Sunday, November 26, 2017

Absolutely the BEST cornbread recipe!

My old cornbread recipe - decades old! - is "good."  Then I found another one in recent years that was even better.  It included whole kernels of corn in the recipe.  But, hold on! - Southern Living's 2016 Annual Recipes cookbook, on page 260, has the very best you will ever find!  The secret?  There are two ultimatums if you want superior cornbread:  a sizzling hot cast iron skillet to pour in the mixture and stoneground cornmeal.  This recipe produces a crusty outside and soft inside - positively the best cornbread you will ever eat.

I'm fortunate to have found a grist mill in the Midwest that "sometimes" has enough from their store sales to mail order.  They are only open from about April through late summer.  Bob's Red Mill corn meal is a very close second.

So here is the recipe.

1 1/2 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 3/4 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
3 tablespoons salted butter

Place a 10 inch cast iron skillet in the oven, and preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Heat skillet about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.  Stir together the buttermilk and eggs in a medium bowl.

Add butter to hot skillet, and return it to oven for about a minute, being careful not to let it burn.  Stir buttermilk mixture into cornmeal mixture until just combined.  Pour melted butter from the hot skillet into cornmeal mixture and immediately place in oven.

Bake  until golden brown and cornbread pulls away from sides of skillet - about 18 to 20 minutes.  Remove from skillet (it actually slides out so be careful not to let it go beyond your cooling rack!)  Cool slightly before serving.

The cornbread dressing I made with this recipe was the best I have ever made.  Here is the recipe for that.  You will note there are not amounts given for each ingredient!  Southern cooks just "know" how much to add!

one recipe of the cornbread above
4 or 5 hardboiled eggs, coarsely chopped
4 or 5 pieces of toast made from whole wheat bread, coarsely chopped
cooked, chopped onion and celery that has been through a food processor (or  finely chopped )
a little of the water from cooking the onion and celery
chicken broth
salt and pepper

With your hands, break apart the cornbread into reasonably large chunks.  Add remaining ingredients and thoroughly mix everything together.   It should be moist, but not mushy.  Bake in an oblong baking dish at 350 for about 20 - 30 minutes.

I want to put in a good word for the Southern Living magazine/cookbook folks.  Admittedly, I don't care for the magazine - like many other periodicals today, it is overloaded - in my opinion - with ads and articles that I don't really care for.  But their cookbooks are top notch.  Each year, they print an annual cookbook containing all the recipes that were in the magazine for that year.  Now those are excellent cookbooks to own!  I probably have a dozen of their other cookbooks and I highly recommend them all.  Search Amazon for their titles.

Most of you know, I was born and raised in the South.  I moved to New York State in the early 70's.  In all these years, I just could never learn to like what I call "Northern dressing"!  True Northerners will correct you and tell you the proper term is "stuffing"!  Whatever. . . there is just nothing to compare to good old Southern dressing!

Friday, November 17, 2017

Quick and delicious ways with veggies

Has it really been this far into the month of November without me posting on my blog?  Where does the time go?

Are you looking for a way to get more vegetables in your meal planning and actually enjoy them?  This is a trick I discovered several years ago and I use it almost everyday.

Combine extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk.  Pour over vegetables in a hot skillet and stir to combine.  Use your own preferences to decide how much of each ingredient.  Generally, I use approximately 3/4 cup olive oil, 1/2 cup lemon juice and then salt.  After you use this method awhile, you will find how much of each is right for your tastes.  It also depends on how many vegetables you are cooking. . . enough for one or for a crowd!

I use this on my favorite stir fry:  multiple vegetables of your choice and strips of chicken breast.  I also use it on individual veggies. . . broccoli, Brussel sprouts, fresh spinach, the list is endless.

Quick story!  I was in Wegmans about 5 years ago.  At that time, I wouldn't bring Brussel sprouts into my house if you paid me.  There was a woman near me putting a large bag of them in her cart.  "What do you do with those?" I asked her.

"Oh, they are so good!  You can roast them with olive oil and a hint of nutmeg. . ."  She definitely was a fan of these things!

So I bought a handful and brought them home.  I soon discovered they are much more than the mushy, smelly, tasteless garbage I remembered from long ago!

I will never give up my love of meat.  But more and more I find myself eating vegetarian and loving it.