Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bread is my Obsession. Corn Bread is my Life.

Recipe: Cheddar Cheese Corn Bread

Reasons I cannot go vegan:

1. Dairy: ice cream, cheese.
2. Eggs : poached over asparagus
3. Cheesy Corn Bread: contains eggs and cheese

Yes, I realize it's weird that Cheesy Corn Bread has its own category, and bacon has none, but over the last year or so corn bread has become a little obsession of mine. It all started last year when I was working at a small restaurant and I needed to develop a corn bread recipe. I made and tasted cheddar corn bread so many times that blood stream was starting to clog with corn meal and my pores were seeping cheddar cheese. None of my recipes were right for the purpose, however, and another girl's recipe, a girl with a baking a pastry degree, was chosen. Maybe for this reason exactly, I started to search for the perfect corn bread recipe. To show that baking and pastry girl who is boss.

My love for corn bread has not been a long affair. Actually, as all great love stories start, I used to hate it. As a young, and contrary child, I hated everything my mother loved. A Wrinkle In Time, football, coleslaw and cornbread were all things I vanquished only because my mother was fond of them. As an adult, I've come to realize that my mom actually has good taste (except on the coleslaw front. I still cannot get on board with that.) It's surprising that I like cornbread though, because my first experience was so awful. I can't remember if it was homemade or at a restaurant somewhere, but I do remember the taste. Soapy and mealy, even a good batch of chili couldn't mask the taste. I choked down the first bite, twisted my face into an unhappy contortion, and asked to be excused. It was a good ten years before I let the stuff go near me again. (Maybe this is an exaggeration, but I really didn't like it.)

Ah, but as I grew up and my taste buds changed, the ice around my heart melted and I slowly let cornbread back into my life again. Now I cook it often, buy it even more, and my life is much richer because of it.

Though, as many times as I have cooked it I have yet to create a perfect cornbread recipe. I am not a girl with a baking and pastry degree, and while I can execute other people's recipes I do not yet feel confident in creating my own. But, here are a few things I look for in recipes to make sure it's a good one:

1. Combination of regular flour and corn meal: You'll see something like 1 cup of each in the recipe. Corn meal on its own has a really mealy texture, so combine it with flour to get a softer mouthfeel.

2. Sugar! I LOVE LOVE LOVE a sweet cornbread.

3. Combination of baking soda and powder. When I use just powder, I find that it gets a really soapy taste.

And thats about it. Skillet cornbread, buttermilk, jalapeƱo cheddar...whatever it is that you're making, if it has this combination of ingredients you'll be sure to have a winner.

Here's a recipe from, that I enjoy. Feel free to post any comments with your favorite recipes!

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