Learn how to properly take care of your cast iron pans with these helpful tips.
A cast iron pan is a dependable tool for the home cook. It has a naturally nonstick surface that evenly distributes heat; it can easily go from stovetop to oven; and if you properly care for your cast iron pan, it can last for generations. Proper care means seasoning it, which will bring out a natural nonstick coating. Learn how to properly care for your cast iron pans by following these step-by-step instructions.
HOW TO SEASON YOUR CAST IRON PANS
1 Wash your cast iron pan with hot water and soap. Thoroughly dry immediately.
2 Place a sheet of aluminum foil on your oven’s bottom rack. Preheat your oven to 350°F/180°C.
3 Using a clean, dry cloth or a paper towel, apply a thin coat of cooking oil to the entire surface of the pan, including the exterior. (Vegetable oil and shortening are the most commonly recommended oils used for seasoning.)
4 Place the pan upside down on the oven’s centre rack. The aluminum foil you positioned below will catch any drips.
5 Bake for one hour.
6 Turn off the heat and let the pan cool completely before removing it from the oven. When you remove, use oven mits.
7 A seasoned skillet is smooth and non-stick. You can repeat the seasoning process when necessary – that is, when food starts to stick to the surface or the skillet looks dull or rusty.
CAST IRON CARE TIPS
1 To keep your cast iron pan in good condition, simply rinse it with hot water then wipe it clean with a dry cloth or a paper towel after each use.
2 Remove any stuck-on food using hot water and a brush or scouring pad (but never soap).
3 For stubborn food pieces, pour some water into the pan and boil it on the stovetop for a few minutes. Remove from the heat, then use a brush or scouring pad to clean away the pieces.
4 You must always dry the pan completely to prevent rust.
Cast iron pans are also perfect for making Dutch baby pancakes. Check out our recipe here.
Tour the set: Grace and Frankie
One of the showstopper rooms of the series, the kitchen in Grace and Frankie’s beach house is a space that dreams are made of. With a giant butcher’s block island, industrial lights and dusty navy hues contrasted against rich creams, it’s the perfect kitchen for a seaside getaway.
Moving into the beach house living room, the set designers have brought together the best of the show’s two design styles. Slipcovered chairs and wicker furniture give the space a beachy, relaxed vibe, whilst the cream panelled walls and rich wood flooring speak to the traditional style of the Hanson’s San Diego home.
Grabbing inspiration from California’s natural landscape, the beach house dining room combines the blues of the ocean, the whites of the sand and the rustic look of raw driftwood. Recreate a tranquil space in your own home by mixing earthy tones with creamy neutrals and sourcing reclaimed furniture.
The den just off the beach house’s kitchen and dining space continues with the muted, natural hues and beachy decor, adding a pop of colour and pattern in the chair fabric. A rope-coiled orb chandelier and netted glass lamp add a nautical touch, whilst the California shutters and French doors blur the lines between indoors and out.
One look at the Hanson dining room and you know this is where many a stylish dinner party goes down. With rich jewel tones in the wallpaper and dining chairs, contrasting cream wainscoting, beautiful brass sconces and an oriental rug underfoot, this dining room is the perfect example of a traditional space with a classic edge.
Robert and Sol’s well-designed bedroom is proof that masculine decor doesn’t have to equal dark and drab. Whilst the coffee-coloured leather headboard is a staple of masculine decor, the bronze wall sconces offer a sophisticated bedside lighting solution and the graphic wallpaper introduces pattern without adding femininity.
The kitchen off the living room in the Hanson’s San Diego pad is another example of how the set designers of Grace and Frankie marry the beach house look with a more traditional decor. Monochrome walls that bleed into the raftered ceiling and farmhouse cabinetry are contrasted against the Hollywood Regency styleof the living room, with its brass ‘n’ glass furniture, velvety fabrics and classic wingback chair.
A stylish gender-neutral nursery suitable for both him and her.
How the lifestyle blogger of The Minted Mama perfected a stylish gender-neutral nursery suitable for both her little prince and her little princess.
When Candace Alongi had her first child, she wanted the gender to be a surprise, but she also desired a nursery that was chic, stylish and, of course, functional. Luckily, the decorista and lifestyle blogger behind The Minted Mama knew exactly how to create a gender-neutral space that's as sophisticated and polished as it is fun and youthful: with an unconventional palette and refined furnishings that, though bright, suit adults and kids alike.
Shortly after she applied the finishing touches to the nursery, her son, Massimo (now 3), arrived, and the space suited him so much that he stayed in it until he got his first big-boy room. That's when the nursery's gender neutrality got its true test: Massimo's new baby sister, Gemma (now 10 months), moved in. "It's terrific. I feel like it suits her just as much!" says Candace. "While I'm nursing, Massimo plays with toys on the floor, and we all enjoy the space together."
Here are eight tips for fashioning a gorgeous gender-neutral nursery just like this one.
1 Keep it orderly
Though the lively room packs a colour punch, homeowner Candace Alongi kept it largely clean-lined, with simple pieces and one shelving unit to display books, toys and shoes.
2 Get repetitive
Taking a cue from the elegant circle detail at the foot of the crib, Candace repeated the round motif throughout the room, from the ball mobile to the polka-dot bedding.
3 Watch what you buy
Since adults aren’t likely to lick their furniture, it doesn’t always occur to parents to consider the materials and finishes when choosing pieces for their kids’ rooms. “Your child will definitely chew on the edges of the crib at some point,” says Candace, “so make sure the finish is non-toxic.”
4 Let artwork inspire
While the bold palette of juicy orange, minty blue and cool grey was already on Candace’s mind when she was planning the nursery, it was a piece of artwork she found at her local HomeSense that drove the decision home. “Finding it was a total aha moment,” says Candace. “The piece was exactly what I’d envisioned, and seeing it in front of me confirmed the scheme for the whole room.”
5 Add winks of whimsy
“Incorporate elements of fun while still keeping the look sophisticated and in line with the rest of your home’s decor,” says Candace. The hidden orange inner panels on the change table drawers are a perfect example of a stylish surprise.
6 Make it a family affair
Candace went with two armchairs instead of one because she wanted company while she was nursing. “My husband stayed up with me during those first few late-night feedings,” says Candace. “Now, that second chair gets used by my toddler, who likes to spend time with his baby sister.”
7 Find furnishings with staying power
Stylish yet youthful furniture can be found almost anywhere, as evidenced in this room, from the punchy side table to the chic change table, which can be used as a regular dresser to suit a teenager.
8 Put the fun in functional
Candace strayed from the traditional rocking chair (to avoid getting the baby into the routine of being rocked to sleep). She instead opted for armchairs and an ottoman that she had painted and reupholstered in a whimsical orange chevron-patterned fabric to energize the room.
Buying guide: The truth about thread count
Is there anything better than sliding into a bed laden with good quality sheets? At the end of the day, I can't wait to stretch out under my fresh, soft covers and nestle my face into a good cotton-covered pillow. We spend a third of our lives in bed so quality sheets are key, but how do you get quality for your money? There's no doubt that most consumers believe the higher the thread count, the better the quality, but this isn't entirely true. With the help and expertise of Joanna Goodman, owner of Au Lit Fine Linens, we expose the truth about thread count and what it takes to find quality bed sheets.
What is thread count, really?
Simply put, thread count is the number of threads woven into one square inch of fabric. This number is based on the threads woven horizontally ("weft") and vertically ("warp"). Extra threads can also be woven into the weft threads to increase the thread count. These added threads are called "picks" and are added in the overall count, which is how some sheets end up having thread counts in the thousands. This is why the idea that high counts equal better quality isn't really accurate. Consider this: Joanna says most weavers will say the maximum number of threads that can be woven into one square inch of fabric is 500 to 600. Though the number is arguable and, according to Joanna, "depends on the mill you deal with," it gives you an idea of where the line is between single-ply, unpicked weaves and ones that add threads here and there to bump up the count.
What to look for when buying sheets
Joanna lists three things to look for on the label: if it's Egyptian cotton, where it's woven and, lastly, the thread count. While thread count is a bit misunderstood, the buzz around Egyptian cotton is true. "The very best cotton in the world is grown in Egypt. So Egyptian cotton will be of a better quality," Joanna says. She also recommends pima cotton, which is grown in America, "though not quite as exceptional as Egyptian." When it comes to weaving, however, she swears by the Italians as being the "master weavers of the world" due to their "long tradition of weaving" and use of the best Egyptian cotton. Be sure the label says 100% or pure Egyptian cotton though, otherwise it may only contain a small percentage of the good stuff. As for the thread count, look for a minimum of 200. From there, it's all about preference!
What to avoid when buying sheets
Joanna's one key piece of advice is to watch out for extremely low priced, high thread count sheet sets. A complete sheet set with a high thread count for $100 or less is probably not the dream bargain you think it is. As Joanna believes, "you always get what you pay for." The price tag for bed linens will vary depending on the sheet size and what items you're buying, such as a duvet cover, sheet sets, or pillowcases. "A superior quality 200 thread count queen set (including flat, fitted, two pillowcases), made of Egyptian cotton and woven in Europe, could retail reasonably for about $150-$250," says Joanna.
What do you prefer?
After going through the quality checklist, go with what feels best for you. If you're looking for a durable linen, Joanna recommends any percale from thread count 200 to 800. Percale is any cotton woven with a 200 thread count or higher and will be more durable than a cotton satin of the same thread count. It's also less likely to pill than cotton satin because it has a denser weave. Love the feel of a cotton button down shirt? Joanna advises a crisp, dense 200 thread count percale. Prefer a silkier sheet? Go for a 300 to 600 cotton satin. If you want lighter sheets, Joanna says, a 400 thread count sheet can be soft and light, while an 800 percale would be soft and dense. The higher the thread count, the more likely multiple-ply thread is used or picks are added, making the fabric denser and heavier.
Now you know that quality is not just about the number, so don't let numbers rule your bed! Remember what to look for on the label and be wary of too-low prices for supposedly high quality items. Beyond that, go with what you prefer. Get a good feel of the sheets before buying. Whether you're unzipping the packaging or lying down on a display bed, make sure the fabric feels good against your skin and soon you'll be having sweet dreams!
Find out how to keep your new linens crisp and clean with our tips to whiter-than-white sheets.