Archive | July, 2011

Enameled Cast Iron

20 Jul

There’s a reason enameled cast iron cookware has become so popular: it’s fantastic. Plus, there’s no need to season it like would be necessary with basic cast iron. I love it for making pasta sauces as well as roasts and the like.

Enameled cast iron is also, unfortunately, very expensive. Famous brands typically cost $300 or so. Now, $300 might end up being a really good value for a pan a cook will use at least three times a week for decades, but there is no room in my budget for $300 expenditures anywhere.


I found this 7 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven at Target (it’s from Giada’s line) last fall. It was $89, and since I had literally no kitchen supplies (I moved back to Florida with two dogs, two suitcases, and a bunch of books), I used my birthday money from my mema to buy it.

Even though this piece isn’t from the popular French line, I like it even more than the pricey dutch ovens I had to leave behind in Washington. The weight is perfect, it’s incredibly easy to clean, and any dish I prepare in it turns out wonderfully. Of all the times I’ve cooked in the last nine months, I’ve probably used it all but three times. It still looks and performs just like it did when it was new, too. I’m anticipating it will last many years.

A 5 – 7 quart enameled cast iron dutch oven is an ideal addition to any kitchen, especially one this versatile at this nice of a pricepoint. One can use it for almost anything.

(And no, I have no financial relationship whatsoever with Target or Giada for Target… well, aside from the one where I pay <i>them</i> money and then take home way.too.much home decor stuff every time I visit. This is simply I product I really, really like, and I think you might like it, too. The end.)


Roasted Asparagus

18 Jul

Something like seven years ago, my friend Katy taught me to cook asparagus. Sadly, I don’t think I had even tried those funny-looking green stalks before! Asparagus is definitely one of those vegetables that can be daunting if you aren’t sure how to prepare it. Katy’s method is so good, I’ve used variations of it ever since.

You’ll need:

A heap of asparagus

A foil-lined pan or cookie sheet

Olive oil

And seasoning! Katy uses coarse salt and lemon pepper; I like coarse salt, pepper, and smashed cloves of garlic.

I begin by bending the asparagus stalks near the end – usually, the dry, tough part will snap right off. Then, wash thoroughly.

Distribute in a single layer on the foil-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on the seasonings. Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes, depending on the thickness of the asparagus stalks.

Eat. Enjoy. Yes, it’s that easy!