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Old 02-13-2009, 04:25 PM   #21
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In my area nice cast iron skillets, etc can still be found at flea markets and junk shops, and while they are no longer cheap like they used to be, they are, in my most humble opinion, superior to the new ones. That is where I would look first, unless I had in mind a coated one.
Agreed. Personally, around here, I think the workers grab them first before they make it out on the floor. We don't have flea markets but we have Goodwill and a couple second hand consignment stores. If I could have I would have gotten mine from there but at least the pieces I bought have a lifetime guarantee and are made in the USA. I do like that about them
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:47 PM   #22
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Vermin8, please check your private mail. In order not to cause further disruption, I have attempted to send you privately the proper instructions on making cornbread in an iron skillet.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:57 PM   #23
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I was planning on the DO for now and possibly a skillet for cornbread (DH loves the buttermilk cornbread his mom used to make).
I was considering marinara w/meatballs (marinara on it's own, no), but if that's not adviced I won't do it.
I've also read it should be seasoned with oil before cooking.
No, you shouldn't do marinara with meatballs in CI. It's very acidic and will remove the seasoning. CI is great but it's not an all purpose pan. You can make the meatballs in it, but I wouldn't add the marinara.

Cornbread in CI is a staple and there are MANY ways to do it, not just one; like Emril has a way I would never do it but Tyler's method is great. My SIL swears that whenever you have a need to re-season a CI skillet making cornbread is the best way of doing it. I made several batches when I first got mine and they are nicely seasoned right now.

As with anything, there's no one definitive "proper" way to do a lot of things with CI, it's all about personal preference. There are basics, no acid, no soap, but how you cook in it you will find varying opinions.
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Old 02-13-2009, 04:59 PM   #24
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I'm just a dummy from California who bought his own cast iron pans, all Lodge, and didn't have the benefit of a grandmother to tell me how to care for them. Indeed, I don't think my Canadian mother even owned any cast iron as she undoubtedly thought it was too old fashioned, so she wasn't much help, either, and I had to figure it out for myself.

I clean my Lodge cast iron skillets with both soap AND water (well, I guess soap without water would be a problem). Of course, it isn't soap, it's modern detergent, and IMHO that makes a difference as detergents rinse quite thoroughly.

I simply scrub out the pan with a brush and a little detergent, rinse it very well, put it back on the fire to dry and then re-oil it and heat it until it begins to smoke. Despite the widely held belief that the soap somehow affects the cast iron and contaminates food subsequently cooked in it, I have not found that to be the case. It's perhaps unconventional, but it's worked well for me for many years.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:04 PM   #25
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I clean my Lodge cast iron skillets with both soap AND water (well, I guess soap without water would be a problem). Of course, it isn't soap, it's modern detergent, and IMHO that makes a difference as detergents rinse quite thoroughly.
Detergents are far more harsh than soap. As you have said you have Lodge, I would check their website. Based on their site, you are doing things you don't need to do ~ like heating after putting the oil on after you've heat dried the pan. I posted a link which I can post again if you'd like.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:05 PM   #26
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Well, I am not in the "Convincing Business", simply offering. So, if she chooses to use it, she now has instructions on the "Proper" Way to make Cornbread in an Iron Skillet.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #27
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Well, I am not in the "Convincing Business", simply offering. So, if she chooses to use it, she now has instructions on the "Proper" Way to make Cornbread in an Iron Skillet.
Well, no, she has instructions on ONE way to make cornbread. There are several proper ways to do it, not just one. I know professional chefs who can't agree on methodology but none would say their way was the only proper way.

As it's disruptive to demand your way is the only way, I'll allow Vermin8 to take what she's been handed and find HER proper way.
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Old 02-13-2009, 05:11 PM   #28
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Well DownByTheRiverSide, I am not sure there is only ONE proper way to make cornbread in a CI skillet.

In any event, I think we have strayed from the original topic at hand so lets try to get back on track.

My Dutch Oven is 7.25 (I think) quarts and I find this to be the perfect size. You can cook for two in it, but it is large enough that you can cook for more if you want.

Yes, dutch ovens can be used on stove or oven, correct and casserole dishes are for oven only.
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Old 02-13-2009, 06:42 PM   #29
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LOL - the term "Dutch Oven" has been so misused and abused that it is no longer specific and descriptive of a single pot. While it was originally a 5-6 qt uncoated cast iron pot with 3-legs and a flat top with a rim to keep coals from sliding off ... even Lodge has muddied the waters by "renaming" the DO and Camp oven (similar to the DO but without legs and has a domed lid with little cone-shaped spikes on the underside of the lid which help catch condensation on the lid and redistribute the moisture more evenly around the food in the pot) - but keep the old names with their Boy Scout cookware. The things that Le Cruset sells are thinner cast iron and coated with enamel to make them "non-reactive" - but even they don't try to pass their stuff off as Dutch Ovens - they are what thy are, French Ovens ... although I have found some references that suggest that they were actually first made in Germany.

So - let's toss out material and talk Geometry! The difference between a "stock/soup" pot and a DO is the ratio of the width and height of the pot. I looked this up and posted it a couple of years ago ... but basically a DO has a larger width to height ration than a stock pot, which is not as wide and taller.

As far as materials ... enameled cast iron is non-reactive and does not need to be seasoned. Raw cast iron needs to be "seasoned" which is basically using a fat and high temperature to cause the fat to go through a process of "polymerization" (basically converting the fat to a plastic) to create a non-reactive barrier. This layer builds up over time and use ... if it goes wonkey you burn it off and start over - if your enameled cast iron gets chips you just have to toss it. That's one reason people who have old "previously owned" well seasoned cast iron love it so much.

For things like jambalaya or marinara & meatballs - a 5-6 qt stainless steel pot with a heavy bottom will work. Although the "experts" will tell you not to use CI or raw aluminum for acidic foods - my opinion is phooey! The iron in the CI will react with the acid in things like tomatoes (over time) and cause the them to discolor... but the main thing is to not store acidic food in your CI pot (whatever you call it).

As for cleaning CI ... water and a stiff natural-bristle brush has never hurt mine (a sponge with a green scrubbie also is just fine). A little mild dishwashing liquid should not be a problem - if you really feel you just must use some soap - but it's not necessary. My grandmothers used to use Tide laundry detergent to wash dishes (definately not a mild soap) .... including their CI cookware.

For things like jambalaya or marinara & meatballs, which will normally be cooked on the stovetop - a 6-8 qt stainless steel pot will be just fine (as long as the pot has a heavy bottom). That's what I use.
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Old 02-17-2009, 07:08 AM   #30
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Sorry for the hiatus...was out of town for a good part of the weekend.

Thanks, everyone. And Michael, thanks for the history. DH is familiar with the traditional version of DO - he was hoping I'd get one of those but since we live in an apartment and the management would frown on a campfire in the grassed area I'll stick with the stovetop version :D

I will hold off on trying jambalaya or marinara in it until I master use of it a bit more. I have some stainless steel pots that I've used and am comfortable with. I'll experiment with other dishes.
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