It's probably no surprise that two people that love to cook as much as we do have a slight obsession with kitchen gadgets. Neither of us are able to pass by a kitchen store without stopping in just to "look" and always come out with shopping bags full of goodies. Our little old kitchen is so stuffed with pots and pans that we have now a dedicated corner of Eric's man cave, aka the garage, for the storage of excess pots, pans and a Charisse's growing canning storage. We get asked a lot that if we had to pick just one item that was a necessity in any household what would it be? The first thing that pops into Charisse's mind is her trusty old cast iron skillet. This is by far the most used skillet in the Petruno house and it is also the least understood by a lot of people. It always surprises guests when a cake or even a pizza are presented in cast iron, but there is just something that can't be described when cooking in it.
For those of you that don't know about cast iron cookware, a skillet, dutch oven and griddle are essential for your collection. They can go from stove top to oven and are great if you like to camp because you can cook just about anything on a open flame and they are basically indestructible. There has also been some new science out there that cast iron cooking is extra healthy for women. Some iron from the pan gets absorbed by the food your cooking and then gets into your system via eating. In America there is iron deficiency in women is a big issue, especially if your looking to have kids so this is yet another way to be a little more healthy without lots of extra pills or weird sounding supplements! We have made many a delicious dinner in our cast iron but one of our favorite things to make in the skillet is a good old fashioned corn bread. Last week we were craving corn bread but Charisse wanted to try a new twist by combining the sweet and savory mix. This recipe has a few more ingredients than the usual cornbread but is not that hard to assemble and tasty to eat. The cranberry butter was so good and we made a little extra that we have been using on toast and in our oatmeal. Although it's been warm and sunny in California, warm cornbread definitely feeds the need for comforting winter time food.
A quick tip for those of you who are looking to invest in some cast iron cookware, we suggest browsing garage sales and thrift stores. Although brand new pieces are not expensive, we have found skillets and griddles for around $7.00. Just be sure to re-season them before using. If you have a favorite cast iron recipe we would love to hear about it! We are always looking for new ideas!
Sweet Onion Corn Bread with Cranberry Butter
What You Will Need 2 Tbs butter 1 large sweet onion (thinly sliced) 4 tsp diced jalapeno 2 Tbs brown sugar 1/2 tsp chili powder 1 1/2 cups flour 1 cup cornmeal 3 Tbs sugar 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking soda 1 1/4 cups buttermilk 2 eggs 1/4 cup melted butter 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese 1 can chopped green chilies Cranberry Butter What You Will Need 1/2 cup whole berry cranberry sauce 1/2 tsp grated lime peel 1/2 cup softened butter Preheat oven to 425* In a cast iron skillet (we used our 10 inch) melt 2 Tbs butter and tilt to coat the bottom and sides of pan. Add the onion and jalapeno and 1/4 tsp of the chili powder. Cook over medium low heat until browned and tender. Stir in 1 Tbs of the brown sugar and set aside. In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients including the rest of the chili powder and brown sugar. In a smaller bowl, whisk the buttermilk, eggs and melted butter and stir into dry ingredients. Fold in cheese and green chilies. Pour mixture over the onions into the skillet and bake for 20-25 minutes and the top is golden brown. Meanwhile, in a small sauce pot, cook the cranberry sauce and the lime zest over low until heated through. Let cool and using a small food processor or blender, blend the softened butter with the cranberry mixture. Keep in fridge until ready to use. Once the cornbread is done, cool for about 10 minutes then invert onto a plate. Cut into wedges and serve with cranberry butter. adapted from fresh home magazine