Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cast Iron---a Post Script

Due to receiving more questions about cast iron pans, here is one more blog about them!!

Even though I mentioned that the second pan, after cleaning, looked like the one in a previous

blog, I was asked for a photo. I guess people, including me, like "before" and "after" shots, so here they are.

Since I was only giving a general idea of how I had cleaned the pans, not a "follow these instructions" type post, there were a few things I did not mention: one of them is that a pan with a wooden should not be put through a cycle in the self-cleaning oven.

Aren't they heavy I was asked. Yes, they are, which is one of the reasons I avoided them for years. With the added weight of food, they are even heavier! If you are having problems with your wrists or hands, you might consider alternatives. I was told that enamel covered cast iron weighs a little less. Larger Lodge pans have a second handle, but I am not certain if the ones under 12" do. Just how did our old grandmothers and great-grandmothers lift those things?

I was also asked if I had a gas stove. No, I don't; I have an electric. Gas burners are better for cast iron. Because electric burners take a long time to cool down after being turned off, keep in mind that the food will still be cooking in the pans. So be careful that you don't overcook food.

I need to add that I have a smooth-top oven surface (ceramic glass). Some sites said to not use cast iron pans with them. I checked my manual for the oven and in the list for types of materials used in various pans, cast iron was mentioned. It did not say to avoid these as it does for glass or ceramic cooking utensils. You may want to check with the manufacturer of your oven.

I'm not an expert but I certainly have learned a lot. (Maybe that is why I am getting so many questions from others.)

We did buy another $5 pan. This one is 10 1/2" with NO CRUD---yay---but does have rust. It is a Wagner 1891 Original. Beginning in 1991 Wagner came out with a set of pans celebrating the 100th anniversary of Wagner, so this one isn't a very old pan. What I thought was funny is that there are instructions for seasoning the new pan etched on the bottom.

I'll try to answer any other questions I may get. If none, and if I don't make any great discoveries, I will try to continue with my theme of crafts and updating garments and patterns. Otherwise, I may have to change the name from gloriastitches to something like gloria'scastiron.

One thing all this cast iron has done is to get me more interested in cooking. I cook mainly because I have to eat!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cast Iron in the Self-Cleaning Oven

I had no intention of posting anything about our latest cast iron purchase. However, I found out some interesting things about this pan's trip through the self-cleaning oven and thought I had better pass them along in case anyone was using my advice about cleaning a really cruddy old pan.

In my blog of October 1 I gave a run down of how I had cleaned the other one. That one was $5 and very dirty and was rusty under the yuk. This one is larger and was also $5, but also a lot crustier, but with very little rust.

The first step is to remove the rust. Then get the pan to its original state. In the blog of October 1 I listed all the things I had done before finally giving up and saying that it was time for the pan to go into the self-cleaning oven. I was amazed that there wasn't any smoke involved since all sites had warned that there would be.

Friday I had done some scrubbing with coarse salt and oil and nothing was happening. Since all my work with the earlier pan didn't seem to do anything, I decided to just go for the self-cleaning oven cycle treatment without wasting my time trying to clean off some of the gunk.

Big mistake!! About ten minutes after the oven was going there was some lots of smoke coming from the oven vents. About ten minutes after that my oven turned itself off and gave me a warning sound that it was doing so. Lots of smoke. I opened as many doors and windows as I could and ran fans, as well as shaking a dampened towel.

What the heck? After the oven had cooled down and I could open the oven door, it wasn't bad on the inside. No ash though. Nothing had changed on the pan in that short time. Why the smoke? What had been different? Well, what was different is that all the cleaning and scrubbing and soaking I had done with the previous pan had apparently cleaned off almost all of the grease. The grease was still on this pan! This is what had caused all that smoke.

Now what? Well, I took a razor blade and noticed that chunks of charred remains were coming off (as charred anything is wont to do). Aha! I got a sturdy screwdriver and began chipping away. There were black pieces flying everywhere, but the pan was getting cleaned. It took quite awhile doing this, but I was actually enjoying it. It is more of a chisel motion, much as you do if you were to use the end of a window scraper and try to remove ice from the windshield, without damaging the windshield itself.

After I got off almost all of it (I was getting tired at this point), I did the seasoning, three times. I haven't posted a photo of the finished pan because it looks as clean as the other one in the prior blog.

This pan is from The Crescent Foundry Company out of St. Louis, Missouri. Very little can be found about them in a search. There are probably as old as Griswold or Wagner.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Samples of Doll Clothes

For all of those who requested to see what other kinds of crafts I do, here it is. Ok, it was one person, but who's counting?

The ex-Yahoo 360 members might recognize this photo as one I put up last year over there. I don't feel like uploading more photos at this time as I have to get some of my crafts done this week.

I knit, crochet, and sew for the 11 1/2" fashion doll--you know which one--and her friends. It is a lot of fun. I find that although it is quicker to sew for this doll, it is more "involved". Seams must be finished, the fit must be more precise, and it is quite tedious to sew some of the smaller pieces, like neck facings.

Updates: got another $5 cast iron pan, this one 11" and dirtier than the previous one. I haven't been able to get to the red outfit yet, but I will, and will post a pic of it re-done (and I still don't know what that will be.) Stay tuned.