Nom Nom Paleo

Giveaway Time! Cast Iron Skillets & Accessories!

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**UPDATE 7/11/12: The giveaway is OVAH! Congrats to Dustin K.!**

Ready for another giveaway? This one’s simple and straightforward — you won’t have to jump through any hoops to enter — ‘cause I just want to thank you for making the Nom Nom Paleo iPad cooking app a success!

I recently promised that once the latest version of the app received 100 ratings/reviews, I’d sponsor a giveaway. And the last time I checked, there are well over 100 five-star ratings for version 1.3 on the App Store! (BTW, keep those ratings/reviews coming!) We’re thrilled that people are enjoying it — including those who are just discovering Paleo through the app.

Although we launched this little self-financed venture back in April with zero PR and no marketing plan whatsoever, we’ve managed to get fantastic (and unsolicited!) reviews from national publications like The Daily and 148Apps. So far, the app has also received glowing write-ups from luminaries in the Paleosphere like Paleo Parents, The Food Lovers’ Kitchen, Melissa Joulwan, and others. But our main support has come from readers like you, who have spread their excitement about the app on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, email, and even IRL (gasp!). Even now, more than two months after its launch, Nom Nom Paleo is (inexplicably!) one of Apple’s top paid Lifestyle apps for the iPad.

To thank you, I’m hosting a giveaway where you can win my favorite pre-seasoned cast iron skillets: a 6.5-inch, 8-inch, AND a 12-inch. Yes — ALL THREE.

Plus: a pair of my favorite heat-resistant gloves!

And a stiff brush to scrub the skillets clean! 

(Remember? I’ve got a post on how to take care of your skillets right here.)

The rules are easy to follow: Simply leave ONE comment at the end of this post by Wednesday, 7/11/12, at 9 pm PST. This contest is open to both U.S. and international readers. I’ll pick one winner at random and that’ll be that!

How To Season & Care For Cast Iron Skillets

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Oh, how I love my cast iron skillets. Yes, plural. I’ve got three (so far) — but who’s counting?

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When I was a kid lurking in the kitchen, my mom stir-fried everything in a big cast iron pan. Every night, while dutifully slogging through my homework at our Formica kitchen table, I’d surreptitiously study how she’d whip up plate after plate in sequence. (Our dinners always consisted of multiple dishes — all served family style.) As soon as my mom emptied the sizzling-hot contents of the skillet onto a serving platter, she’d scrub the cast iron pan with a stiff plastic brush before placing it back atop the burner. One quick swipe of a towel later, the pan was ready for action again. My mom’s arms were guns from lifting that heavy iron after years of meals.

As much as I hate to admit it, as I grow older, I’m becoming my mother. Seriously — just wait ‘til this happens:

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[Source: Geek in Heels]

Although I own a set of fancy All-Clad stainless pans, the cookware I use day-in and day-out is my trio of well-seasoned cast iron skillets. I’ve got a 12-inch for searing steaks and preparing large batches of emergency protein, an 8-inch when I’m making frittatas for two, and a 6.5-inch when I’m making scrambled eggs for one. I love how the non-stick surface releases notoriously sticky and difficult-to-handle ingredients with ease. And meat seared in a cast iron skillet develop an even, crunchy crust that no other pan can produce.

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I’m not gonna lie — cooking with a cast iron skillet isn’t all unicorns and rainbows. Cast iron takes a while to heat up, and once it’s hot, so is the handle. Yowch! But don’t worry: As long as you get yourself some cozy, heat-blocking mitts (my favorites: Ove Gloves), you’ll be just fine.

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Also, you can’t boil water or cook acidic foods in cast iron pans without getting ‘em rusty. Ick.

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Last but not least, it takes time and persistence to produce and maintain the proper non-stick surface. Even if you buy a pre-seasoned skillet (for example, from the Lodge Logic line), you’ll need to season the skillet yourself or cook in it over and over again until food stops clinging to it.

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For some folks, this is the deal-breaker — but it’s actually pretty easy to season and care for your cast iron pans.

Here’s how I season my pans after I buy them (and again when their non-stick qualities seem to fade):

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.

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2. Put the cast iron skillet on a burner set on low. Throw in a teaspoon of ghee or refined coconut oil and let it melt. Once the fat is liquified, turn off the burner.

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3. Use a paper towel to coat the entire surface — top, bottom, and handle. Just polish on a thin layer because you don’t want to leave thick, tacky blotches of grease when you’re finished.

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4. Once the oven reaches 400°F, place a tray with aluminum foil on the bottom rack to catch any grease from the pan. Put the greased pan upside-down directly on one of the upper racks.

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5. Bake for 1 hour. Turn off the heat, and leave the pan in the oven to cool. Don’t be discouraged if food still sticks to the pan. Keep cooking in it, and you’ll get there eventually.

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6. Every time you finish cooking in the pan, scrub it with a stiff plastic brush and hot water immediately — but don’t use soap or dishwashing liquid. Dry the pan and put it back on the burner over a low flame to make sure any remaining moisture evaporates. Turn off the heat and toss a teaspoon of coconut oil into the warm pan. Use a paper towel to spread a thin layer of oil over the interior surface and it’ll be ready for your next meal.

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Ta-da! A well-seasoned pan!

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Now git cookin’!