Friday, December 7, 2012

Tom's Excellent Bread

When Tom Eblen walks into the house for Cornbread Supper, he often carries a beautiful, warm loaf of bread. When he leaves after Supper, I've never seen him take any bread home. Regardless of other foods on the table, people gravitate to this delicious round loaf, and systematically reduce it to nothing but a few crumbs.

Tom generously shared the recipe, which he first got from his daughter Mollie, and has tweaked a little. Thank you, Tom.

Good & Easy Crusty Bread

2 cups lukewarm water
1 T dry yeast
1 T sea or kosher salt
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour

Mix water and yeast in a large bowl. After about five minutes, stir in salt, then gradually stir in flour with a wooden spoon until the dough is uniformly moist. Cover the wet dough with a lid, but not airtight. (I usually set a pizza pan on the bowl.)  Let it rise at room temperature until it begins to collapse — at least two hours and no more than five hours.  You can bake after that, but I often find it is better to cover the bowl (again, not airtight) and put it in the refrigerator for at least three hours. It will keep for a week or more. Because the dough is very wet, it is easier to form into balls for baking when it is cold.

When ready to bake, prepare a pizza peel board with some cornmeal. Divide the dough in half; I usually bake one half and leave the other for another day. Dust the dough lump with a little flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and form it into a ball about the size of a grapefruit by pulling the sides down around the bottom, rotating the ball a quarter turn as you go.  Put the dough ball on the cornmeal-covered pizza peel and let it "relax" for about an hour, uncovered. Using a serrated knife, cut a tic-tac-toe pattern in the top, about a half-inch deep, then sprinkle the ball liberally with flour.

Heat oven to 450 degrees with a pizza stone on the upper rack.  Put bread on the stone, then put a broiler pan with a cup or two of water on the lower rack. Cook for about 30 minutes, until the bread's crust is nicely brown and firm to the touch. Remove bread and cool on a wire rack.  (If you don't have a pizza stone, you can put the bread in the oven on a cookie sheet or pizza pan and it will work almost as well.) 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Vegan Wheat Free Corn Muffins

For 36 muffins

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Spray muffin tins with Bakers Joy.

Grind 3 tablespoons golden flaxseed until very fine. Stir thoroughly into 9 tablespoons of water. (This is the egg substitute.)

Mix together in one bowl:
3 1/3 cups gluten-free all purpose flour (I like Bloomfield)
1 3/4 cup unbolted white (or yellow) cornmeal (I like Weisenberger)
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
5 Tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Mix together in second bowl:
Flaxseed mixture
14 ounces refined coconut oil, melted (refined works best at the high baking temperature)
3/4 cup excellent sorghum (I like Country Rock)
2 cups cultured coconut milk
1 Tablespoon each (or to taste): ground coriander, ground cumin, ground cayenne

Stir wet and dry ingredients together thoroughly.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.

Turn out immediately and eat, or let cool outside muffin tins, to prevent steaming the crust.

Crackling Corn Muffins

For 12 muffins

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Spray muffin tins with Bakers Joy.

Mix together in one bowl:

1 3/4 cups unbolted white (or yellow) cornmeal (I like Weisenberger)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Add in:

2 cups buttermilk (I like JD Country Milk)
1 small egg
1/4 pound pork cracklings (or more, or less, to taste)

Stir thoroughly.

Divide dough into muffin cups. Bake about 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from pans immediately to avoid steaming the crust.

Enjoy plain, with butter, or with sorghum butter.


For 36 muffins

Heat oven to 475 degrees. Spray muffin tins with Bakers Joy.

Mix together in one bowl:

5 1/4 cups unbolted white (or yellow) cornmeal (I like Weisenberger)
5 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 Tablespoon salt

Add in:

6 cups buttermilk (I like JD Country Milk)
3 small eggs
3/4 pound pork cracklings (or more, or less, to taste)

Stir thoroughly.

Divide dough into muffin cups. Bake about 20 minutes, until nicely browned. Remove from pans immediately to avoid steaming the crust.

Enjoy plain, with butter, or with sorghum butter.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Fall Cornbread: September and October, 2012

Showing images instead of food descriptions from the last month of Cornbread Suppers.
The now standard Berry Corn Muffins, usually made without wheat flour

Local beets in a flavor nest

An August plate

So many phyto-nutrients, so much crunch

Tomatoes+Corn 4Ever

A favorite, frequently appearing salad in front of Au Naturel Farm baby ginger

Late summer perfection

Greens, tomatoes, cornbread: happiness on a plate

One week, the cornbread refused to budge.

The beauty of radishes from Johnson Avenue

Apple pizza, arugula topping

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

August 27, 2012

The sizable crowd on this warm night included regulars, occasionals, visitors to regulars, newcomers, and plenty of eaters aged 12 and under. It was a night of particularly stunning desserts, including the fabled Kentucky pawpaw, which came with its own set of instructions and won several dazzled adherents after a fresh, custardy, tropical-flavored spoonful.

  • Experimental un-sweet cucumber sorbet
  • Local Green Beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Basil | Oliva Bella Oil, Balsamico Incognito, Salt
  • Watermelon (KY)
  • Gluten Free Blueberry Corn Muffins
  • "Jewish" Noodle Kugel | cottage cheese, cream cheese, apples, pineapple
  • Spicy Refrigerator Pickles
  • Fresh Albacore Tuna Chowder (Not sourced locally :-)  )  *Gluten Free*
  • Cornbread w/Pork & roast summer veggies | GF
  • Cornbread w/Roast Summer Veggies | GF | Vegetarian
  • Cornbread w/HEAT & Roast Summer Veggies | GF | Vegetarian | Jalapeño from Big Ass Fans
  • Chess pie & Lemon pie from Shaker Village
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • Banana Bread (no nuts)
  • (Local) Strawberry (l0cal) Buttermilk Experimental Gelato
  • Peach Kuchen
  • Fabulous Bars | Chocolate, Cherries, Puffed Rice, etc.
  • Extra Chess Pie
  • Pawpaws


How to eat a Pawpaw

  1. Cut in half at the "waist."
  2. Eat carefully with a spoon.
  3. Spit the seeds across the room.  Or across the street.

August 20, 2012

A small group and a lot of good food.

For example:

  • Whole wheat bread ( Weisenberger Mills) | Apple Butter (Reed Valley)
  • Savory Cornbread "Bread Pudding" | Could possibly have some meat (from leftover past cornbreads that we froze) | Hot on the left, Not Hot on the right
  • White bean hummus w/basil
  • Hot Brown Casserole | not vegetarian
  • Local Green Beans, Tomatoes, Basil | Oliva Bella Oil, Miscellaneous Balsamico
  • Nell's Famous Curried Carbanzo Bean Salad | (No Dairy) (Gluten Free)
  • Tonight's Blueberry Corn Muffins are Gluten Free

August 13, 2012

Small group, after a whopper August 7 gathering. School starts August 9 and Cornbread Supper usually changes a little as families get their schooltime routines down pat.

  • Local Ravioli with Potato, Tomato, Onion, Rosemary, Cheese | Lex Pasta, Good Shep Cheese
  • Asian Slaw | Tangy + Sweet
  • Pasta Salad w/Tomatoes, Feta, Olives, Basil, GARLIC
  • Summer Squash & Rice Casserole
  • Something with okra and peppers
  • All vegetarian, no add-ins, GF
  • Blueberry Corn Muffins | Vegetarian | No Nuts | Contain Gluten
  • Apple Pie w/Cheese
  • Peanut Butter Cookies

August 6, 20112

Cornbread Supper visited a historic city street, a legendary goat and goat cheese and sorbet farm, and a fabulous community garden during three Mondays in July, 2012. This week, we came home to 250 Campsie. Huge, whopper, enormous crowd. Not so many food ID slips, but trust us - goodness was on the table, in abundance.
  • Campsie warm beet/onion salad on spicy yellow lentils | vegan
  • Purslane Salad
  • Local Ravioli, Eggplant, etc., Sheep Cheese
  • Beans, green onion, tomatoes, garlic
  • Heirlooms w/House-made pesto
  • Lemon Basil Pesto w/Walnuts | Italian Bread (Weisenberger Mills Flour)
  • Mexican Casserole (spicy) Contains Pork
  • Meatloaf (Beef)
  • Green bean & Cherry Tomato Salad with basil and shallot dressing
  • Cornbread w/no add-ins | GF | Vegetarian
  • Cornbread w/Cheeses | GF | Vegetarian
  • Cornbread w/Cheeses & Sausage | GF | Not Vegetarian
  • Blueberry Corn Muffins | Vegetarian | Contains Gluten
  • Graham Cracker Treats
  • Bannoffee Pie | Cream, Chocolate, Banana, Biscuit Base, Caramel

July 9, 2012

This may have been the single largest Cornbread Supper ever. We don't know for sure, but it had that feel. In the amazing 80 degree weather, with a cool breeze on the front porch, and a strong contingent of 11-and-under, a full table, three birthday cakes, plenty of water, beer, and wine - what a night.

  • Potato Salad w/Celery, Apples, Dill, Parsley
  • Local Beans, Tomatoes, Basil | Olive Oil, Balsamico, Salt
  • White fish salad
  • Summer Fruit Platter
  • Grilled Slaw w/Gorgonzola Vinaigrette
  • Turmeric, Garlic & Herb Couscous w/Seasonal Vegetables
  • Pasta Salad w/Garden Squash, Olives, Almonds, Carrots & House-Preserved Lemons
  • Artichoke Dip
  • Wheat Pasta, basil, squash, garlic, red pepper flakes
  • Summer Soup (NOT vegetarian)
  • Johnson Avenue Peach Salsa ~  a little heat
  • Beet Salad w/Basil & Shallots
  • Corn pudding
  • Corn Batter Bread: 1909 recipe from The Blue Grass Cookbook (Minnie Fox) | Gluten Free, Vegetarian
  • Janice Kay's Cornmeal Muffins w/Reed Valley Orchard Blueberries | Vegetarian, Contain Flour
  • Three Martine's Cakes: Orange, Pistachio, Coconut
  • Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream
  • Peanut Butter Cookies

Friday, July 20, 2012

Can You Believe This? Corn "Butter"

From Gilt Taste, a description of Corn Butter -- essence of corn, cooked until thick, and all it can do to make us happy.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

July 2, 2012

After days topping 100 degrees Fahrenheit, the three hottest days in Lexington history, we decided to have corn, but no cornbread, for this week's Supper. We invited everyone to bring cool dishes, and they did. Lovely.

Is anything cooler than cucumbers? It's not just a saying. They are cool, cooling coolest veggies.

Purslane Salad!

Fruit and Quinoa Salad

Slaw, superb.

Carrot-Beet Salad. No beating this. Coral!

Cantaloupe and blueberries with Helen Corbitt's Poppyseed Dressing

Homemade (warm) zucchini bread, homemade ice cream, homemade blackberry syrup

A fuller list, though we always miss some dishes:
  • Coleslaw with Cranberries & Sunflower Seeds
  • Johnson Avenue Beet & Carrot Salad w/Candied Ginger
  • Green Beans, Tomatoes, Basil, Olive Oil, Balsamico
  • Lentils, Cukes, Cilantro, Garlic, Lime
  • Eggplant Caponata w/tomatoes and capers | Organic Chips (Gluten Free) | Jarlsberg Cheese & Amy's Sausage
  • Corn Salad on Campsie Greens
  • Quinoa Salad w/Fruit & Ginger
  • Purslane Salad
  • Cucumber Salad
  • Cantaloupe and Blueberries with Helen Corbitt's Poppy Seed Dressing
  • Cucumbers Salad
  • Zucchini Bread - Contains Pecans
  • Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream with Fresh Kentucky Blackberry Nectar

June 25 2012

Huge, delicious food, including the world's most beautiful beet jewels.
  • Hillside Heritage Brats
  • Kale Salad, Feta, & Red Onions
  • Thai Curry: Wheat pasta, tamari, ginger, garlic, onion, curry paste, peas, garden green beans!
  • Campsie "Gold of Bacau" Yellow Beans with Vinaigrette
  • Apples off my tree
  • Dressing: Olive oil, Balsamic Vinegar, Garlic, Lemon Verbena, Thyme, Lavender
  • Broccoli Slaw
  • Beets
  • Baby Field Greens, Arugula, Mushrooms, Walnuts, Cucumber, Purple Onion, Parmesan Shavings, Blueberries, Blackberries
  • Red Potato Salad (with walnuts)
  • Organic Veggies Roasted
  • Nearby Beans, Tomatoes, Basil | Italian Olive Oil & Vinegar | Salt
  • Homemade Baked Beans w/Browning's Bacon
  • NYT Best Cornbread | Vegetarian | Gluten Free
  • Blueberry Corn Muffins | Vegetarian | Gluten Free Tonight | Brown Rice & Tapioca Flours
  • Homemade Oatmeal Cookies (not gluten free

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Isabel Fairbairns's (Gangy's) Carrot Cake

Vicky Schankula brought a carrot cake to Cornbread Supper on June 18. This proper British cake, from Vicky's mother's collection, turns all the gooey American notions about carrot cake on their icing-covered heads. It was a toasty brown circle, a single layer, looking chewy and dense, looking a lot like a carrot cake might look if it were flourless.

Sadly, we have no photo. No, wait! That's a good thing, because it means Vicky will need to bring this cake to Cornbread Supper again.

Vicky's—or Isabel Fairbairns's, or Gangy's—carrot cake astounded all who tasted it, and left them hoping for more—or at least for the recipe. Vicky's son, David Schankula, kindly supplied the recipe, and we have Vicky's permission to share it here.


8 ounces of light brown sugar
6 ounces of vegetable oil
2 eggs
4 ounces of whole wheat flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
5 ounces of coarsely grated carrots
2 ounces of chopped walnuts

• Preheat oven to 350°.
• Line round cake pan with greased paper.
• Put sugar in mixing bowl
• Using electric mixer, gradually whisk in the oil, then the eggs one at a time
• Mix together flour, cinnamon, and baking soda.
• Stir dry ingredients into the egg mixtures.
• Add carrots and walnuts.
• Beat all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon. 
• Pour into cake tin. 
• Place in center of oven. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes. 
• Then at 300° for 45 – 50 minutes. 
• Remove from oven. Leave in the cake tin for 3 hours, then turn out onto a wire rack. 
• Peel off the paper. Leave to cool.

Monday, June 18, 2012

June 18, 2012

Warm night, and some—ick—bugs appeared on the front porch, driving most people inside. Small crowd, only four children. Many beautiful foods, particularly green things, and even more particularly, green beans.
  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Pesto Pasta w/Cottage Cheese
  • Black Bean Southwest Salad: black beans, pico de gallo, corn, cilantro, chili powder, cumin
  • Green Bean From Garden, Blanched, w/Rosemary/Garlic Balsamic Ving. Reduction
  • Quinoa w/Dried & Fresh Fruit
  • Cornbread: All Veget, Gluten Free
  • Blueberry-Cornmeal Muffins
  • Green Bean Salad
  • Ramen Salad
  • Plum Upside Down Cake (from backyard!!!)
  • Whipped Vanilla Ice Cream <}
  • Summer Peach Ice Cream
  • Mango Sorbet
  • Carrot Cake

June 11, 2012

Big, wonderful group, with lots and lots of wine, and fewer foods than usual, though still plenty.

  • Windy Corner 3-Bean Salad w/Corn
  • Windy Corner Grain Salad
  • Green Beans Cooked in Ham-Based Broth
  • Cole Slaw with Vidalia Onions & Mango
  • Fennel/Apple/Onion Salad
  • Pasta Salad (Greek)
  • Assorted Local Veggies & Herbs
  • NYT Best Cornbread
  • Corn Muffins w/Black Raspberry

Monday, June 11, 2012

June 4, 2012

Beautiful people assign themselves tasks during Cornbread Supper (and, in the case of Jake Gibbs, beforehand, as prep dishwasher). We hosts consider all of you angels. This week some of the most exquisite food ever brought to Cornbread Supper seemed to cover all surfaces. Yet we have no little food description slips as records. Cleanup was complete! So, from memory, just a few of the wonderful foods:

  • Salads: at least four, maybe as many as six, each fresh and inventive
  • Roast Local Asparagus
  • Lasagne
  • Bowtie Pasta
  • Chicken Soup
  • Potato Frittata
  • Baked Beans with Bacon Crumbs
  • New York Time "Best" Cornbread
  • Janice Kay's (Berry) Corn Muffins
  • Kentucky Bourbon Ice Milk
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ...and so much more

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Baked Beans with Bacon Crumbs

By request, here is a link to the recipe for the dark, ultra-sweet, moderately spicy, definitely pork-y (Browning's country ham and their bacon, too) baked beans served on June 4, 2012:
Bon Appetit's Baked Beans with Bacon Crumbs.

The Cornbread Supper version included two changes. First, the addition of 1/2 cup of chopped roasted sweet peppers. Second, the substitution of Nut Thin crumbs (Pecan and Hint of Sea Salt varieties) for the Panko, making the beans gluten free.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

New York Times "Best Cornbread"

We make this amazing, moist, gluten-free, nearly fat free cornbread often. In 2012, it is the standard, go-to savory type cornbread for Cornbread Suppers. It is marvelous. It comes from the Low Country, coastal South Carolina and into Georgia.

New York Times Best Cornbread

Steve and Rona, Cornbread Supper hosts, love the Low Country. We are happy our signature cornbread has roots in a region we esteem, respect, and cherish. Here's the original story for which our cornbread recipe was an accompaniment:

Food; Coastal Legacy, by Nancy Harmon Jenkins, January 22, 1989.

Thank you, New York Times and writer Nancy Harmon Jenkins.

Monday, May 28, 2012

May 28, 2012

Brutally hot for May, but Cornbread Supper had a festive holiday feel anyway. Kids played outside, while all adults enjoyed the indoor (relative) cool.
  • Rosemary Lemon drop - contains wine
  • Zucchini Cakes
  • London Ferrell Beet Greens cooked with bacon fat & red pepper flakes
  • Indi's Mild Chicken Wings
  • Vegetarian Mexican
  • Grilled Brussels Sprouts and Onions
  • Mulberry Muffins | Hyper-local berries | Janice Kay's Muff Recipe | Vegetarian | With Gluten
  • Vegetarian Hyper-Local Garlic Scape/Parmesan Cornbread | Some Elmwood meal
  • Slightly Bacon Hyper-Local Garlic Scape/Parmesan Cornbread | Some Elmwood meal
  • Gluten Free Mulberry Crisps (One has almonds)
  • Homemade Vanilla (soft) Ice Cream | Chaney's Kentucky Milk
  • Brownies
  • Pumpkin Choc Chip Bread

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

May 21, 2012

Salad season is fully here - YEA! Salads and stews of all types, we have learned, are so delicious with cornbread. For this meal, we had both generous salads and a lovely stew. And, for all who were interested, a trip to the Old Episcopal Burying Ground afterward to eat mulberries straight from the loaded tree. So delicious, so messy!
  • Black Beans & Sausage over Rice
  • Russian Potato Salad: milk, dairy, meat
  • Garlic Sage Gnocchi
  • Elmwood Turnip and Turnip Greens + Bacon
  • Olive & Rosemary Bread
  • Fried Chicken
  • Local Asparagus | Oliva Bella Oil; Salt & Pepper
  • Johnson Ave. Kale, Olive Oil, Dried Cherries, Honey, Garlic
  • Mixed Spring Greens, Onion & Feta Cheese | Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • Mrs. Cyrus McCormick's Batter Bread from The Blue Grass Cookbook (1904; republished 2005 by University Press of Kentucky) Gluten Free, Vegetarian
  • Cornmeal Muffins w/Reed Valley Orchard Black Raspberries | Vegetarian | Contain Gluten
  • Brownies
  • Chocolate Chip Cookies

May 14, 2012

So much good food, and not many food description slips for documentation.
  • Cabbage kohlrabi radish salad with Asian dressing 
  • Cream cheese w/hot pepper jelly 
  • Local Asparagus | Oliva Bella Oil, Salt & Pep 
  • Whole Wheat Rolls | Weisenberger Mills Flour 
  •  Carrot STIX 
  • Braised Turnips w/thyme 
  • NYT Best Cornbread (bacon fat and vegetarian options) 
  • Cornmeal Muffins with Reed Valley Orchard Black Raspberries 
  • Strawberry Bread Pudding | eggs, dairy, honey, strawberries, ginger, mint 
  • Chocolate Chip and Walnut Cookies 
  • Cinnamon Sorghum-Swirl Ice Cream: Sugar, Milk, Cream, Sorghum, Cinnamon, Vanilla (no eggs)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Cinnamon-Sorghum Swirl Ice Cream

This recipe is adapted from Cuisinart's Simple Vanilla Ice Cream.

In a large bowl or giant measuring cup, mix 1 1/8 cup sugar, 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, 2 Tablespoons sweet sorghum syrup, and 1 1/2 cups whole milk until the sugar is (mostly) dissolved. A large whisk works well for this step and the next one.

Add 3 cups cream, 2 Tablespoons vanilla extract, and 2 Tablespoons cinnamon. Stir thoroughly.

Freeze according to your ice cream maker's directions. When the freezer has done its work, pour the ice cream into a cold freezer container that has a tight-fitting lid. Drizzle 2 Tablespoons sweet sorghum syrup across the top. Pull a fork or chopstick through the ice cream to swirl the sorghum through it (but don't really stir, or the sorghum will start dissolving into the ice cream.)

Freeze for at least two hours before serving. Eight hours is even better.

Enjoy! Kids can easily help make this ice cream, and they will enjoy it even more if they are the chefs.

Served at Cornbread Supper, May 14, 2012

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Janice Kay's (Berry) Corn Muffins

In the spring of 2012, as the Cornbread Supper hosts noticed how many wonderful local foods from 2011 rested in freezers, still waiting for their time to shine, a multi-week series of Blueberry Corn Muffins came about. For about four weeks in a row, sweet, tender pastries with a little bit of crunch on the edge and big blueberry spots in the middle graced the Cornbread Supper table. It turned out that some Cornbreadians under the age of six developed an affection for the muffins beyond their usual enjoyment of the cornbreads of the week.

And people above the age of six asked for the recipe, more than once. It is below. But first, a bit more chatter.

The goodness of the muffins comes from two sources. First, Steve Kay's sister-in-law Janice Kay is a fine cook. Janice has professional catering credentials in addition to formal training in nutrition. She teaches people how to cook, with a particular focus on healthy food.

The basic batter comes from Janice Kay's Corn Muffin recipe. The muffin's tenderness comes from just the right blend of ingredients, including plenty of butter, and its delicate sweetness comes from just the right, tiny amount of sugar (1/4 cup per 12 muffins). Also, as with all muffins that contain flour, savvy cooks stir the batter only the bare minimum of turns—even leaving a few streaks of flour unincorporated—so the gluten in the flour will not toughen the baked muffin.

The second source of goodness? Reed Valley Orchard blueberries, frozen at their peak in 2011. They are plump, sweet and juicy. Rona uses about 2/3 cup frozen berries, straight from the freezer, in a single recipe of the muffins.

[Update: we have now made these muffins with Reed Valley Orchard black raspberries twice, and with hyper-local (backyard) mulberries once, and the recipe works for all. Mulberries have such a mild and subtle flavor they get a little lost in the muffin, we hear.]

Rona doubles and triples this recipe with no problem. Although the original recipe is for eight muffins, with young eaters in mind, Rona divides one recipe among 12 muffin cups, yielding mid-size muffins. For Cornbread Supper, Rona typically makes a triple recipe of batter, adds a pint of frozen blueberries (not thawed), yielding a total of 36 right-sized muffins.

One more shortcut: since preparation for Cornbread Supper always runs in a tight timeframe, Rona adds the melted butter to the milk/egg mixture, beats for a minute or so with a rotary beater, and dumps all the liquid into the dry ingredients at the same time.


1 C flour
½ C cornmeal, yellow (Rona sometimes uses white; depends on what's available)
1 ½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
¼ c. sugar
2 eggs
¼ C milk
½ C butter, melt and cool

Sift together dry ingredients. Beat together eggs and milk. Add flour to milk alternately with butter.

Spoon into 8 greased & floured 2 ½-inch muffin tins.

Bake @350 degrees 15 minutes.

UPDATE: Gluten Free Berry Muffins
As weeks go by and we keep making these fantastic muffins (a triple recipe each week), we've also experimented with gluten free flours, and think the muffins have an even better texture when using the lighter GF flours. We have tried several blends, and (in September, 2012) we favor Bloomfield Farm's All Purpose Baking Mix. Here's the tweaked recipe.

1 C gluten free flour
½ C cornmeal, yellow (Rona sometimes uses white; depends on what's available)
1 ½ t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
¼ c. sugar
2 eggs
¼ C milk
½ C butter, melt and cool
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, raspberries, or blackberries

Mix together dry ingredients. Beat together eggs, milk, melted butter, and vanilla. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir lightly. Just before the ingredients are fully mixed, add the berries, and stir just to combine.

Spoon into 8 greased & floured 2 ½-inch muffin tins. For smaller, slightly crispier muffins, divide into 12 muffins.

Bake @360 degrees 15-20 minutes. (Yes, it's 360 instead of 350, because we get in a hurry, and the muffins don't seem to mind.)
UPDATED AGAIN: Two dozen gluten-free muffins at a time, in one bowl!
One more recipe for more volume: this yields 24 gloriously gluten-free Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins. I make this recipe in a large glass measuring cup, one that holds two quarts (8 cups). It's a one-bowl preparation, thanks to the scale I use for the dry ingredients. I make it nearly every week for Cornbread Supper. It goes like this:

Preheat oven to 360 degrees (yes, three sixty.)
Spray two 12-muffin tins with Baker's Joy or grease them well with coconut oil or clarified butter.

In a large glass bowl or—if you're lucky—measuring cup that holds at least 8 cups:
Melt 1.5 cups butter (three sticks); cool to room temperature. (I use the microwave on low setting.)
Add 5 unbeaten eggs
Add 2/3 cup milk
Add 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Beat the liquids with a rotary beater or whisk until well blended. Nicely yellow!

Set the bowl of liquid on a digital scale. Leaving the bowl on the scale, push the button or function that yields zero again.
Add 5.75 ounces cornmeal. Reset to zero.
Add 14 ounces Gluten Free Flour (Bloomfield's preferably; do not use a mix that includes leaveners like soda and baking powder). Reset to zero.
Add 4 ounces sugar.
Add 4 teaspoons baking powder.
Add 3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt.

Remove from scale. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together until just a little unmixed flour remains. Add a rounded 2 cups of frozen or fresh blueberries. If using the scale, add 9 ounces blueberries.

Mix together gently until blueberries are distributed through the dough.

Divide dough among the 24 muffin spots.

Bake at 360 degrees for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

Bridget Kenny's "A" Paper on Cornbread

Note: Bridget Kenny's mother, Sheila Kenny, shared this paper that Bridget wrote for a college course, and for which she received an "A." The paper tenderly blends delicious themes of family, cornbread, Cornbread Supper, and cooking. With Bridget's permission, we share here with Cornbread Nation.

Bridget Kenny
AMS 200
Paper 2
February 28th 2012

For this paper, I decided to interview one of my favorite cooks, my mama, for one of my favorite recipes, her special cornbread. My mother and I both share a common love for food, especially home cooked meals that carry certain comfort and reliability. Cornbread is absolutely delicious, as well as traditionally prepared in homes all across the southern region of the United States. A big reason I think it is probably traditionally associated with the South is because of how cheap the ingredients are, and how most recipes provide large servings. 

When I return to Kentucky from school, I am always eager to arrive home and sit down at the dinner table to feast on the deliciousness of my mama’s cornbread. Both of us share a love of spicy food, and tend to gravitate towards carbohydrates that are more savory than sweet. When I was much younger, my little brother and I were both extremely picky eaters, and that presented a challenge to my mother on what to feed us at dinnertime. It is sort of a running joke within my family that until I was about twelve or thirteen years old, my diet consisted mainly of pinto beans, corn, white rice, or plain baked potatoes. I think of that often when my mama serves corn bread now, because it is something I loved to eat when I was a finicky eater, and it has stood the test of time to be something I still enjoy eating today. 

I had always enjoyed eating my mama’s cornbread, but had never really put much thought into the actual food itself or where she had learned to make it. After our interview, I gained a more in depth view of her cornbread, and what it represented. My mother got the recipe for this particular corn bread from a good friend of hers, Rona Roberts. She tried it at a party called “Cornbread Suppers” that the Roberts host every Monday night in their home in Lexington, Kentucky. The idea of the Cornbread Supper event is to have a drop-in style potluck dinner with close friends and family, who are all welcome to bring a dish, or stop by empty handed to sample others foods and visit with loved ones. My mom said it was the best corn bread she had ever tasted, and immediately asked for the recipe. “Best I have ever had and of course, like most great cooks, she had made up this recipe.... luckily for me, she is a generous soul who was very happy to share it”. I thought this was a very interesting way for my mom to begin making her cherished corn bread dish, and I liked imagining how it had been made up spontaneously, passed from Rona to my mom, and then set upon my dinner table for me to enjoy. I think one of the things that connect us, as a culture is food, and the passing of recipes, not only among families or within cookbooks, but also in the more casual ways of lending a recipe to a friend, or experimenting with ingredients to concoct one’s own version of a recipe.

Mama continued to relate to me how she enjoys making cornbread using the “well seasoned, nine inch cast iron skillet “that belonged to my step-father’s mother, Kentucky native Mary Jane Bowne. Even though Mary Jane died before my mom and step-dad ever got married, she said she feels very connected to her late mother in law whenever she makes her cornbread in the old black skillet. My mom was rather particular in describing her rituals when preparing the cornbread, noting that she always uses a particular wooden mixing spoon (something I instantly visualized because I have used the exact spoon countless times growing up helping her in the kitchen). 

She is also mindful of her ingredients. “I always try to use stone ground, unbolted, white cornmeal from the Weisenberger Mill that is located in Midway, Kentucky, just outside of Lexington. I used to pass this mill every day, taking you and Brody to daycare and just seeing the packaging reminds me of those wonderful days and driving beautiful country back roads!” I had no idea that my mother used a specific cornmeal to make her delicious bread, and it enhanced my feeling of connection to her recipe because I still love driving the old country roads to Midway and passing the hills and horses that make up the farms surrounding my hometown. I think part of the reason her cornbread is so good to begin with is because she uses this fresh stone ground local cornmeal. Cornbread is a pretty simple recipe, but using choice ingredients makes it a much more appealing dish. 

This aspect of her recipe reminded me of how location is key in food ways and it’s link to cultures. By supporting a local mill, my mom has directly linked her preparation of cornbread to the city she lives in, and to the memories of driving my younger brother Brody and I to school. This did provide a slight problem when I attempted to duplicate her recipe in Tuscaloosa however, because I was unable to acquire the same cornmeal and had to settle for a Publix version instead. 

As I attempted to duplicate my mother’s recipe, I found it to be relatively easy, and kind of similar to baking a cake. I opted to add in a few red pepper flakes, just as mom does, but decided not to worry about cheese. I also did not have a cast iron skillet at my house on campus, so I had to settle for a plain aluminum one. This did not affect the taste, although I’m not sure my finished product was quite as good as my mama usually makes. For one thing, she typically serves it with delicious chili, and I was the only one home when I made the cornbread, so I didn’t get the same effect of setting the skillet down on the table to enjoy with friends at a meal. Also, the recipe calls for the mixture to sit for 24 hours prior to being baked, and I did not have enough time to mix it the day before. The recipe was rather relaxed, because it didn’t feature strict measurements or instructions, and had a wonderful experimental theme to it. I felt proud that I was able to make mine with a crispy crust; something my mom prides her cornbread on as well. I did this by following her tip to preheat a couple teaspoons of olive oil before adding the batter, and being extremely attentive to the timer on my kitchen’s oven (I tend to burn things)! 

Both my mama and I love cornbread because of its comfort. “It is soul-food. It is home and country and an unpretentious, authentic and elegant…”, cornbread for my mom and I is not just another side dish but something that is a reminder of fond memories, good friendships, family ties, and southern roots. It makes my mom feel connected to the community in Lexington because she received the recipe from a treasured friend and uses cornmeal prepared at a local mill. It makes our family feel connected because she uses a deceased relative’s cast iron skillet, as well as the fact that she has been able to share what this recipe means to her and pass it on to her daughter. 

I think the identities that can be connected to food and specific recipes can be a huge part of why someone loves a certain dish. Often times it is not just the recipe itself, but who is making it, that makes a profound difference on the nostalgia and comfort a food can provide. Many people in the south eat cornbread, but there is none that makes me salivate or reflect as much as my mama’s special recipe.

May 7, 2012

Many kids, small crowd of adults, perfect night for outside play, ending in a needed drenching rain.

  • Cinco de Mayo Salad
  • Caprese Salad
  • Elmwood Asparagus | Oliva Bella Oil | Salt & Pep
  • Cabbage! (Veg.)
  • Gnocchi with Chard, Cheese, Asparagus, Tomatoes, & Cannelini
  • Two Corn Casserole
  • Spiced Almond Couscous
  • Northern Cornbread—Sweet, Vegetarian, Contains Flour
  • Kale-Corn-Cornbread Strata: Vegetarian | Lots of Veggies | Left Side HOT
  • Apple Crumble—Reed Valley Gold Rush Apples | No Gluten

April 30, 2012

Big crowd, big food to see April out.

  • Lentil Vegetable Soup
  • Elmwood Asparagus | Oliva Bella Oil | Salt & Pepper
  • Hopscotch House Salad | I have nuts, berries, no eggs, and dairy.
  • Couscous w/Dates & Golden Raisins & Cumin
  • Red Lentil & Brown Jasmine Rice Salad
  • Plain Hummus *w/Bluegrass Bakery Multigrain - Bagel Crisps)
  • Roasted Red Pepper Hummus
  • Campsie Siberian Kale w/Bacon Broth, Cranberries, & Some Heat
  • Caper-Onion-Cheese Vegetarian Cornbread
  • Bacon-Caper Berry Cornbread w/Cheese
  • Cold Asparagus Soup (contains Chicken Broth)
  • Vegetarian Blueberry Muffins
  • Home Grown Organic French Fried TURNIPS
  • Great Harvest Mountain Crunch Bread
  • Yoder Apple Butter (No Added Sugar)
  • Tabouleh from Happy Falafel!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

April 23, 2012: Week Three of Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

Many young people, again, even though the weather was a bit chilly for staying outdoors all evening. We had intended to show a Kentucky ag documentary, but the interested people weren't present, so we did not interrupt the pleasant conversation in the living room. Another night, perhaps, in a different room.

  • Local Asparagus (complete with a drawing) | Oliva Bella Oil, salt & Pepper
  • Greens, Squash, Onions, Lentils, etc.
  • Lamb Meatballs & Blackberry Jam (Do together)
  • Couscos Tom & Pinenut Salad
  • Green Salad
  • Rice
  • Guacamole and Chips
  • Cornmeal Blueberry Muffins  (do have gluten)
  • Cheese-Onion Vegetarian Cornbread (Hot on left)
  • Caramel Cake
  • Carrot Cake cupcakes
  • Brownies with strawberries

April 16, 2012

The young person percentage at Cornbread Suppers is picking up, as it tends to do in bright, warm weather. Excellent news for all of us oldsters, who enjoy the children so very much. One of the children this week made her first ever Challah - and it was wonderful! In addition:
  • Curried Lentil Soup 
  • Bean Salad 
  • Cauliflower w/Capers & Raisins & Bread Crumbs 
  • Spinach + Red Peppers + Cucumber + Feta + Olives | Dress it yourself 
  • Winter Greens Salad 
  • Kalamata Olives, Boone Creek Creamery Blue Cheese, Olive Oil, Pecans, Garlic 
  • Multi-Grain Bread, 
  • Homemade Apple Butter (Reed Valley Apples) 
  • Roast Potatoes with Rosemary & Garlic 
  • Roasted broc & Asparagus 
  • Lamb/Black Beans in Hunter Sauce 
  • Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins 
  • Best Cornbread

Thursday, April 12, 2012

April 9: Kids Like Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

A modest crowd this week, with lots of our favorite crowd ingredient: kids. The weather allowed lots of races and invented games in the dead-end street beside the house.

Dinner had a green and crispy-brown theme:
  • Green Tomato Pickles
  • Salad from Fourth Street Farm
  • Sorrel, Avocado, Asparagus, Sugar/Honey in Dressing
  • Pickled Peppers (may be hot)
  • Caprese Salad
  • Biryani | Contains Yoghurt
  • Local Asparagus | Oliva Bella oil, salt & pepper
  • Post-Easter salad
  • Blueberry Corn(meal) Muffins | Vegetarian; these have gluten
  • NYT "The Best" Cornbread | No Gluten | Vegetarian
  • NYT "The Best" Cornbread | No Gluten | Pan greased with bacon fat
  • Missy's Pie in some yummy flavor
One young cornbreadian specifically requested a return of the Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins next week, and so it shall be.

April 2, 2012

Big crowd—based on first-hand witnessing and on the number of napkins washed and folded afterward—but very few food description slips remained after everyone left. Just these:
We attempted a Cornbread Throwdown between two New York Times "best" recipes, one recent, and one from 1989. The only conclusion: "Make them both again." Well, and one more conclusion. Your documentarian, the cornbread maker for the past three years, found the NYT savory, Southern-style "Best Cornbread" perhaps the best she has ever eaten. It will now be the standard "plain" cornbread until further notice—or a new NYT recipe.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Vicky Schankula's Lemon Bars

Steve is always happy when he sees Vicky carrying her famous Lemon Bars toward the table on Monday nights. Lemon desserts follow cornbread very nicely. Steve persuaded Vicky to share her Lemon Bar recipe with all of us.

1. Cut together the following, and pat the mixture into a 9"x13" un-greased pan. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.      
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 2cups flour
2. Mix the following ingredients and pour the mixture over the crust.  Bake at 350 for 20 -25 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the cake with powdered sugar before cutting it into the bars.
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powde
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup of lemon juice
So much lemon-y goodness and flavor from such a succinct recipe. Thank you, Vicky!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Cornbread Wars: Let's Make Peace Monday, April 2, 2012

We will make and share two New York Times recipes at this week's Cornbread Supper: The very recent (April 1) Sam Sifton's recipe, "The Cornbread Matters Most," and the 1989 Nancy Harmon Jenkins recipe, "The Best Cornbread," from South Carolina's Low Country. Betting on both to win!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March 19, 2012

An unusual but fine night. No pictures, and no little food description slips, either. A lively conversation about a new empowerment camp for girls occupied the gazebo section of the front porch.

Other matters, frivolous and weighty both, entertained people around the porch swing and in several groups inside the house. Salads and sweet-milk cornbread filled the table.

People asked for this recipe: Yam and Apple Salad. Made with Elmwood sweet potatoes and Reed Valley Orchard Gold Rush apples, and modified according to the "use what we have" rule, it surprised me with its unusual flavors. Main adjustments I made: added an onion while sweet potatoes roasted; had no grapes; made up a kind of curry using a collection of spices added to the roasting sweet potatoes/onions instead of using curry paste. Spices used: coriander, cumin, cardamom, cloves, ginger.

Monday, March 12, 2012

March 12, 2012

Warm, damp night. Warm, dry wits and happy spirits indoors. Plenty of kids, including a not-quite-six-month-old who loves to party. Goodness at Cornbread Supper.
  • Eggplant Russe
  • Winter Greens & Roots Gratin (All Elmwood)
  • Vegetable Curry | Vegan
  • Salad with pears and balsamic-blood orange dressing
  • Salad with Reed Valley frozen summer fruits
  • Pasta with Pesto
  • Vegetarian Cornmeal Toasts w/Parmigiana Regg | No gluten
  • Vegetable Corn Strata (Eggplant, Sweet Peppers, Onion) | No Gluten | NOT vegetarian | Some bites may be spicy
  • Carrot Cake
  • Sorghum Molasses Crinkles
  • Blueberry Pie
  • Doughnuts

March 5, 2012

We had snow—the only one this winter, as well as a much-needed snow day for kids and teachers. The snow fell on daffodil blossoms and prematurely flowering spring shrubs. The small gathering for Supper included some first timers and featured an abundance of foods.

For example:
  • Risotto with Kale & Butternut Squash *Contains Chicken Broth
  • Rice Carrots, & Onions (A Bit Sweet)
  • Thai Butternut Squash-Peanut Soup
  • Roasted Local Veggies: Butternut Squash, Black Radish, Onion, Tomato | Plus exotic sage, Oliva Bella oil, salt & pepper
  • Wild Rice Salad w/mushrooms & red onion
  • Two big salads
  • Vegetarian Cornbread: Onions, cheese, corn; gluten free
  • "Bacon Plus" Cornbread: Corn, Onions, Cheese; gluten free
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Chocolate Covered Sunflower Seeds

February 27, 2012

Warm, clear night. Plenty of children. Plenty of plenty, including old friends visiting after long absences.

  • Tomato Dill Soup (Jennifer's Famous!)
  • Olive/Cheese Spread
  • Butternut Squash Soup with Kale, Tomatoes, Pasta, Rosemary, Onions, Olive Oil
  • Bean & Beef Soup
  • Stovetop Cheese Grits: Gluten Free, Slight Spice
  • Cornmeal Angel Biscuits: Contain Gluten
  • Pork Taco Casserole
  • Roast Potato with Rosemary
  • Sweet Potato Chili Mac with Chorizo: SPICY
  • Lim Chili Sorghum Glazed Roast Winter Squash
  • Pies: Chocolate, Peanut Butter
  • Popsicles

February 20, 2012

Beautiful food, beautiful people, beautiful conversation. A bounty of desserts!
  • Eggplant stew (veget)
  • Paige's Macaronis & Cheese
  • Black Bean & Sweet Potato Soup (with garlic & onion)
  • Whole Wheat Ravioli with Squash, Mushroom, Dried Tomatoes, & Sage Butter with Sheep Cheese | Lexington Pasta, Good Shepherd Cheese
  • Vegetarian Corny muffins (Italian Sweet Peppers, Onions) Gluten Free
  • Bacon-Corn-Sweet Pepper-Onion Cornbread (some with heat, some with no heat)
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Peanut Noodles
  • Sorghum Swirl Ice Cream
  • Sorghum Peanut Brittle
  • Sorghum Suckers
  • Joe's Famous Brownies (Loaded)
  • Black Magic Brownies (Gluten Free)
  • Brownies

Monday, February 13, 2012

February 13, 2012

Tonight's dinner brought together perhaps the most first-time Cornbreadians all at one time since the very first Supper in March, 2009. Tonight, students from a community-oriented class at Transylvania University, our near neighbor, visited. Young creatives settling into Lexington, or back into Lexington if they grew up here, also came in force. Fantastic!

Beautiful food:
  • Bourbon-Glazed Shrimp (w/Bacon) 
  • Turnip Soup (has bacon) 
  • Maine Apple Sauce! 
  • Wheatberry, (or winterberry) with cherries, candied pecans, and citrus
  •  Pesto Pasta Salad 
  • Peanut Butternut Squash Soup (Thai, not spicy) 
  • Spicy Veggie soup with beef 
  • Holbrook Sorghum (Morgan County) with Homemade Biscuits 
  • Polenta with Elmwood Stock Farm greens and Parmesan 
  • Flourless Chocolate Mocha Cake (eggs) with Whipped Cream 
  • Chocolate Chip Brownies 
  • Oatmeal Cookies 
  • Page Oranges

The Campsie hellebores have been in bloom for weeks already in this crazy winter. We enjoyed them on the table tonight, along with a bit of lavender from the herb garden that has yet to go dormant.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

February 6, 2012

Early arrivals added to a tranquil winter table.

Experimenting with pumpkin, peanuts, and cornmeal led to Pumpkin Cornmeal Muffins (not very sweet) with Peanut Streusel (plenty sweet), all gluten-free.

This dish excited the young child whose grandmother prepared and brought it. I love that, the way the children at Cornbread Supper love and anticipate their own family's food, and wait eagerly for adults to start serving it to them. The children of Cornbread Supper add more than they can imagine - including their own food labels, at times.
  • Bean Soup with Goat
  • White Bean Soup with Swiss Chard & Cabbage
  • Roasted local Turnips, Beets, Sweet Potatoes, Onions | Olive Oil & Rosemary, Salt & Pepper
  • Scosh (in a lovely, precise, young-writer script)
  • Cheese & bread | Marian
  • Buttered Squash Ravioli | Mascarpone, butter, sage, egg yolk, chocolate, !!sorghum!!, balsamic vinegar
  • Sorghum-Ginger Sweet Potatoes
  • Savory Pumpkin Cornbread \ Contains bell peppers, onions, eggs, dairy. Gluten Free. No nuts.
  • Sort of Sweet Pumpkin Cornbread Muffin w/Peanut Streusel (Gluten free; nuts, eggs)