Simple Pan Basics

I continue to look for interestingly complex recipes to cook and share on this blog (though I’ll admit this is neither a major theme nor the sole purpose of this site to share recipes) and occasionally I’ll post one.

But then other times I like to retreat to something more simple and remind my readers of two things:

First, that this is not a space only about cast iron cooking, and that “cast iron guy” is more of a mindset and philosophy for living than an advice column on frying pans, and;

Second, that I do love cooking with cast iron and sometimes that is something super simple and super basic and results in a clean, delicious meal.

Like frying up a pork chop.

Aside from writing an epic piece on supply chains and the impact of climate-change induced once-in-two-hundred-year floods in the Vancouver area where much of our food comes from, and how the washout of multiple highways has created a low level panic here for the security of our food supply and… deep breath.

Let’s just say we bought a big hunk of pork last week and neatly packed it up in our deep freezer for some peace of mind.

There are a hundred great ways to cook a pork chop, of course, but a simple and basic fry up in a cast iron skillet is near the top of my list.

I seasoned with some pepper, salt and a bit of spice, and tossed them thawed into the smoking hot cast iron ten inch pan with a bit of oil. A few minutes per side, and a finishing fry to enhance the colour and we were served with a beautifully tender and moist cut of meat.

It’s winter outside so the barbecue is pretty much packed away for all but the warmest of winter occasions, but the cast iron does a darn comparable job.

And there is no complex recipe to follow.

Just heat, meat and eat.

My Little Orphan Plant Project

I’m overstating it a little bit, but for the second time in as many months I found myself browsing through the reject tropical plant rack at another local hardware superstore and filling an handbasket with a motley assortment of discount greenery to bring home.

Yesterday I came home with (another) six potted indoor plants, all on death’s doorstep from a season of rejection and neglect, all steeply discounted to literal cents likely because the seasonal holiday replacements need the shelf space.

A fern. A couple palms. An indoor rose. And a couple other interesting leafy explosions that were encased in root balls of dirt so dried out that even the trash bin may have questioned their existence.

I feel a bit sorry for plants like this.

Not that plants have feelings.

Not that I haven’t neglected and doomed my share of indoor foliage over the years.

Rather, because it seems a bit like a charity project, albeit a small and ultimately self-serving one, to save a few of these dregs of the greenhouse from final obliteration and see if I can’t coax some life back into them and potentially give each a new home in mine.

If they die, aw shucks and a few bucks.

If they live and thrive, I have a new houseplant on the cheap.

In short, in the last two months I’ve added at least a dozen listless but leafy loafers to my weekly watering schedule and sparked something of a small project into the notion of filling the house with a bit more organic d√©cor. I don’t know if it’ll be worth revisiting here on the blog, but like anything greenish, with a little sunshine and water and almost anything can happen.

Dem Feets

Sunday Runday, and I didn’t.

For a whole week I’ve been sidelined by a heel ailment that I’ve self-diagnosed as a touch of plantar fasciitis, or runner’s heel.

Them feets!

The thing is that I’m supposed to run a half marathon in a little more than a month.

The thing is that I need to keep in half marathon shape while not exacerbating an injury that could take a couple weeks to recover.

Them feets!

The thing is I’m a stubborn guy and I’m having trouble sitting it out. Resting. Healing.

I have a stationary bike in my basement tho, so while my running crew plodded out on the winter trails I descended to my little exercise space and spun out twenty klicks of aerobic fitness.

Them feets!

Then I met the runners for coffee where we can actually, finally, go inside and sit for a bit at the local recreation centre, proof of vaccination required, and all in all not quite back to normal, but close enough.

The countdown is on to race day and I’ll cross that finish line, hell or high water. Right now, tho, it might be with a limp rather than a leap.

Pandemic Puppies

At least half the dogs in our neighbourhood these days are less than a year and a half old.

The pandemic puppy phenomenon did not pass us by around here, and every day as we go for our walks in the rain, shine, epic heat or brutal cold, we encounter so many other of these pandemic pups in the park.

Pups who have neither care nor concern that the very pandemic that forged virtually every aspect of their lives to date still has a lingering subtle effect on their human companion’s day-to-day.

Some day, maybe even soon, things will go back to normal… ish.

But maybe not quite yet.