how about that cornbread recipe?

This is a simple, classic recipe for cornbread. Look at the title if you don’t believe me. Cornbread goes perfectly with chili, cornbread goes with ribs, cornbread is fine on its own with butter and jam. Oh so versatile. This recipe bakes in a cast iron frying pan so it gets a lovely crispy crust.

Classic Southern Cornbread

2 cups of stone-ground cornmeal

3/4 cup of all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons of sugar

1 teaspoon of salt

2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon of baking soda

2 cups of buttermilk

1/4 cup of sunflower oil

2 eggs, beaten

Preheat the oven to 450° F. Oil a 9-inch, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet with 2 tablespoons of oil. Sprinkle the pan with a teaspoon of cornmeal. Place the skillet in the oven to heat. Put all the dry ingredients into a bowl and sift with a whisk.

In a separate large bowl, add the buttermilk, oil and eggs and beat well. Add the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until the batter is just combined. Do not over mix! Take the skillet out of the oven and pour in the batter. Place it back in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes — or until browned. Using an oven mitt, turn the skillet over on a plate. Serve with your chili or with preserves and butter. Yumm.
cornbread ingredients

recipe keeper

I am somewhat obsessive about keeping track of recipes. The first thing I do when I find a recipe I like is type it into my computer. Years ago I used a great recipe program, but the software company didn’t keep up with upgrades to computers and operating systems and eventually they went out of business. I was crushed. As I was unable to find another program that I liked, I started using my word processor. It’s a bit tedious, but after much trial and error, I came up with a system for sorting my recipes so that they were easily accessible. I use a MacBook Pro, and with my Mobile Me account I was able to store my recipes on my iDisk. This made them accessible to me from my iPad or from any other computer once I logged into mobile me.  Recently, Apple has chosen to eliminate mobile me in favor of iCloud, and in the process they have eliminated iDisk. I was told that the only way to access my recipes on my iPad was to email them to myself and keep them in my mail. There would be no way to sort the recipes. This was not at all practical, as I have over 850 recipes recorded. Thanks so much Apple!

Someone at the Apple Store suggested that I use a recipe program and app for my iPad – said there were lots of them out there. I was somewhat skeptical because the last time I looked I couldn’t find anything that would work well for me. But what the heck, these things must be improving all the time, right? I did some research online and found what I think is a fantastic program called Pepperplate. This program allows you to easily enter your own recipes and see them in a professional format. You can add recipes from other websites, often with just a click of the mouse. ( You must add a bookmarklet to your bookmarks bar first. ) You can manage your recipes, scale the recipes, plan meals, create shopping lists and access everything on a mobile device. And did I mention that it is FREE? There are other great features, but if you are interested you should check it out.

To celebrate using this website, here’s my favorite recipe for biscotti. The original recipe was published in Bon Appetit magazine in December 1998. I always fine tune recipes slightly, and  rewrite the instructions so they make sense to me.

Cranberry Hazelnut Biscotti

Serving Size: 60 or more, depending on how dough is divided

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

4 large eggs

4 teaspoons grated orange rind

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 cups flour

2 1/2 cups hazelnuts

1 3/4 cups dried cranberries

6 oz. bittersweet or white chocolate

Toast hazelnuts for 15 minutes at 350 degrees.  Remove from oven and place in tea towel.  Wrap up and place in plastic bag for 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove from bag and rub in tea towel to loosen skins.  (Can be done while nuts are warm or have cooled.)  Chop coarsely.

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees.  Beat sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in eggs 1 at a time.  Mix in orange peel, hazelnuts, cranberries and 3 cups flour blended with baking soda and salt.  Stir until well blended.  Add most of remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, stirring until well incorporated.

Transfer dough to floured work surface.  Divide into 4, 5 or 6 pieces.  Knead each piece until dough holds together well.  Form each piece into 9″ x 2” or 3″ logs.  Place 2 logs on ungreased baking sheets, spacing 3″ apart.  Bake until logs are golden and feel firm when tops are gently pressed, rotating sheets halfway through baking, about 55 minutes total.  Cool logs on sheets 15 minutes.

Transfer logs to cutting board.  Cut warm logs crosswise into 1/2 ” thick slices.  Arrange slices cut side down on two baking sheets.  Bake biscotti 10 minutes, turn over and bake until light golden, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Melt chocolate, put in ziplock bag.  Cut tiny hole in corner of bag and decorate biscotti as desired.  Store in airtight containers or freeze.

one portion of log shaped dough
shaped log of dough
ready for the oven
ready for first baking
slicing the biscotti
slicing baked biscotti
baking sliced biscotti
oven full of goodness
quick chocolate decoration
quick white chocolate decoration
ready with a perfect latte
latte and a tasty treat
This biscotti is hazelnut and dried cherry. I had a bit of an accident in the kitchen while I was preparing the dough. My fabulous Beaterblade (professional quality) snapped when the dough was almost ready. Guess it was a little too stiff. I like the blade well enough that I’ve already ordered 2 more. (just to be on the safe side)
broken beaterblade
oops!

summer lunch menu

A few days ago we had guests for lunch – friends Catherine, Jack and Leah. Brad joined us as well. As Leah lives in Istanbul and was flying home soon, I wanted to be sure to include pork in the menu. Pork is not readily available in a Muslim community. I decided on a chilled carrot and ginger soup, a big green salad (with bacon) dressed with a creamy citrus dressing, topped with slices of grilled pork tenderloin. For dessert I baked a lemon loaf cake and served it with blueberries. Since I’m still just getting the hang of blogging, it didn’t occur to me to take any pictures until lunch was all done. Trust me when I tell you it looked good. Here’s the recipe list:

Carrot Ginger Soup

Very, Very Green Salad

Creamy Citrus Dressing

Dry Glazed Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Lemon Loaf Cake

We dined outside to enjoy the gorgeous weather. (Calgary has such a short summer that it’s important to eat outside when you can.) Spending time and sharing a meal with friends – life’s simple pleasures to be enjoyed as often as possible. We had a lovely lunch.

rib dinner

My son, Marc, is home for a visit from Victoria. I thought he might like ribs for dinner, since his girlfriend is a vegetarian and he probably doesn’t cook ribs for himself that often. I pulled some beef ribs out of the freezer, looked up a recipe, and proceeded with preparations for Crushed Peppercorn and Orange Glazed Ribs. There was a dry rub involved, and then a marinade.  The ribs were supposed to cook slowly with occasional basting. Sounded simple enough.

I put the ribs on the bar-b-que and noticed them smoking a bit, but figured they were just burning off a little of the sugar in the marinade. WRONG. I didn’t check them because

1. they were on med. heat,

2. they were supposed to cook for 90 minutes, and

3. I got busy doing something else!

So after 30 minutes when I went to baste the the ribs, imagine my surprise when I lifted the lid to find 2 racks of roaring firewood. At least that’s what it looked like!  It wasn’t a flare up fire burning from below that would char the bottom of the ribs. No – this was 2 racks of ribs burning for all they were worth. I havent seen anything like it since bonfires at Camp Inuspi. All I could do was turn off the heat and laugh.  Then I went to the grocery store and picked up some nice boneless pork chops to throw into the remaining marinade. They took 8 – 10 minutes to cook, which I managed without incident. I left the ribs outside until they quit smoking and then brought them inside for their photo shoot. Here’s what they looked like:-

beef ribs burned beyond recognition

these were beef ribs just 30 minutes earlier

I believe the expression is, “You Win Some, You Lose Some.”