Cast Iron Seasoning

So, I own three pieces of cast-iron cook ware. The all came from Lodge as new. I was never that impressed with any of them. This weekend I tried to cook cornbread in my 2 quart dutch oven. It rusted while it was cooking and substantively reduced the quality of the cornbread. This got me to get around to doing what I'd been intending to do for ages. I stripped down the finish that was on it as much as I felt compelled to do. (So not 100% stripped.) Then I started re-seasoning the pan. My procedure was a little more accelerated than the suggested procedure from my reference for the process: A Science Based Technique for Seasoning Cast-iron

My stripping process was basically to use Bar Keepers Friend: Pots & Pans with a stainless steel scrubber. This pulled off a lot of gunk. I repeated my attempts a couple of times until I got tired of this. I also decided to get filtered flax oil rather than unfilteredfiguring random solids were not actually the best thing for trying to bake on a polymer finish. (The oil was still cold pressed and unrefined.)

After cleaning and drying the cast-iron my procedure for seasoning was:

  1. Pour a small amount of the oil on the cook surface (no more than a quarter) rub it around with a towel until everything has a sheen of oil but nothing has visible buildup.
  2. Place in oven, set the oven temperature as high as it can go. (In my case 550)
  3. Then using a nifty birthday gift of an infrared thermometer occasionally check temperature of the cast-iron until it is 550 and you can no longer see any sheen of oil (looks matte black).
  4. Turn oven off and crack the door.
  5. Wait until cast iron is back down under 200 by checking with the thermometer

-- Goto step 1

With four coats I baked the same cornbread. This is a recipe that used to stick and be kinda hard to clean. This time I could rub off all of the remnants with my finger. Not even using my fingernail. I'm so excited to try this on my cast iron frying pan. Though not looking forward to stripping the frying pan.

Pan-seared Sea Scallops

Chris seems to have a penchant for yummy milk fat and found this awesome recipe on kiss my spatula for pan-seared sea scallops with a "risotto" of potatoes -- I usually think of risotto as rice-based, but that's what they were calling it. The meal was probably a bit more expensive than it needed to be because I bought about 6 scallops a person. However, we ate all of them! In addition to preparing the sauce with fresh fennel and thyme picked from Jess's windowsill, the potato risotto, and the sea scallops, we also prepared braised spinach with garlic to make a decorative bed (and an instrument to pick up the yummy cream sauce). This meal was probably the most decadent at-home meal I've ever had. Seriously, 5 stars.

Pan-seared sea scallops in a cream sauce on top of risotto

Pan-seared sea scallops in a cream sauce on top of risotto

I would definitely include the spinach again. The amount of cream almost made me cry and we definitely had leftover sauce. I would cut down the cream by about half. Also, the absolute right amount of scallops. The more, the better. But yeah, a dish to make when you're feeling particularly thin.