Monday, November 13, 2006

Two corn breads

When I made a Mexican themed meal for friends a few nights ago, I made two different corn breads– a dependable favorite and something new that sounded interesting.

My usual favorite corn bread recipe is from "The Moosewood Cookbook," the version that was printed in 1977 and is out of print. I received it as a gift from my friend, Marie, in 1991, the year before the cookbook was revised for the first time. It’s a charming cookbook because it is hand-lettered and illustrated by Mollie Katzen, who has gone onto bigger stuff since 1977. Because of the cookbook, I’ve always wanted to go to the Moosewood Restaurant, which is in Ithaca, NY. It’s just a couple of hours away, but somehow I’ve never made it there.

The recipes I’ve tried from the cookbook have had varying results, but the recipe for cornbread is a favorite. Southerners might frown on the recipe because it has a sweetener and it’s not baked in a cast iron skillet. Well, I’m a Northerner and I like it this way. Here’s the recipe:

Delicious Corn Bread
from "Moosewood Cookbook," the 1977 edition
Makes one 8-inch pan – I often double and put in a 13 by 9 pan.

¼ cup honey
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
3 Tbs. melted butter

1. Beat together egg, buttermilk and honey.
2. Mix well together all dry ingredients.
3. Combine all ingredients, including melted butter, and mix well.
4. Spread into buttered 8-inch square pan.

Bake at 425 for about 20 minutes – start checking it earlier.

I chose the second recipe for the sole purpose of using up butternut squash. I belong to a CSA (community-supported agriculture program) and receive a delivery of organic veggies every week in the summer and fall. This time of year always brings lots of winter squash and cabbage, neither of which I care for. As a result, I’m always looking for cabbage and squash recipes I actually like. Unfortunately, this wasn’t such a recipe. Although the bread was colorful, it was less than an inch thick and the texture was spongy. I also would have liked it sweeter, although that may have been my fault, as I used butternut squash instead of acorn. If I make it again, it will be with a lot of changes.

Squash Corn Bread
from "Creme de Colorado Cookbook"
10-12 servings (1 9 by 13 pan)

1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup plus 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp packed light brown sugar (I used dark)
5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp dried cumin
½ tsp dried salad herbs (I don’t know what these were. Used Italian seasoning.)
2 Tbsp minced fresh parsley (used 2 tsp dried)
dash of cayenne pepper (used chipotle)
1 cup spaghetti squash or acorn squash, cooked and mashed (used butternut)
2 eggs
1 cup milk
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup diced Monterey Jack cheese
1 2-oz jar pimientos (could only find a 4-oz jar. Used about ½ and diced them.)
1 4-oz can diced green chiles
¼ cup sliced black olives, optional (didn’t use)

In large bowl, mix together cornmeal, flour, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cumin, herbs, parsley and cayenne pepper. In separate bowl, blend squash, eggs, milk, oil, cheese, pimiento and green chiles. Pour dry ingredients into squash mixture and blend. Pour squash-cornbread mixture into greased 9 by 13 pan. Arrange black olives on top (I didn’t do) and bake at 425 for 25-30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted near center comes out clean.

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