Tuesday, 14 April 2020 10:38 Written by John Reardon

Hello my Foodie Friends! 

Spring is a wonderful time. Breathe in the flower-tinted smell of renewal. 

You can’t help but feel refreshed, invigorated. Close your eyes and the sounds of birds dominate...chirping, tweeting, squawking, squealing...all signs of the new season!

It is also the time of year when people start to re-emerge from their homes with more outdoor activities such as biking, walking, playing baseball, hiking in the Adirondacks, and starting to do some camping outdoors. My father loved the outdoors and would take any chance my mother would give him to leave Connecticut (where I grew up) and go to Vermont to visit with his mother, aunts and uncles. He loved his family and the outdoor activities he could have on their land. You see, my father’s family owned lots of land which included two mountain ranges with lots of rivers, a pond, and wildlife to be exact. My father was an only child and loved to fish, hunt, and go camping. He was an expert in the outdoors and taught us kids many things about the woods. 

He may have been a lousy cook at home, but in the woods - with a cast iron pan in his backpack - he would become a Bobby Flay type culinary genius!

To us kids he was the master of the outdoors. He would teach us how to fish, clean, and cook trout or would identify what plants were edible in a survival situation. He would tell us to steer clear of certain plants as even experts can mess up and it could be your “last mistake” as he would put it. Among his teachings would be: “drinking water from a stream running over rocks was safer than standing water.” Back then, that may have been the case. He taught us how to be quiet and walk “up wind” because in the woods, animals can hear and smell so much better than humans. You could imagine a comedy movie of three little boys following their dad and making all kinds of noise! My father would stop and turn and glare at us, and then he would put his finger to his mouth and whisper two words: “Shhh…. Bears!” We were very quiet after that. As I reminisce on this, I smile and realize that the bear scare was his secret weapon to keep us quiet while he enjoyed the outdoors. After a day of exploring and fishing, he would then pull out his favorite cast iron pan and fry over a campfire. 

I am not alone in my story of cast iron. Many of our customers love to cook outdoors and request cookware that is sufficient for outdoor cooking as well as in the kitchen. Cast iron has experienced a resurgence in popularity. These pans are extremely versatile and can last a lifetime. Everything from frying eggs, cooking a stew and baking a pie can be done in a cast iron pan. With a little care, these pans can become a hand-me-down family heirloom. Owning one can open up a whole new world of cooking, and the flavor that a cast iron pan adds to food is amazing!

In order to be successful when using cast iron, you have to know how to care for it, basically what to do and what not to do to your pans. If you treat them right, they will be so easy to cook with and will quickly become your go-to pan. First, season your pan. Seasoning is basically oiling the pan to give it a nonstick surface and prevent rusting. Even though most pans are sold “pre-seasoned,” you’ll still want to season it before its first use. Give your new pan a good rinse with plain old water and then heat it on the stove over medium heat. Once the pan is warm, add a small amount of oil, using a cloth, work the oil all around the inside bottom and sides of the pan. Give it a good coat, about a teaspoon for a 10-12-inch skillet, but not so much that there is standing oil in the pan. Then let it cool to room temp. You’ll want to repeat this process a few more times until the surface is glossy, but not sticky. and if needed, scrub lightly. A properly seasoned pan is naturally nonstick, however if there is stuff stuck to the pan, you can scrape it and scrub with a hard bristle brush. After washing, or scrubbing if necessary, make sure to fully towel dry your pan to prevent rusting.

Our favorite and best-selling cast iron is Lodge. Lodge is seasoned cast iron cookware, so they begin the seasoning process for you. Lodge provides pre-seasoned cookware with no synthetic chemicals; just soy-based vegetable oil. The more you use your cast iron, the better the seasoning becomes.  Lodge is MADE IN THE USA and has been making cast iron cookware in South Pittsburg, Tennessee since 1896. With over 120 years of experience, their cast iron is known for its high-quality design, lifetime durability, and cooking versatility and is FAMILY OWNED.

Stop by Compliments to the Chef, your Neighborhood Kitchen and Cutlery store, located at 33 Railroad Place in Saratoga Springs, for cool tools for cooks. 

Remember my Foodie Friends that “Life Happens in the Kitchen” and remember to say the secret password: “Shhh…Bears” when you stop in.

Take Care, 
John and Paula

Fire Roasted Trout
(in a cast iron pan)

Ingredients

• 2 tablespoons lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 bunch of dill, chopped
• 2 lemons, sliced
• 2 whole trout, butterflied
• Salt & pepper

Directions
1. Set the Lodge skillet or griddle in a bed of coals, smooth side up. Preheat to medium-high heat. (you can also do this on your outside grill or indoors as well)
2. Combine lemon juice, olive oil and 2 teaspoons chopped dill. Whisk until well incorporated.
3. Place remaining dill and lemon slices inside the butterflied trout, brush all over with lemon juice mixture.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Place fish on preheated skillet or griddle and cook each side for 7-10 min. or until the flesh flakes easily. Brush with lemon juice mixture as needed.
6. Remove trout from the skillet or griddle and serve immediately.

Read 2658 times Last modified on Tuesday, 14 April 2020 16:12

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