I've spent my entire life going to the Illinois State Fair with my mom's side of the family. My grandparents were farmers in Illinois, and the State Fair was a highlight of summer for all of us. I must of been about twelve or thirteen when I first plopped my butt down at the cooking demonstration inside the Exhibition building. The host was chopping, and cooking, and showing off all the goodies they had to sell. Then they passed around plates with all the goodies they'd just made right before our eyes, in less than 30 minutes. I feel like my exposure to tasty steamed vegetables was limited at that time, so it might have explained my reaction to the food. But I was in love, thinking the vegetables were the best I had ever tasted. Up until that point in my life, I thought I hated cooked carrots because I'd only had them cooked to much. These were warm, cooked vegetables that still managed to have texture. Plus, the taste was delicious. I declared to my family that I wanted the pots. They were outrageously expensive, so at first they just laughed. But as the years passed, and I still loved that booth every year at the State Fair, Grandma made me a promise. She'd get them for me as a wedding present. I was thrilled, I'd get the pots of my dreams one day.
Fast forward at least 10 years. I wasn't engaged yet, but Mr. H was at the Fair with the family, and Grandma knew we'd be married soon enough. After all, he was the only boy I'd ever liked enough to invite to the fair, our special family event! So Grandma bought me the electric skillet of the KitchenCraft cookware. They have a whole line of pots and pans, but the liquid core electric skillet is what they use at the show to make the food. Grandma gave it to me early, as a Christmas present the year I was engaged.
When I first got it, I was scared to use it - knowing how expensive it was. Eventually I took it out of the box, and promptly lectured Mr. Hobby. "Don't touch it with anything that might have even a remote chance of scratching the inside." I don't know that he'll ever touch it at all! For my part, I only use silicone coated turners or spatulas when using the pan. After I got over my nerves when handling the thing, I realized it didn't come with a lot of recipes in the directions. Thank goodness for google! A few internet searches later, and I had several unique recipes to try. Some were my brand, the Americraft/Kitchen Craft skillet. Some were for another brand, Saladmaster. I figured they all had to be close enough, and dug into my new recipes.
First up was Mexi-Corn Lasagna. I have no pictures, but if I didn't love using my electric skillet because it reminded me of Grandma, well, it might have put me off my skillet forever. The food itself was fine. But I had a terrifying moment while cooking the food. I had layered in the ingredients, following the directions. Except, instead of using 4 small tortillas on each layer, I used one large tortilla. It was the same diameter of the pan, perfect I thought! Until I pulled the lid off towards the end of the 15 minute cooking time to find the whole thing had swelled in size, the tortillas filling with air. I grabbed a fork, terrified the whole thing would explode any second as the top layer oozed over the sides of the skillet. I started to stab at the meal, hoping to "pop" the tortillas and release the air they had built up inside. After a few stabs it went down and I was able to eat the dinner. As I said, it tasted good, but was not a pretty picture.
This post is getting long, so I'll break out the other recipes as I move through them. Do you have a liquid core electric skillet? Go ahead and follow me then, because I plan to create and modify more recipes for the skillet as I use it more.