This week is, understandably, about a few key flavors: hot, roasting turkey and its drippings, made into a savory gravy. Or the buttery, sauteed smell of sage and onion and celery, which perfumes your entire home and reminds you of the holidays of childhood, even though you're pretty sure your grandmother never actually made anything from scratch.
Let's not demean those foods, and the bountiful leftovers. It's what the season is all about. But, sometimes...you need a break. Because this is the week of houseguests and slow mornings and relying on food to fill unoccupied time. And when you're not feeling a fourth helping of stuffing (or, perhaps, right before the dried bread and fixings are even mixed), it's time to employ: the DIY cast iron cinnamon rolls.
Your kitchen stove is a recent development in human cultural evolution. For millenia, all cooking was live fire cooking. From traveling groups building beds of coals in the wilderness, to stone and earth homes centered around the hearth, the use of wood as fuel for food represented what it meant to be human for tens of thousands of years.
These days, cooking over an open flame makes a meal an event. Live fire cooking is portable, sure, but more importantly, it adds flavor and ambience your electric oven can never achieve. Whether grilling over glowing hardwood or slow roasting in a cast iron pan, cooking with real fire makes the meal the point of the evening.
If you're like me, the cast iron in your shop sits atop the most prized tools you have. Those tops are solid, durable, stay dead flat, and make working wood just a bit easier. But to keep them at their best takes a bit of routine work, fending off rust and staining doesn't take much but make sure you do it. Here's how.
A few weeks ago, we had a couple of friends over for dinner, and the husband joined me in the kitchen as I was finishing up some carrots I'd blackened and blistered then finished in the oven.
"Oh, you like your cast iron skillet?" he asked.
"Like it?" I replied. "I have three of them, and I use 'em as much as possible."
He was a little surprised at my response, and me by his. He'd said he and his wife had registered for both a large skillet and a dutch oven for their wedding, and received both. But once they got them home and unboxed, they could really figure out how to season them, how to clean them, or how to care for them. This, of course, broke my heart a bit, and I vowed that if he brought them over sometime, I'd help him get them ready to go, and show him what they could do.
So, whether you're just getting started in the wonderful, flavorful world of cast iron, or you'd like to move beyond special occassion meals and use these as your daily cookware, there's just a few things you should know, and keep around, for smooth, non-stick, generation-lasting success.
We believe in investing in long-lasting, high-quality kitchen gear; things worth saving up for, that you know will stand up to daily use. Opting for a legit forged steel chef's knife, say... one that can be sharpened and honed over and over and will last you the rest of your life, and then some.
But, investment pieces are just that: investments. Those things cost money, and they're well worth it. But thankfully, you can fill in the gaps with a selection of totally affordable and super useful kitchen tools, many of which cost less than a lunch at a local bistro. So with that in mind, here's our list of inexpensive, high-quality, and crazy versatile culinary tools with which you should be stocking your kitchen, all of which come in at less than twenty-five bucks.
If you're a fan of salt and vinegar potato chips then you're gonna love this recipe for pan fried sea salt and basalmic potatoes.
I LOVE my cast-iron skillet. I was in skillet envy for quite awhile watching other guys flaunt theirs at home and on camping trips before I finally pulled the trigger and got my own. I'm fairly certain I've got the hang of skillet maintenance, but having just come back from a wonderful camping trip in Big Sur, I realized there are some key tips everyone ought to keep in mind with this essential cooking tool...
Have you been cooking with cast iron lately? A skillet is definitely worth the investment with it's durable versatility. Take a look at these 7 ways you can make a meal with yours.
There's a lot of myths and legends about construction perfect fried chicken at home: secret spice blends, brines and buttermilks, free range vs air chilled vs standard chickens, special sauces, even proper oil or fat selection. But never underestimate an essential component: the vessel in which you fry.
The presence of cast iron has changed in the United States over the last one hundred years. Once the dominate form of cookware in any kitchen, it's been replaced by high-ply clad stainless, anodized aluminum, and all sorts of Teflon-coated beasts that let your food slip around freely.
Likewise, the manufacturing process of cast iron cookware has changed quite a bit over the century as well. Enthusiasts claim that modern pans are thicker, with 'pebblier' surfaces, and made of a lower-quality iron. Add that to the high-heat preseasoning that doesn't make for a reliable coat, the question stands: is the vintage stuff better than new cast iron?
Search the ManMade archives, and you'll find no shortage of love for cast iron cookware.
You'll also note lots of warnings about some of the pitfalls of buying new cast iron, and our recommendation to buy used or unseasoned pieces so you can indeed build that heirloom-quality non-stick surface that makes cast iron such a great investment and pleasure to use.
At ManMade, we're big fans of cast iron cookware, particularly the must-own skillet, which you can use from everything from cooking your breakfast bacon and eggs to cornbread to setting on your grill or an open fire for a safe, efficient way to cook outdoors. A 10" or 12" skillet is one of our ten items every man should own, and in my opinion, one of the best $20-30 anyone can spend.
Yep, Coca-Cola fried chicken. You've heard of beer-battered fish and chips, a baked ham glazed in Dr. Pepper, or Korean barbecued short ribs marinated in 7Up, so adding a bit of beverage to one of the world's greatest foods is sort of a no-brainer.
Over the last decade, there's been a hugh shift towards discovering the things that our grandparents knew. Post-Baby Boom adults everywhere are keeping chickens in their backyards, learning to can and preserve their own produce and cure their own meats, shaving with straight razors.