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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:10 pm 
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Waited in a line late at night for some stuff
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Location: Louisville(J-town), KY
Thanks to this thread, I've realized I have enameled cast-iron! It's my grandmother's Le Creuset pans, and she had them for as long as I can remember; when she died, I got them. Now I'm all excited because I get to use them properly!
Also, I can vouch for it lasting a long time. The enamel hasn't worn off at all, and toward the end my grandmother was burning a lot of foods in those pots.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Sun Oct 24, 2010 8:27 pm 
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Bathes in Braggs
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Cast iron love.

I've got two cast iron skillets - a 10" and an 8". I use both for everything you could imagine. Sauces, sautes, pan frying, searing, reheating leftovers, pancakes, etc. They're friggin' work horses, and they definitely can take a beating. Plus, they're so friggin' easy to clean once they've been seasoned properly.

I accidentally left tomato sauce remnants in the skillet a few times, and doing that does remove a lot of the seasoning and often leads to rust pretty quickly. First time I did that I freaked out and thought I'd have to throw it away... Then I looked online and most of the advice just said to reseason. So if that happens again, I just scrub with oil and a wire brush and/or steel wool to remove the rusty areas, rinse with hot water, dry completely and reseason (rub with thin layer of veggie shortening, bake upside down in the oven on 350F for an hour, wipe off excess, bake again for an hour, let cool) a couple of times. After I do that, I usually cook something like chives or onions in oil over medium heat in the skillet for quite a while until they're barely charred. Then I throw the chives away. I found that it removes any metallic flavor you might get from any leftover rusty bits that weren't completely washed away, and you also get the added benefit of seasoning it even more.

I should add that if you find an old vintage cast iron piece and strip the seasoning completely off to where you see a gray metallic color and then you season it, it'll look kinda brown and almost a dark rusty color - but don't worry. It'll darken with use and more seasoning sessions, and you'll soon have a beautiful black patina. I suggest lots of frying! Because fried food makes your taste buds happy...

They're also kinda heavy, so if you cook a lot, they'll probably strengthen your wrists/arms.

And I found an awesome, but rusty and gunky antique waffle iron from the early 1900s at a thrift store (for $2.50!), put a lot of elbow grease into cleaning and reseasoning that sucker up, and now it's the absolute best waffle maker EVER. And no Teflon involved. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 8:57 am 
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Tofu Pup

Joined: Fri Oct 22, 2010 4:40 am
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I love cast iron too: I have a Lodge pan and a huuuge second hand (non-enamelled) le creuset which is lovely. I have to admit that a I regularly use both my cast iron pans for cooking acidic things like tomato sauce (haven't tried anything with lots of vinegar or OJ though), and its never resulted in a ferrous tang. Both my pans are pretty well-seasoned though, but even if they weren't, I'm not sure that this is actually dangerous (instead, I've heard recommendations that people cook in cast iron to get extra iron in their diets, though this form of iron isn't that easily absorbed): instead, one batch of your food might not taste so good. If that happens, I'd just reaseason, using the excellent instructions from the ieatfood blog that someone else posted.

I also have an enamelled le creuset dutch oven, and while its useful, its also something of a pain: you have to be very careful not scrubbing with with scratchy stuff, otherwise you risk scratching off the enamel, which ruins it. Instead, I have to remember to oil it very thoroughly to make sure nothing sticks, and even then, its got lots of stains and marks (in common with everyone else I know who owns enamelled cast iron, and cooks with it a lot). I'd totally go for non-enamelled cast iron, which, after the initial bit of seasoning, is practically indestructible (and can always be bought back into use, even if its seasoning is flaking/its rusted. The only thing that really kills it is cracks).


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:53 am 
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Wears Durian Helmet
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surya wrote:
I also have an enamelled le creuset dutch oven, and while its useful, its also something of a pain: you have to be very careful not scrubbing with with scratchy stuff, otherwise you risk scratching off the enamel, which ruins it. Instead, I have to remember to oil it very thoroughly to make sure nothing sticks, and even then, its got lots of stains and marks (in common with everyone else I know who owns enamelled cast iron, and cooks with it a lot).


This has not been my experience with Le Creuset. I do not use steel wool on it, but I've used baking soda to scrub it clean on several occasions. I have not had problems with staining, either interior or exterior. I find it to be less maintenance than the cast iron I've used in the past.

I think it's just a personal preference. It definitely costs more than Lodge cast iron.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:05 pm 
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Seagull of the PPK
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I've got a decent sized Lodge that cost me about $20 too. It was "pre-seasoned" but I have never been able to make a good pancake on it (they always stick). Other than pancakes, it's great for cooking everything else (especially sauces, etc).
I should say that my spouse likes to wash it with soap and then leave it to rust. So if you have the partner who can't remember to not leave your priceless japanese knife soaking in the sink, or to immediately wash anything that has flax seeds in it, or whatever, i recommend against the cast iron! It will make you FORKING CRAZY.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 12:21 pm 
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Has it on Blue Vinyl
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I love cast iron for pancakes!

If I'm only frying (pancakes, tofu), I'll just wipe out the pan with a rag. If I made something saucy or sticky, I'll lightly scrub with a brush under warm water, dry in the oven (warm from the pilot light), then rub with a little vegetable oil if it looks too dried out.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:20 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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Location: Holyoke
How to resurrect even the worst condition cast iron you fund at tag sales and flea markets. Note: This should not be done with enameled cast iron. I own a turkey fryer type one burner propane stove. It heats up to something like 250,000 BTU. I use it to steam corn, brew beer, etc. Do this outside. Take the cast iron and heat it up until it glows red in the center. Using an oven mit soaked in water grab the handle (it will be pretty hot, but not glowing like the center) and bang the pan, the back side, on a rock / brick / cement steps. Then, with a spatula or a spackle knife scrape the inside - it will be flaky dry carbon. Let it cool, wash with soap and steel wool and you have bare cast iron ready to be seasoned. Use some heavy oils like unfiltered olive oil or coconut oil and season like normal. I have a bunch of pans that are black, slick and looking like well maintained cast iron that I received with lumpy organic caked on or a mixture of that and rust. This process is pretty simple. The only piece that I bought new was an unenameled Le Creuset flat bottomed wok. The other examples, various skillets, saute and dutch oven that I picked up were either free because they looked like they were ruined or somewhere between $1-$5.


Last edited by pronoblem on Mon Oct 25, 2010 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:42 pm 
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You make it sound so easy! :)


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 2:51 pm 
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Why would you wet the oven mitt? Water conducts heat much faster than any fabric would. I have a bad habit of drying my hands on whatever's closest and have burned my fingers a few times trying to pull cookie sheets with a damp pot holder.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 3:09 pm 
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Tofu Pup
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Location: Holyoke
mel c wrote:
Why would you wet the oven mitt? Water conducts heat much faster than any fabric would. I have a bad habit of drying my hands on whatever's closest and have burned my fingers a few times trying to pull cookie sheets with a damp pot holder.


Because it could catch on fire if you do not. Not damp - soak it. I never felt uncomfortable holding the pans in this process.


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 Post subject: Re: Cast Iron Skillet
PostPosted: Mon Nov 08, 2010 7:51 pm 
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Hearts James Cromwell

Joined: Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:03 am
Posts: 49
Chipmunk wrote:
My cast iron pans were actually pretty cheap. I have a 8" skillet that cost a measly 7 GBP and a grill pan that was about 13 GBP. New. From a fairly expensive catering supplies place.


Really, may I ask where? I've had trouble finding decent cast iron stuff in the UK.


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