Garden City Telegram

Washing an iron skillet

Dear Heloise: The advice to not use soap on seasoned cast iron is a fallacy. It comes from the days when soaps were commonly made with harsh ingredients such as vinegar and lye. It's perfectly OK to use a gentle dish soap, especially the newer eco-friendly kinds. As a reminder:

1. Never soak a cast iron pan and never put it in the dishwasher.

2. Use wooden or plastic spatulas.

3. Don't "shock" the pan by running cold water into a hot pan.

4. For stuck-on foods, use a mild dish soap and, using a sponge, gently scrub off cooked-on items. You also can use a coarse salt, but season the pan afterward. - Carolyn D., Springfield, Vt.


Dear Heloise: I had a large oval-shaped dining table that required a non-standard tablecloth. After unsuccessful searches of commercial products, I hit upon the idea to modify a cotton/polyester blend king-size sheet. The sewing was simple. I rounded the sheet's corners to form an oval and added lace trim. - Brenda H., Gonzales, La.


Dear Heloise: I'm having a gathering of friends and family for a little holiday celebration, and I would love to get a copy of your yummy olive-nut dip. I made it last year, and it was a huge hit with everyone. Sadly, I've misplaced the recipe. - Laura N., El Paso, Texas

Laura, of all my recipes, this one seems to be a favorite with everyone! It's a great dip for veggies as well as crackers and chips. You'll need:

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

1/2 cup real mayonnaise

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1 cup sliced salad olives (the jar will say "salad olives" and will have bits and pieces of olives and pimientos)

2 tablespoons juice from the olive jar

Dash of pepper (but no salt)

Mix all of the ingredients well and refrigerate for an hour or so.

If you like recipes that the whole family will enjoy that are quick and easy to make, you'll love my pamphlet "Heloise's All Time Favorite Recipes." To get a copy, just send $5 along with a stamped, self-addressed, long envelope to: Heloise/All Time Fav., P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, Texas 78279-5000. 

Favorite recipes become family traditions. Start your own traditions with some of my favorite recipes.


Dear Heloise: I have a question about cooking foods at different times and temperatures when you have only one oven. This is always a dilemma when cooking a large meal, especially at holidays.

I really don't like to cook ahead and microwave it.

What is the best way to do this and still keep food hot and tasty? - Reader, via email

Reader, you might have to start serving a few dishes that can be served cold, or use your microwave more than you'd like to. Maybe guests can help by bringing a dish they cooked that can be microwaved while still warm. Do you have dishes that can be cooked in a pressure cooker or electric skillet? You might try some of these options.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate Inc.