Saturday, December 02, 2006

Thyme Cornbread

I was never a very big fan of cornbread. I had it at restaurants slathered in butter, sure. More often than not though, I preferred filling up with a heaping spoonful of mashed potatoes or thick creamed spinach. Delicious. Cornbread was too often dry and overly crumbly and needed too much butter to be palatable. That, or an attempt to moisten it with jalapeno peppers just made it soggy instead of giving it a due kick.

Well, D is a southern boy who likes his cornbread. Come to think of it, because of his Indiana roots, it’s really corn that he loves-- In any form, preferably fresh. Well, we’re out of fresh corn. The junk the markets are hawking as “late summer” corn is limp, withered and disgusting. So we turn to cornmeal for our corny fixings.

Since D has been around, I have been quite surprised to see just how far cornmeal can go. It appears in our mainstay breakfast pancakes and pops up in light fries like battered calamari. Over time I have begun to think highly of cornmeal and thought maybe cornbread should be given another try.

And so, with a little leftover thyme and a new cast iron pan c/o my mother, some “I  Cornbread” was created. When warm and fresh with a dab of butter this cornbread is moist and delicious. The thyme imparts the perfect herby sweetness to the final product making you think you might just be eating healthy—although even better with a side of cracklings.

Makes about 12 sticks or small muffins. Active time= 10 minutes. Bake time= 15-20 minutes.
Have all ingredients at 70F
*3/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour
* 2-½ teaspoons double acting baking powder
* 1 to 2 tablespoons sugar
* 3/4 teaspoon salt
* 1-¼ cups yellow or white stone-ground cornmeal
* 1 egg
* 2 to 3 tablespoons melted butter or drippings
* 1 cup milk

1) Preheat oven to 425F. Grease cornbread pan with butter (cast iron is best) and place in oven while prepping ingredients
2) Sift flour, baking powder, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl.
3) Add cornmeal and stir until evenly combined (I recommend Sunny Slopes Farms Cornmeal in Indiana, email me for their phone number)
4) In a separate bowl beat the egg. Beat into it the butter and milk.
5) Combine all ingredients with a few quick rapid strokes until evenly combined.
6) Carefully remove pan from oven and place batter in hot pan about ¾ of the way full. Bake 15-20 minutes until just golden on top. Serve immediately.

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