My cast iron skillet is one of my top 3 favorite things in the kitchen. I bought it in a kitchen store in Charleston a few years ago. Nothing fancy, just a pre-seasoned Lodge Logic skillet that I probably paid too much for in that beautiful kitchen store. I had been going back and forth about whether to get one and Marc encouraged me to just buy it. I wonder how that heavy 12″ skillet affected our gas mileage on the way home from South Carolina.
It has been a champ ever since. At some point, Marc became the cast iron skillet caretaker and he scrubs, heats and oils it after each use. He often says to me, “Take a look at that shiny surface!” with a proud grin. I use it for almost everything. Last weekend, I put the sweet potato above in the skillet and baked the potato to perfection. We were in a rush to have some lunch and head out the door and I left the skillet in the oven and forgot about it. This never happens.
Yesterday I went to use my skillet for dinner and noticed that there was a sticky sweet potato glaze stuck in the bottom of the skillet. I handed it over to the caretaker. Marc scrubbed and scrubbed, then he put water in the skillet and boiled the water and then scrubbed, again. Then he scrubbed with coarse salt. The gooey mess still isn’t completely gone. Marc was ready to throw it away in frustration. Don’t worry, it won’t be thrown out. It’s just the biggest challenge the caretaker has ever faced. After some research, I noticed that while soap is the #1 enemy of cast iron skillets, I read in several places that a little bit for a sticky mess is ok. I plan to give it a go tonight. Mr. Soap meet Mr. Skillet and please be nice.
The good news is that these loaded sweet potatoes are excellent and worth the trouble I got myself into. The creamy sweet potato and fresh toppings are great together. While your potatoes are baking, you make a quick and delicious peanut sauce, chop up the toppings and in an hour, you have a delicious vegetarian (or vegan) meal. Also, I changed the recipe directions to use a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Live and learn.
I recommend going crazy with the toppings. In fact, I made two baked potatoes and kept the same amount of peanut sauce and toppings for four potatoes. Extra peanut sauce makes a wonderful salad dressing or dip for stray carrots, too. And hey, these toppings are almost guilt-free. The more you pile on, the prettier your potato gets!