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Slow(er) Food

A few days ago I blogged about fast food options at home. I got a few comments about my cast iron pan.

csa and lamb dinner and pans 015 And, about seasoning it. I have had my original two pans about a decade or so. I bought them at Tractor Supply. On sale. They are Lodge pans. I am not sure if others are as good, but these pans have handled just about everything and are very easy to clean, and to keep seasoned.

I only use hot water to clean them. With an abrasive sponge to scrub. I season occasionally with olive oil. Put in the oven. They are definitely non stick.

Besides using them for quick cooking, I do make dinners that take a bit more time. Like with these pork chops.

spring stuff including fandf 009

I had seared them in the pan, then I put them in the oven with some apple cider to finish them while keeping them moist. Pork takes a little more time to cook.

As for other options that need more time in the oven, but not a huge commitment in active preparation, I have many meals that take 10-15 minutes to set up. Then, about half an hour to execute.

Like this week. This was my CSA basket.

csa and lamb dinner and pans 001

So many choices. The first night I decided to make lamb meatballs with stuffed patty pan squash and fingerlings.

I stuffed the squash with half a tomato from my garden, crumbled feta, herbs and olive oil. Boiled the fingerlings. Put the squash in the oven while prepping the meatballs. It took about 15 minutes to prep. 30 minutes to cook. The result?

csa and lamb dinner and pans 027

Excellent meal. By the way, I cooked the meatballs in a muffin tin. It wasn’t a very fancy meal but it certainly was full of flavor. And done in less time than driving to a restaurant, getting put on a waiting list and hanging out for 30-45 minutes waiting for a table.

We had a nice cocktail out on the patio. Once the oven timer went off, we came in, opened a pinot noir and had a leisurely meal.

I have learned to cook simply. Using the fresh ingredients from my CSA. Baking or sautéing a protein. Taking the time to sit at the table and have a quiet conversation. While not spending $50-$100 for dinner. :Like you easily can do around here. Those drinks, appetizers, wine, tip, taxes and desserts all add up.

We like to go out a few times a month, but can eat better foods, with incredible wines, by putting together meals with great local fresh ingredients.


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

2 responses »

  1. Thank you very much for the info!

    Speaking of pork, I’ve had surprisingly different experiences with pork shoulders from different farms. Extremely simple chef that I am, I slow roasted each in a covered pan with garlic and onion. The first one fell apart into tender shreds, was tender and delicious (with BBQ sauce for my husband, without for me). The second one was good, but less so. The third one was very fatty and led to my first try at rendering fat. (That went fairly well.) I wonder if the differences had to do with the breeds or diets of the pigs. I saw the “lifestyle” of the pigs where the fatty one lived, and they had lots of room to roam around.

    Sitting idle with my cast iron skillet, an Instant Pot I bought on Cyber Monday 2015 is still brand new! Do you use one of those?

    • I have found pork to be all over the place. I usually slow cook it for at least 10 hours. Except for pork chops, which I pound as thin as I can. Sear in cast iron. If they are fairly thick, I finish them in the oven.

      I don’t have an instant pot because I have a rice cooker, three crockpots and just can’t see the need right now to add pressure cooking to my regimen.

      I do like the fact that it will sear, then you can change it to slow cook.

      Maybe when we finally decide to move to a condo in our old age, and I don’t have beaucoup storage space.


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