Hello, everyone! Am I the only one who is glad the holidays are over? Even my apron strings are exhausted. I hope you all had a wonderful season that was even better than expected, and all hangovers are done and over with.
Did you eat your black-eyed peas and cabbage at the local watering holes? Boy, that cabbage was good; I’m glad Beano was available as needed.
Many times you have read in this column, “Get out the old iron skillet!” But how many of you know how to season and maintain one? I know my mom and grandmother would throw a hissy fit if I “worsted” her skillet in soap, or left it to soak. Here’s how to properly season your cast iron skillet. Stay with me, now.
Preheat oven to 300 to 325 degrees. Place a cookie sheet or a large piece of foil on the bottom rack of your oven to catch drippings. On top of the stove, warm skillet over medium heat. Using paper towels, lube that skillet up, inside and out, with a very thin coat of vegetable oil, shortening, lard, or bacon grease. Place in the oven. After about one hour, turn off the oven and let it cool down. Then repeat the entire process.
Next, wash the skillet in hot water with a stiff sponge. If that does not do the trick, put some coarse Kosher salt in the skillet and scrub around with sponge. No metal, and no dishwasher. If you buy a skillet and it says it is already pre-seasoned, that’s the only time you should wash it like your other pots and pans. But not in the dishwasher! Rinse very well. Dry the skillet very well every time to avoid rusting.
So easy! And the more you use your skillet, the better it will get.
Now you deserve a treat. Here’s a recipe for an old-fashioned snack cake that has been around for generations. It also makes a great on-the-run breakfast.
BROWN BUTTER ALMOND MUFFINS
8 tablespoons butter
½ cup of sugar
¼ cup light brown sugar
¾ cup slivered almond
3 eggs, beaten
1½ teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon rum
½ cup flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon baking powder
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a standard muffin tin or a couple of the mini pans with cooking spray. Melt butter in a small saucepan until it foams and turns nut-brown in color; set aside to cool. Place sugars and almonds in a food processor or blender; chop up for approximately one minute, place in a medium-sized bowl. Add eggs, extract, rum, and browned butter; stir until combined. Fold in egg mixture, then flour, salt, and baking powder. Beat with a whisk or an old wooden spoon. Scoop a couple of tablespoons of batter into the muffin tins, filling them about three-quarters full. Jiggle the pan gently to settle batter. Bake for approximately 10 to 12 minutes until just browned, or until it passes the toothpick test.