Monday, February 7, 2011

Pan American

Some twenty years ago our good friend Lisa gave us an old-fashioned frying pan - the cast-iron kind - along with the fixin's for a great pizza.  (Fry up some sausage in the pan, spread out some bread dough in the pan, top with toppings, bake in pan and love it love it love it!)

We love the pan too.  People worry about Teflon® and Stik-No-More artificial surfaces on aluminum pans, and you have to think...after a year or so, the slippery surface is wearing thin, and where did it all go?  Were you eating chemicals along with your homemade "Eggs Derelict"?   There is some concern about a chemical called PFOA, and while I have no idea what the story is there, I am relatively sure that PFOA does not stand for Pretty Fine Organic Additive.  If I'm wrong, I will either stand, or sit, corrected.

So I recommend getting away from the non-stick surfaces, and also, this ain't the Ritz and I ain't Anthony Bourdain, so I am not about to use plain metal pans that have to be scoured every time I sauté an onion.  Go with the cast-iron skillet and build up a "seasoning" on the cooking surface.  It's easy to clean and it makes everything taste all home-skillety.

Take my pork chops!  Just toss some chops in a plastic bag with some flour, bread crumbs, garlic and onion and a little Italian seasoning, and throw a little EVOO in the pan...then put it in the oven, put 'em on the table, and stand back out of the way! (Congratulations if you remember that Esskay jingle.)

Take my corn bread!  Mix up some corn meal and milk with a tiny bit of honey and a beaten egg, and have the skillet in the 400° oven while you're mixing.  Then, put on your OveGlove and take the pan out, throw in enough EVOO to coat the bottom, get a pitcher of beer, and pour in your batter.  (You will want to change pitchers if it's a left-handed batter.) (I regret that pun, but I do not take it back.)  Back in the oven goes the pan, and you go looking for the pizza cutter, because in 15-20 minutes, you're gonna be slicing up the best corn bread you ever had!  Crumble it up on some chili you made in the crock pot.  Hint: you can add fresh or canned corn to the batter, unless you are married to someone who doesn't like "other things in (their) food." Kenny Rogers Roasters always did it, is all I know.

Take my reheated fried or rotisserie chicken! It tastes even better reheated in the skillet in the oven or on the range top, which is also where you can use the pan to reheat pizza.

Toasters quit toastin', spatulas only spatulate for a certain amount of time, and heaven knows you can't get a coffee maker to last more than a year or two.  But your cast iron skillet will not wear out or quit working or need replacement! It will last forever, just like our friendship with Lisa!  


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