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!