Thank goodness I had taken pictures and put them on my hard drive as opposed to just keeping them on my camera's SD card or else I'd have to put this post off yet another day. I had intended to post this yesterday, but forgot the recipe, and of course it wasn't anywhere online. This is not at all how I had intended to open up my post, but there's some insight into the scattered mind that is mine.
So, today is about cornbread. I made some on Sunday and will probably make more tomorrow, because Sunday's cornbread was a gift for a family and its aroma and appearance just makes me want some. Like pinto beans and pound cake, every Southern cook needs a good cornbread recipe in his or her repertoire. I am not ashamed to admit that, until I got Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food, I used Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. I like Jiffy Corn Muffins. Drew was never that thrilled with my Jiffy cornbread. The problem was that I just didn't like a lot of homemade cornbreads. They were dry or sort of bland. What's all this fuss? Alton Brown's cornbread recipe in I'm Just Here for More Food, however, is great. It's moist enough, corn-y, and slightly sweet, but not at all overly so. A side note on this cookbook- I LOVE this cookbook. It's informative and its recipes are set up to give you success. Buy it today. Or ask for it for Christmas.
So, why make homemade cornbread when I can buy a mix I like? Well, for one thing, I actually like the taste of the homemade cornbread better. The mix, also, has hydrogenated oils, and if you don't care about that it's not a big deal, but hydrogenated oils are trans fats, which means they're not exactly found in nature. That's no good if you're trying to eat as naturally as possible.
So, here we are. This cornbread involves maybe one more step than other recipes you'll find because you soak the corn meal in milk before adding it to the rest of the ingredients, but other than the soaking time, it comes together in almost no time flat and bakes fairly quickly, too. I can't express to you how much I love this recipe, except to tell you that it converted someone from disliking cornbread to loving it.
You will need a cast iron skillet for the job. Mine is 10 inches, I think, and works very nicely. Seriously, I guess you could make it in a baking pan or dish, but invest in the cast iron. It's one of the best pans you'll own. It'll become a family heirloom. Also, I use scales to weigh my ingredients in this recipe rather than measuring cups or spoons, but you feel free to use either method. I'll post both.
Cornbread No Chaser
from Alton Brown's I'm Just Here for More Food
1 1/2 cups or 7 1/4 oz. cornmeal, preferably stone ground
1 1/4 cups or 10 oz milk
1 cup or 4 3/4 oz. all purpose flour
1 Tb or 1/4 oz. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. or 1/4 oz. kosher salt (or 1 tsp/ 1/4 oz regular salt)
1/2 c or 3 3/4 oz. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
Place a skillet on an oven rack and preheat to 450 degrees.
In a large bowl, soak the cornmeal in the milk for 15 minutes.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl.
After the cornmeal has soaked, add the eggs and vegetable oil to the cornmeal mixture and beat/stir to combine well.
Pour the cornmeal mixture over the flour mixture and stir to incorporate, taking care not to overmix.
Using an oven mitt, remove the skillet from the hot oven, grease with butter, and pour in the batter. Bake about 25 minutes or until the cornbread is golden brown.
Remove the skillet from the oven, invert the cornbread onto a serving plate and then flip again onto a cutting board. Slice the cake of cornbread into 8 wedges and return it to the plate.
- Maybe I'm weird, but I prefer the cornbread's crust when the skillet hasn't been preheated. So, I just butter the skillet and pour the batter into a room temp. skillet.
- This is so good with beans! Or soup!
- I am assuming this is a regional product, but I use House Autry Stone Ground Yellow Corn Meal. It's great.