Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Cleaning Cast Iron

I love Photo Dude super awesome lots do I love that man but when he leaves me a mess like this it makes me wonder about him.  He was sweet enough to cook up the bacon for dinner the other night (BLTs yummy!) and then I had this pan to clean, my brand new cast iron skillet.  If you are like me and looking at it going "Oh crap now what do I do!" here's whatcha' do.

Scrape all the crud out of it, next time I'll do it when it's still hot instead of waiting..... ummm a while before doing it.

Sprinkle some salt over the whole pan, just regular out of the cheap cylinder salt.
Now start scrubbing the yuck out.  We started with paper towels then got ourselves an old dish cloth that will now only be used for this skillet.  My super sweet awesome step-dad helped with this project and provided much elbow grease.  If you are scrubbing your pan and the salt isn't soaking up the grease any more, dump out the salt and add more in.  We had to change our salt out once.
This is what it looked like when we were all done scrubbing.  Then we washed it out with soap and water (please don't stone me for this).  Just a quick wash around the inside to get all the left over salt and whatnot out okay?
Next put that sucker in your oven.  Our oven was hot from baking so we didn't actually turn it on we just let the heat dry it out for about a half hour or so.
This is what it looked like out of the hot oven.

Last take a lightly oiled cloth and swipe it around in the pan to keep it from rusting.  We used probably less than a teaspoon of vegetable oil.  If you use too much oil it can get rancid in your pans and that would just be nasty.
If you keep your cast iron in good condition they will last you forever and the more you use it the better they get.  Happy scrubbing!

Friday, January 21, 2011


I thought that I had posted this back in the summer but it seems to have never made it up here.  I know that we are so far removed from basil weather it isn't funny, it's only 13 degrees today!  Anyway in case you have a crop of basil that grew indoors or if you are in a warmer climate here is an easy recipe for Pesto.

Remove your basil leaves from the stem and wash.  I enlisted Molly to do this for me.  You need 2 cups of leaves.

1/4 C. Walnuts, 3 cloves of garlic, 1/4 tsp. salt   blend until a paste in a food processor.

Add your basil leaves and 1/2 C. grated Parmesan or Romano cheese to the food processor. 

Pour in 1/2 C. of olive oil, continue to pulse until everything is well mixed.  
Delicious pesto perfect for adding to spaghetti sauces, pizza, or just by itself.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Special Blanket

My sister-in-law made this very cool blanket for Jack.  Each of the pieces has a different texture for him to play with.  She said it took forever to make but he is just in love with it!  So if you have lots of different scraps of fabric laying around maybe you could make something awesome like this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Cold Weather Warm Soup

Today's recipe is curtosy of my niece's mother. She made us this soup when she stayed with us for a bit last winter. It is thick and filling and I actually find that I almost always have the ingredients on hand. Here we go!

Three medium potatoes cut into 1 inch pieces. Boil these for about 10 minutes, they don't have to be cooked all the way because you will simmer the soup later.
Reserve 1 C. of the starchy potato water for later, then drain your potatoes.
Add one diced onion and 3 TBSP butter to the hot potato pan, saute until the onions are translucent.
Add 3 TBSP flour to the pan and brown we are making a roux to thicken the soup here. The onions are still in the pan with the butter and flour.

Add your potato water very slowly and keep the whole mess moving! The only lumps you want in this are the onions. When you are done it looks like thick slime mmmm yummy. Add 3 C. of water to your slime once again keep the whole thing moving to keep out unwanted lumps

Add 1 C. of broccoli and 1 C. of cooked diced ham along with your potatoes to the pan. I used some left over from Christmas that was in the freezer. Add your salt, pepper, and sugar here too just remember most hams are quite salty. Simmer this on a very low heat for 30 minutes.Add 2 C. cheddar cheese and then let simmer for 10 more minutes.
Done! The perfect cold weather soup!

Potato Soup

3 med. potatoes
1 C. potato water
3 Tbsp. butter
1 small onion
3 Tbsp. flour
3 C. milk
1/2 tsp. sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1 C. cooked ham
1 C. broccoli heads (Frozen from the store)
Pinch of Salt and pepper or to your taste
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Peel cut potatoes into 1-inch cubes. Boil water to cook potatoes. Drain reserving 1-cup of liquid. Set aside. Peel and cut onion. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat, add onion cook till it looks translucent. Then add flour and stir. Add reserved potato water and potatoes stir. Slowly add milk, sugar, salt, pepper and ham. Cook on very low heat for 30min. Add cheddar cheese. Cook 10 mins.