Thursday, October 20, 2011

Cast Iron Cooking

For those who read my blog on a regular basis, you know two things are almost inevitably certain with everyone of my posts - 1) I'm enjoying a cocktail while cooking.  2)  I'm cooking with Cast Iron.

Cast Iron cookware is my favorite type of cooking equipment on the market - it's heavy duty, lasts a lifetime, cheap, versatile, and it also keeps you healthy by supplying a low-dose of iron to your diet along the way.  What's not to love?

It gets better.  Lodge Cast Iron has always been a great partner of mine - sending cookware for festivals, tv appearances, etc - all over the country.  It's nice to arrive in NYC with a big box of great Lodge cookware waiting for me - Mark and the team at Lodge are the best.

So I was so happy to see their latest endeavor - The new Lodge Seasoned Steel (pictured) - it's super light weight, yet still has the same great cooking performance of traditional cast iron.  Trust me - I get a workout lifting those heavy pans - so it's nice to have a lighter option that works great for travel, home, or even TV!

For those of you unfamiliar with the cooking/cleaning process for cast iron, I've taken this directly from Lodge's website - check it out, and order your cookware today!



Using Your Lodge Cast Iron
Rinse with hot water (do not use soap), and dry thoroughly.

Before cooking, apply vegetable oil to the cooking surface of your pan and pre-heat the pan slowly (always start on low heat, increasing the temperature slowly).

Once the utensil is properly pre-heated, you are ready to cook. 

TIP: Avoid cooking very cold food in the pan, as this can promote sticking. 

PLEASE REMEMBER: Handles will become very hot in the oven, and on the stovetop. Always use an oven mitt to prevent burns when removing pans from oven or stovetop.

Cleaning your Lodge Cast Iron

After cooking, clean utensil with a stiff nylon brush and hot water. Using soap is not recommended, and harsh detergents should never be used. (Avoid putting a hot utensil into cold water. Thermal shock can occur causing the metal to warp or crack). 

TIP: If you are having trouble removing stuck-on food, boil some water in your pan for a few minutes to loosen residue, making it easier to remove.

Towel dry immediately and apply a light coating of oil to the utensil while it is still warm. 

TIP: Do not let your cast iron air dry, as this can promote rust.

Store in a cool, dry place. If you have a cover, or lid, for your utensil, place a folded paper towel in between lid and utensil allowing air to circulate. This prevents moisture from collecting inside the utensil, which can cause rust.

TIP: The oven is a great place to store your cast iron; just remember to remove it before turning on the oven.

NEVER wash in dishwasher.

If for some reason your utensil develops a metallic smell or taste, or perhaps rust spots (maybe a well-meaning relative washed your utensil in the dishwasher or with soap thinking they were being helpful), never fear. Simply scour off the rust using a very fine grade of sandpaper or steel wool and refer to our section Re-seasoning Your Lodge Cookware.

IMPORTANT PRODUCT NOTE: If you have a Lodge Grid Iron or Pro Grid Iron Griddle, make sure to place it over two burners, allowing the griddle to heat evenly and avoid a stress break or warping. It is also a good to preheat the griddle in the oven before placing over burners on top of stove.

Re-Seasoning your Lodge Cast Iron

While maintaining the seasoning (as in Step 5 above) should keep your Cast Iron in good condition, at some point you may need to repeat the seasoning process. If food sticks to the surface, or you notice a dull, gray color, repeat the seasoning process:
Wash the cookware with hot, soapy water and a stiff brush. (It is okay to use soap this time because you are preparing to re-season the cookware). 

Rinse and dry completely.

Apply a thin, even coating of MELTED solid vegetable shortening (or cooking oil of your choice) to the cookware (inside and out).

Place aluminum foil on the bottom rack of the oven to catch any dripping.

Set oven temperature to 350 - 400 degrees F.

Place cookware upside down on the top rack of the oven.

Bake the cookware for at least one hour. After the hour, turn the oven off and let the cookware cool in the oven.

Store the cookware uncovered, in a dry place when cooled.

For any questions on the use and care of Lodge Seasoned Cast Iron, e-mail, or call our Customer Service Department at 423-837-7181

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