Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Davada's Cornbread

Marsha Bloxsom brought this wonderful, all-corn, buttermilk version of cornbread to Supper on September 16. The Campsie oven had been out for weeks, and the lovely black skillet full of The Real Thing made a lot of people happy. Marsha graciously shared this recipe. And she firmly advises bacon fat instead of peanut oil. (Cornbread Supper hosts agree on this.)

One heavy cast iron skillet 10"
2 cups cornmeal, preferably yellow
2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
6 T peanut oil
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda dissolved in 1 T water
1 tsp salt
Take out the iron skillet.  Put it in the oven and turn the heat to 400°.  If you aren't using cast iron, skip this part because the pan will get too hot.
Sift the corn meal, baking powder and salt into a small bowl.  In a larger glass bowl beat the eggs with a fork until frothy.  Add the buttermilk and 3 T of the peanut oil.
Put the remaining 3 T peanut oil in the hot skillet in the oven.
Working quickly, add the meal mixture to the egg and milk mixture and stir until combined.  Stir in the baking soda.  Pour batter into the hot skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.  Turn out onto a wooden cutting board.  Slice like a pie.
Serve immediately with lots of butter.
Note:  The hot cast iron pan keeps the cornbread from sticking and makes the crust real crunchy.  So good.

Monday, August 19, 2013

2013 Cornbread Supper Field Trips

Announcing the 2013 field trips—when Cornbread Supper leaves Campsie Place and travels to new locations:
Monday, August 26, at Bleugrass Chevre/Miller Trust Farm
FOLLOW THESE DIRECTIONS AND NO OTHERS! NOT YOUR GPS OR GOOGLE MAPS OR...Just these: Come straight out Richmond Road which turns into Athens-Boonesboro Rd. DO NOT try to take the "pretty way" and veer off to the right on Old Richmond Rd. across from Jacobson Park. (You will encounter a closed road and bridge down over Boone Creek and will not be able to get to the farm.)Just keep going straight and you will come to a four-way stop in Athens. Continue for three miles, then turn right on Grimes Mill Rd. There's a white picket fence on the left side of the road opposite the turn. Go one mile and Miller Trust Farm is on the right. There's a black four-board fence, two stone posts with farm name and small signs on the fence. Come all the way back in the driveway and house is on the right. Susan's cell is 859.421.6983
Monday, September 2 (Labor Day) at Jennie Leavell's house, 415 E. High Street, Lexington, Kentucky. Monday, September 9 and afterward, Cornbread Suppers return to 250 Campsie Place. All Suppers start at 6 PM. Bring a dish, bottle, kids, good conversation topics, friends, neighbors, family, a listening ear, or just come. All are welcome. No RSVP needed.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Early summer foods pair so well with corn and corn-y things. This week we had Grits and Greens Gratinée, Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins, and Marsha Bloxsom's Corn Pudding available for testing that theory.
Sour cherries from the Fourth Street community orchard added to a homemade rosemary foccacia from Johnson Street.
Mick brought his famous homemade seltzer.

An astonishing storm formed and "bucketed" water onto all on the porch, so in they came. Some of the youngsters set up camp under the dining room table.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Boone Tavern Spoon Bread, the 1950s recipe

We have tried spoonbreads (soft, luscious, buttery—described by James Beard as a "heavy, dense soufflé") as Cornbread Supper mainstays before, and used great recipes, but the spoonbreads always did what spoonbreads (and soufflés) do: deflate. Through serendipity, and thanks to a Cornbread Supperian, I lucked into the old Boone Tavern (Berea College) recipe for spoonbread, and it is far less droopy. Perhaps Boone Tavern developed an approach to spoonbread that preserves all its goodness while still working for a busy restaurant. In any case, with thanks to Kentucky food and foodways author and guru John van Willigen, here's an excellent recipe for that can be doubled, tripled, and quadrupled to feed spoonbread to a crowd. It did just that on Monday, February 25, 2013.

From Richard T. Hougen. Look No Further: A cookbook of favorite recipes from Boone Tavern Hotel, Berea College, Kentucky. New York: Abingdon Press. 1955.

Southern Spoon Bread
3 cups milk
1 1/4 cups cornmeal
3 eggs
2 tablespoons butter
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1. Stir meal into rapidly boiling milk. Cook until very thick, stirring constantly, to prevent scorching.
2. Remove from fire and allow to cool. The mixture will be cold and very stiff.
3. Add well-beaten egg, salt, baking powder and melted butter. Beat with electric beater for 15 minutes. If hand beating is used break the hardened cooked meal into the beaten eggs in small amounts until all is well mixed. Then beat thoroughly for 10 minutes using a wooden spoon.
4. Pour into well-greased casserole. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees F. Serve from casserole by spoonfuls.

Cooking note: I quadrupled the recipe, used Sunflower Sundries heirloom organic Hickory King cornnmeal (available at Good Foods Market), and made the cornmeal/milk mixture in a crockpot. I mixed the cold milk and cornmeal together, and set the crockpot to cook on high for four hours. I checked it after 2.75 hours, and it was adequately cooked. I let the mixture cool completely and then made the recipe as written.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Spicy Red Pepper Cheese Cornbread

This cornbread, or something like it, remains a favorite of some who come to Cornbread Supper. It's often made by guess, based on what's available, but here's an attempted recipe.

And now the frank admission: This cornbread is a lot of work. We could call it "Arduous Cornbread." You have to love it, or serve it to people who love it, to make it worthwhile.

For one 12-inch cast iron skillet, or one 9-inch skillet and a smaller 6-inch one as well. Should serve 8 - 14, depending on so many factors.

  • 2 ½  cups unbolted white cornmeal
  • 1 ½  cups buttermilk
  • ½ cup browned butter, bacon fat, coconut oil, or neutral oil like grapeseed oil or rice bran oi
  • ½ cup dry curd cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup grated or cubed sharp cheddar, Asiago or Gruyere
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan (save a couple of Tablespoons for sprinkling on top)
  • 1  medium yellow or extra-sweet onion
  • 1 cup (or more) fresh or frozen corn kernels (if frozen, you can add them to the skillet after the onions are finished, to help with warming)
  • ⅓ — ½ cup chopped hot red (or green, or orange) peppers (can be roasted or sauteed with onions, or you can just use them chopped/raw)
  • Coarsely ground black pepper, up to 1 Tablespoon, according to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon soda
  • 1 ½ teaspoons table salt or finely ground salt; 2 ½ teaspoons kosher or coarse sea salt
  • 1  teaspoon sorghum (completely optional - it’s my good luck charm, and an  “encourager” for the naturally sweet tastes in the savory batter)
  • Boiling water


If you think of it and have time, mix the cornmeal and buttermilk together thoroughly in a very large bowl up to 24 hours in advance, and let set at room temperature. Even an hour can help. This “blooms” the meal a little bit, makes the nutrients more accessible, aids with moistness in the final product, and allows the batter to be significantly warmer than if you use buttermilk straight from the refrigerator. Warmer batter cooks more quickly and evenly. But if you don’t have time or don’t remember any of this, the cornbread will still be good.

Chop and sauté the onions in olive or other good oil; add hot peppers if you like. Cube or grate the cheeses. After the vegetables are cooked and the heat is turned off, add the corn kernels if you like.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. (In a hurry, you can bake this at 400, but it can get fairly brown on the outside while remaining a bit more moist than you’d like inside.) Put the skillet in the oven during preheating.

Now things start hopping!
  1. Put the ½ cup neutral oil in the heated skillet, and return the skillet to the oven.
  2. If you have “bloomed” your cornmeal, use that bowl for assembling the batter, adding all the ingredients in number 3.
  3. If  you have not bloomed the cornmeal, in a very large bowl, put these ingredients: cornmeal, buttermilk, cottage cheese or sour cream, eggs, cheeses (except for 2 tablespoons, to be used for topping), sautéed onions, peppers, corn kernels, baking powder, soda, salt, and sorghum.
  4. Stir thoroughly.
  5. Carefully remove the hot skillet from the oven and pour all but about 1 ½ Tablespoons heated oil onto your batter (sizzle!). Leave enough oil to coat the bottom of the skilled lightly.
  6. Give the batter a quick (careful) stir.
  7. If  you have your cornmeal handy, sprinkle about two Tablespoons of it into the skillet, and return the skillet to the oven. (This is optional; if you are in a hurry, just skip this step.)
  8. If your batter feels overly thick and sluggish, add some boiling (or very hot) water; stir, repeat if needed, until batter is medium thick, and, in spite of the chunks of good things in it, doesn’t exert undue drag on the stirring spoon. (Sometimes I do not add boiling water at all - the liquids may have made a runnier batter, or … I don’t know! I just guess.)
  9. Carefully get your skillet out of the oven, and carefully pour the batter into it. (Sizzle!)
  10. Sprinkle with the grated cheese.
  11. Bake for about 25 -30 minutes, until thoroughly golden brown. Better to err on the side of over-done than under-done in this case, as more cooking likely adds more crunch, and probably helps keep the very center from being unpleasantly goopy.
  12. Remove the skillet from the oven, and run a knife around the outside of the cornbread. If you can tell that the cornbread will slip out of the skillet, you can either use a slender spatula to help guide it face-up onto a platter, or you can (extremely carefully!) put a rack or platter over the cornbread and flip it upside down, OR you can simply serve it from the skillet.
  13. If you have leftovers, they keep in the refrigerator for a week, or in the freezer for  six months. Leftover pieces of this cornbread become memorable when you slice them open and slowly (and spottily) brown them (for still more crust) in a hot toaster oven or regular oven.