tea time

Coree’s thinking about…

cornbread.  It’s a good time of year for cornbread.  It’s such a satisfying quick fix for a meal.  We had a good crop of field corn last year and I’m really playing with it now.

Here’s my favorite recipe so far.  All Corn Skillet Bread

Put a large skillet (size 10 I think) with a heaping TBsp of lard, coconut oil, or butter – in a HOT oven (450) to heat up while you’re working.

Combine dry ingredients:

3 cups cornmeal, 1 1/2 tsp baking soda, 1 1/2 tsp salt

Combine wet ingredients separately:

3 cups sour milk or yogurt/water, 3 eggs, a good sized dollop of honey or sorghum.

Combine wet and dry thoroughly.  Take the hot skillet from the oven, pour in the batter and enjoy the sizzly sound.  Bake for 25 minutes or so.  Enjoy.

What’s your favorite?

Love, Coree

cornCher replies…

Coree, sounds like your cornbread recipe is almost identical to the one I use. (I modified the original recipe that I use to all corn, no wheat flour added, since this suits our family’s needs best.)  But currently, we are not using our own meal… we didn’t grow field corn last year at all, and the year before that was a flop. But this year, (you know, this year when everything is perfect…) we are planning to get back into field corn again. It’s just so nice to have around! I would love some of your fabulous seed, if you have some to spare?

We just got our sweet corn planted, so that’s where my brain is right now!  Just think about it… grilled sweet corn with a touch of fresh salsa! I can hardly wait! Or some fresh sweet corn kernels added to your cornbread recipe. Oh, man! I’m an Indiana girl at heart, so a love of corn runs pretty deep! Sweet or field, what an a-maizing crop (har, har, har…)

Robin is thinking goodness Cher, you just completed your first harvest of the season, i know right now you are currently readying yourself for the big trip to Nashville and you have a sense of humor…what a woman!

corn bread, corn meal, field corn, oh yes the time is now. my one addition to the corn bread talk is we grind as you go on the corn meal. lucky enough to have been gifted a table top stone mill, we are able to grind the corn fresh and i feel that adds a layer of flavor and goodness that can’t be beat. the key to great corn bread, as coree mentions, is the hot pan, so you can really grind the meal while you give that skillet a good long heating.  our farm corn is the red bloody butcher, so the corn bread comes out this delightful purple color, a mix of the red corn and farm fresh eggs with their deep almost orange color, truly a sight to behold.

right now :: in the kitchen

IMG_2376The clash of the seasons; a baked sweet potato (the remains of winter) with a healthy dollop of butter, along side (just picked) seared asparagus and a morel mushroom fried in butter. Sprinkle on a little salt, and you’ve just found heaven.

This morning, my boy Ira found five morels… “One for each member of the family” says he. So we cooked them whole, and doled them out accordingly, one on each plate. What a gracious fellow, sharing such a treat with his family.

right now: in the kitchen

We’re enjoying a pleasant, inexpensive release from the early Spring dietary doldrums with Spring Rolls.

Wrappers are affordable, available at any larger grocery with a reasonable “international food” section (Kroger had them).  The ingredients are simple, no preservatives.

And the kids enjoy helping make them, which is a plus.

spring rolls

Here’s the deal:

Prep out all your fillings first.

  • We like to add a little starch to bulk it up – leftover rice or noodles
  • Some greens – lettuce is great if you have any, but besides that there’s sorrel, cilantro, and chickweed that all survive the winter and make a nice bright tasting combination.  The mint sprouting out of control in the garden is very good too.
  • Something crunchy – sticks of carrot or radish, maybe even salad turnip.  Even kimchi can work.
  • A protein – we use sardines or canned salmon.  Smoked salmon is deluxe, and Avocado is great.

So , we lay all these things out in little piles or bowls – wet a towel to work on, and heat a large stainless skillet full of water – just to warmish hot – still touchable.

The rice wrappers come as flat brittle sheets.  Immersing them in the warm water for about 10-15 seconds softens them.  We pull one out, spread it on the wet towel, and layer a band of all our fresh goodies on.  Someone puts another rice wrapper in the pan while the last one gets rolled into a pretty little wrap and stashed on another plate, with another wet towel on it.   Wet towels are helpful because the wrappers get sticky.

If this sounds like a lot of work, it really isn’t.  How many towels do we use in the kitchen in a day?  How many bowls and plates?  There’s no cooking involved here – no big pans other than the one used to soften the wrappers, and it doesn’t get dirty, just wet.

Once you’ve got a good big pile of wrappers, fold the damp towel over them and whip up a dipping sauce.  Again – use what you have.

Chopped garlic and ginger are standards here.  Mix that with tahini or peanut butter, some toasted sesame oil, hot sauce if your kids are agreeable, soy sauce or tamari, and lemon juice or rice vinegar.  Add water to make the right consistency and just keep tasting it until it’s real good.

Dig in!