05 October 2015


My weekend revolved around the cast iron cookware in my kitchen.

Apologies in advance for the lack of photos, because my tiny kitchen has shitty lighting and after this whole ordeal, I was not in the mood to make the effort to take decent photos. 

The bulk of the time was spent babying my skillet according to these instructions (flax oil + 500F heat), which had solid sounding science according to how little biochem I knew. Additionally, I was a try-hard and sanded off the factory applied finish, which isn't great according to the collective wisdom of the internet.
The results were not bad at all after 6 cycles.

All of this prep was so that I can roast a big batch of fall vegetables. Again, I felt like putting in more effort than usual and followed these instructions (Series Eats has all my trust when it comes to food).
Again, the results were great. The potatoes are indeed the best I've made, crispy on the outside and creamy within. Thank you cast iron for your heat retention capabilities.
(psst. Amy if you're reading this, roasting carrots with cumin is amazing)

So what went wrong was roasting vegetables in a virgin cast iron skillet. It wasn't a good idea to first roast the sweet potatoes since the sugar (while it caramelized beautifully) is guaranteed to stick. To compensate I added more oil with the remaining vegetables. The thick layer of oil formed a crappy layer of half polymerized seasoning...which I had to scrub off. It was a pain to remove too, it took the combination of soap + vigorous salt scrubbing to completely remove. And along with it went my first layer of good seasoning.
Back to square one.

Oh well, cast iron is like nice work boots, they'll age nicely by just using them.


I also made some African peanut stew in the dutch oven.
Notes for future iterations:
  • Chunky peanut butter is the way to go. Good texture from the larger chunks of peanuts.
  • Thicker consistency is good for mixing with rice. Would be better if the stew was pureed a little before adding the leafy greens.
  • Would benefit from herbs & drizzle of good olive oil, but this applies to all soups. 
As for the roasted vegetables, the end product is some mixed bowl with lentils and black rice, accenting with some quick-pickled onion. This is my lunch for the week, and I go through great lengths to reheat the 3 components separately because I ain't ruining my crispy vegetables after all that trouble. Thankfully the office kitchen has both a toaster oven and a microwave.
 Notes for future iterations:
  • Par-cooking saves so much roasting time! My old method for roasting sweet potatoes is literally throw them in a hot oven when I get home from class and forget about them. 
  • Either pickle the onions for much longer, or just use pickles. I do like a sour element.
  • Would benefit from some sauce, thinking of either the Tibet hot sauce, or maybe some sriracha mayo? Another route would be a herbed yogurt like a raita, or a sweet yogurt.

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