Sunday, April 25, 2010

Corn Cake aka Cornbread

Some time back I was asked to talk about cornbread.  The yummy deliciousness of my southern life.  The crumbly, golden yellow bread that makes me smile throughout the whole meal.  The butter soaking bread that sits at the edge of your plate, waiting to be noticed and appreciated.

When I was a little girl my mother said that I called cornbread cake.  What a smart girl I was....   This stuff can be so delightful that you'll want to call it cake and eat it for dessert but don't do it.  Put it on the plate, let it sop up the gravy, break it up and put it on top of your beans and rice and save room for dessert.  (Dessert is an event in itself!)

But how to make it?  And NOT use a boxed kit?  Well lets see......Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and let the fun begin!

Those of you who already know me know we'll be starting with the basics.  Get out the corn.

What?  I see a look of concern on your face.  You did know that cornbread was made with corn, right?  Oh,  not that corn?  Bless your little heart, I bet you think chicken comes from the grocery store too, right?  Well get out your cornmeal and jump in when you're ready.  But I only thought it fair to show you the truest form of good ole' fashioned cornbread, Darlin'.

Put it in the mill (if you have one) and make your cornmeal.  If you don't have a mill but would really like some fresh-as-a-newborn-babe-cornmeal, then next time you come over for coffee, I'll send you home with a few cups.  See how pretty that looks?

You'll also need some regular flour and I like to use whole wheat flour.  Only the best, you know.  And yes, it gets milled too. 

 You'll want some farm-fresh eggs from a sweet little hen...

Can't you tell just by looking at those eggs that the hen was a happy girl walking her way around the farm, visiting with the girls, finding crunchy bugs to chew on and casting sweet glances in the direction of that no-good rooster?

Moving right along....this wasn't really meant to be a romantic recipe after all.

Measure out one-half cup of sugar
one teaspoon of salt

I use Real Salt.  It is our favorite.  Can you see the minerals in it?  I buy it in a large bag and just keep refilling my small shaker.

And you'll need your trusty baking power (aluminum-free, please) 

While you're busy getting your supplies together, measure out two cups of water and one-third cup of powdered milk. 

Put all of the ingredients in your mixer (that's my Bosch in the background...thanks, Mom! a million times over!) and mix for two minutes.

Grab your large cast iron skillet.....the one your grandmother left you in her will or the one you wisely purchased at that amazing garage sale and put two tablespoons of bacon grease in it.  This is the moment I'll hear plenty of you shouting....I don't keep bacon grease!  We try to stay away from those kinds of fats!  Only hillbillies eat bacon grease!  You have just entered Hillbilly World, Friend.

Put your skillet into the oven and let the skillet get hot.  The grease can't help but melt.  It will be your job to see that the bottom gets covered with the grease once it is completely melted.

Carefully take out the very heavy, very hot skillet.  Pour in your cornbread batter and cook for 15 to 20 minutes.  You'll know it is finished when the top is golden and your mouth is watering.

Now that looks mighty tasty, doesn't it?  Can you see why it makes good cake too?  Put a little butter on it and then drizzle some honey over that.  Oh, Babe, sit back and savor the moment....Corn Cake has just arrived.

Thank you again, Jonny.  You take amazing pictures of your Moma cookin!

The easy-to-read version, dull but easy-to-read:

2 cups cornmeal
2 cups flour
1/2 sugar
1/3 cup powdered milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup oil
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 cups water
2 eggs
2 tablespoons bacon grease

Heat oven to 400 degrees.  Mix all ingredients except for bacon grease in mixer.  Add bacon grease to skillet and place in oven to heat.  Evenly spread out grease and pour in batter.  Bake for 15 to 20 minutes. 


Anonymous said...

I enjoyed reading this almost as much as tasting some. You have SUCH a gift of writing. I smiled through the whole thing..felt I'd been there w/ you.
Btw, love those pictures!
Love ya-Karen

Anonymous said...

What a great blog about corn cake. And thanks for entering the contest to win my new book, "Preparing My Heart for Grandparenting." You can learn more about it here:

Blessings, and happy cooking!

Counting my blessings,

Grandma Tea (Lydia Harris)

Beeb said...

Loved the romance!

WhatIfWeAllCared? said...

Sounds like my Grandma's cornbread! Thinking I'll have to make some tonight!!!