I love cast iron skillets.  Over the years I may have collected, um, let’s say 11 of them?  Here’s the deal though.  I bought all of them at garage sales because they were rusty and had $1 price tag on them.  Guys, if you ever find a cast iron skillet at a garage sale – buy it!  9 out of the 11 cast iron skillets that I’ve acquired are Lodge brand

So what do you do when you find a rusty skillet?  First:  Buy It.  Second:  Season It!   Buy some steel wool at Ace Hardware or any home improvement store.  I actually sprinkle coarse sea salt on the skillet, and using my steel wool, use some muscle and basically sand off all the rust.  Never use soap with cast iron – simply run some hot water over it and scrub until you’ve removed all the rust – from the inside, the handle on the bottom – the whole thing.  Next:  oil it up!  I use canola or vegetable oil.  Lather the whole thing up then bake for one hour at 350 degrees.  I then turn off the oven and let it sit there overnight.  The next morning, it’s ready to go and will be nonstick.  If your skillet ever starts to stick again, just repeat the baking process with the oil and you are back in business.

When you clean your skillet, make sure to completely dry it before putting it away.  I’ll actually put it on my stove on low heat and watch the water evaporate.  Let it cool and then I either spray it with Pam or rub a bit of canola oil on the skillet until I use it the next time.

I posted this picture of my breakfast tostadas on Instagram yesterday, and my friend Lauren wanted to know what kind of pan I was using.  I was at work and guessed that it was a 12 inch pan, but it’s actually a vintage Lodge skillet that is 10 inches.

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So while you won’t be able to purchase that exact skillet because it’s so old, Lodge does sell a similar pan – they call it a griddle pan because the slightly raised edges will hold pancakes, eggs, oil, etc.   And it’s only $24 bucks!  I use this pan for making hash browns, even frittatas because you can obviously go from stove to oven with these skillets.  Have I convinced you to buy cast iron skillets yet?! Open-mouthed smile

That was a filling 4 point breakfast.  I wasn’t really all that hungry by the time I got to work, but I was about 30 minutes early and realized I should eat something, so I went a couple blocks from work and stopped and picked up panang curry from Pho’s Spicier Thai Cuisine.   It was a bit “hole in the wall” kind of place.

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When she asked me how spicy I wanted it, I blurted out “I like spicy!”  She said “okay – I make medium” and walked away.  It wasn’t until she walked away that I looked down and noticed this heat chart:

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So medium is described as “quite hot” but what I was really worried about was the disclaimer at the bottom that said “be careful if you never been here.” 

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This photo does not do this dish justice.  It was the perfect spicy flavorful that I always look for with a spicy dish.  I don’t want to just taste spice and nothing else.  This had layers of flavor, and a nice peanuty flavor at the end.  I will admit, there wasn’t a whole lot of beef, but I ate half of this dish for 10 smart points.  Next time I’d like to try their pho soups.

It was a demo class yesterday and it was unlike any class I’ve ever witnessed thus far at The Chopping Block.  We had two groups of four women, so we put them on each end so they could easily talk to each other, then had a couple in the middle.  Chef Dionna started going over the menu, talked about her favorite French seasoning salt (which is amazeballs!)  and before we knew it, both groups of ladies lost complete interest and Dionna basically had a personal chef show for the couple in the middle.  So it all worked out in the end, but I don’t know why I would pay $50 for a demo class, and not pay any amount of attention to it?

I will recreate this dish soon – it was a flank steak salad with a warm tomato vinaigrette.   I think I may add some toasted pumpkin seeds when I make it though.

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And the next dish was an Asian marinated salmon with a baby bok choy and carrot salad that is also going to go to the top of my list of things to make.

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We gave the best two pieces of salmon to the couple in the middle who paid attention.  Open-mouthed smile

I am working a private party today so that means I get to demo some dishes: 

· Frisée Salad with Roasted Beets, Toasted Pecans and Oranges

· Chocolate Crêpes with Mascarpone Cream and Homemade Caramel Sauce

Um, I’ve never worked with beets before or made crepes, so this should be interesting!  I may watch a couple youtube videos before I head to work today.  Chef Rachel is super nice though, so I know she’ll be a great resource for me. Open-mouthed smile

Alright, time to get this show on the road – I am working on another blog post for The Chopping Block that’s due tomorrow.  My topic?  Soup and Bread!

Make it a great day!