Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Iron Cookware and Corn Stick Recipe

My iron skillet was banned to the dark corners of cupboards for years when I went through the phase of non-stick skillets, they seemed like magic, they were so lightweight. Non-stick skillets seemed great at first but they chipped and warped quickly, even when you were careful not to use metal utensils. After some years I realized certain foods just did not cook properly or tasted as good. Besides that there are health benefits to cooking in iron.

I went back to my iron skillet in the late 1980s and realized it was non-stick also. There are two important things about iron cookware. One is the skillet must be seasoned, some iron cookware comes pre-seasoned. There are many directions on the internet for how to season iron cookware so I won’t go into that. Secondly, the cookware must be properly heated to prevent sticking. Let it preheat well starting on low, heat at least 5 minutes and it will be non-stick, even cheese will pop right off on a well heated and seasoned skillet. Notice the following two photos, at the front is a piece of cheese directly on the skillet and after popping it up, yummy cheese wafer. Preheating the skillet to prevent sticking is not often mentioned, that had been my problem many years ago.

While putting away an iron skillet I realized how much iron I have, here is my selection.

On the left are three corn stick pans and three skillets. There is nothing like good crunchy corn sticks to go with soup, stew or chili. I started with only one pan in the late 1960s but seven little corn sticks is not enough so over the years I bought a second then a third, all three fit in the oven with an inch between for heat circulation. When making corn sticks or cornbread put the cookware in the oven while it preheats. Pull it out, oil the cookware then add the batter, you will have nice toasty food.

Next are the three iron skillets under the corn stick pans. One is thinner, Wagoner brand, I don’t like to use it. My favorite is my newest Lodge skillet with a long handle on one side and a loop handle on the other side, it makes lifting and moving it much easier.

On the back right burner is a wok I purchased when we lived in Holland between 1990 and 1993. I had never seen an iron wok before and bought it new at Hema, a chain department store. In the wok is a Lodge 4 quart Dutch oven that Hubby uses for no-knead bread.

The pan with 19 shallow round holes is a poofertjes pan, not an ebelskiver pan. I bought it at a rommelmarkt, flea market. Dutch Pooferjes are more shallow than Danish ebelskivers. Pooferjes are little puffy pancakes made with a yeast batter and served with butter, powdered sugar and often with strawberries. Check out pooferjes on YouTube, the professionals bake 100 or more at a time. They go down the rows, flip flip flip flipping each to the other side.

The flat grill in front is for making tortillas, I’ve owned it at least 30 years. Flour tortillas are made on a dry flat top, no oil. Another day I’ll go into tortilla making.

 A myth about iron cookware is that you cannot wash it with soap and water. Of course you can, just do it quickly and dry it immediately, we set the pan on a burner to dry it well. Too many times we have forgotten that a burner was on so we set a timer for several minutes to remind us to turn it off. Iron does rust so don’t let them sit in water. A blue Scotch Brite non-scratch scrubbing pad works well to clean and not damage the seasoning.

Corn Sticks Recipe

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 eggs
1 cup milk, microwave a few seconds to slightly warm

Put two corn stick pans in oven to preheat to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a mixing bowl mix the 5 dry ingredients, a whisks works well.
In a small bowl whisk the eggs, add slightly warm milk and melted butter.
Pour wet mixture into dry ingredients and whisk together.
Pull out hot pans, oil each corn stick depression, use a heat resistant brush.
Pour batter into corn stick pans.
Bake 18 to 20 minutes till lightly browned.
Turn out onto a rack and eat immediately, they are best still warm.

 Reese and Davis last week with basket of corn sticks.
Lisa and Doug with a tummy warming meal of lentil stew,
corn sticks and red wine.