I have a wonderful collection of cast iron. Some pieces I have inherited from my mother while other pieces I have been luckily enough to spot at yard sales. I even have an old cast iron muffin tin! I love them all and each has a specific purpose from cooking up a pot of soup to roasting nuts.
Cast Iron Collection
The pieces I have found in yard sales have often needed to be restored. It’s a rather easy process. Use a nonmetallic scrubber to removed the rust. Wash with a mild dish soap, rinse well and dry with a clean towel.
Does your cast iron pan need a face lift?
Then I re-season the surface by coating it both inside and out with an unsalted vegetable shortening.
Put the greased skillet upside down on a foil covered baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for an hour. Let cool and remove the excess grease with a paper towel.
To prevent rust in the first place, never soak your cast iron in water or put it in the dishwasher! Also do not scrub with metal scouring pads or harsh cleaners. Put a paper towel, paper plate or round coffee filter between stored pans to absorb moisture.
If you take good care of your cast iron it will last forever and you will be passing it down to your children someday!
I love entertaining. Inviting friends over to join us for a meal is one of life’s simple pleasures. Much as I love to entertain I also like to enjoy our company and don’t want to spend the whole time they are with us in the kitchen! I am often looking for dinner ideas that will allow me to serve a delicious meal but enjoy the time with our friends at the same time. This recipe was perfect. I could make the curry ahead of time and reheat when we were ready to eat!
This is also one of those recipes you try once and it ends up in the recipe box to make again and again. The original recipe came from the website epicurious.com. I made a few changes and it is delicious!
Savory Beef Curry with Rice
2 pounds of beef stew meat
3 Tbsp oil
2 large onions, chopped
6 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 bay leaf
¼ tsp dried crushed red pepper
1 ½ cups of coconut milk
28oz can of tomatoes
3 Tbsp Major Grey chutney
3 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp fresh ginger, peeled and minced
1 ½ Tbsp curry powder
½ tsp salt
Hot cooked rice
Sprinkle the beef with salt and pepper. Heat 2 Tbsp of the oil in a large heavy pot over high heat. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 7 minutes.
Brown beef on all sides.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate.
Heat the remaining 1 Tbsp oil in the same pot over medium-high heat, Add onions and sauté until tender and brown. Return beef to the pot and add cloves, garlic, cinnamon sticks, bay leaf and dried red pepper. Stir for one minute. Stir in the coconut milk, tomatoes, chutney, lime juice, ginger, curry powder and ½ tsp. salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.
Let simmer for about two hours.
Uncover and increase heat to medium. Boil stew until the juices are slightly thickened. Serve over rice. This dinner also freezes well if you have any leftovers!
Still very much winter here On The Home Front. I’ve spent the week thinking ahead to the next gardening season and looking through the various seed catalogs! I love looking at the wonderful vegetables that I could plant! What about you, do you enjoy reading seed catalogs?
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It is going to be a few months before I am able to get outside and work in my garden again. It will be at least another month before I can start seed inside. In the meantime what’s a gardener to do?
I actually enjoy this quieter time of year and there is nothing I enjoy more than sitting by the woodstove with a cup of tea and my favorite seed catalogs!
When I first started gardening my main resources for seeds were the larger more commercial catalogs. As the years have gone by I now focus on heirloom seed suppliers and if I can find a local seed supplier that’s even better!
Several years ago I took a six month long seed saving class offered by a woman who runs a small seed saving business. Not only was the class informative but I was able to see first hand how Sylvia works hard to save her seeds and provide her customers with seeds that will grown in Vermont!
I have to say that Sylvia’s seed catalog, Solstice Seeds is by far my most favorite catalog. I know that all the seeds offered in this catalog were grown less than twenty miles from my home! I have wonderful results with Sylvia’s seeds and will continue to order from her. The numbers of seeds offered increase each year. Sylvia does not have a web site but if anyone is interested I’d be glad to send you a pdf of her catalog. Just contact me!
If there are seeds that I can’t find in the Solstice Seed catalog there are other catalogs that I also enjoy. Fedco Seed catalog is from Maine. It is a no frills catalog printed on black and white paper with no color photos. The descriptions are excellent and I have also had good results planting their seeds. Our local co-op places a group order each year where I get a 20% discount. Fedco prices are excellent to begin with and when you add the 20% discount they can’t be beat!
Another favorite Vermont Catalog is the High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog. I just love shopping local and supporting other Vermont businesses.
Have you followed the Baker Whole Seed Catalog? They are in their 18th year of business and have the most wonderful seed catalog. Last year they planted around 2000 varieties at their Missouri farm! All the seeds they sell are heirloom varieties. Their 2015 catalog is by far the best, full of big colorful photos. It’s fun to see what all these heirloom
The winter brings beautifully cool weather that can sometimes have nasty side effects on our homes. Ranging from simple clean ups to damage that requires professionals, the level of stress these mishaps can produce is astronomical. It is important to be aware of which problems require a simple fix you can do yourself and which problems should be left to the professionals. Below you will find some common winter home woes and what you can do to help prevent them and then handle them, should they occur.
Slippery Floors One of the banes of every homeowner’s existence is muddy, snowy, wet shoes tracking the outside elements into the home. Especially if you have young children or pets going in and out of the house, the floors can quickly become dirty and slippery, posing a potential safety hazard. Set aside a place close to the door most commonly used where shoes can be taken off and wiped down before entering the house. Be sure to keep some old towels by the door that can be used to clean off shoes. Not only will this help to keep your family safe and your home clean, but it will also protect any hardwood floors from damage.
Sweep Chimney Use of the fireplace is a favorite part of homes in the winter. However, those that have not been cleaned since the previous year can pose a threat for carbon monoxide poisoning and even cause a fire in the chimney. To prevent this, hire someone to come in and clean the chimney and fireplace at the beginning of each winter season.
Be sure to also install carbon monoxide detectors close to the fireplace, so if a leak does occur, you are alerted before the danger increases.
Ice Filled Gutters It is likely that your gutters are filled with leaves and other debris from autumn. While this may not cause many issues while the weather is still relatively warm, as cold weather, snow and freezing rain take place, this can cause serious issues for your home. This can be one of the causes of ice dams (see below) and can also lead to water backing up into your home, causing further damages.
To prevent this, make sure your gutters are free and clear of all foreign objects before the winter sets in. If wintery weather is already in full force in your town, try to find a professional to come clean out the gutters, as the winter conditions may make it more dangerous for you.
Ice Dams As stated above, one of the causes of these woes is an ice filled gutter. However that is is not all. Poor insulation and air leaks, most commonly from attics, can also lead to ice dams, which can cause water to back up into your home, causing damage to walls, ceilings, and floors.