Thursday, November 29, 2012

Appreciation & learning about cast iron

I've used cast iron pans before, but the past year, my appreciation and education for them has grown. Yes, they do hold heat better, cooks food nicely too. Seasoning a cast iron pan feels like a constant, learning experience.

Use bacon grease, don't use bacon, reason for this and that kind of oil... everyone's got an opinion. Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning by Sheryl was a blog I found recently, good reference. So excited to season some new pans a friend brought for me, I forgot to check the smoke point of Flaxseed Oil (225F) before blasting my oven up to 500F (live and learn). Smoke my apartment up and out of fear/manners, left a note to my upstairs neighbor apologizing if the smoke smell got up there. Note: Follow that step about really wiping the excess oil out between coatings, it does make a difference in drying/hardening the coats while baking. 

The 3rd paragraph in Sheryl's Blog, "Seasoning Is Not Cooking...", talks about free radicals and carcinogens. I never put heavy thought into carcinogens, free radicals in cooking, but was happy to find this post, Cast Iron Seasoning and Carcinogens; reinforced some of my own thoughts. Some worry about all the potential stuff in cast iron pans, but don't think twice about the grill marks on the barbecued/grilled foods. My feeling, be mindful of how you cook, prepare and treat your food, but don't get buck wild paranoid on everything.

Something To make one paranoid about, a crack in the cast iron pan. Didn't notice this crack until the 1st coating, argh! Can the pan still be used? One celeb chef I asked on twitter flat out said, "No", don't use the pan. Mom says go get a new one instead a worrying with people old, stuff; buy one without a crack. Still seasoning it and hoping after the 6th coating of oil, that will seal it up. The crack is just on the surface, no signs it's cracked through to the base.

Went looking for info on crack in cast iron, found this interesting video, which at least gives a way of testing for cracks in cast iron, before the impulse buy at say, flea markets.

Since I've been cooking in the cast iron pan, my appreciation for them has grown. From stove to oven, to camping if need be... care the cast iron pans and you will have em' for generations.

Now this is why families fought over who got the old cast irons :).

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Putting my loves out here

Into making artwork, traveling around, food & passionate (at times opinionated) about public transit. Putting my loves out here, see where it goes.

I've always been into repurposing stuff, got into beadwork, then mosaics. Website is published, but will post the link when I am fully happy with it, (building a website, to the point one is happy with it, is on going process). 

Tak a lot of pictures as I travel and upload them to Twitpic. Be nice to find a travel buddy, see the Northwest and maybe further with. Send me a note if looking too.

With transit, my interest is more about where it takes people, or could in future. 
Enjoy discussions about transit. Joined a regional rail advocacy group, AORTA since moving to PDX; like this group a lot. Knowledgeable bunch, points things out without being condescending about it. Make that statement, having been to groups where acronyms, titles, information was tossed out, more to brag than inform, found that off-putting; still feel that in attending national events.

You don't realize how important good transit is, until you leave areas with it. My family moved from an apartment, by main subway station in Brooklyn, NYC, to a house, (which meant a bus ride, 40 blocks to a end of a subway line). Late 1990s, found it quicker, cheaper & freeing to ride my bike. NYCs bike lanes made it easy/fun biking in the city. I moved to Jersey City, NJ in 2005, closer to Manhattan than where I lived in Brooklyn, but a very different from NYC. One takes a chance bicycling on Jersey City roads, along with some angry, ignorant drivers. I learned a lot as a bicyclist there. 

Looking back at Jersey City, NJ makes me appreciate the things Portland, OR has. It also makes it hard for me, hearing some complaints out of others bicyclist in this town. Things could be better, but it's a lot better than other places, all I'm saying. Might join a local bike (advocacy) group, voice my thoughts there, time will tell.

Food, Glorious Food! Butter, Beer & Bacon must be on site at all times :). I'll follow the cookbooks but throw down and sauté on my own when ready too. I Yelp!, and not ashamed of it :). Be nice to find some food buddies, to hang 1on1, or make a little group a 3 or 4. Can send me a note if your looking for company while eating too.

So this is a little about me, in blog form. Feel free to say hello, comment, all good and thanks for reading through.