Friday, January 21, 2011

Cast Iron

What's the easiest pan to clean? Of course, teflon. But it's non-stick surface is also made of toxic chemicals which off-gas when heated. Not worth it. Keep in mind that whatever a pan is made of, it will leech out some of that substance into your food every time you cook. So, it's pretty cool that you actually get a little more iron in your diet when you use cast iron pans. Steer clear of aluminum and teflon. No one needs that in their diet. Use stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic, and stoneware.

I have found that stainless steel pans are fairly easy to clean as long as I soak them in water for 10 minutes first. The one exception to this rule is eggs. They stick! In fact, I just figured out that scrambled eggs are much easier to clean out of a cast iron pan than a stainless steel pan. It's the heaviest cookware, but it will last forever and benefit your health.

Just use a stable fat to grease your pan each time (like coconut oil, butter, clean lard, etc.). I like the taste of coconut oil with eggs and salt.

I use a mild soap and water to soak and then scrub out my cast iron pan with either a wash cloth or a little scrubby pad. I've read that you shouldn't let water drops sit in your cast iron pan or else it will rust. I haven't experienced that, but it's best to dry the pan right away.

I just read this in wikipedia:
Because ordinary cookware cleaning techniques like scouring or washing in a dishwasher will remove or damage the seasoning on a bare cast iron pan, these pans should not be cleaned like most other cookware. Some cast iron aficionados advocate never cleaning cast iron pans at all, simply wiping them out after use, or washing them with hot water and a stiff brush.[4] Others note that grease left on a pan will eventually become rancid, and advocate washing with mild soap and water, and then re-applying a thin layer of fat or oil.[5] A third approach, advocated by television chef Alton Brown, is to scour with coarse salt and a paper towel or clean rag.[6]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Living within your means...

On Saturday, my empty sink spoke to me. This hasn't happened before. So it really got my attention. Ha! See, although I love making healthy foods, I get overwhelmed by the resulting mess and dishes. What to do? So, here's how the revelation started... I made spelt pecan waffles for breakfast and cleaned up every last dish and fork right away. This is out of character for me... who often leaves a lot of dishes here and there for the end of the night when, by that time, it's a serious discouraging pile-up that I'm forced to reckon with. So, on with my story. For lunch that day, I fired up the stove top and re-heated beans, rice, leftover duck (Christmas freezer) and took my hot pot outside to the back yard where Steve and the kids were building a snow fort. The kids loved our faux camping lunch, even "the one" who doesn't usually like beans. Must taste better with snow pants on! Anyway, when I trudged back up to the house with the empty pot and dirty cups and spoons, I came upon a completely clean sink which gave me such a surprised feeling of relief and energy to start the task that it spoke to me and said, "You're living with in your means." Huh! I needed that. I usually think of that phrase as pertaining to finances, but it is equally important to live with in our emotional and physical strength and energy "means" as well. Thank you God for talking through my sink.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Rice Browns

Sort of like hash-browns, but rice instead. Soooo good! I got it from my new favorite magazine called "Clean Eating." You'll love it. Click the title of this blog entry to get linked up to it, or go to They show it served with Picadillo Chowder. I ate them for breakfast this morning, salted with celtic sea salt, and pecans. My little boy ate one with a bit of maple syrup. Here's the simple recipe:

Rice Browns

3/4 c. brown rice, already cooked (I used leftover rice from last night.)
2 egg whites

Gently combine rice and egg whites, with a fork. Put about 1/8 cup fulls of mixture into a hot skillet of coconut or olive oil (repeat until skillet is full of patties) and gently press down to make a flatter patty out of each one. Brown them on one side (4 min.) and then carefully flip over to brown the other side. Serve crispy and hot! Let me know what you think.

Snowy white beautiful day!