Remember growing up and how your mom always had advice and opinions on EVERYTHING? Well, mine did anyway. One of the things she told me, that I pretty much discounted, was that you should cook with cast iron. I, of course being “modern”, viewed this as being “old-fashioned” BUT as it turns out…she was so right!
As I was learning about the dangers of Non-Stick coatings – the non-stick coating that keeps food from sticking contains PFCs (perfluorocarbons); a chemical linked to liver damage, cancer, developmental problems, and according to one study in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, early menopause. Fumes are released when the pans are heated and we can also ingest the coating when it gets scratched. (From Eating Well Magazine) I also learned that Cast Iron that has been well seasoned is naturally non-stick!
Cooking with cast iron also has other health benefits. You can use less oil and it fortifies your food with iron! While it doesn’t leach chemicals into your food, it does leach iron. Cooking food, especially something acidic like tomato sauce in cast iron cookware can increase the iron content by as much as 20 times! That’s good news!! Especially since iron deficiency is fairly common worldwide and 10% of women are iron-deficient. (Also from Eating Well Magazine)
After learning all of these things about cast iron, I have to give Mom credit. She may not have known the “reasons” behind her thinking but she was absolutely right about cast iron being the best cookware to use. It also gives food a flavor and crispness that you really can’t get with non-stick cookware.
I already had an 10″ iron skillet my Mom had given me before she died, it may have belonged to my granny too, and I recently bought a Lodge 5 qt Dutch Oven. I like <a href="Lodge Cast Iron” title=”Lodge”>Lodge because they are made in the USA and a high quality product.
Here is a great YouTube video about how to season a cast iron piece.
Things to remember: only use hot water and a nylon scraper or scrub brush to clean. NO SOAP! Dry immediately and let air dry for a little bit, then re-oil the cookware with a small amount of oil and a paper towel or clean dishcloth. NOTE: the nylon brush, paper towel and/or dishcloth will be slightly black. Kinda freaked me out, but everyone says it’s ok. When you store them put paper towels between pieces and don’t store with the lids on.
I am loving the way the food tastes when it’s cooked in cast iron. I found this recipe for Sea Scallops that sounds like it would be DELICIOUS!! Enjoy! And, as always, thank you for taking the time to read this and may The Lord bless your day!
Seared Sea Scallops and Quinoa
From EatingWell: January/February 2014
Yield: 4 servings, about 3 scallops & 3/4 cup salad each
Active Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
3 scallions, sliced, greens and whites separated
1 cup quinoa
1 cup water
2 medium blood oranges or navel oranges
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (see Tip), divided
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pound dry sea scallops
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add scallion whites; cook, stirring, until beginning to brown, about 1 minute. Add quinoa; cook, stirring until toasted and fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Let stand, covered, for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, slice ends off oranges. With a sharp knife, remove the peel and white pith; discard. Working over a large bowl, cut the orange segments from their surrounding membranes. Squeeze juice from the membranes into the bowl before discarding them, if desired. Add the scallion greens, almonds, cilantro, 1/2 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon coriander and salt to the bowl; gently stir to combine.
Pat scallops dry and sprinkle both sides with the remaining 1/2 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon coriander. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast-iron or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the scallops and cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. (To prevent overcooking, transfer the scallops to a plate as soon as they are done.)
Add the quinoa to the bowl with the orange mixture and gently stir to combine. Serve the scallops over the warm quinoa salad.
TIPS & NOTES
Tip: For the best flavor, toast chopped nuts or seeds: Heat a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Add nuts or seeds and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes.
Nutrition Per Serving: 368 calories; 13 g fat (2 g sat, 8 g mono); 27 mg cholesterol; 41 g carbohydrates; 22 g protein; 6 g fiber; 597 mg sodium; 668 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (62% daily value), Magnesium (33% dv), Folate (32% dv), (B12 27% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Iron & Zinc (17% dv)
2 1/2 Carbohydrate Serving
Exchanges: 2 starch , 1/2 fruit, 2 lean meat, 2 fat