Jims Galley

Jims Galley

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Looking for the perfect inexpensive Christmas gift for him or her?

Welcome to the south. Yes, well if you think the following would not be a welcomed gift for either your hubby or loving wife, then just ask my wife “Ms 11” what she thinks about my cast iron skillet!

I cannot think of a better more loving gift that will generate happiness for not just years, but generations. My current cast iron skillet is somewhere around 35 years old and has been with me through thick and thin. Lets see, three house, two wife's, two kids, no… three kids, 30 years of outdoor television and was cooking in this cornucopia of cast iron bliss back during my cable and radio days. As a matter of fact, this one I have had since early college. Fact is back in the recession when I lost my home, I hit the street with nothing but a small suitcase, my bicycle, my jar of starter, and yes my cast iron skillet. That was it.

Jim & Casey Baugh
A few Christmas back I gave my daughter one for a gift, she cherishes it and pampers it like a pet poodle.

A good well-seasoned cast iron skillet will give you as much love back as you give it. It does everything and does it better than any other cook ware.
Think about it, a gift that will probably be used every day, last for generations, and is inexpensive. What is not to love?
The only two things that people will comment in a non-favorable way about cast iron is that it is heavier than other cookware and it does need to be lightly oiled after each use. I say baloney! So you put a little oil on the skillet after use, BUT you rarely have to take the time to clean it. While other cookware you will spend 10 minutes on trying to remove whatever sticks to the bottom, on a cast iron skillet nothing sticks, just wipe dry and oil. It is that simple.
Blackened Mahi

Why is cast iron so great and basically replaces all skillets and frying pans in my kitchen? Here are some of the best reasons.
      ·      The pan will heat to a higher temperature.

·      The skillet will maintain even temperature throughout the surface without any cool spots

·      Super nonstick surface, food never sticks

·      Durability, the darn thing holds up no matter what

·      Nothing browns better-meatballs, chicken, fish, etc

·       Nothing blackens better

·       Nothing cleans as easy

·       Nothing fries as good.

·       Nothing makes gravy as good (southern gravy can only be made in cast iron as well as southern fried chicken)

·      A must for tortillas, browning breads, etc, etc.

·      Nothing cooks steak better
* ** Nothing saut├ęs vegetables better!
Fajita meat seared with peppers
Tips for keeping you're baby in top shape all the time:
The BEST way to fry chicken wings
Searing Sausage
·        When new, be sure to season the pan in the oven with a good coat of oil covering the entire pan inside and out.

·         Always dry completely and wipe down with an oiled paper towel


·       Use Crisco once in a while and rub it onto the bottom of the pan, then finish off with some canola oil or peanut oil. This will add extra coating and protection should it not be used in a while.

·       Best oil to use? Well, use what you got. However I try to keep a small bottle of peanut oil around to season with because it does not smoke at high temperatures.

·       Storage? Leave it on the stove top always. Once you realize what you can do with a well seasoned skillet, there will be no need usually to use anything else.
Homemade Meatballs
 Things to avoid cooking in cast iron:

·       Long simmering tomato sauce I would skip. Short term quick pasta sauce (which is the best) is great to do in a skillet.

·       Deserts like brownies etc. The reason is your skillet is for most all savory dishes and the seasoned pan holds some flavor. This is great for 90% of the things you cook, but not sweet deserts.

NOTE: This should be mentioned. After cooking at high temperatures let your pan cool a bit before pouring super cold water in it or sticking it in the snow. This could cause the pan to crack. This has never happened in all my years of using cast iron, but then again I have never used snow to clean the skillet after a deep fry. This mostly pertains to campers using cast iron outside, etc.
Fresh Rockfish
What about eggs?

·         Cast iron is the best nonstick surface available BUT it has to be perfectly seasoned. Just follow the steps above. Also, when cooking eggs of any recipe, first cook your bacon or sausage in the skillet, then add the egg. This is just the way diners cook their breakfast. You may not know it, but each morning diners start off by cooking up at least a pound of bacon on the griddle, then save the excess fat to use throughout the day for nonstick and flavor purposes. You do the same in the cast iron skillet.
If you’re going to buy a second cast iron piece of cookware this is the one to get!
The Lodge Combo Cooker.

This is an extremely versatile piece of cookware. It for the most part is a Dutch oven with a top that is designed to also be a small frying skillet. This way you have a smaller skillet to go along with your big daddy fry pan. This cooker I usually use to only make breads. It is always seasoned with Crisco and peanut oil. After backing bread, bouleys, the bread will just slide right out. Nothing sticks not even a crumb.
How to clean… Don’t!
Again, if your pan is perfectly seasoned and maintained, nothing sticks to the skillet. Just rinse with hot water, wipe dry, then reapply with some oil. NEVER USE SOAP NEVER EVER EVER!!!! It will ruin the seasoning.
Pirates cooking with cast iron at the Blackbeard Festival

So here is what you do should something stick because you got lazy and did not properly season your pan. Pour hot water and let it sit for 5 or ten minutes. Then it should come right off. If something still remains, just use a metal spatula and scrape the area a little bit. Dry and reapply your oil. It is that simple.
Stuffed thighs with rosemary and onion pan seared then baked in wine
Homemade Chips

Trust me, the gift of cast iron is one that will last a lifetime, and then some. It is great fun to cook with and besides my faith, piano and my kids, it has stuck beside me for over 35 years. Never let me down once.
Sorta reminds me of Rum.

Merry Christmas and a happy New Year!

Jim Baugh
Jim & Donna Cookin in Hatteras NC


Mrs. Donna with proof we do eat vegetables...
well, with cheese.
Below are some of the "Skillet" dishes we make
using small single serving skillets.
way to cook many dishes. Great stuff!!
(Most of these recipes we just created. Use what you got in the fridge, put it in the skillet with some cheese, etc, bake it off at 350 for 45 minutes and WOW! You can really come up with some fantastic dinners!)
CAUTION: Remember the skillet is always piping hot and will burn you easily. Be careful when handling. Always use heavy pot holders. Also have something that will not melt that you can set your skillets on when you serve them. I have used many things, my fav is just small individual cutting boards made of wood. This protects your table very well.
Jalapeno & Cheddar Pasta
Chili Pot Pasta
Chicken & Potato Cheddar Pasta

Fresh broiled seafood skillet platter
Tortellini with pepperoni and schooms
Sheppard Pie Skillet

Pizza skillet pie
Sourdough Italian rounds for muffaletta sandwhichs

Tex Mex Skillet Special
Chicken tortellini

Spaghetti Meatball and Peperoni Baked Skillet
Seafood Sampler


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