27 January 2014

Cast Iron Revisited

On further experimentation, I have deviated from the original method. The website I was following says to oil the pan with a very thin layer of oil and bake it for 1 hour at 500 F, after which you turn off the oven to let it cool. It is this cooling period that I don't see the point in. Once the oil has gone above its smoke point and polymerized, you should be able to add another layer of oil again, while the pan and oven is still hot.

This is what I did and what it accomplished saved energy and resulted in a very nice black pan in a more timely manner. Additionally, I focused on a cooking surface of the pan to try to get that glossy nonstick surface. Unfortunately, this seems to have resulted in an inadequate amount of oil on the bottom of the pan, so I am continuing the oiling and baking, this time with oiling the pan all over while it is still hot and allowing it to bake for 30 minutes before applying the next amount of oil. I am alternating between flaxseed oil and virgin coconut oil. A word on the coconut oil, it smokes quite a bit at that temperature so turn on the fan and don't be alarmed!

23 January 2014

Reseasoning my cast iron... Again.

Maybe I shouldnt have nice things.

After stripping and seasoning a cast iron skillet I found at a thrift store, I allowed the cast iron to sit in the sink with food stuck on it and it proceeded to rust. Granted, I was mad at it because after one great flatbread, the second one proceeded to stick.

This time, I am trying a new method by encouraging the production of magnetite or "black rust" on the cooking surface of the skillet before I season it with oil. I sandpapered off the rust and all-over generally, leaving the older seasoning in the pits. Maybe this will permit a smoother cooking surface? To get the magnetite to form, I am following a method I didn't research at all and only saw once, but it seemed like a good idea at the time (See Joseph R. Kennedy's comment about a third of the way down). This involves boiling black tea in the pot, filled up to the level you want to be wonderful and smooth.

The magnetite production will supposedly result in a more protective coating for the iron and will allow the oil to better stick to the iron. In the previous attempt, I obviously didn't get the pan seasoned well enough because some foods still came out greyish, likely from the raw iron leaching out. More layers of seasoning will hopefully alleviate this.

I am also thinking about alternating oils, organic flaxseed with organic coconut oil. The flaxseed is supposed to leave a wonderful smooth finish because you are heating above the smoke point and polymerizing it. I have no reason to add the coconut oil to the mix, besides for adding a wider variety of fats, but it seems like the right thing to do.

I should also be rubbing oil on it in between uses, so I will try to be better about maintaining it. I want to get it in tip top shape so I can try baking breads in it!

Just got done with the tea magnetite procedure. The tea water turned nice and black and so did the pan, just like advertised! Now I will bake it in the oven at 450 for an hour to possibly set the magnetite and dry out the pan. After that, the first coat of oil. Need to decide on linseed or coconut. The tannins in the tea supposedly do something with this process over just boiling regular water. My water didn't even get to a full boil, but the water was totally black, as were the sides of the pan, so I decided that was enough.

13 January 2014

Vegan Nachos!!!! & Sour Cream

Had some success today with Vegan Nachos. Inspired by the delicious nachos at Native Cafe, we thought, we can do this at home!!

Blue corn tortillas
Daiya cheddar shreds
black beans
black olives
Quorn grounds (sautéed with taco seasoning if you have time)

Arrange in layers to your desire.

On the side:
Vegan Sour Cream

I altered this recipe from food.com by adding Nutritional Yeast, which I think adds a sort of "animal" flavor that it was missing. What with yeasts being eukaryotes and all.

Vegan Sour Cream
1 block silken tofu (16 oz)
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 small lemon, juiced or 5 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp apple cidar vinegar
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast

I blended up the liquids and 1/4 of the tofu, and then added the rest of the tofu a little at a time as it blended up. I used an immersion blender. The key to this is really the silken tofu, which breaks apart really easily and is so soft. The texture was great!

All in all, the flavors melded together into a very replica of some of my favorite nachos in town. Something about the olives I think!

The Daiya shreds are important, they are currently my favorite fake cheese. If you're going vegan, it's important to have useful tools to help you stay strong! Another one of my tricks is my recipe for Cheezy Sprinkles, which I would put on anything that I otherwise would have grated cheese on for flavor.

Cheezy Sprinkles
2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sumac (optional)
1/2 tsp white pepper

The sumac is totally optional, and I only included it because I have it around. I'm still unsure as to what the flavor is, but supposedly its good for you!

11 January 2014

Amazing Hummus Recipe!

Tried out a new hummus recipe today! Have not had very good results in the past, perhaps from not following any recipe very closely. This one really does turn out smooth and amazing.


Maybe gonna try this pita bread recipe for tomorrow!


Here is a picture!:

The pitas are still amazingly soft. Overall, maybe my best baking experience EVER.