I want to give a big thank you to all of you who participated in my recent giveaway. It sounds like you all are very environmentally-conscious…keep up the amazing work! I used a random number generator to determine the winner…
A big congrats to Brandy of Nutmeg Nanny! Email me your address and I’ll have your prize sent out.
Onto the product review! I recently received a 12-inch cast iron skillet from CSN. I like to use cast iron cookware because it can go straight from the fridge to the stovetop or the oven (or even campfire), and then straight to the table for serving. I also love the even browning that I get when I cook with cast iron. The cast iron skillet I got from CSN is one hardcore piece of kitchen equipment. It’s heavy! Even though it’s a 12-inch skillet with a lid, it’s at least has heavy as my mom’s larger cast iron Dutch oven.
The skillet features a seasoned surface so it comes ready to use; seasoning cast-iron helps to create a natural, non-stick surface. There was a brochure that came with the skillet, which gave great tips on caring for cast iron:
1. Cleaning: Let the skillet cool and wipe out any remaining food. Use soap and warm water to wash all areas of the skillet, then thoroughly dry it. Avoid using citrus-based soap, as it can remove the seasoning.
2. Maintaining the Seasoning: After each use, dab a cotton rag in a little cast iron conditioner (my mom always used canola oil, which is what I use) and rub a thin layer over the whole skillet.
3. Seasoning the Skillet: If the skillet becomes dull and dry looking (which can be caused by cooking acidic foods), add a coating of cast iron conditioner (or canola oil), put the skillet upside-down in the oven, and heat to 400-450F. The skillet will smoke as the seasoning bakes in; as the smoking slows, remove the skillet from the oven.
4. Storing the Skillet: Store the skillet in a clean, dry area with a light coating of cast iron conditioner (or canola oil).
5. Removing Rust From Cast Iron: Soak the rusty area in cola and then re-season.
I was excited to break in my new skillet, but I wasn’t sure what to make…potatoes anna? Blackened fish? Fried eggs? Cornbread? I decided on an old favorite that I haven’t had in ages…a Dutch Baby! The recipe is adapted from the recipe for a Chocolate Chip Dutch Baby (which is basically a baked pancake) in my all-time absolute favorite cookbook, The All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook. This cookbook has seen a lot of use over the years, and it’s my favorite cookbook for 3 reasons: it has a huge variety of types of dishes (like appetizers, mains, breads, desserts, vegetarian, salads, sandwiches, etc.), it has just as much variety in the types of cuisines represented (think recipes from the Middle East, India, France, Thailand, etc.), and it has never let me down…I have literally loved everything I’ve made out of it. (And no, I don’t work for Cooking Light, lol!)
The Dutch Baby cooked perfect in my new skillet. It puffed up beautifully, and the inside had a creamy, custard-like consistency. The glazed strawberries were the perfect addition, adding a splash of color along with fresh flavor. This made a beautiful weekend brunch.
Chocolate Chip Dutch Baby with Glazed Strawberries (Adapted from The All-New Complete Cooking Light Cookbook)
(Yield: 6 to 8 servings)
1 1/3 c milk (I used 1%)
3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 TB sugar
1/3 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 TB butter
1/3 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c frozen, sliced strawberries (if you use fresh strawberries, just add a little splash of water to the pan)
1 TB honey
1 (12-inch) cast iron skillet
For the Dutch Baby: Preheat oven to 450F. Once the oven is heated, put the skillet in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, beat together the milk, flour, sugar, salt, and eggs until smooth (the batter will be thin, similar to crepe batter). Once the skillet is preheated, melt the butter inside it, swirling the pan to spread the butter evenly. Pour in batter and sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Serve the Dutch Baby with the Glazed Strawberries on top.
For the Glazed Strawberries: Place the frozen strawberries and honey in a small-medium skillet; heat on medium to medium-high heat for a couple minutes until the strawberries are thawed but still intact and the honey has combined with the strawberry juices to form a glaze.