This is my favorite pan in my kitchen: a teeny tiny cast iron skillet!
It's no bigger that my hand, just big enough to fry an egg, or one sausage, or four gyoza. It's also the perfect size for the Indian cooking technique known in our house as "bagaar", where whole garlic cloves are toasted in oil before throwing in pinches of mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and turmeric powder. (It's that South Indian flavour combination I talked about in my Lucia & Lucica Indian Fried Rice).
I could never get myself to BUY this pan though, even though it was only a few dollars at the hardware store. That didn't stop me from fantacizing about it every time I saw one though. I wanted it so badly!
And can you believe it: Burning Man furnished it for me! On our last day out there, we went on a scavenger hunt, picking through the things that others had left behind. Not only did I find this little one, I also found THREE other cast iron skillets in different sizes, all in horrible states, but completely curable following this technique. So I got four cast iron skillets at Burning Man, in total probably worth about $100... FOR FREE!!
Oh, and right before Burning Man, we managed to snag this enormous nonstick skillet for free too, off Craigslist.
I make most everything in this big momma -- the fried rice, the hot dogs, veggies burgers... these two are the hardest working pans in my kitchen. And they were both free. So they are doubly-loved. :)
Isn't fate a funny ol' bird?!