Thursday, March 27, 2014

Seasoning Vintage Le Creuset Pans

Still cooking with non-sticking pans? They're great if you never want a piece of meat with grill marks or if you never want a gratin where the potatoes and cheese are bonded together in a delicious brown crust on the outside. Take the leap to cast-iron. Preferably enameled cast iron like Le Creuset.

I picked a few additions to my collection last weekend at an estate sale. A couple of small skillets in beautiful french blue and a nice covered sauce pan in forest green. Like with most trad things, the older, vintage goods are best and I think that it's true here too. However, there are two problems that arise as you acquire new pieces. The first problem is that sometimes the pans aren't 'seasoned.' Seasoning is the thin black coating on cast-iron that, when combined with butter or oil, provides a very nice non-stick surface for surprisingly easy clean-up while imparting that perfect crust and grill marks on meat and other foods. Wipe on a thin coating of vegetable oil on the inside the piece and put it a 200 degree oven for one half hour. That should give the pan a good start and go ahead and fry a big slab of bacon to finish the job. When cooking's done, rinse the hot pan in the sink and wipe down the insides with a dish rag or paper towels. Hang and re-use.

The second problem is too much black carbon residue on the inside of the pans. Enamel-lined pieces like a shallow gratin dish or Danish pieces from Copco or Dansk need no seasoning and are surprisingly non-stick right from the start. These pieces still aid in imparting the proper golden brown crust to casseroles while retaining and distributing heat evenly like no aluminum pan ever will.

However, frying pans like the canary yellow Cousances piece above sometimes have to be cleaned out. This is surprisingly difficult. Here's what you do. Take your choice of cleaner that you would use to clean your oven and spray the inside of the pan and put it in a plastic bag and set it outside for an hour. Then, scrub it with a steel brush or pad in a bucket of soapy water until the black gunk is gone. Re-season if necessary.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Here's to Spring in the Old North State!

-Raise a glass of sweet tea and toast Spring in The Old North State

Here's to the land of the long leaf pine,
The summer land where the sun doth shine,
Where the weak grow strong and the strong grow great,
Here's to "Down Home," the Old North State!
Here's to the land of the cotton bloom white,
Where the scuppernong perfumes the breeze at night,
Where the soft southern moss and jessamine mate,
'Neath the murmuring pines of the Old North State!
Here's to the land where the galax grows,
Where the rhododendron's rosette glows,
Where soars Mount Mitchell's summit great,
In the "Land of the Sky," in the Old North State!
Here's to the land where maidens are fair,
Where friends are true and cold hearts rare,
The near land, the dear land, whatever fate,
The blessed land, the best land, the Old North State!

North Carolina is the only state with an official toast. It was adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly in 1957.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Trad Treats: Red Bird Peppermint Puffs are North Carolina Cool
It's always great to find candy that really takes you back. Trad treats. A great North Carolina example is Red Bird peppermint puffs and candy canes manufactured in Lexington, home of North Carolina BBQ. Who could have made a better arrangement than providing some of the finest barbeque anywhere and topping it off by also providing the mints? Does Lexington also manufacture couches to watch football on when you are finally done gorging on pulled pork? - Oh, wait, the best of those are manufactured in down the road a piece in Hickory.
Piedmont Candy Company

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Trailer Trad Living: One of the Few Poems Every Man Should Read

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: 'Hold on!'

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

-Rudyard Kipling