|Asian-Style Sesame Asparagus|
This recipe, like many others, works really well for me when prepared using cast-iron pans. In this case, I used a flat cast-iron griddle to sear/grill my asparagus. Though the final product looks good and tastes great, some recipes like this can take more time to clean up after than they do to create, which is one of the main reasons I love cast-iron pans: I have yet to find anything I can not clean off of them with relative ease.
Why Cast Iron is Awesome for CookingSo, why else do I love cast-iron for cooking with? Here are a few of my reasons:
- Cleaning - as mentioned above, a well-seasoned cast-iron pan is darn near impossible to "ruin" with something that will not come off. You can scrub them with steel-wool if needed. You could (if really desperate) probably take a grinding wheel to them. heh. They are amazing!
- It's not Teflon: there have been a few studies that suggest the non-stick coatings used on various pans are not good for you (to say the least), and that those coatings are getting into our food and water supply. And, one of the worst things you can do to teflon (it is a plastic) is to overheat it and cause fumes to be released as it burns. And, nearly everyone that has used a non-stick pan has at some time or another accidentally done this.
- OK, cast-iron is not a "non-stick" surface, but how long do your non-stick surface pans last? I have had "good ones" and cheap ones, and regardless of the brand or coating, as soon as any wear or scratches mar the surface, your non-stick pan has just been condemned to a downhill slide towards uselessness as it loses that magical non-stick ability. I just got sick of pitching pans - what a waste! A well-seasoned cast-iron pan is darn near as non-stick as teflon, especially at cleanup time.
- IRON: Yes, something us gluten-free people are susceptible to is a dietary shortfall (and bodily uptake) of Iron. Cooking in cast iron introduces extra iron into your diet somewhat naturally. The iron in the pan oxidizes a bit as water gets on it and dries (i.e., it rusts), and there is a little transference of Iron into your diet. With small children, you want to make sure not to overexpose them to iron (be it through dietary supplements or any other means), but for adults any added iron should be just fine.
- These pans are indestructible. They are built like a tank.
- The only downside: they are heavy. Some of our largest fry-pans are really difficult to pick up with just one hand, especially if full of food. And, you don't want to accidentally drop one on your foot.
- You can get some absolutely awesome cooking results with things like cast-iron dutch-ovens that would be nearly impossible with regular cookware. Because they are so heavy, you get wonderfully controlled heat conduction.
- Versatility - We use our pans both for stovetop and in-oven applications (sometimes both for one recipe). We love our cast-iron dutch-oven for exactly this reason - our homemade baked-beans and pulled-chicken recipes are prepared on stovetop and oven. As long as there are no plastic handles and such to worry about, the whole thing just goes right into the oven safely.
Whew, another long posting. I like writing and getting ideas out of my head, since it seems to clear the way for new (and perpaps even better) ideas in the future - and this gluten free blog is one of my idea outlets. But, my sister recently accused me of being a bit loquacious with my blog entries, so perhaps I'll start writing shorter passages. Or, maybe not. :)