Seasoning Cast Iron Cookware

There is a much easier way to season cast iron that doesn’t go rancid or get a greasy build up on the iron.

When I was a kid we cooked a bunch with cast iron. I remember my folks saying never wash with soap. Top of Griswold Dutch oven lid No 8, Tite-Top BasterThey also would heat the oven up and rub olive oil or lard on the cast iron, then bake it in the oven to season the iron.

Well, there is a much easier way.

Secure a chunk of pure beeswax. Anything as long as it is pure and no paraffin. If you have a rusted up piece of cookware, take a wire brush to it and clean it off. You can also plop it is a campfire and burn the rust off. Just make sure you let it cool slowly so it does not crack.

 

Place your clean cast iron on a stove top burner. Turn the heat to low and start warming up the iron. As the iron heats up, the pores in the metal open up. Once it is warm enough to melt beeswax on contact, rub the iron inside and out with the beeswax.  You may wish to use a pair of leather gloves to minimize burning your self. You can also use a folded paper towel to rub the wax around. Let the cast iron cool.

 

You now have a super seasoned piece of cast iron. The seasoning will not go rancid as others do. It will not build up as is common. While I may wash it using soap, if I do, reseasoning is so easy.

 

Blacksmiths often use beeswax to finish iron. I can take a piece of iron finished in this way and leave it outside. It will often have no rust even after a year. Beeswax is a fat. There have been times when we are at reenactments and have needed fat to fry. We just cut off a piece of beeswax candle and have at it. You don’t have to worry about spilling oils.

 

When cleaning cast iron, I usually use hot to boiling water and no soap. Always dry off your cast iron. I do this by putting it on the heat for a bit, take it off the heat, and rub dry with a towel. Be careful not to burn yourself. It is good to use an old towel as some black may transfer from the iron to the towel. Once dry, I will heat it back up and rub the inside with beeswax. Remember, it does not build up. I keep a tightly folded paper towel that has had much use with beeswax to do this.

 

By Pete Avery

Brisket – the Northern Way

It had been about an hour since the brisket was placed on the stove when the smell of the maple and Greek seasonings started filling the cabin. After a couple of hours you may need to add liquid to the Dutch. We always have a pot of tea on the stove so I just pour a little in the Dutch. That’s called “Guy” cooking.

Cooked, sliced brisket on cutting boardGrowing up in rural Wisconsin, my folks did a bunch of cooking using a cast iron DUTCH OVEN. Food was cooked using the Dutch oven both in the oven as well as on top of the stove. When cooking on the stove top, one must put a cast iron trivet inside the Dutch. This was the original slow cooker.

The Dutch w/ trivet I use is Griswold Cast Iron. While Griswolds are no longer made, many antique stores carry them. They may also be found on eBay. Top of Griswold Dutch oven lid No 8, Tite-Top BasterIf unable to locate a Griswold, one can find the Wagner brand in the same locations. My cast iron is well seasoned. I will cover iron cookware seasoning in a separate discussion.

Our IGA in Grand Marais, MN has some great deals in the almost expired bin (also called the “dead meat bin”). When we hit the store, we check the dead meat bin for deals. A couple of days ago we found a nice chunk of brisket. We also found some Greek salad dressing in a sale cart.

We went home and I marinated the brisket in Greek salad dressing. To marinade the meat I put dressing both in the bottom of the container and on top of the meat. It was stored covered in the fridge for a couple of days.

Brisket Day arrived and 1/2 cup of maple whisky was put in the Dutch. The alcohol tenderizes the meat. Pure maple syrup can be used instead. The chunk of meat was placed on the trivet inside the Dutch with the whiskey. Place the meat fat side up so the moisture is maintained. Brisket on trivet inside dutch oven with Greek dressing on top of it and maple whiskey in the bottom of the DutchExtra Greek dressing was then poured over the meat. The container was rinsed with about 1/2 cup of water which was also poured into the Dutch. Nothing goes to waste.

The covered Dutch oven was placed on the wood stove running about a low medium heat. If using a gas or electric stove top, a low medium heat will work. Experiment with your stove. If using an oven, bake on 350 degrees. After a couple of hours you may need to add liquid to the Dutch. We always have a pot of tea on the stove so I just pour a little in the Dutch. That’s called “Guy” cooking.Brisket on trivet inside dutch oven with Greek dressing on top of it and maple whiskey in the bottom of the Dutch sitting on top of wood stove

As I began to write this, it had been about an hour since the brisket was placed on the stove when the smell of the maple and Greek seasonings started filling the cabin. As I looked out the window, the snow was coming down nice and heavy. What a wonderful environment for relaxing.

By Pete Avery

Note:  While it shows Cindy as the author it is really Pete, her husband.  It is still on Cindy’s list to figure out how to have guest author’s post.Brisket, green beans with onions, mashed potatoes and gravy on plateCooked brisket whole on plate

Cheese Curd Croissant Creation

We used a Dutch oven on top of a wood stove to bake this creation. This can be done in an oven or with a Dutch with coals from your campfire. Have fun making this dough creation with your own twists.

2 cheese curd croissants a metal pan sitting on a cutting boardDo you love bread and cheese? How about hot croissant with melted cheese curds inside? It is both easy and yummy to make a Cheese Curd Croissant Creation! Also, it is just the thing to go with a hot drink on a cold day.

Ingredients:

– 1 tube of Pillsbury croissant dough
– Cheese curds that have lost their squeak

Directions:

1. Crack open your tube of croissant dough. Take 2 pieces of the dough, keep them both flat and join 2 edges together by putting them edge to edge and pressing them together. If you have trouble with the edges not sticking together, use a bit of water on your finger tips as you press the two dough edges together. Use a rolling pin to flatten the dough a bit.

croissant dough on cutting board with cheese curds on 1/2 of dough and rolling pin off to the side

2. Add cheese curds that have lost their squeak to the center of the dough. Note: If your curds still squeak, enjoy eating them fresh!

3. Join the edges of your dough so you can create a sealed pocket or turnover. You want to seal the cheese inside the dough. part of hands folding over half of croissant dough and the cheese curds will be sealed dough pocketAnother way to do this is to put a piece of croissant dough on a flat surface, add the cheese, then put another dough piece on top of that. Seal all the edges by pinching them together.

Two cheese curd croissants in metal pan with Mullins Cheese curd bag in background.4. Bake your cheesy pockets till golden brown. We used a Dutch oven on top of a wood stove. Dutch oven on top of wood stoveThis can be done in an oven as well. Also, a Dutch oven could be used with coals from your campfire.

 

Chees Curd Croissants in pan inside dutch oven on top of wood stove. Croissants are golden brown.5. Prepare your beverage of choice to enjoy with your Cheese Curd Croissant Creation. Be sure to let the croissants cool a bit before eating as the cheese inside will be very hot and getting a burned tongue is not fun.

Other Pointers:

You can substitute any cheese you wish for the cheese curds. Try out combining flavors of cheeses. Consider adding a bit of spaghetti sauce and pepperoni with the cheese to fashion a pizza pocket.

Another idea would be to try canned biscuit dough which comes in a variety of flavors!

Have fun making this dough creation with your own twists. I’d love to hear what you tried. Feel free to share in the comments section.