10 Facts About Cast Iron Cookware

Cast Iron Skillet

Personal Chef and Catering Austin Texas

Cooks seeking alternatives to toxic non-stick cookware often find themselves in a bind. Stainless steel, which seems to be the healthiest alternative, is expensive, and it does not lend itself well to cooking eggs, pancakes and other dishes that non-stick cookware typically excels at. If you have not yet discovered the benefits of cast iron cooking, here are 10 reasons to buy and use a cast iron skillet.

1. Avoid Toxic Fumes– Replacing a non-stick skillet with a cast iron one allows you to avoid the toxic fumes that accompany most non-stick cookware. Cast iron can also replace aluminum cookware, which may also pose health hazards.
2. Use in oven – Besides the stove, you can use a cast iron skillet in the oven, at any temperature. This comes in handy for making corn bread, frittatas, and flat bread.
3. Nonstick – Surprisingly, a preheated cast iron skillet rivals the qualities of non-stick cookware, as long as it is properly seasoned and cared for. You can quickly move up this short learning curve by talking with employees at your local cookware store or by reading a book or Internet article about cast iron care.
4. Easy Clean up– Cast iron is easy to clean up. Not only does food easily lift off from cast iron cookware, soap is not needed or recommended, since it erodes the seasoning.
5. Health Benefits- You can actually boost your iron intake from eating food cooked in cast iron cookware. This vital mineral is crucial for maintaining energy levels, and it helps strengthen immune systems.
6. Inexpensive- Cooks looking to replace non-stick cookware often investigate stainless steel. However, a high-end, 12-inch stainless skillet runs well over $100, while a similar-sized cast iron one costs less than $30.
7. Food Cooks Beautifully– Using a cast iron skillet you can create restaurant-quality, homemade fish sticks, potato pancakes and French toast, complete with golden brown, crispy exteriors. Contrast this with non-stick cookware, which makes browning nearly impossible.
8. Sturdy/Wears well- Since it does not scratch, there is no need to use plastic utensils, and there is no fear of using your silverware to stir or scoop. It lasts for so long that many people still use cast iron cookware inherited from their parents and grandparents.
9. Any heat source can be used– In an emergency, cast iron cookware can be used over any heat source. As such, many disaster planning lists include cast iron as the survival cookware of choice.
10. Proven over years – It has been used for thousands of years. Natural News readers already understand how new technologies are often the least healthy, while those used by earlier generations are often more beneficial and more in line with how we are designed. Our cookware choice is no exception.
The Drawbacks of Cast Iron…Although there are many benefits to cast iron cooking, make sure to understand the drawbacks before you start: cast iron pans are very heavy; they require intentional maintenance in order to keep them rust-free and non-stick; and care is needed if you have a glass-top stove.
With that in mind, they’re still a great choice. Once you take the plunge, you will wonder why it took you so long to start!

Looking for a recipe for cast iron steak? Easy Cast Iron Beef Tenderloin

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Easy Garlic Ginger Chicken Recipe

GarlicGingerChicken
Personal Chef Austin Texas

Ingredients
4 boneless skinless organic chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoons of soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 -2 teaspoon of fresh ginger
1 tsp of fresh cilantro or chives to garnish if desired
salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 450°F Line a baking dish or cookie sheet with aluminum foil and lightly coat with cooking spray or lightly brush with oil.
2. In small saute© pan, add your oil or butter and saute© garlic and ginger until it blooms.
3. Remove from heat and add the brown sugar and soy sauce. I usually add cilantro and even sometimes a curry just depends on my mood.
4. Place chicken breasts in the prepped baking dish and cover with the garlic ginger sugary soy mixture.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
6. Convection Roast or Bake uncovered for 15-20 minutes, or until juices run clear. You will want to make sure you do not overcook because it could be dry, but make sure not to under cook either you never want to serve raw chicken. Garnish with chives or cilantro and serve with a rice dish as a side.

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Stuffed Zucchini Boats

Stuffed Zucchini Chef Shelley Pogue
Private Dinner Party Services and Personal Chef Austin Texas

Ingredients:
5 to 6 fresh zucchini
1 cup shredded Parmigiano-Reggiano
4 portabella mushrooms, stemmed, chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
3-4 vine ripe tomatoes or Roma tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 slices of bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
2 egg, beaten
2 T softened butter
2 T of fresh basil
1 T of fresh parsley
1/2 tsp of fresh tarragon
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

Heat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds and soft center flesh with a spoon to hollow out a cavity to hold the stuffing, but save the flesh from inside. Arrange the zucchini canoes or boats into a baking dish, and drizzle with a little olive oil and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Chop the left over zucchini flesh that was scraped from your zucchini boats and set aside.

Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms, onions and garlic for about 5 minutes. Add in the reserved zucchini and tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, to taste and heat through for a few minutes, then remove from the heat.

While the veggies cook, use the butter, spread it on the bread. Add the buttered bread into your preheated oven until it browns and becomes like croutons or hard toast this will take about 5-10 minutes. When your toast comes out of the oven let it cool for a few minutes and then break them into manageable pieces for your food processor. When the bread pieces are in the food processor you will add your herbs and pulse. I prefer to have some texture with the crumb mixture so I do not pulse until there are no particles left.

Fold your bread crumb mixture into the veggies along with 3/4 of your Parmesan and your egg, remember to reserve some of the Parmesan to use as a topping. Mound the zucchini stuffing in to the zucchini boats and roast for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, sprinkle the tops with remaining cheese turn your oven to broil, and broil for 2 to 3 minutes or until brown.

Poached Egg with Avacado Toast

PoachedEggandAvacadoToast1
Private Dinner Party Services and Personal Chef Austin Texas

Poached Egg with Avocado Toast

Poached Egg with Avocado toast that can be served for any meal, it is just not a beautiful breakfast dish! This can be served as a breakfast, brunch or even dinner meal. This is a really nice dish to serve for your weekend guests or any occasion really. It is very simple, yet elegant, and would be a welcomed dish for any hungry crowd.

Ingredients needed:

1 thick slice of your favorite bread
1 poached egg
3 slices of fresh avocado
1 tsp of fresh cilantro
1-2 T of butter sea salt and pepper, to taste
**salsa and shredded cheese if desired.

Instructions:
1. Toast your bread the way you prefer (in a toaster, in the oven, or in a skillet) I use Ezekiel Ancient Grains Bread, its usually in the freezer of your grocery store. I think that is much healthier than regular whole wheat but you can use your favorite.
2. Poach your egg in acidified water (vinegar) while you are waiting for your bread to toast.
3. While your bread is still hot, generously butter one side of it. Arrange the avocado slices over the bread and top with a few cilantro leaves and salsa or some shredded cheese if desired.
4. Place the poached egg on the center of the toast and season, to taste, with sea salt and freshly cracked black ground pepper.
njoy!

Grilled Peaches with Balsamic Vinegar and Fresh Rosemary

Personal Chef Austin Texas


Grilled Balsamic Rosemary Peaches
I love Texas peaches and looking forward to them each year. I love tart or acidic foods that will balance the meals I prepare for myself or guests. I use a really good aged balsamic vinegar and I do reduction sauces all the time, and rosemary grows wild here in Central Texas. I figured why not marry all of these flavor profiles together to create some culinary excitement.

I have been able to find them at farmers markets from time to time in the past. I have a couple of peach trees but they are not mature yet and do not give any peaches yet. I have grilled them many times for an addition to a meal , whether it is for a small dinner party or catering event it is a nice summer dish that is light and super delicious.

This is a great addition to any meal that you want a sweet and savory, addition too. It goes great with any salad, beef, chicken or pork dish or as a standalone snack Enjoy!

Ingredients:
Fresh Ripe Organic Peaches (Not Over Ripe)
Fresh Rosemary
Olive Oil
Aged Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (Do this ahead of time or while your grill is prehating)

1. Cut each peach in half and remove pits.
2. Brush the cut surfaces lightly with olive oil and also oil the grates on the grill and preheat to medium high.
3. Place peach halves with their cut sides facing down and grill for about 4-5 minutes.
4. Flip peaches over and grill for another 3-4 minutes.
5. Remove from grill and drizzle with aged balsamic vinegar reduction.
6. Sprinkle with fresh rosemary and serve.
(Goes great with a grilled balsamic glazed pork loin served this a few times for folks!)

Making a balsamic reduction is really simple – Add your balsamic vinegar to a pan and reduce over a medium high heat until reduced by half or 3/4. The more you reduce it the thicker it will become make sure not to go too much you will make a paste like substance that is great for a sandwich spread but not so good for drizzling on things you prepare.

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Grilled Beef Flank Steak With Portabella Mushrooms

Private Dinner Chef Austin Texas

GrilledFlankSteakWithMushrooms
Ingredients
2 pounds flank steak
Salt
Olive oil
Black pepper
2 pounds portabella mushrooms, cleaned, sliced
2 tablespoons butter
1 tsp fresh garlic minced
1/2 cup minced shallots (or onions)
1 cup red wine
1 Tbsp minced fresh cilantro

Preparation
1. Heat your grill
2. Add some olive oil to the flank steak and salt and pepper the steak well. Hold in the fridge until you are ready to cook on the grill
3. Heat large pan on medium heat and add the butter and sauté shallots and garlic. When you smell the garlic bloom add the mushrooms. You might want to lower the heat just a little not to burn the garlic, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the red wine to deglaze the pane or you can substitute beef broth and reduced by half. Turn off the heat.
5. When the grill is heated up and you are ready to cook, place the flank steak on a hot part of the grill. Sear for 4-6 minutes without moving. If you want a diamond pattern of grill marks, about halfway through grilling, gently lift up a corner of the steak to check for grill marks, if you have them, pick up the steak with tongs and put it back down on the grill at a 90° angle (a quarter turn) from where it had been. You might only need a couple minutes on this side, depending on how thick your flank steak is. Flank steak is best rare or medium rare; it becomes tough if it gets too well done.
6. Remove your flank steak from the grill and let it rest for 5-10 minutes.
7. if your mushrooms are not hot turn on the burner to reheat. If you have any juices from the resting flank steak you can add that to your mushroom mixture.
8.Taste for salt and adjust seasonings if needed.
9. If you have a large steak cut it along the grain of the steak fibers and slice it thinly, on an angle, against the grain. Serve immediately with the mushrooms. Enjoy!

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Thai Coconut Curry Dandelion Greens

The Texas Food Network Dandelion Recipes

Coconut Curry Dandelion Greens Recipe

I have been trying different recipes with the idea of trying to go all organic and possibly removing meat from my diet for a hot minute, not sure how long that will last but every night for the past week I have been making different meals at night. I was told that this dish was Dand-E-Licious”. I got a big kick out of that, and I thought that it was pretty good as well. Dandelions are a very good source vitamin A, B6, C & K, thiamin, calcium, riboflavin, manganese, iron, fiber, folate, magnesium, copper and potassium. So, there you have it Dandelions are pretty much a “Super Green”. These should be on your menu if you are trying to eat things that are good for you. It is a highly recommended green for the benefits it offers as far as the vitamins and fiber content. With that in mind here is a recipe that I had tonight for dinner, I must say that it was pretty good!

Recipe:
2 Bunches of Fresh Organic Dandelion Greens
1 Small Organic Yellow onion Small Dice
2 T of Coconut Curry Oil (Natural Grocers)
2 T Massaman Coconut Curry Paste
2 T Fresh Organic Ginger Minced
2 T Fresh Organic Garlic Minced
2 T Fresh Organic Carrots Small Dice

Instruction:
Heat the pan add the coconut curry oil, and the curry paste. Add the onions, carrots and ginger. eat until translucent then add the garlic and let it bloom. Add your dandelion greens and fold into the curry mixture until soft, do not overcook. Serve.

I had some Meyers lemon coconut curry rice left over from another meal this week and I decided to use it as a bed for my greens. I seriously thought about totally cleaning the plate but decided against licking it 🙂 Enjoy!

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