It was too much to combine the family love and food love into one post yesterday. Especially given that I whipped up the best corn bread that I ever baked. I am very fortunate to come from a family that enjoys planing and preparing meals. Growing up my dad did most of the cooking (he’s a self-taught amazing cook!) and always planned our menus for the week and posted them on the fridge. I used to love accompanying him on his weekly grocery trip and riding on the edge of the buggy (yes, I call it a buggy and not a shopping cart and yes, I was barefooted sometimes). We sat down for dinner at the table every night as a family. Whether we wanted to be there or not. This was the soundtrack of dinner…
– “No smacking.”
– “No reading at the table.”
– “Get your elbows off the table.”
– “You can’t get up until you finish your broccoli.”
I kid, I kid. There was plenty of that but also lots of conversation.
So in my adult life, I get really excited about dinners with my family. I called my dad yesterday as he was driving back from Florida and told him that I had our menu set for the night. This is monumental in itself because I am usually the most indecisive person ever when it comes to menu planning, what restaurant to go to, etc. but there was no questioning what I wanted last night.
Dad’s Big Green Egg grilled barbecue chicken, my dad’s amazing baked beans (seriously, the best I have ever tasted) and my grandmother’s kale. Remember how I told you how hip my grandmother is? Let me give her even more cred. She was cooking kale before mainstream yuppie America knew what kale was. I grew up eating her kale. She’s always preferred it over collards. I contributed cornbread and an apple crisp to the feast.
I made my way around my plate tasting everything and declared that it was the best meal that I’d had in months. I wish I could jump into the screen right now and pull this plate out for dinner again.
I was craving cornbread. I usually go for sweet cornbread with butter and honey but a big bag of shredded cheddar cheese in my grandmother’s fridge inspired me to step outside of the box and try a new recipe. It was a very good decision. This cornbread was perfect. Not the slightest bit dry, spongy, buttery and cheesy. I am a firm believer that a huge part of the success of cornbread is baking it in a cast iron skillet. The crust was perfect and crisp while the inside was soft and perfectly cooked. Here’s the recipe!
Cast Iron Cheddar Cornbread
(Recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)
1 cup all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
1 cup coarse ground yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (6 ounces)
2 tablespoons butter
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Make a well in center of flour mixture and add buttermilk and eggs. Whisk the buttermilk and eggs together and then gently incorporate dry ingredients. Mix in one cup of cheese, reserving the last 1/2 cup.
Place the butter in a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and bake in preheated oven until butter is melted. Remove the pan from the oven and tilt to coat bottom and sides.
Pour batter into prepared skillet over the melted butter and top with remaining cheese. Bake about 20 to 25 minutes. Start checking it at 20 minutes. It’s ready when a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean and cornbread is golden brown. Let it cool in skillet at least 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving.
Yield: 8 wedges
We dug into the apple crisp a couple of hours later. I liked this recipe. It tasted like there was an oatmeal cookie baked on top of the apples.
A la mode. It’s the only way!
Did you grow up with parents who cooked? Did you do family dinners? And the most important question…buggy or shopping cart!? 😉