What do I do when the fourth wildfire in three years threatens my neighborhood? I cook. Seriously, cooking is therapy for me and I understand I am not alone in this. It’s a great escape and a positive way to feed body and soul. Cooking makes the house feel and smell like a home and provides sustenance for whatever lies ahead.
My love for cooking has grown considerably since losing my home in a wildfire in 2017. Taste and smell are two powerful senses that remind us of the past. Losing stuff has taught me that time is our most valuable treasure. While we can’t bring back possessions, cooking family favorites reminds us of the past and preserves memories.
The fires that are burning now remind me of walking our property and neighborhood right after the 2017 fire. The experience is indescribable. Every sense was affected. The thick smoke-filled air burned our eyes, our lungs and smelled like a burning campfire. There was nothing but ash, chimneys and burnt-out trees as far as we could see. We spent a few hours sifting through the rubble in the hopes of finding something salvageable. We left with only a few items: The soundboard of the 100 year old baby grand piano, that had been made for my husband’s great grandparents, and the melted Brighton Drive street sign, both of which we plan to turn into some kind of backyard art. Our (26 year old) son found the cast iron frying pan that our family had cooked many meals in over the years. Hunter loves to cook so when he asked if he could take it. Brian and I were happy to oblige and were glad he had found something he wanted. A couple of months later we celebrated our first post-fire Christmas. My favorite gift was that same cast iron frying pan. Hunter had painstakingly scrubbed off ash and melted glass, refurbished and seasoned the pan for us. Each time I reach for this pan I am reminded of the kindness of my son and the many meals that we have prepared in it.
You may have memories of your grandparents or even great-grandparents lugging out their heavy-bottomed skillets and frying up dinner. There’s a reason these pans get passed down through generations. Cast iron, when seasoned properly, will last for many lifetimes. Each time you used your cast iron pan you are seasoning it. Refrain from using soap on your pan because soap breaks down oil. The oil coating that builds up on the surface of the pan is what creates the non-stick seasoned coating. Simply clean the pan with hot water. Use salt and oil to scrub the pan if there is food stuck to the bottom. If the salt and oil method doesn’t work then go ahead and use a little soap. No matter how you clean the pan be sure to rinse and dry well (to avoid rust) and always rub the surface well with oil before storing the pan.
I used the same cast iron pan that Hunter salvaged from the ashes to grill the vegetables when I made this recipe. An outdoor grill will also work. You are going to want to heat up your grill or cast iron pan to a medium-high heat and lightly grease it with a thin layer of oil. Grill the asparagus and bok choy until all sides have grill marks and the veggies are done.
I hope you enjoy this easy, flavorful Grilled Veggie Plate with Curry Lime Sauce as much as I do. It’s saucy, smokey good. Please rate and comment on the recipes you make from my blog. I love to read your comments and they help the success of the blog.