I wanted to fix one of our favorite dishes for my husband this month as a kind of anniversary and Valentine's dinner combo. Yep, married 46 years this month. Lets see, met when we were 12, married at 18. That means we have known each other for 52 years. And it seems like yesterday we were kids at Copley Junior High School, yes we called it that, not middle school. So to celebrate I’m using not one but three of my go-to pans – all cast iron.
Cooking with cast iron has great benefits, if it is seasoned right, it is non-stick, and it can go from stovetop to oven. And it cleans up without soap! Health benefits? You bet. You can increase your iron intake by eating foods cooked in cast iron. So, please enjoy my oh-so-good cast iron steaks and easy pineapple upside-down cake.

Oh So Good Medium Rare Cast Iron Steaks                                                                                                                                                                      6 tablespoons finely ground coffee
2 tablespoons coarse or kosher salt
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons paprika                                                                                                                                                                                                       1 teaspoon chipotle powder
2 teaspoons ground pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder with parsley
2 teaspoons onion powder (do not substitute fresh onions!)
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons unsweetened dark cocoa powder
Two rib eye steaks, each about an inch thick                                                                                                                              
DIRECTIONS: Mix all of the above ingredients in a medium bowl except the olive oil; I use my hands to break up the lumps of brown sugar. Lightly coat the steaks with extra-virgin olive oil, and then coat both sides of the steaks with the Java Rub. Really massage the rub into the meat, cover with a sheet of plastic wrap and refrigerated for 30 minutes. Remove from fridge and set them on the counter to gradually warm to room temperature 20-30 minutes. Put a cast iron skillet in a 500 degree oven to get good and hot. Set an oven mitt in plain sight so you won’t forget it. Then apply more rub, working it in once more, and let them sit about 5 more minutes                                                                                                                                            Sauce for the Steaks: In a small saucepan, combine the following and set the burner on low. Stir the sauce every so often. Once it’s all mixed and starting to bubble, turn off the heat.                                                                                                                1 tablespoon unsalted butter                                                                                                                                                                          1 tablespoon sugar                                                                                                                                                                                                           1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce                                                                                                                                                                            1 tablespoon Madeira or any semi sweet wine water                                                                                                                                                   
Put on the oven mitt and remove the hot cast iron skillet, placing it over medium-high heat on the stove. Put the steaks in the skillet and let them sit for 90 seconds, then turn them with tongs and let them sit once more for 30 seconds. Turn off the burner under the skillet (make sure you have on the oven mitt) and put the skillet back into the 500-degree oven. Set the timer for two minutes.
When the oven timer goes off, use your hand-with-the-oven-mitt to pull out the skillet. Turn the steaks with the tongs, and then set the skillet back into the oven for another two minutes. Then turn off the oven and take the skillet from the oven, and put the steaks on a plate, top with a small pat of butter per steak. I “tent the steaks loosely with foil” and let them sit for two minutes. Serve with the sauce. Note: Great with wild rice or quinoa and grilled asparagus.
When we were first married, my husband, Phil, told me this was his favorite cake. I always remembered that and try to make it at least once or twice a year for him.

Easy Cast Iron Pineapple Upside-Down Cake
1 cup butter (2 sticks), divided
1 cup dark brown sugar
1 20-ounce can of pineapple slices in juice, drain and reserve the juice 
1 small jar of maraschino cherries
1 15-ounce box of yellow or butter cake mix
3 eggs
1-tablespoon rum 
DIRECTIONS: In a well-seasoned, 10- to 12-inch cast iron skillet, heat ½ cup butter and brown sugar over medium heat until butter is melted; stir constantly. Remove from heat. Drain pineapple juice into a measuring cup and add 1 tablespoon of rum and enough water to make 1 cup of liquid. Add to cake mix in a large bowl with eggs, and 1/2 cup melted butter. Mix well; set aside. Place drained pineapple rings and maraschino cherries in the bottom of the skillet on top of the melted butter/sugar mixture. Top with cake batter. Bake in a preheated 325-degree oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Immediately cover pan with a large plate and invert.

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