How to Clean and Fix Your Le Creuset Black Enamel Interior

If you have a Le Creuset griddle or skillet that has the black enamel interior, and which now has a glaze of sticky, shiny, or sticking spots that you can’t get off no matter how much you scrub it, I’m going to tell you how to fix it, and about the “patina”.

Now, I’m sure that you, like me, bought this pricey piece because, hey, it’s cast iron that you can abuse in the washing process. Pile on the soap. Leave it to drip dry. Heck, you can even put it in the dishwasher!

Plus, it doesn’t need to be seasoned.

Or so they say.

But then in your searches you may have come across some articles that talk about the “patina” that lays down on the black enamel cooking surface. Specifically certain Le Creuset sites say, of the black interior enamel cooking surfaces, that it “has excellent, easy food release properties, which are enhanced once a natural surface patina develops.” These sites go on to explain that the “patina is produced from oils and fats used for greasing and those released from the food. After a few uses, a brownish film will appear. This patina should not be scrubbed off, as it greatly enhances the cooking and release performance of foods from the surface.”

So in essence, your black enameled interior cooking surface on your Le Creuset skillet, griddle, or grill (or other item), does need to be seasoned, but it’s expected to develop the seasoning as it’s used, rather than your having to season it initially.

What this means is that your black enamel cooking surface isn’t supposed to get spotlessly clean, it is supposed to grab the grease and oil that you put on it, or that leeches out from the foods you cook, leading to those spots that you have probably been diligently trying to scrub off (you can’t), lamenting that you have probably ruined your beautiful cookware the first time that you used it (you didn’t), or, at least, making you sad because it doesn’t look like it did when you first unboxed it (it’s not supposed to).

Which leads us to this:

How to Clean and Fix Your Le Creuset Black Enamel Interior

You are actually going to season patina that sucker. That’s right, even though you aren’t supposed to have to season patina it.

First, if you have sticky spots on your cookware, try to get them off as best as you can. What I did was I put a splash of dish soap, and a healthy sprinkle of baking soda, into the griddle, and then filled it with boiling water. Then I let the water cool until I could put my hands in it, and I scraped away at the sticky spots with my thumbnail. I should add that this was the only thing that worked – not scrubbing it with a nylon scrubber, not Bar Keeper’s friend – nothing else. Only the dish soap, baking soda, and thumbnail. Do the best you can, and don’t sweat it if there are glazed patches that remain behind (that’s baby patina), you just want to remove as much of the sticky patches as you can.

Now, preheat your oven to 400°, and while the oven is heating brush a neutral oil such as safflower or sunflower oil all over the interior of your pan. Make it a very thin layer. Any areas where the oil layer isn’t paper thin can end up sticky, instead of seasoned.

Now, put your pan in your oven for 30 minutes. Remove it, and let it cool completely.

Run your fingers along the inside of your pan to make sure that there are no sticky spots (if there are, put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes or so).

Assuming that the interior of your pan passes the “no sticky spots” test, repeat the oil-and-bake process two more times.

At this point, after the third coating and cooling, your black enamel cooking surface should be slick, and relatively smooth (not completely smooth, but relatively). Now when you cook on it, if things stick to it at all, they will come off fairly easily. You can still put it in the dishwasher, although expect to have to re-season it at some point if you do.

I call this “Still Life with Patina”
How to Use, Care for, and Fix Your Le Creuset Black Enamel Interior

Are Immaculate Baking Company Biscuits Vegan or Vegetarian? We Get the Answer Plus Info on KFC Biscuits and Pillsbury Biscuits

immaculate baking company kfc pillsbury biscuits vegetarian vegan

[Updated 1/17/18! Keep reading for the definitive answer!]
If you are vegetarian, as am I, or vegan, you may have found yourself wondering whether Immaculate Baking Company’s biscuits are vegetarian, owing to the listing of “natural flavor” in the ingredients. Same for KFC biscuits (Kentucky Fried Chicken). The thing is, “natural flavor” or “natural flavoring” (or “flavour” or “flavouring”) in a list of ingredients is often code for “animal derived product”. And not just animal derived, like milk, but dead animal derived, like chicken fat or bacon grease.

Having looked all up and down the can (canister? container? just what do you call that pop’n’fresh whack-on-the-counter packaging?) and finding no indication whatsoever as to whether the Immaculate Baking Company biscuits are vegetarian, let alone vegan, and finding that vague and ambiguous (if not downright troubling) ingredient, ‘Natural Flavor’, I of course took to the Internet, sure that the answer as to whether Immaculate’s natural flavor was animal derived and whether the biscuits were vegetarian or vegan would be easy to find.

Not so much.

In fact, in over 1,000,000 search results the answer was not to be found; at least not to be found in the first several pages.

So I decided to write to Immaculate Baking Company directly, asking them point blank about the matter.

Here’s what I wrote:

Hello,

Can you please let me know whether your biscuits are vegetarian or vegan, or if the natural flavor listed as an ingredient comes from animals?

Thank you!

Anne

And here is the reply that I received:

From: [email protected]
Subject: Your Response From Immaculate Baking – 2018/01/10-1452US

Dear Anne,

Thank you for contacting Immaculate Baking.

Per Labeling: Flaky Biscuits do not contain animal ingredients.
Thank you for your interest in Immaculate Baking. We hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Rosemary Walters
Consumer Relations Representative

At first I was pleased by this response. Then I realized that the representative had included “Per Labeling”. Had she simply looked at the label and assumed (as many would) that there were no animal products listed in the ingredients (overlooking my specific question about the source of the ‘natural flavor’)?

I wrote back, but I also knew it would take one to two days to hear back from them. So I called their 800 number to see if I could get confirmation any more quickly that way.

Guess what, I couldn’t. The very pleasant person who answered the phone said that she was not authorized to tell me what the ‘natural flavor’ was, because “if they listed all of their ingredients, then people could copy their product.” So, she told me, she was going to have to send my query to a ‘product specialist’, and they would get back to me in…wait for it, one to two days.

This is actually at least better than my quest to determine whether the ‘natural flavor’ in KFC (Kentucy Fried Chicken) biscuits was vegetarian or not. In that case the very nice representative basically did the same search on their website that I did, and then apologized that she couldn’t help me more.

Me: “You mean that you have no access to resources other than performing the very same search on the very same site that I just searched myself??”

Her: “I’m afraid so.”

Me: (Thinking to self) At least Immaculate Baking was able to boot it up to a product specialist..of course I may never actually hear back from them.

So, that’s where this stands. Hopefully they will actually get back to me, and even more hopefully that natural flavor in their biscuits will actually be vegetarian, if not vegan.

Another note, which the astute of you will have already noticed from the email address: Immaculate Baking company is now a division of giant food conglomerate General Mills. So, as with everything, let your conscience be your guide.

UPDATE! On 1/17/18 (so indeed two days later) I heard back from Immaculate (a/k/a subsidiary of General Mills). Here is what they said:

Dear Ms. Mitchell,

Thank you for contacting Immaculate Baking.

Organic Natural Biscuits IBC Flaky 16 oz, UPC: 665596010026 doesn’t contain animal besides milk.
Thank you for your interest in Immaculate Baking. We hope this information is helpful to you.

Sincerely,
Rosemary Walters
Consumer Relations Representative
##:18563609

So there you have it! I’m keeping the below intact in case you want information about other vegetarian or vegan biscuit options (for example if Immaculate Baking brand is not available in your area):

In the meantime, if you are jonesing for biscuits but don’t want to or have the time to make your own, Pillsbury biscuits are vegetarian. Which doesn’t mean that they don’t contain some ingredients at which you may raise your eyebrows for other reasons.

(Note: While some say that the process for bleaching bleached flour involves using animal bone char, much like some white sugars, I could find no evidence of this – but I did find many sites debunking it. On the other hand, it is true that some white sugars are still made white using bone char as a filter/purifier, and the Pillsbury biscuits do have sugar, so you will need to let your conscience and where you fall on the vegetarian/vegan spectrum guide you.)

Pillsbury Grands Biscuit Ingredients

(From the Pillsbury website)

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Water, Soybean Oil, Sugar, Baking Powder (sodium acid pyrophosphate, baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate). Contains 2% or less of: Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Salt, Whey, Xanthan Gum.

 

And if you have a little more time and energy, Bisquick is also vegan (with the same caveats as for the Pillsbury biscuits, although note that Bisquick does not have sugar in it).

Bisquick Baking Mix Ingredients

(From the Betty Crocker website)

Enriched Flour Bleached (wheat flour, niacin, iron, thiamin mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and/or Cottonseed Oil, Leavening (baking soda, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate), Dextrose, Salt.

Here’s What Moon Juice Means by a Small Spoonful or Heaping Spoonful

Moon Juice, purveyor of incredible plant-sourced edible dusts and powders to enhance beauty, spirit, sleep, brain function, and even sex, ships their powders and dusts with instructions to use either a “small spoonful,” a “spoonful,” or a “heaping spoonful.” But what exactly do they mean by a “spoonful”? Is it a teaspoon? A tablespoon? Something else? Well, I found out directly from MoonJuice.

First, if you’re not familiar with Moon Juice, here’s how they describe their products:

We celebrate the unadulterated, exquisite flavors and healing force of raw vegetables, fruits, petals, herbs, roots, nuts and seaweeds as daily nourishment, beauty tools and high-powered natural remedies. Explore our organic pressed juices, Moon Milks, Cosmic Provisions, the Moon Pantry and our Moon Dust collection.

As Muses and Visionaries (M&V) magazine explains, “Moon Juice doesn’t rely on cheap tricks; it relies on magic. A California holistic food pantry and apothecary created by Amanda Chantal Bacon, the company pro- duces mystical tonics, juices, milks and snacks aimed at enhancing nature’s healing powers.”

Now I don’t know about the “magic” part, but I will say that both their powders and their Moon Dusts are incredible!

However, their powders all come with use directions such as “blend a small spoonful” or “blend a spoonful” or “blend a heaping spoonful” into nut milk, tea, a smoothie, etc., and nowhere does it explain what exactly they mean by ‘spoonful’. Not on the products, not on their site.

So, I went straight the source, and asked them. I sent them a note saying “Can you please help me understand better what sort of measurement do you mean by “spoonful” “small spoonful” “heaping spoonful”? Is a small spoonful a measuring teaspoon? A heaping spoonful a heaping teaspoon or a heaping tablespoon? Inquiring minds want to know!”

And here, straight from Moon Juice, is the answer:


By “a small spoonful” we generally mean 1/4-1/2 tsp. Start with 1/4 tsp and if you feel the need to add more over time go for it!! Every body is different so we really try to make general guidelines.

By a heaping spoonful we generally mean a heaping teaspoon. Again, it’s all subjective to you and how you react! Feel free to start with a regular teaspoon at first (like with the Maca as it is energy boosting!) and go up (or down) from there depending on how it works with your body. It’s really a learning process, just listen to your body 🙂

Here’s a simplified chart for Moon Juice spoonfuls:

Small spoonful: 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon
Spoonful: 1 teaspoon
Heaping Spoonful: Heaping teaspoon

If you want to check Moon Juice out, you can get 20% off your first order by starting here:

Visit Moon Juice and get 20% off your order

Where to Buy Krokaner (Bridge Cookie) Pans in 2015

Whether you call them Krokaner or Kro Kaner cookies, Krokta, Bridge cookies, Saddle cookies, or even Horse Collar cookies, the odds are good that you ended up here because you are trying to find the Krokaner Pans (or Krokaner tins) and can’t find them anywhere. Of course part of the problem is that they go by so many names, but the real problem is that they are impossible to find anywhere in the U.S. – unless you know where to look.

They used to be available through Maid of Scandinavia, which, along with Sweet Celebrations, was borged by KitchenKrafts. So, no more.

At that point, the only place that carried them was Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis, but some time ago they too removed them from their website.

BUT THEY STILL CARRY THEM!!

That’s right, Ingebretsen’s in Minneapolis actually still carries Krokaner tins, and I have the picture to prove it, because mine just arrived today!

krokaner pans 2015

 

Aren’t they purty? :~)

So, here is what you need to do to get your very own Krokaner pans, Saddle cookie tins, or whatever you want to call them.

Call Ingebretsen’s at 800-279-9333. Ask to speak with Debbie, as she is the one who will know what the heck you are talking about.

They are $20 each, and shipping and handling for my two came to $8.50.

By the way, if you need a recipe for the Krokaner cookies, here are some good ones:

Recipe #1 for Krokaner cookies

Recipe #2 for what she calls Horse Collar cookies or Krokta (this site has the best pictures!)

Recipe #3 for Krokaner

Recipe #4 for Bridge cookies / Krokaner (with good pictures)

Finnish Rye Bread Recipe from My Youth

I have searched for this recipe for decades. This recipe was given to my father, when I was a child, by his dear friends, Richard “Dick” Merrifield, and Dick’s wife, Lennie Merrifield. I have such fond memories of my father and I making it at our home in Putney, Vermont, him teaching me how to knead the dough. I had always thought that it was called ‘democrate’ (pronounced “democratie”) but it turns out that it is “democradie”. I know this, because a few years ago I found Dick and Lennie’s daughters, Afton and Sienna, on Facebook, and Sienna had the recipe and gave it to me! (Thank you, Sienna!)

So, at long last, I have the recipe for this toothsome, wonderful, fragrant pumpernickel-style rye bread, chock full of molasses and caraway seeds! The only thing that is better than the smell of this bread baking is the taste of a thick slice of it, hot from the oven, slathered with butter.

Democradie Pumpernickel Rye bread

1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup molasses
2 Tablespoons caraway seeds
1 Tablespoon salt
3 Tablespoons soft oleo margarine
2 Tablespoons yeast
2 cups rye meal
4 cups sifted unbleached white flour

Pour lukewarm water over caraway seeds, salt, oleo and yeast. Add rye meal and beat well.

Add enough of the flour to make a stiff dough.

Turn out on to a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Let rise for two hours in a warm location.

Prepare a cookie sheet by greasing well, and then sprinkling with cornmeal.

Preheat oven to 450 f.

Shape dough into ovals or circles, and place on the prepared cookie sheet.

Bake for 10 minutes at 450, and then reduce heat to 350 for another 20 to 35 minutes, until done.

Quick List of Conscious Cleanse Allowed Foods

Having just posted the list of Conscious Cleanse forbidden foods, I thought I’d also post a quick list of Concious Cleanse allowed foods – well, the allowed produce, as that is the thing you will most often be wondering about at the grocery store. As with the other list, you can screen shot this list so that you can have it with you when you are shopping, or eating out (although this list is much longer, so it may take a few screen shots!)

As I mentioned in the previous article, Conscious Cleanse is not a ‘traditional’ cleanse, as you might imagine a cleanse to be. It’s not fasting, it’s not drinking weird concoctions. In that way it isn’t really a cleanse at all. But, it is a cleanse in that by following its prescribed lists of foods to avoid, and foods on which to fill up, your body gets cleansed of foods and related toxins that may be impacting your various bodily systems (immune, digestive) and functions.

Here is the list of vegetables and fruits allowed on the Conscious Cleanse.

List of Conscious Cleanse Allowed Food – Vegetables and Fruits

Vegetables

  • Artichokes
  • Arugula
  • Asparagus
  • Avocados
  • Beets
  • Beet Tops
  • Bell Peppers (but not hot peppers)
  • Bok Choy
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Cucumber
  • Dandelion Greens
  • Green Beans
  • Green Onions
  • Kale
  • Leeks
  • Okra
  • Onions
  • Parnsips
  • Radishes
  • Romaine
  • Shallots
  • Snow Peas
  • Spinach
  • Sprouts
  • Wild Mushrooms
  • Zucchini
  • Fruits

  • Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Coconut
  • Grapes
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Mangoes
  • Nectarines
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Watermelon
  • The List of Conscious Cleanse Forbidden Foods

    If you are doing the Conscious Cleanse, here the list of Conscious Cleanse forbidden foods (well, the beauty of the Conscious Cleanse is that nothing is actually forbidden, but this is the list of foods to avoid on the Conscious Cleanse).

    If you are not familiar with the Conscious Cleanse, it is not like a ‘traditional’ cleanse, which has you fasting and drinking lemonade laced with maple syrup and cayenne pepper. The Conscious Cleanse is actually a way of eating – eliminating certain foods, and consciously combining other foods – to give your digestive and immune systems both a break, and a boost. The reviews of Conscious Cleanse have been nothing short of glowing, which is, in fact, a word that appears over and over in the reviews as people rave about their “glowing skin”.

    Anyways, here is a handy list of foods to avoid while on the Conscious Cleanse. (Hint: Take a screen shot of the list with your mobile phone and carry it with you everwhere!)

    List of Conscious Cleanse Forbidden Foods to Avoid

  • Corn
  • Soy
  • Wheat and any other Gluten
  • Peanuts
  • Dairy
  • Eggs
  • Sugar
  • Chocolate
  • Grapefruit
  • Oranges
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Chili Peppers
  • Squash
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Shellfish
  • Strawberries
  • Yeast
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • When is the Dunkin Donuts in Boulder Opening

    If you are wondering “when does the Dunkin Donuts in Boulder open?”, wonder no more. I have it straight from the horse’s mouth.

    The Dunkin’ Donuts, which is occupying the space where the Kentucky Fried Chicken used to be, next to Taco Bell, on 28th just north of Valmont, has a target opening date of Tuesday, March 4th (2014).

    Save the date!

    The Best Fruitcake Recipe – and It’s a Non Alcoholic Fruitcake Recipe!

    This is the best fruit cake recipe ever. And it’s an alcohol-free fruit cake recipe, too, even though it’s one that you baste and let age and cure! Yummy, aged, and non-alcoholic. What more could you ask of a fruitcake?

    This recipe is based on a recipe that Mike from Houston gave me when I posted a request for a great fruitcake recipe on the Usenet group rec.food.cooking, years ago.

    He in turn got it via Tom Lester.

    This fruitcake should be made several weeks – at very least 2 or 3 weeks – before you plan to serve it. Four or five weeks ahead is even better. Do not try it before it has cured – it is icky until it has aged a few weeks, and then it’s heavenly.

    The Best Ever Fruitcake

    1 lb candied red cherries (reserve 8 or so for decoration)
    1 lb candied citron peel
    1/2 lb candied orange peel
    1 lb dried sweetened pineapple (you can use candied pineapple, but dried is nicer)
    1 lb figs, chopped
    1 lb raisins
    1 lb pitted dates, chopped (you can use the pre-formed and coated date pellets, but they aren’t nearly as nice)
    1/2 lb currants
    1/2 lb golden raisins
    2 1/2 lb pecans – chop all but a handful to use for decoration
    1/4 lb walnuts, chopped

    1 lb butter, softened
    12 eggs
    1 cup molasses
    3 1/2 cups flour
    1/2 teaspoon baking soda
    2 cups granulated sugar

    1 Tablespoon cinnamon
    1 Tablespoon nutmeg
    1 teaspoon allspice
    1 Tablespoon vanilla
    1 1/2 teaspoons ground cloves
    2/3 cup apple cider or apple juice juice
    1 teaspoon brandy extract

    Bottle vanilla syrup (such as Torani or Monin brand, like they have in coffee shops)

    Mix fruit and nuts together in an enormous bowl (we have to use our big stock pot).

    Dissolve the baking soda in the molassess and set aside.
    Mix the brandy extract into the apple cider and set aside.

    Mix about three tablespoons of the flour in with the fruits and nuts, mixing thoroughly so that each individual piece has some flour on it, so that nothing sticks to anything else. Set aside.

    Cream butter well, and then add the eggs, sugar, molasses & baking soda, the
    spices, the vanilla, the cider & brandy extract, and the rest of the flour. Mix thoroughly.

    Pour batter over fruit and nuts, and mix and mix and mix, until completely mixed.

    Preheat oven to 225.

    Press batter into baking pans that have been well-greased, then lined with parchment paper. The recipe will make 8 8″ loaves, although you can put it in just about any pan so long as you don’t pack it more than about 2 1/2 to 3 inches deep. I like to put it in mini-tube pans.

    Cut reserved cherries in half, and use along with the reserved pecans to decorate the top of the fruitcakes. (See picture below.)

    Put in oven, and be sure to put a pan of water on the rack below it.

    Bake 3-4 hours, being sure to start checking half-way through. Don’t let the bottom pan run out of water. Fruitcakes are done when cracks appear all over the top – or when a toothpick comes out clean and they seem otherwise done (here at altitude for some reason the cracks don’t appear).

    Let fruitcakes cool completely, then remove from pans.

    Mix a teaspoon of brandy extract into about a cup of the vanilla syrup, and brush outside of fruitcakes with the mixture. Then wrap each fruitcake individually in wax paper, then foil, and store in cool place for at least two to three weeks – longer is better. If you like, you can brush them every week with more syrup mixture.

    Searches that led to this article: non alcoholic fruit cakes recipes,  

    Annie’s Blueberry Honey Almond Semolina Muffins

    These yummy Blueberry Honey Almond Semolina muffins have a scone-like texture – they are delicious warm from the oven with butter and honey, or some peanutbutter!

    Annie’s Blueberry Honey Almond Semolina Muffins

    (Note: cornmeal can be substituted for the semolina to make these gluten free, and non-dairy milk can be substituted for the milk, to make them dairy-free as well!)

    1 egg
    1/4 cup vegetable oil
    1/4 cup honey
    1 1/4 cups milk
    1/2 cup almond meal
    1/2 cup coconut flour
    1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
    2 teaspoon baking powder
    1 cup semolina
    1/2 to 2/3 cups blueberries (depending on how many you want in your muffins)

    Whisk egg, oil, honey and milk together.

    Stir in the almond meal, coconut flour, then the salt and baking powder, and lastly the semolina, and then the blueberries.

    Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until golden brown on the edges.