Sep 21, 2012 - Cooking, Homemaking, Personal    16 Comments

A Cast Iron Pan Is Worth Its Weight In an RV

I’m always amazed by the number of RVers who don’t worry about their rig’s carrying capacity and fill it to the brim. I want to live in Miranda until I choose not to rather than because she has fallen apart due to improper care. So carrying capacity is always foremost on my mind. When I bring in something, I do consider where I will store it, but I also fret about the added weight. Whether it’s a box of printer paper or a plywood for a wall, I think of each item’s weight and whether it is worth the carrying capacity it will take.

So cast iron might seem like an odd choice for an RVer, but for me, it has made perfect sense. I have been so happy with the cast iron pan I picked up in Lynden, WA. Admittedly, it took me some time to learn how to properly care for this precious addition to my kitchen; how to season it, clean it, and cook with it. But the end result has been worth the effort. There is just something about food cooked in iron over an open flame. Seared meat becomes succulent, pan breads are extra flavourful, and sauces are enriched by the tasty morsels scraped from the pan.

The most important things I have learned about cooking with cast iron are:

-add the food only when the pan is hot;

-things that cook quickly, like flat breads and thin cuts of meat, can be cooked over a medium flame;

-things that cook more slowly, like a thick cut of meat, should be cooked over a low flame to prevent the dreaded ‘charred exterior, raw interior’ result;

-clean the pan immediately after cooking with a damp cloth, then rub on oil or shortening before the pan cools;

-wear a very good over mitt, such as an Ove Glove, or two regular oven mitts while handling the pan.

Tonight, I made pitas for the first time. My cast iron pan surely contributed to making my effort extra delicious!

(Calling pitas magic isn’t hyperbole; I can’t believe my first attempt resulted in perfect pocket bread!)

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16 Comments

  • Hi Rae,
    Great first try… are you willing to share your recipe? They look soo good. Those nice brown parts are just the best, uh?
    I was hoping to bring a couple of my cast iron pans on the road too. You just confirmed it.
    Don’t forget: cobblers, fresh bread/rolls… oh my, the list goes on.

    Great subject! Thanks for sharing.
    Vicki

  • I got the recipe here: http://www.thekitchn.com/how-to-make-homemade-pita-bread-90844

    Next time, I will put a pinch or two less salt than what the recipe calls for and roll them out even more thinly as I prefer super thin pita.

  • Thanks Rae!
    Copied it, filed it… can’t wait to use it. 🙂
    Great site. Perfect size recipe for one.
    Don’t forget you can freeze bread too…if it’ll last that long.

    Have a great weekend!
    Vicki

  • You are well on your way to favorite food self sufficiency. Making your own tahini, now your own pita…just add some chick peas….making my mouth water. I am glad you are having fun.

  • I’ve been thinking about buying a cast iron skillet for my new RV. I think you just confirmed I should do that.

  • I know Tioga George is also a great fan of cast iron. I may have to follow you two and get a pan of my own.

  • Joni, don’t forget I’m also learning to make my own sushi rice. 😀

  • Cast iron skillet is the only skillet I have. Do not even think about what it might weigh, I worry about other items.

  • Vicki, I thought I made enough pita for a week. It lasted a day. 😀

    Forget that you can freeze bread?! Ha! LOL Next time I make pita, I’ll make a morning of it and make up several batches, then freeze them between sheets of wax paper.

    Whenever I make a loaf in the bread maker, I cut it in fourths and freeze three quarters of it, too. Freezers are magical things; you put fresh bread in and three weeks later, you take fresh bread out!

  • Linda and Caroline, I hope you find a good, seasoned pan somewhere rather than start from scratch with the crap in store these days.

    Another thing to keep in mind: a lid. I really wish mine had one. 🙁

  • Ed, what sort of fat do you use to keep yours seasoned?

  • I purchased a large cast iron skillet a couple of years ago and absolutely love it. Once throughly seasoned, food truly does not stick. I recently picked up a very small square pan to use on the small burner that is perfect for cooking for one person (egg and sausage) or making melted cheese sandwiches.

    I’ll never give it up.

  • Also, I only use olive oil. It has a wonderful black sheen to it now.

  • Rae,

    Sorry about the slow reply, I don’t read your blog every day. My Bad!

    I use olive oil for everything I cook in the cast iron skillet. As Kathy said it develops a nice black sheen.

  • […] I’m too lazy to make my own and commercial hummus generally isn’t great. There are a few Canadian brands I like, but I have never been able to find good hummus in the States. As for pita, forget it! Here, like in western Canada, I eat my hummus with Triscuit crackers or homemade pita. […]

  • […] rice on the stove, making toast while boondocking means I have to stay in the kitchen and watch my cast iron pan very closely. It doesn’t taking long to go from delicious to charred beyond salvation. This […]

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