured boiled dinner was something different.

You can use a camp oven, crock pot, or a cast iron pot in the oven or on the stove.

Take corned beef brisket, put it in the pot with the seasoning packet it comes with, and add beef broth.  I also add chopped onions and minced garlic.

Simmer until done.

Remove the corned beef, but leave the liquid in the pot.  

Add your cabbage, RED potatoes, and carrots.  Add some black pepper.

The recipe doesn't call for onion powder and garlic powder, but I add some anyway.

Simmer in the liquid until done.

Then add the corned beef back in with the vegetables.

Serve with mustard and malt vinegar.

Why not cook them all together?

Well, first of all, it wouldn't all fit in the pot at once.

Second of all, it historically was not considered "proper" to cook the veggies and the meat in the same pot.

To save time, you can use two separate pots; Just have some extra beef broth to use in the veggie pot.