We are having cornbread with supper tonight, a staple in our house. I can’t make cornbread without thinking of a friend’s description of his mother’s cornbread — “It could choke a horse.” This is not that kind of cornbread. I first came across this basic recipe when I was baking in a local restaurant, and have since tweaked it to meet our tastes (and pantry). Tonight it has some shoepeg corn and chipotle powder in it, to compliment the mojo chicken (baked in mojo criollo) and honey-spiced carrots. It’s moist and light and now even better than ever since I found the best cornmeal around.
There is a farm a county or two to the west that grows and grinds their own corn. At first I thought the really good cornbread was a fluke, but it’s not. It’s the cornmeal. Milk and Honey Farm sells locally (at the Cobblestone Market by Krankies in season) and at their farm. Check them out if you want some top notch cornbread, corncakes, corn muffins, polenta, you name it. While you’re there, get some of the Porto Rico sweet potatoes. You won’t believe a plain baked sweet potato could be so stinking good.
HoneyBea Farm Cornbread (adapted from Moosewood Cookbook)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup honey
3 tbsp butter, melted
Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix buttermilk, egg and honey in another container. This is best baked in a cast iron skillet, so pull out a 9 or 10 incher and use it to melt your butter, swishing the butter around to grease the pan. Mix wet into dry and add butter last. Pour into pan and bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes, depending on your oven.
You can add onions, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, corn, cheese, herbs, spices, and even some sausage crumbles. Just some ideas from our experience, but you go crazy!
On the off chance that you don’t stand around the stove eating the entire pan, it’s good in the morning with apple butter. If you get distracted and let it sit out overnight, cube it, toss with a little olive oil and herbs and bake up some killer soup croutons.