Saturday, February 13, 2010

Simple, perfect cornbread

Hi Megs,

I thought today you could use a dose of comfort food. Wish you were here to share this with me! Sorry the picture sucks. I still haven't bothered to read the manual to my camera and figure out the low light settings, so I really shouldn't take pictures for the blog at night. Maybe when I finish my PhD I'll get around to figuring it out...

So, Alex and I bought half a pig from a local farm this winter, and I'm telling you, I'm never going back to store-bought. No guilt, no weird processing, no horrifying conditions. Just piggy. Delicious, delicious piggy. So anyway, we've been eating more pork than usual. The other night I decided to make chili, but instead of ground beef I used ground PORK, and instead of kidney beans I used local cattle beans, which seem to be exactly like kidney beans in every way except they're spotted red and white. Also, since it's a small company there's always a rock in there somewhere, which adds some excitement to dinner.

Anyhoo, I was wishing for bread and decided to whip up a batch of cornbread. Now, I feel like lots of people (and restaurants) mess cornbread up because they won't get out of its way. The whole point of cornbread is that it's got simple ingredients and it's easy to make. Cornbread is - and should be - country. This is a recipe I got from my mom, who got it from her mom, and so on. I'm not sure they would even call it a recipe - it's just how you make cornbread, and once upon a time, everybody just knew how to do it.

1 c cornmeal (I REALLY prefer coarse, which gives cornbread its great texture, but to each his own)
1 c flour
1 c milk (or buttermilk, or yogurt, or whatever dairy product you have lying around)
1 egg
1/4 c sugar
1/4 c oil (any one will do, but I usually use some kind of veg oil)
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
extra oil for skillet

Put some oil in a cast iron skillet, and place the skillet in the oven while it preheats, to 350 or 400. Doesn't really matter which. Mix ingredients in a big bowl (no need for a beater, a wooden spoon or spatula will easily do the trick), and pour the batter into the hot oil in the skillet. Bake until done. Eat too much of, preferably with butter.

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