Saturday, December 22, 2012

Article: Farmed "Frankensalmon" Coming Soon to a Meal Near You

Meet the Eelpout, whose DNA has been added to Atlantic Salmon to force it to grow twice as fast as normal

Just when you thought farmed Atlantic Salmon couldn't get any worse, the FDA has now taken a huge step toward approval of a genetically-modifed Atlantic "salmon" that grows twice as fast as real Atlantic Salmon. It's called the AquaAdvantage (sounds like a penis enlargement pill), and is made by a company called Aqua Bounty.

Why is the AquaAdvantage a horrible idea? For starters... this new creature is not a salmon. It's an Atlantic Salmon crossed with a Chinook (a/k/a "King") Salmon crossed with an "Eelpout" (see image above). While the health benefits of eating wild salmon are clear, these benefits are more dubious with farmed Atlantic Salmon.

Why? Farmed atlantic salmon is fed a stew of fishmeal from all over the world, as well as gentically-modifed soy and canola oils. Studies have found higher levels of PCBs and mercury in farmed Atlantic Salmon, most likely due to the food they eat. Also, because these farmed fish are trapped in massive pens with way too many other fish, they are also plied with cocktails of antibiotics.

All of this is why I refer to Atlantic Salmon as the "sewer rat of salmon." I recommend you stay away from it. It's a damn shame what we've done to a once-awesome food source.

When I lived in Alaska, I used to watch the sockeye salmon jumping up the Russian River falls after swimming 70 miles up the Kenai River. It was breathtaking to watch these fish try over and over again to leap three, four, and five-foot waterfalls. They'd usually fail the first 10 or 20 times, but most would eventually make it. Once above the falls, they'd spawn in their ancestral waters, and then die--their decaying bodies providing essential nutrition to the rest of the food chain. That food chain in turn provided the food on which their spawn would feed after hatching in the spring.

It's only a matter of time until the genetically-modified AquaAdvantage salmon get out and breed with wild salmon populations.

I'll venture to guess that the Eelpout isn't quite as adept at waterfall jumping... and salmon muscle that's been artificially forced to grow at twice the natural rate isn't going to power those beautiful fish up to their spawning grounds. What happens next? Wild salmon runs that get polluted with AquaAdvantage Salmon DNA will collapse.

So here's the kicker: think about the economics of this scenario. If the only salmon left on the planet are AquaAdvantage... who's making all the money? Where's the incentive to keep the wild stocks safe from genetic pollution?

Just say no to "frankensalmon."

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Recipe: Outstanding Tuna Casserole (gluten free)

Tuna casserole topped with cheddar and breadcrumbs

In my opinion, tuna casserole should be a taste of heaven. I make my tuna casserole from scratch (no cans of soup!), and stick to the classic ingredients (no bleu cheese or olives!).

This tuna casserole recipe is gluten free, but you could just as easily make this recipe full of gluten. To make it gluten free, I use Tinkyada gluten free pasta, and Bob's Red Mill gluten free all purpose flour.

Tuna casserole is all about the fundamentals: properly-cooked pasta, well-seasoned sauce, and appropriately-crunchy cheese and breadcrumb crust.

This recipe calls for making a basic white sauce that includes flavor-building ingredients like tuna, celery, onion, black pepper, and dry white wine. We'll then mix that with the pasta, and top it off with more cheese and bread crumbs (gluten free in our case).

IMPORTANT NOTE: this recipe is really easy! Don't be alarmed by having to make a "white sauce". If you can add hot cocoa mix to boiling water, you can make this white sauce.

This recipe serves 8, and takes about an hour to make. Here's how it breaks down:

Ingredients

  • 16 oz. (dry) pasta (I recommend hollow pasta like macaroni, ziti, or penne, and I use gluten free)
  • 5 tablespoons of butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour (gluten free if you like)
  • 3 cups of milk (or 2 cups milk and 1 cup sour cream)
  • 1 large onion
  • 3 stalks of celery
  • 1 teaspoon (or more) kosher salt
  • black pepper (to taste)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 (7 oz.) cans tuna packed in water (keep the water!)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan/romano cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups breadcrumbs

Procedure

Begin by pre-heating the oven to 350 degrees F. Then boil water for pasta. The pasta water should be well-salted... and taste like an overly-salty broth. Remember, the vast majority of that salt will stay in the water and go down the drain... so don't worry (too much) about your blood pressure.

Lightly toast enough bread for 2 cups of breadcrumbs. This amounts to about two slices of regular sandwich bread, or three slices of Udi's gluten free sandwich bread. Once the bread is done toasting, let it sit on the counter until you're ready for it (just prior to putting the casserole into the oven).

Sauteing the aromatics
While the oven and pasta water heat up, dice the onion and chop the celery into 1/4-inch slices. Begin your "casserole sauce" in a medium stainless steel saucepan by melting 5 tablespoons of butter over medium heat.

As soon as the butter is partially melted, add your aromatics (the onion and celery). Saute the aromatics for 5-7 minutes or until the onions are translucent and just beginning to brown.

Add the flour, and stir for 10 seconds. Add the milk, tuna with water, and white wine. Stir things around for another 10 seconds until everything is well-mixed.

Continue heating the sauce on medium heat to thicken it, stirring occasionally.

The casserole sauce prior to thickening
At some point while your sauce thickens, your pasta water will boil. When it does, toss in your pasta to cook it.

Cook the pasta until it is al dente (it will continue to cook in the oven) and then drain it and toss it lightly with oil to keep it from sticking. Set the pasta aside until you're finished with the sauce.

Once the sauce has just started to bubble and has thickened noticeably, remove it from heat.

Combine the sauce with the pasta. Add in the parmesan/romano cheese and stir everything around again to combine the ingredients.

Season to taste with salt and pepper. For this recipe, I find that I need about 1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoons of table salt), and 1/2 teaspoon of cracked black pepper. Taste this mixture. It should taste GOOD. If it doesn't, add salt until it bursts with flavor.

Casserole mixture ready for topping with
cheddar and bread crumbs
Place the pasta/sauce mixture into a lightly-oiled 9-inch by 13-inch casserole dish. Top it with the cheddar cheese. Chop your slices of bread into half-inch cubes, and add those on top of the casserole.

Bake the casserole in the oven for 35 minutes. Remove it from the oven, let cool for 5 minutes... and serve.

Viva la comfort food!




Saturday, November 10, 2012

Article: New GE Profile Gas Range Comes With a Pleasant Surprise

The GE Profile gas range makes its debut in my kitchen
For those of you who follow this blog, you're probably used to me complaining about my electric glass-top range, the Frigidaire Gallery. Well, the kitchen gods have smiled upon me (or at least smirked): The Frigidaire is dead!

The glass-top range had been basically new when we moved into the house 8 years ago... but my years of restaurant work meant I was always secretly planning for a gas range (while my wife may never believe me, I didn't actually sabotage the glass-top).

My primary complaint about the glass-top electric was that the stovetop burners were completely unresponsive to having the heat turned down. It was literally impossible to cook simple foods like pasta, oatmeal, and rice—without standing there the whole time shuffling the pot between on and off burners. If you left the pot on a recently-turned-to-low burner for even a minute, it would boil over and make a mess.

I toyed with the idea of getting a "real" stove... a commercial range like a Wolf or a Vulcan. But those typically come in 36-inch widths, and I wasn't up for an extensive kitchen remodel just now. Having to move the gas line from the old range location was enough hassle.

Having settled on a household range, I hopped on Consumer Reports to do some research. I  found two likely contenders: the GE Profile and the LG LRG3097ST.

The convection oven will probably never
again be so clean!
My primary selection criteria were high heat and low heat. I wanted enough BTU output to sear foods and boil water without waiting all day. Even more important, I wanted to be able to simmer foods at very low temperatures without burning delicate sauces or making boilover messes.

The GE Profile and the LG LRG3097ST are at the top of their class on both high heat and low heat. They both feature convection ovens, stainless steel finish (to match my other appliances), and decently-rated broilers—which are usually not as good on gas models compared to electric. I also wanted continuous grates on the cooktop to make sliding around heavy pans (like, you know, cast iron) easier.

I had a slight preference for the LG range since it had two high capacity (~17,000 BTU) burners versus only one on the GE model. But when I learned that LG needed to re-tool a factory and wouldn't have them available for weeks, the GE (which could be delivered in 2 days) won out.

A real Lodge cast iron griddle was a nice surprise
The GE Profile has five burners, with the middle burner having an elongated shape. This should come in handy when using my oval enameled dutch oven. It also comes with a custom-shaped griddle that fits inside the four outer burners in a tapering, curved pattern. I was sure this griddle would be some teflon-coated piece of junk that I'd never use. Imagine my surprise when I unwrapped a Lodge cast iron griddle!

After getting things hooked up and tested, I was ready to rock. I gave the griddle a scrub with hot soapy water, rinsed it thoroughly, coated it in organic canola oil, and gave it a good oven seasoning.

While I've only used the new range a handful of times, I've found the central griddle to be perfect for cowboy eggs, french toast, and quesadillas. I was also able to cook the boys' morning oatmeal on a nice low simmer with no boilovers.

I'll keep you informed as I use it more and discover its strengths and weaknesses. For now, I'm a happy camper cooking on natural gas.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Article: Cast Iron Bottle Opener Arrives

Exactly one year ago today, I contributed a hundred bucks to a Kickstarter project called Cast Iron Skillets by Borough Furnace. I wrote about their sustainable approach and ergonomic design in a previous post.

They've gotten their foundry up and running in Syracuse, New York, and are now cranking out cast iron goodies.

As a thank you for helping them get off the ground, I received two cast iron bottle openers. As you can see in the photo, these aren't your standard "church key" bottle opener. They're more the sort of thing that would open the Temple of Thor.

In a quick quality assurance test, both bottle openers performed flawlessly on bottles of Stone IPA.

Good work, fellas! I look forward to seeing you guys get into production with your cookware.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Recipe: Home-Made Chicken Stock

Home made chicken stock simmering in an enameled dutch oven
Stock made from some animal is the base of many a tasty meal. While beef, buffalo, and fish stock make their way into some of the dishes I cook, I find that chicken stock is the workhorse of my kitchen.

We buy organic chicken stock from stores on occasion, but there's no question that home-made chicken stock is tastier, cheaper, and only requires a bit more planning.

The recipe is simple: sauté aromatics and herbs, throw in a carcass from a previously roasted chicken, and then add white wine and water. Season to taste with salt and you're done!

Ingredients

  • 1 chicken carcass from a previous roasting
  • 3 celery stalks
  • 3 carrots
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, crushed
  • salt
  • pepper
  • olive oil
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • a pinch of dried thyme
  • 2 bay leaves

Procedure

Heat an enameled cast iron dutch oven on medium heat. Add a tablespoon or two of olive oil. If you don't have olive oil, canola or some other oil is fine.

Aromatics and the chicken carcass browning
As the dutch oven heats, roughly chop the celery, onion, and carrot into big chunks. Once the oil is shimmering and hot (about 5-7 minutes), toss in the aromatics (i.e. the onion, celery, and carrot).

Sauté the aromatics for 5 minutes, and then add the chicken carcass. Continue to stir things around for another 10 minutes. Ideally, you achieve a bit of browning on the aromatics and the chicken.

Once things are nicely browned, clear a spot on the bottom of the dutch oven, add another tablespoon of oil, and put your crushed garlic into this spot. Also add the black pepper and thyme on top of the crushed garlic.

Stir things around for about 45 seconds to gently cook the garlic. Be careful not to burn or even brown the garlic. As soon as the garlic has cooked gently, immediately add the wine. Stir the contents of the dutch oven around for 30 seconds, and then add the water. Add the bay leaves.

Simmer the broth for 1-4 hours, depending on how much time you have. Season to taste with salt until it tastes like a good broth (a soup you'd want to keep eating).

Strain the liquid into a bowl, cool, and then freeze it in Ziploc bags... or use it in whatever recipe you've got going on.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Article: Colorado Cold Frame

A cold frame built from recycled materials protects herbs and greens after a heavy snowfall

At 40 degrees north latitude, Boulder, Colorado gets the same amount of sunshine as places like Valencia, Spain; Naples, Italy; and Istanbul, Turkey.

Valencia has garnered fame for its oranges. Naples is considered the birthplace of pizza, spaghetti, gelato, and a number of fine wines and olive oils. Istanbul is famed for its cotton, fruits, and olives (as well as a bit of confusion over what the city should be named).

Valencia, Naples, and Istanbul are a gardener's paradise.

Boulder is not.

This habanero plant was among the lucky ones
in this hail storm. It lived to produce a few peppers
before the fall frosts killed it
Here in Boulder we routinely see 90+ mph winds, golf ball sized hail, and 3-foot snowfalls. On top of that, we're a mile above sea level... so the sun shines brightly, the air is dry, and even summer nights get cold in a hurry.

At our house in Boulder, our vegetable garden is a 15 by 40-foot spot that used to be "lawn." No doubt in 1962 when the house was built it was a luxurious carpet of Kentucky blue grass. In 2004 when we moved in, however, it was two-foot-tall crab grass and weeds.

Our second summer here, we covered the grass with mulch to kill it, roto-tilled it under, and began work amending the soil for a garden.

I don't know how many tons of manure and compost we mixed with our native rock and clay before we had something resembling "soil" in our garden. Let's just say it was a lot. Each year we've continued to add organic material: spent grains from the local brewery, a prodigious supply of yard and kitchen compost, chicken coop manure and straw, and just about anything else we can get our hands on to help dilute the clay. Seven years later, we've got a healthy population of worms... and what I'd actually call soil.

But the dirt has been the least of our worries.

Because we can get blizzards and heavy frost into late May, most folks recommend waiting until mid-May (Mother's Day) to plant anything.

A spring thunderstorm drops golf ball-sized
hail on south Boulder
The first year we planted our garden on June 6th (yes, D-Day) just to be safe. We congratulated ourselves for being patient and avoiding a late frost that had struck two nights before. Hours after the last tomatoes were lovingly tucked into the soil, a thunderstorm dropped 4 inches of golf ball sized hail in about 10 minutes. The garden looked like someone had taken a machine gun to it. We had to replant everything the next day.

The next year on the exact same day a windstorm came up and literally blew all of the plants out of the ground. All that was left were a bunch of square holes in the ground.

Over the years... we've learned to cope with the wind and hail. Sometimes, just before a thunderstorm hits, I'll put on a ski helmet and go out to cover the plants with buckets, plywood, or even canoes. Other times, we have to just suck it up and replant after mother nature has finished slapping us around.

In those lucky years when we sneak through to late June with no hail or wind damage, we then confront the searing Colorado heat. Boulder is very dry in the summer. And really hot. Temperatures in the upper 90's are common, and we can have a week or more where we break the century mark.

Our poor plants just don't have enough time to grow a sufficient root network between mid-May and late June... and typically wilt flat every afternoon no matter how much we water them. The strong plants perk up by evening... just in time to gird up for the 60-degree downslope wind that flows out of the nearby snow-capped peaks almost every night.

An early fall heavy snow decimates the yard
Most years, just about the time the tomatoes really start producing in September... we get a hard frost or a heavy snow (or both), and it's all over until the spring.

While the weather is unpredictable, our neighbors are a steady source of wisdom and shared experiences. One evening at the Southern Sun brewery, a few of us were chatting about the challenges of Colorado gardening. Kevin, from a few doors down, offered to lend me his copy of Eliot Coleman's book entitled Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long. In it, I was re-introduced to the concept of the cold frame.

When I was a cook at an adventure lodge in Alaska, we used summer cold frames to ensure a steady supply of fresh herbs for the restaurant. During the Alaskan winter, of course, the cold frames were stored away along with the deck chairs, rafts, and hip waders... but Colorado is a different story.

Here in Boulder, I resolved to reproduce the subtropical climates of Istanbul in my winter back yard—armed with leftover fence posts and two dumpster-reclaimed sliding glass patio doors.

My first task was to find a good spot for my cold frame. Our house faces northeast, so my two choices were the southeast-facing side yard, or the southwest-facing back yard. While I eventually plan to have cold frames on both sides, I decided to start on the southeast side since the landscaping was a little more defined on that side of the house. 

My next task was to figure out a design that would make the best use of my salvaged materials, but also handle these basic requirements:
  • Must be cold hardy. In the past 7 years we've had a few winters with a week or more of -20 degrees F nighttime temperatures.
  • Has some headroom. I wanted a cold frame that could accommodate taller plants like eggplant, jalapeno peppers, and perennial herbs like rosemary. 
  • Is able to blow off steam. Boulder routinely gets 75 degree F days in December, January, and February... so the cold frame had to be able to handle these surprise "summer" days without undue human intervention.
  • Looks sharp. Our side yard has a landscaped walkway that's the main entrance for my wife's tutoring business. I wanted a cold frame that blended handsomely with the existing landscaping. 

Our house is made of brick, so I decided to use the house as the back wall of the cold frame to provide a heat sink. The sliding glass patio door panes I had were 80 inches tall and 32 inches wide. I figured this would give me a cold frame that was roughly 7 1/2 feet long and 2 1/2 feet wide. As luck would have it, I had just enough leftover cedar from a fence project to build two cold frames of this size. 

6" x 6" posts overlaid at the corners
Thanks to a somewhat over-engineered fence project, my fence posts were 10-foot 6" x 6" posts. I stacked the 6x6 posts on top of each other, which gave me a raised bed roughly 11 inches tall. You could use just about anything to build a simple raised bed approximating these dimensions.

From there, I used a combination of 4" x 4" and 2" x 4" leftovers to complete the framing so that one long side of the patio door pane would rest on the outer edge of the raised bed, and the other side would sit close to the house wall. The patio door pane sits at roughly a 45-degree angle when the cold frame is closed. The patio door rests in place through gravity alone. When I want to prop it open, I simply tilt it forward and prop it with a stick.

A lot of cold frame designs call for glass that sits nearly flat, but I've found that the extra head room is good for accommodating the taller plants, and also helps give excess heat somewhere to go. I have a 2" x 2" that sits across the top of the window pane, which seals off a gap of about 1 1/2 inches. In warmer weather, I leave remove the 2" x 2" so that extra heat can escape. 

Once completed, I filled the base of the cold frame with a mixture of 1/4 horse manure and 3/4 soil from the garden. We've planted it with all sorts of things in the past year and a half: romaine lettuce, swiss chard, eggplant, jalapeno peppers, kale, spinach, cilantro, rosemary, Italian parsley, and more. 

Heads of romaine lettuce reach maturity in February
next to perennial Italian parsley and spinach starts
The rosemary and parsley plants are perennials, but we usually plant hot weather stuff like eggplant and jalapenos in early spring for a summer or fall harvest, and then cold-hardy plants like kale, spinach, lettuce, and chard in early fall for a winter harvest. 

What I've found works best is to plant the winter crop in September, so the warm days of fall help germinate the seeds, lead to strong growth, and get the plants established for the winter. Once late November hits, the plants effectively stop growing. These nearly full-grown plants will hang out in suspended animation in the cold frame all winter long... and are tasty and "spring fresh" when you pick them in January or February. 

It's all about experimentation... and this summer I'll be trying cherry tomatoes, tomatillos, and habanero peppers. This fall, I'm looking to break into endive, escarole, and carrots. 

When the winds start to howl, the hail falls, or the mountain snow piles up, I always sleep a little better knowing that some part of my garden is cozy and warm under the protective blanket of my neighbor's patio door, and some leftover fence posts. 

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Recipe: Blackened Chicken White Bean Chili

A bowl of blackened chicken white bean chili

Blackened chicken white bean chili is easy to make, and is the most delicious chili I've ever tasted. This recipe is a slight adaptation of a blackened halibut chili recipe I came up with when I was a cook for an adventure lodge in Alaska. Chicken, pork, or fish are great, and you could also make it with shrimp and/or scallops.

I don't think I've ever served this chili without having people ask for the recipe. Bon Appetit magazine also expressed interest in this recipe back at the lodge, although as far as I know they never printed it.

It's an amazing chili, and goes great with cole slaw and cast iron skillet corn bread. If you're serving a crowd, I think it's a nice touch to serve this white chili along with a traditional red chili.

This recipe serves 6-8 people.

Ingredients

  • 4 large chicken breasts (roughly 1.5 pounds), cubed
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 tablespoons chicken base (paste)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 4 - 15 oz cans great northern beans
  • 48 ounces (1 1/2 quarts) chicken broth
  • 12 ounces grated monterey jack cheese
  • 32 ounces (1 quart) sour cream
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt to taste, roughly 1 teaspoon

Procedure

Begin by adding the chicken broth to a large enameled cast iron dutch oven (or a regular dutch oven if you don't have enameled). Drain the liquid from the great northern beans, and add them to the broth. Gently bring the broth and beans to a boil over medium-high heat.

Blackening seasoned chicken cubes in a cast iron skillet
In the meantime, heat a medium cast iron skillet on medium-high heat. While the skillet is heating up, cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch cubes, and then cover the cubed chicken with the chicken base paste. If you don't have paste-style chicken base, you can simply reduce 2 cups of chicken broth... and use the concentrated results (about 2 tablespoons).

Season the chicken with the cumin and chili powder, and mix things around to evenly coat all of the chicken.

When the skillet is hot (smoke rolling off), add oil, and then toss in the cubed chicken. Blacken the chicken for 7-10 minutes, stirring frequently, until just cooked through. You will likely need to turn down the heat to medium-low to avoid burning, but the idea is to get some nice blackening on those cubes. The blackening helps lock in the seasoning, and also adds a unique flavor to the chili.

Caramelizing the onions
Once cooked through, set the chicken aside in a covered bowl. Saute the diced onions in the same skillet. Add oil if need be, and adjust the heat as necessary to avoid burning. Saute the onion until it is deeply caramelized.

Because there are leftover seasonings in the skillet from the chicken, the onions will look much darker than they ordinarily would. Make sure you don't under-cook them. They should be soft and sweet... which will probably take 15 minutes with regular stirring. Taste them!

Once the onion is caramelized, add about a cup of broth from the dutch oven to help lift the fond that has developed in the skillet. Stir things around for 2-3 minutes, and then add the caramelized onions and liquid from the skillet back into the dutch oven with the beans.

Speaking of the broth in the dutch oven... whenever it begins to gently boil, begin slowly incorporating the shredded jack cheese. Only add a half a cup or so of cheese at a time, and stir it in until it has completely melted into the liquid. Be patient! If you rush this step, you'll end up with gobs of cheese on the bottom of your chili. It'll still taste great, but won't be velvety-smooth like it's supposed to be.

Keep careful tabs on the burner heat while you incorporate the cheese. The chili should be boiling gently during this process.

Once you've incorporated all the cheese, begin incorporating the sour cream. Again, add roughly 1/2 cup at a time. The sour cream doesn't need to melt like the cheese, but it still needs time to heat up and dissolve into the liquid. Don't rush!

Once you've incorporated all the cheese and sour cream, add the chicken and the garlic powder. Add salt to taste. If you like, you can add some heat with a good smokey hot sauce (Uncle Brutha's is the best). You can also add heat with cayenne pepper. If you use cayenne pepper, begin adding it to the broth at the beginning since it takes a while for the heat to come out of the dried, ground pepper.

Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and serve immediately!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Article: Can I Cook with Cast Iron on a Glass Top Stove?

A cast iron skillet sits atop a glass top range

Short answer: Yes!

I get asked this question with some frequency, so I thought I'd create a post on the issue. I've been cooking with cast iron on an electric glass top stove for 8 years.

My particular make and model of stove is a Frigidaire brand Gallery. Quite frankly, I hate it. But the reason I hate my stove has nothing to do with cast iron cookware. Glass top stoves/ranges are slow to respond to changes in burner heat. This is particularly true when you need to lower the heat quickly. I'd much prefer gas.

More often than not, I have to remove the pan from the heat for a few minutes while the burner cools down. Sometimes I place a cool cast iron skillet on the burner to "soak up" the extra heat before I replace the pan that I'm cooking with.

One of the many benefits of cast iron cookware is that it holds and radiates heat very well. If you're cooking on a glass top stove, this means you'll probably need to allow a few extra minutes for your cast iron skillet to heat up. Resist the temptation to turn the burner heat higher than it should be.

So go ahead... toss out your teflon and start cooking with cast iron... even if you cook on a glass top stove.