Warm, crumbly cornbread. Chicken sizzling in the pan. Childhood memories filled with delicious, home-cooked dishes and your family there to enjoy it with you. Cast iron's popularity faded in the '70sreplaced by chemically processed cookwarebut today's cooks are reigniting a passion for wholesome cast-iron-cooked meals. This ain't your grandma's kitchencaring for and cooking with cast iron is easy, healthy, and totally Pinterest worthy.
In Modern Cast Iron, self-proclaimed cast-iron connoisseur Ashley L. Jones recaptures the ease and joy of cooking with cast-iron cookware. Jones introduces readers to the best brands and types of cast-iron cookware to fulfill any cook's needs. She offers detailed tips and tricks for rescuing old, rusted pans and keeping them properly seasoned, and she shares recommendations for the best cooking oil for every recipe. With Jones's help, both experienced and beginner cooks will be able to rival grandma's cooking. Chock-full of stories from Jones's own childhood growing up with cast-iron meals, as well as recipe after tantalizing recipefrom breakfast quiche to gluten-free meals and beautiful blueberry cobbler Modern Cast Iron explores the countless ways that cast iron benefits health and happiness.
A comprehensive guide to all things cast iron and home-style cookin', Modern Cast Iron offers a new way for cooks to spice up the kitchen using all-natural tools and ingredients.
|Publisher:||Red Lightning Books|
|Product dimensions:||7.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)|
|Age Range:||18 Years|
About the Author
Ashley L. Jones is an author, blogger, and teacher, but she prefers the title of Big Sister. A firm believer that we all know something worth sharing, she started the blog Big Sister Knows as a way to encourage and inspire other young women to live with gusto. Ashley sees Modern Cast Iron as a continuation of that mission. Here, she not only instructs readers about cast-iron cookware but also inspires them to cook simple, wholesome foods and to gather with family around the table. Find your inspiration and follow Ashley's journey at www.ashleyljones.com.
Read an Excerpt
The trick to cooking with cast iron is to understandand respectthe seasoning. And I'm not talking about salt and pepper.
In the context of cast iron, seasoning is oil baked onto the iron, which gives it a natural, nonstick finish. It sounds simple enough, but the science behind this process is pretty neat, and it helps us understand which oils are most effective at creating that nonstick coating.
When fat is heated at a certain temperature for a while, it polymerizes, which means hundreds of molecules link together through the formation of chemical bonds. When that fat is heated in a cast-iron pan, it creates a plastic-like layer of large polymers that are trapped within the pitted surface of the pan and are partly bonded to the iron itself. In other words, by applying oil to your pan and then heating that oil, you can create a fairly durable nonstick coating. (Too much heat is a bad thing, though. At a certain temperature, oil begins to decompose and emit harmful fumes. This temperature, called the oil's smoke point, is addressed under Choosing Your Oil in this chapter.)
While all cast iron is sold preseasoned, this nonstick coating is not invincible. Acidic foods, harsh soaps, dampness, and even neglect can reduce the effectiveness ofor even destroythe seasoning. That's why it's important for you to understand how to season (or cure) your pan. Through research and trial and error, I've discovered two main ways to season cast iron, giving it what I call a light seasoning or a deep seasoning.
You can use light seasoning in the following circumstances:
• After cleaning or cooking.
• Whenever you see dull patches develop on your pan or food begins to stick.
Clean the pan, removing any bits of food and cooking oil. Heat the pan on the stove on medium heat for a couple minutes. Add about a teaspoon of oil to the pan. (See Choosing Your Oil in this chapter for helpful info on which oil is best for light seasoning.)
Wad up a paper towel and, using tongs, wipe the oil around the inside of the pan. Continue to rub oil into the pan as it's heated until the pan looks dark and shiny. Remove any remaining oil residue to avoid a sticky buildup.
While heating, watch the pan carefully and adjust the temperature as needed. Let the oil get to the smoke point, and then turn off the heat. To create a good seasoning, it's important for the oil to reach this point, but you don't want it to continue to smoke. That's because the heat can begin to breakdown the nonstick coating, and the fumes released are toxic if inhaled. (See Choosing Your Oil in this chapter for more information.)
While the pan is still warm, you can rub any remaining oil onto the bottom side of the pan to keep it from developing rust. Let the pan cool completely before storing it.
You can use deep seasoning in the following circumstances:
• If light seasoning isn't sufficient.
• If you need to season the outside of the pan as well as the inside.
• When restoring old pans.
Clean the pan, removing any bits of food and rust. (For more info on restoring old pans, see From Rust to Wonderful in this chapter.) Preheat oven to 350–400 degrees Fahrenheit. (You may need to select a different temperature based on the oil used. See Choosing Your Oil in this chapter for more details.)
Using paper towels, coat the entire paninside, outside, and handlewith up to a tablespoon of oil, rubbing it into the pan's surface. Wipe the pan lightly with fresh paper towels to remove excess oil until the pan looks dry, not oily.
Place the pan in the oven upside down and bake for one hour. Check on your pan periodicallynever leave it curing in the oven unattended! If you smell smoke, it means your oil has reached the smoke point. Ventilate your kitchen and reduce the oven temperature.
Remove the pan and let it cool before storing it. This should be sufficient to properly season the pan, but you can repeat the process as many times as needed.
For hundreds of years, cast iron was manufactured and sold unseasoned. That meant you had to season a new pan thoroughly before you could use it. Although Lodge provided some instructions on how to season its pans, there was a lot of confusion among customers. Finally, in 2002, Lodge developed a way to preseason its cookware, becoming the first US manufacturer to do so.
Not only was this a first in the industry, it was a game changer. After winning one of Good Housekeeping's Good Buy Awards for its preseasoned line, Lodge began seasoning all of its cookware... and the rest of the industry followed suit. Now all cast iron is sold seasoned and ready to use (though the methods and oils vary greatly from company to company).
Table of Contents
1. A Family Tradition
2. A Return to Cast Iron
3. Shopping for Cast Iron
4. Healthy Cast Iron
5. Caring for Cast Iron
6. Cooking with Cast Iron
What People are Saying About This
"This isn't just an introduction to modern-day cast iron but a cooking journey from the past to the present. There are a million different ways to care for and cook in cast iron, and Ashley answers common questions including the history behind cast iron, how to clean, season, and more. Whether you're a newcomer or a "seasoned" cast-iron lover, this book is a great overview of a timeless cookware. Kent Rollins, Cowboy Cook and author of A Taste of Cowboy and Faith, Family and the Feast: Recipes to Feed Your Crew from the Garden, Grill and Iron Skillet."
"Ashley has put together a beautiful book full of practical tips and easy-to-tackle recipes that I cannot wait to tryespecially the Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders! I just flat love this book! The author didn't leave out anythingfrom how to care for your cast iron to the health benefits of using this precious cookwareand everything in between. Modern Cast Iron: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Seasoning, Cooking, and More is perfect for the cast iron snob to the cast iron newbie, and I plan to purchase copies for all of the accomplished and not-so-accomplished cooks in my life." Michelle Medlock Adams, award-winning journalist of more than 90 books, including The Perfect Persimmon "
"Ashley has put together a beautiful book full of practical tips and easy-to-tackle recipes that I cannot wait to tryespecially the Crispy Coconut Chicken Tenders! I just flat love this book! The author didn't leave out anythingfrom how to care for your cast iron to the health benefits of using this precious cookwareand everything in between. Modern Cast Iron: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Seasoning, Cooking, and More is perfect for the cast-iron snob to the cast-iron newbie, and I plan to purchase copies for all of the accomplished and not-so-accomplished cooks in my life"
"This isn't just an introduction to modern-day cast iron but a cooking journey from the past to the present. There are a million different ways to care for and cook in cast iron, and Ashley answers common questions including the history behind cast iron, how to clean, season, and more. Whether you're a newcomer or a 'seasoned' cast-iron lover, this book is a great overview of a timeless cookware."
"I'm excited about Ashley L. Jones's new book Modern Cast Iron: The Complete Guide to Selecting, Seasoning, Cooking, and More. Ashley's is a much-needed work for beginners and experienced cast-iron cooks. Many of the recipes are updated classics, with Ashley lending her experience and application of ingredients to craft healthier and more enjoyable results. Mark H. Kelly, Lodge Manufacturing Company"
"Indulging the reader's every curiosity about cast iron, Jones delves into the nostalgia and venerable history of cast iron cooking across continents. Cooking, cleaning, seasoning, choosing pans and even how and who makes cast iron cookware today every topic is covered in entertaining and easy to read prose. Whether because of sentimentality, health concerns or genuine preference, cooking has come full circle back to the days of cast iron cooking; Modern Cast Iron is the how-to manual to pass on to future generations along with your grandmother's favorite cast iron pan."
"do not use"
"Modern Cast Iron by Ashley Jones has successfully rekindled my desire to try cast iron cooking once again! After numerous tries and multiple failures, Ashley's stories, practical tips and yummy recipes make me think it's actually more accessible than I thought. I can't wait to add this book to my library and share with my friends!"
"Jones is a warm and charming guide to all things cast iron. She has a passion for every detail from the making of it, the preservation, and most importantly cooking with it. Life long fans of cast iron cooking as well as those just beginning their journey will be delighted by her depth of knowledge as well as passion. She does a beautiful job showcasing just how versatile cast iron cooking is and always has been." Lauren May, Must Love Herbs"
Modern Cast Iron is a great resource for anyone who wants to bring the spirit of minimalism into the kitchen. With an emphasis on family traditions and a healthy lifestyle, author Ashley L. Jones captures the spirit of having more with less. Joshua Becker, Author of The Minimalist Home"