Friday, May 11, 2012

Gluten Free Cooking Tips #5 -- Have a really good skillet




Cooking Tip#5 
Have one really good, high-quality oven safe skillet 


Back on day one, my tip was to buy a high-quality knife. As with the knife, having a durable, high-quality, oven-safe skillet will not only save you money, but will be a valuable cooking tool that could be used nearly every night of the week. Not only will heavy, high-quality skillets cook more evenly, but they withstand high cooking temperatures and heavy usage.

My favorite oven-safe skillets are cast iron. They are durable, long-lasting (the primary skillet I use was orginally my great-great grandmother’s! It’s over 100 years old!) and if you care for cast iron correctly it will develop a naturally non-stick surface. Cast iron is actually quite affordable and you can buy them anywhere from big box stores to local hardware stores. You can now also buy them pre-seasoned, so that they are nonstick from the get-go!

Cast iron skillets are excellent at evenly distributing the heat while cooking, will help to give aromatic vegetables like onions and garlic a great sear and caramelization. The cast iron surface browns meat beautifully and even adds a little bit of iron to your diet with each meal you make in it. Best of all, you can sauté your onions, brown your meat and then transfer the whole dish to the oven to finish cooking/roasting/basting, etc... And best of all? Only one dirty dish to wash!



Here are two favorite recipes we make in my great-grandmother’s skillet: Mock Cornbread, or Skillet Millet Bread, Nan's Skillet Dinner

Cleaning Tip: To safely clean your cast iron skillet, once it’s cool wipe out any excess oil or cooked food with a paper towel. Clean gently with hot, soapy water. If there is additional residue that is hard to remove, simply sprinkle table salt onto the pan and scrub with a wash cloth. The table salt will gently remove the stuck food without removing the non-stick surface. Thoroughly dry the pan completely after hand-washing to prevent from rusting.

Reader’s Tip of the Day: “If in doubt. Throw lots of stuff (meat, veggies) in a big roasting pan. Add olive or coconut oil. Some spices and roast away. Enough for brekky the next day.” – Barbara B.D.


Please visit each topic in "10 Days of Gluten Free"
From: May 7th - May 18th


10 Days Gluten Free GIVEAWAY!
Included with this awesome series is a giveaway on each blog once the two weeks are over! I will be giving away a brand new copy of Carol Fenster's cookbook, "100 Best Gluten-Free Recipes." This is one of my FAVORITE gluten free cookbooks with an awesome collection of Carol's absolute best recipes.

The Giveaway Nitty Gritty: 
  • This giveaway is limited to U.S. residents 18 and older. 
  • You are allowed one entry per "10 Days of Gluten Free" blog post for a total of 10 entries on this blog. 
  • Enter by leaving a comment (WITH an email address to contact you) on this post (and other 10 Days of GF posts). 
  • The giveaway begins May 7, 2012 and ends at 11:59 pm eastern time on May 18, 2012. 
  • No purchase is necessary. 
  • Odds of winning are based on the number of entries. 
  • The winner will be randomly chosen and will be contacted by email. 
  • The winner will have 48 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond, a new winner will be randomly chosen
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30 comments:

  1. Do you have a favorite cast iron skillet?

    caralg520@gmail.com

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    Replies
    1. Cara -- hmmm... I don't know what actual "brand" my grandmother's is... but I've always heard really good things about LODGE cast iron pans: http://lodgemfg.com/ made in America! :-)

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  2. I agree. A good skillet that goes in the oven is essential. Mine is enamel, not cast iron, but I wouldn't trade it for anything.

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    Replies
    1. me neither Rogene!! :-) Essential is the word!

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  3. Hmmm, most sources say NOT to use soap & water to clean it unless you are seasoning the pan again... do you season it after you wash it?!? My grandma washed one of my skillets...it has NEVER been the same after that, & I have re-seasoned it too :(.

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    Replies
    1. Good question WiseMama!! And you are absolutely right! MOST sources will tell you NOT to use soap on these pans. However, when I used to visit my great-grandma, when she was using this skillet... I asked her one day, "Grandma, do you use soap on this pan? I thought you weren't supposed too?" and she looked at me like I had lobsters crawling out of my head... "Well of COURSE I use hot soapy water on it... how the *heck* else are you gonna get it clean?" lololol... Soooo... I've been using it for 5+ years and grandma had it nearly 70 years... and it's always been washed with hot soapy water and still had a great non-stick surface! :-)

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  4. Thanks for all of your great GF ideas!

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  5. Love my cast iron skillet...My grandma washed it in hot soapy water and than placed it back on the stove with the flame on to completely dry it so it didnt rust. silkrug-4@juno.com

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  6. I love my cast iron skillet too, it also has been around many many years.
    Emma
    ehohl3@gmail.com

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  7. Thanks for the tip and the recipes! bellistoncj@msn.com

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  8. I couldn't agree more! I have several Lodge skillets, some of which I picked up at thrift stores (before going GF - I wouldn't do that now). They last forever, and I use them for almost every meal. They make the best pancakes because they brown so easily and you don't need any grease on the pan if it's seasoned. The only thing I would quibble with is your cleaning method. I've heard that everyone swears they have the perfect way to clean a cast iron pan. My tip is to never use soap on it. The soap can strip away the seasoning. I just scrape it and rinse it with hot water. Sometimes I dry it on the warm stove or with a paper towel, but if I haven't stripped the seasoning it won't rust if I let it air dry.

    Thanks for telling everyone to go get a cast iron pan! They are amazing.

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  9. @Gina -- love your comment on the Lodge pans! And re: the cleaning... we'll just have to agree to disagree! lol I clean mine all the time with hot, soapy water, and then dry and it's fine, i don't have any trouble with the non-stick surface, staying non-stick! :-)

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  10. Thank you for all the tips, I have truly enjoyed reading them each day. apjp2005@yahoo.com

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  11. I have several cast iron pieces and most of them are very old too. They are great for all the things you mentioned. Perfect cooking tip! Most people do not recommend washing them with soapy water, though. I use hot water and a scraper like Pampered Chef has for their stoneware or a stiff brush to clean it. I also use salt sometimes. Don't forget to apply oil after cleaning.

    You are doing a terrific job on this series, Carrie! Thanks for your participation.

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  12. I love my cast iron skillet, I just need to use it more often. ;) pauladecaria(at)yahoo.com

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  13. I have been wanting to try cast iron for the health benefits; thanks for the tips! 2gr8ful2@gmail.com

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  14. Too bad I don;t think I can use a cast iron skillet on my flat top stove!
    ufg8trj@yahoo.com

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    Replies
    1. My stove is a glass flat top and it works great with cast iron! :-)

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  15. Thanks for all the tips on the cast iron skillets. I had never heard about using salt to clean up spots. I will have to try that.

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  16. Thanks for enlightening us about cast iron. :) To be honest, whenever I see them, I get intimidated by how heavy they are. They seem like the ultimate hardcore cooking pan, and I've shied away from them because I kept hearing rumours about how hard they are to clean. But now I really want one! They don't seem hard to clean at all.

    By the way, what does it mean... to season a cast iron skillet?

    Thanks! :)

    - Esther
    http://roseywinterrose.blogspot.com

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  17. This cookbook looks like it will help me to cook good gluten free meals. Can't wait to get started.

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  18. Thank you for the tips on cast iron. I have some, but don't use them because they did rust. I cleaned them and re-oiled them, but they still rusted. Any tips on starting over with them and keeping them non-stick?
    cindyblye@yahoo.com

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  19. I have a cast iron skillet just for cornbread and I don't wash it, ever. I haven't used it since I went gluten free because my regular corn meal mix has gluten in it but I just ordered a gluten free mix to try.

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  20. I am so envious of your getting your grandmother's cast iron skillet. I have one but not my grandmother's. I love to cook in it, but I would love the nostalgia of having my grandmother's!! I love your advice and tips! You are really helping me embrace my new gluten free diet. Diagnosed 3/1/12

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  21. My folks did wash with soap! My husband, however, put the skillet in the dishwasher when I wasn't at home. I have never been able to get it totally reseasoned. Any ideas?

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  22. I've been meaning to buy a cast iron pan and now I will. I love you blog and just found the 10 days of gluten free cooking.
    Ashley. Ash579@comcast.net

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  23. I also have my grandmother's cast iron skillet. I love to use it, expecially for cornbread!

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  24. I have never used a cast iron skillet. Might have to try. cindym119@gmail.com

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  25. We love our Lodge Cast Iron Skillet! Had to buy a new one when our son was diagnosed with celiac, to make sure it was gluten-free and safe for him. We do not wash it with soap, just hot water; I believe that's what the manufacturer recommends.

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Thank you for commenting on Gingerlemongirl.com. I appreciate your comments, ideas, stories, and feedback!

To send me recipes to try or for gluten free baking help, feel free to email me at gingerlemongirl (at) gmail (dot) com.

Sincerely,
Carrie

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