Chef Emily Ellyn, who is best known for cooking “retro rad” by taking retro favorites, remixing them and making them rad, urges everyone to dig through family recipe boxes, dust off pressure cookers and crock pots, take the old and make it new through retro re-dos.
If you really want to fire her up, ask her about cast iron. In Ellyn’s world, few things are better than cooking with cast iron pots and pans passed down through the generations as coveted culinarian treasures. These prized heirlooms are seasoned with memories of past meals enjoyed.
The cast iron that she’s currently obsessing about is her dad’s favorite fish frying pan. Each year when pepper picking season rolls around, she reminds him that “his” pan was actually purchased for her! She discovered this exquisite piece of cookware — a 36-inch round, 2-inch deep sauté pan with two handles – while on a family vacation 15 years ago. But because dear old Dad fronted the $60, he claimed it as his own.
Note, this is a picture of the 18-inch skillet my dad tried to replace the other with…long story for another post 😉
By the time Ellyn and her family got home and unpacked their vacation treasures, canning season was in full swing on the farm. ALL burners were fired up, inside and out. The newly-acquired cast iron pan was put to work on the outside propane burner that was reserved for cooking chili peppers. (The previous year they had made the mistake of cooking the peppers inside the house and the potent peppers had attacked the senses of everyone. They are now banned to outside processing.)
So, if your pepper crop is prolific and/or you need an excuse to use your favorite cast iron treasure for a canning or pickling project, whip up a batch of Ellyn’s favorite home-grown specialties — Candied Jalapeño Peppers and Pickled Banana Peppers.