Have I mentioned lately how much I love my new gas range? The temperature control is amazing. It gets hot fast, it cools down fast. Each burner has it’s “specialty” and I’m slowly getting everything figured out. One of my favorite features at the moment is my griddle. I swapped out the center grate for a custom fit griddle surface and it’s now perfectly seasoned so that I can fry my one egg every morning without getting out a frying pan. Food really does taste better from a cast-iron skillet than from a teflon pan. My favorite: a sourdough grilled cheese sandwich. DELICIOUS! And thanks to cast-iron, my family will eat grilled asparagus! Once you start using cast-iron again, you’ll have a hard time going back.
Cast-iron IS non-stick if you use it right. The three keys:
1) Make sure the pan is thoroughly hot before you add anything to it.
2) If you add a dab of oil (I prefer to use clarified butter), make sure it is also thoroughly hot before you add the food.
3) You HAVE to use a metal spatula.
If any one of those three things are amiss, you are in for a fun clean up job! But if you do it right, your cast-iron pan is a dream to clean- just a simple wipe with a paper towel and you are done!
Jim was laughing the other day because I had to go out and buy another metal spatula. All our spatulas are plastic so they don’t wreck our calphalon pans. Uhh…I tossed all the metal spatulas years ago. Kept one “just in case”. In the past year I’ve been transitioning almost all of my cooking to cast-iron….and needed more than one metal spatula! I’m going back to the basics. Going back to the way it was. (Did you see I made donuts from scratch last Friday?)
Anyway, my new range/oven has me wanting to cook. My new cast-iron pans have me wanting to cook. And now The Pioneer Woman has me wanting to try new things! I want challenges. I want to see what I can do. (Did I mention the donuts yet?)
Last week I decided I was going to make fajitas for dinner. That in itself is no big deal, nothing special…it would be easy since I was already marinating some steaks in a lime-chipotle marinade, and I had onions, green and red peppers on hand to slice and saute. And we buy the Mission Tortillas in bulk from Costco- you know, the 40-pack!?
But The Pioneer Woman had me convinced I could make my tortillas from scratch! (see my earlier post for her recipe).
I had gone to the store the night before and bought the necessary ingredient: lard. I’ve never used lard before. It almost made me gag from the smell. There HAS to be a better way, and I’ll research that sometime in the near future.
My first attempt wasn’t perfect. Turns out I used too much lard (that’s what I’m guessing at least), because the dough never really solidified and I kept adding flour and it was still sticky gooey, but having never made them before I wasn’t sure if that was normal or not, so I went with it.
I’ve decided one benefit of cooking with lard: you won’t sneak any bites! I had some dough stuck on my fingers, so I was going to bite the pieces off…but as soon as I got it up to my mouth, I changed my mind. Ick. The smell alone wrecks that!
I followed the directions: rolling the dough into the ping-pong size balls, rolling each ball into a super thin flat circle, then throwing it on the hot griddle for about 20 seconds per side. Voila!
They were DELICIOUS…so thick and soft, too. The perfect ‘wrap’ for our fajitas! Goodness our dinner turned out amazing! I also BBQ’d some corn on the cob to go with our dinner.
Mmm. Mmm. Mmm.
I will definitely make them again- the next time we have fajitas for dinner!
(OK, I’ll admit that the picture above isn’t of the tortillas I made, mine weren’t that perfectly round)