I bought a cast-iron skillet years ago, but I have barely used it. I've never been sure just what to do with it. I mean, you can't cook without non-stI bought a cast-iron skillet years ago, but I have barely used it. I've never been sure just what to do with it. I mean, you can't cook without non-stick coating, right? So I was eager to learn from this book how to use my cast-iron skillet; how to care for it.
This cookbook is slightly different from most cookbooks, as there isn’t an extensive introduction. Usually a cookbook has fairly detailed intro that gives a glimpse into the thought that went into the cookbook, history, cooking equipment, cooking techniques, etc. This book does that, but in much briefer style, and after a dozen pages you are diving into the recipes. I liked this! They got to the point, told you what you needed to know, and moved on to the meat of it!
You learn about the different types of cast-iron. Not only the traditional skillet, but also griddles and pots and specialty pans. You learn how to best "season" the pan (so you have no need for that non-stick coating I mentioned earlier), and a "seasoned" pan vs. enameled cast iron, and what not to do with cast iron.
It's broken into chapters for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner, Sides and Snacks, and Dessert. All recipes are cooked in a cast-iron pan, whether on the stovetop, in the oven, or over an outdoor fire. Classic recipes like Fried Chicken or Steaks with Red Wine Sauce, something a little more unexpected like Baked Crab & Shrimp or Charred Eggplant Dip, or a dessert of Cranberry Upside-Down Cake.
Each recipe is showcased with a full page picture and the recipe title boldly stretched across it. Bright and colorful and yummy photography, simple and easy-to-read ingredient list, and numbered recipe steps.
I decided to make the Korean Short Ribs (galbi). The recipe called for "flanken-cut beef short ribs", and I had no clue what "flanken-cut" was. It would have been nice if it had explained this. Regardless I just used what I had on hand.
The ribs were marinated for 24 hours in a soy sauce/rice marinade with scallions, pears, onion, garlic and ginger. Then they were cooked in a hot cast iron skillet.
However I am guessing from the picture in the book that "flanken-cut" means cutting the short ribs even shorter, right through the bone. This means that the ribs are normally much thinner than what I was cooking. Which means that my ribs weren't cooking through, and after much cooking and smoking (the recipe warned about the smoke), the ribs were still rare. So I decided to stick them in the oven to finish. Thank heavens for the cast iron skillet! Easy transfer from stove top to oven!
I cooked the ribs to medium well. They were then served with rice, lettuce, scallions and extra heated marinade.
Put a piece of meat in the lettuce with some marinade and scallions, and pop it in your mouth. Chase it with some rice drizzled with marinade.
The trouble is that my skillet is now coated in cooked-on marinade, and it does not want to come clean. Which leads me to my only real complaint: This book didn't give me explicit instructions for how to clean off cooked-on food and grime, nor what type of scrubbing pads I could use (rather than what I can't use).
But that's really my only complaint. The book is concise at under 100 pages, beautifully done, with tantalizing recipes. It's informative and inspirational, and I love it!...more
We are introduced to Wavy as a five-year-old who has landed in her Aunt Brenda's house after both of her parents have been arrested. (Wavy's mother VaWe are introduced to Wavy as a five-year-old who has landed in her Aunt Brenda's house after both of her parents have been arrested. (Wavy's mother Val is a drug addict who cares about little in life, and her father Liam is a neglectful meth manufacturer and drug runner.)
At first glance, Wavy is an odd duck, rarely speaking a word, refusing to eat in front of anyone, and shunning any physical contact. She appears to "have a screw loose", but given time and patience a person will find that there is a method to her madness, and brilliance behind her baffling behavior. She's mature beyond her years, and possibly even a genius, and there is deep emotion bottled up under that still surface.
Things don't go well at Aunt Brenda's, whose rigid personality doesn't mesh with this odd duck who does nothing normally. With Brenda at her wit's end, it is Wavy's grandmother who steps up and takes in Wavy. She is everything Brenda is not, accepting Wavy for who she is, reasoning out what will work with her wacky behavior. Things are good, but they can't last. Wavy's mother gets released from jail, and it is back to an invisible life with a mentally unstable mother.
Once her father is released from prison, it isn't long before Wavy finds herself in the position of big sister to new baby Donal, and before long she is more of a mother to Donal than their own mother.
Wavy meets 24-year-old Kellen (her father's co-worker) on a day she thinks is her 8th birthday, but doesn't know for sure as she doesn't have a current calendar. Kellen wrecks his motorcycle after being startled by the beautiful little girl walking out of a field in the night, looking like an angel. A relationship quickly builds between them, as he becomes her protector and friend, and she becomes something of a caretaker of him, like a wife or mother.
Through the years, Wavy and Kellen are constants in one another's life-- two lost ships gravitating toward one another, one finding stability in the other.
Wavy teaches Kellen about astronomy, pointing out and reciting the names of the constellations in the sky, and Kellen becomes her home. They become family.
When Wavy is in high school, we learn where the title for the book comes from, but uncertainty and loss continues throughout Wavy's childhood, and she eventually finds herself lost without Kellen.
This is a unique novel that you hesitate to even pick up, as the subject matter seems so distasteful, with what seems to be a predatory man and an impressionable young girl. Interestingly enough, the tables are sort of flipped and Wavy is the predator and Kellen the impressionable one. She is an old soul, and while Kellen grounds her, I think that Wavy expands him and his world with her big intellect and powerful love.
As I began the story, I was intrigued to see whether the author could accomplish making the male character likable, and their relationship acceptable. I thought she did a great job of walking a line, taking you to the edge of "unacceptable" and only making you "uncomfortable".
I must agree that I think that is one of the things that made me uncomfortable with this story-- it was how natural their relationship felt, how "right" it seemed, and then the mental reminder of how young this girl was and how inappropriate their relationship would be under any other circumstance. But in this circumstance, in the desolation of her heart and the emotional abandonment and abuse, it felt "right". I became grateful that Kellen was there for her, that he took care of her when no one else did.
My final word: I loved this story! I loved the author's writing style which was easy-to-read, but lyrical at moments. She took on the daunting task of how to make a man that could (or even should) be viewed as a pedophile and make him likable, and how to take an uncomfortable relationship and make it feel not only comfortable, but even fated and necessary. It makes you (or I think at least most) see that Kellen is not really a pedophile-- he is not a predator of children, not a threat to children, and in fact Wavy was more the predator, and Kellen her savior. And yet it still feels uncomfortable to say that, because my mind says "this is wrong" while my heart says "this is right". Kellen and Wavy were as fated as the stars they liked to watch and call by name. And in the end, their love feels not inappropriate or dirty or ugly, but instead it is one of the wonderful things....more