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The Frying Pan Diaries: Part 1

October 20, 2009


My new love.

My new love.

Would you believe that over the last few days I went to no less than five stores looking for a simple black cast iron pan and I came up empty-handed every time? After some rather disappointing hunting yesterday that had me sulkily indulging in some chocolate mouse cake, today I made my way home after work with my much sought-after prize. I haven’t named her yet, but I think she’s deserving of a name. I’ve been going on about this for a few posts and maybe it’s a teeny bit annoying, but if you’ve ever ended up with a cooking disaster because all of your eagerly anticipated dinner stuck to your cookware, you’ll know why I’m excited about this new frying pan.

With a tasty loaf of bread and the last two Tofutti cheese slices in the whole house sitting in the fridge, I knew exactly what to test out the new pan with – a vegan grilled cheese sammie! *cheering!* What a waste of cheese and bread, I thought, if this doesn’t turn out. But I oiled the pan, set the heat to just higher than medium-low, and set to buttering my bread. When the pan was warm enough, I laid the bread in the pan and a whisper of a hiss rose from it. I waited, patiently, for a few minutes. As I waited, Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries erupted in my mind. Then came the first test – would the spatula slide easily under the bread? Yes. Yes, it did. Next was the fateful flip. One, two, three – and there, smiling up from me from the pan, was a perfectly golden and crisp little bread face (cue the big sigh of relief). There was still the other side of the bread to crisp, though. So I waited and flipped again. And once more the grilled cheese sammie and I smiled golden smiles at each other. It really was that exciting.

Test subject 1: a Tofutti grilled cheese sammie.

Test subject 1: a Tofutti grilled cheese sammie.

The sammie taste test ended in me snarfing down the crispest grilled cheese sammie I’d had since my mum used to make them for me. And that was a quite a long time ago.

But that wasn’t even dinner. No, dinner still had to be made. Calling my name from the depths of my frosty freezer were dreamy Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages. Now, this is really a test of the frying pan because these were the last of anything Field Roast we had, and none are likely to be had again soon since there’s no one in Canada selling them on a regular basis (we have the fine folks at Karmavore to thank for our Field Roast joy). Seitan forbid if the sausages stuck to the pan. There would be many tears over this, most of them shed by the man of the house.

The sausages were sliced, the pan heated up, and then we were all systems go. Again a slow, quiet sizzle escaped from the glistening pan as I slid the sausage slices off the cutting board and onto its inky surface. Once more I patiently waited. I thought to myself, “If this is a success I’ll be getting very friendly with some French toast on Saturday morning.” When it was time to flip the sausages, I reached for my spatula with trembling fingers. With a few small flips their perfectly browned bottoms surfaced, and then I swear there were angels singing – right along to Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. (and while looking for a sound clip of the symphony, I came across this totally priceless video of the Muppets’ Beaker meeping Ode to Joy.)

Today turned out to be a very happy day. There is a new kitchen goddess in my house, and she can grace my stovetop whenever she likes.

11 Comments leave one →
  1. October 20, 2009 11:54 pm

    Sounds like an awesome frying pan! Believe me, I know how hard it can be to find one you really love. But there is nothing like a crispy, vegan buttery grilled cheese sandwich. Looks amazing!

  2. October 21, 2009 2:48 am

    Those toffuti cheese slices are RAD in a toasty – YUMMMY!
    I need to get a cast iron pan.

  3. Susan permalink
    October 21, 2009 6:47 am

    Yay for you!! What a perfect looking sammie!

  4. October 21, 2009 12:16 pm

    Great post and wonderful looking recipes. I had a Saturday to remember last weekend. Besides 250 miles on my Harley, I visited a Flea market and bought a cast iron fry pan which I have restored and re-seasoned. It is a beauty and for $7.00. I wanted to eat that “sammie’ right off my monitor.

  5. October 22, 2009 4:33 am

    I bought my cast iron pan at Ikea 🙂 And I didn’t even have to season it. Wow, I should try to make such a sandwich in it.

  6. thevegetarianlibrarian permalink
    October 22, 2009 4:39 pm

    Have been working on rehabbing a cast iron pan…glad to hear of your sucess! Thanks for posting. Did you season the pan w/anything?

  7. October 22, 2009 8:48 pm

    Hey veg librarian!

    I bought my pan pre-seasoned, though I did “season” it with oil the first two times I used it and then again as you’ll see in part 2 of The Frying Pan Diaries. I’ve used canola oil each time, and though many people will say that vegetable oils are not good to season with because they become “gummy” I think this is true only if you do what I did – not use a thin enough layer of oil to season the pan. I’ve yet to try Earth Balance or olive oil on the pan, and I briefly considered Earth Balance shortening. I think the shortening will end up in more gumminess than a thinner oil. I would avoid grapeseed oil as I’ve used it for other things in the past and find that it easily gets gummy just from air exposure. I’ve not heard anything about coconut oil as a seasoning oil, but there might be some info on it somewhere on the Internet.

  8. October 22, 2009 8:52 pm

    Hey Mihl:

    I don’t think the Ikea stores in B.C. carry cast iron, but I’ll check the next time I’m there since they’re. How do you find the surface of your Ikea pan? Is it smooth or rough? I hear the rougher the pan’s surface, the less likely it will be that it becomes non-stick. I dunno what to think about that, but I’ve also read that using a metal spatula to gently wear down the bumpiness of a pan’s surface will help make it smoother. I’d just be really careful not to scrape away any of the seasoning before it’s hard enough.

  9. October 24, 2009 11:15 am

    Great looking grilled cheeze. Glad to see you and the skillet are getting along better.


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