Many of you who have been reading this blog since its inception and even those of you who used to read my Sauce vs. Gravy recipe blog way back when, know that recipes mean more to me than a good meal.
To me a good recipe is one that means something to me because of a connection that I have to it, whether it is from a family member or a friend, whether it’s a dish I ate at a memorable event or maybe even stems from a family tradition that we hold near and dear.
Recipes connect me to others and to memories of others.
Today’s recipe is from my friend Anthony. Anthony owns Reel to Real Recording Studio here in Cranston and we will sometimes bump into each other at local events, but we are friends on Facebook so we “see” each other on there all the time.
Recently, Anthony posted a photo on Facebook of a stir fry he was making for dinner at his house. It looked delicious. I had to have it and I asked him if there was anything special in the stir fry as far as a sauce, but he said it was simple: olive oil in the bottom of the pan, and Worcestershire sauce mixed in while cooking, basically made to your liking. Anthony listed some ingredients he will often throw into his stir fry, including chicken or shrimp, zucchini, broccoli, and cauliflower.
The next time I went to the store, I bought chicken AND shrimp, zucchini, broccoli and cauliflower. I couldn’t wait to get home to make our dinner that night. There was going to be something in this dish that everyone loved.
Even better, I was going to be using our new cast iron skillet, given to me by my cousin Valerie just a few weeks ago. When Val asked me if we had a cast iron skillet, I said that we didn’t, and she said she had an extra one that she would bring to me when she came down for Alexandra’s First Communion.
When she arrived, she gave me the pan and along with it, an envelope with my name on it. Because we were having the party, I didn’t get to read Valerie’s note until the next day, but when I did, I almost cried as I read. In the letter, Valerie told me the story of the skillet and how she’d found it while shopping with her brother in-law during their annual summer consignment shop shopping trips. She mentioned that it’s just she and he who love these shopping trips. Her husband and his sister are not fans of the “junk” that Val and John bring home.
The skillet was part of a set of three, “dusty, rusty, neglected diamonds in the rough,” Valerie wrote. She told me of how she and John bought the pans and took them home. She knew that these treasures only needed “a good home, a hot bath, and someone to make them feel useful again, things we all want.”
Valerie cleaned and seasoned our skillet for us, giving us the last of the three rescued trio of pans in the set that she and her brother in-law had found last summer.
“Good, old, seasoned cast iron is a treasure. it is a work horse in the kitchen. It holds the heat well, cooks evenly, is the original ‘non-stick’ cookware. it makes mean fried eggs, crusty hash browns and frittatas to die for,” Valerie said.
Last week, my new cast iron skillet made a fabulous stir fry, Anthony’s Stir Fry, and it was delicious.
Good friends, good pans, and treasured family members. I am blessed to have them all.
Give Anthony’s Stir Fry a try with your favorite ingredients in it.
And if you have a cast iron skillet of your own, definitely use it.