02/25/13

‘All Things Southern’

Post 1… the Cast-Iron skillet

An idea for a blog post was suggested to me sharing the notion of “all things Southern” and immediately, a few topics came to mind. So, this will be a fun series, not single blog post, number still undetermined at this time, sharing traditions, ideas, recipes, and notions that are as unique as us Southern women.

Lesson #1 in “All things Southern”- How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet

Last year I shared with you an entire post chronicling the life and times of my cast iron skillet. You can read it here. It is a wonderfully, lovely “have to have” in any Southern lady’s kitchen.

Those of you who have never cooked in cast iron… shame on you! This is Atlanta, honey! Well, Bless your heart!

So, for those cast iron virgins, this is an easy lesson in cast iron care from seasoning to cooking and finally to cleaning.

How to Season a Cast Iron Skillet:

Step 1: Wash your skillet with hot water and dry completely.

Step 2: Coat the skillet with cooking oil, bacon grease, or lard (that’s probably what my great-grandmother used) and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour or 275 degrees for 2 hours. The lower and slower method may prove to be more effective.

Step 3: Repeat as often as you like until the surface takes on a shiny black non-stick looking surface. Each time you use the skillet, heating oil up inside, you will continue the seasoning process. It only gets better with age!

Step 4: Dry out with paper towels and it is ready for use!

*Animation from Real Simple

Cleaning your Cast Iron Skillet:

This pan is not the “set aside and I will soak later pan”, it is best if you soak in hot water immediately after use. If you need to remove stuck-on food or other forms of residue, use a mild abrasive such as salt or a non-metal scrubbing-brush to protect the surface. NEVER, and I do mean NEVER pull out the trusty steel wool. That is death to a cast iron skillet. You can use a few drops of dishwashing soap every now and again, but do not make a habit of it. For storing, cover with a paper towel to prevent dust from settling.

Your cast-iron will serve you for decades. And it is useful for all sorts of recipes: fried chicken, sautéed vegetables, flaky buttermilk biscuits, cobblers and crumbles, even deep-dish chocolate chip cookie cake but I have to say my favorite may also be the most simple. It is good old-fashioned cornbread. With a big bowl of chili, few things in life compares. And what could be more southern than cornbread?

Pioneer Woman’s Recipe for Skillet Cornbread is divine, so I will share it with you!

PW’s Skillet Cornbread

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 Tablespoon Baking Powder
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup Milk
  • 1 whole Egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 cup Shortening
  • 2 Tablespoons Shortening

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Combine cornmeal, flour, salt, and baking powder in a bowl. Stir together.

3. Measure the buttermilk and milk in a measuring cup and add the egg. Stir together with a fork. Add the baking soda and stir.

4. Pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Stir with a fork until combined.

5. In a small bowl, melt 1/4 shortening. Slowly add melted shortening to the batter, stirring until just combined. In an iron skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons shortening over medium heat. Pour the batter into the hot skillet. Spread to even out the surface. (Batter should sizzle)

6. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Edges should be crispy! Cut into triangles and enjoy! 🙂

*Recipe & photo courtesty of www.thepioneerwoman.com

So, y’all come back now!

“Being Southern isn’t talking with an accent…or rocking on a porch while drinking sweet tea, or knowing how to tell a good story. It’s how you’re brought up — with Southerners, family is sacred; you respect others and are polite nearly to a fault; you always know your place but are fierce about your beliefs. And food along with college football — is darn near a religion.”
Jan Norris

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