Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cornbread Sticks and Fine Art

I tried a new recipe for cornbread from Southern Living and it turned out great. It was one of the few times I've actually used my great-grandmother's cornbread stick pan. I guess I'm always a bit timid of the food getting stuck in all those nooks and crannies. But, this recipe made it so simple to cook in it and gave me confidence that it would turn out right, which it did. I'll use it more often now, following this same technique. I guess that's one of the main reasons I liked this recipe. It not only tasted good, it gave me a way to draw closer to my past.

Now for the fine art. I appreciate a painting or sculpture as much as the next girl, but for this I'm talking about an art form closer to a southern girl's heart--brunswick stew. I can't really give you a recipe, because it's never the same way twice. It's one of those things you have to keep going back to and working with until what is in the pot matches the taste you have in your mind. It depends on region or family tradition.

I have an old recipe hanging on my wall of the best one I've ever had. It came from a little old lady that I knew growing up. I never realized until I got the recipe as an adult that the main ingredient was '1 whole hog head'. Never fear, I'm not that much of a traditionalist. I work hard to get my modern ingredients to match the taste of hers, without having something staring back at me from the pot. I often use a smoked Boston butt as my meat. Last night I tried a packed of prepared barbeque that I bought at the store as my base. It worked fine. I was so glad I'd done that because it cut my time and ingredients way down, and yesterday was the day I needed a little extra help in the kitchen.

That leads me into Thankful Thursday. I have just one big one today. I am thankful that my younger son's accident yesterday wasn't worse than it was. I've never been so glad that he's so hard headed! I'm going to have to buy that boy a helmet. If he gets hurt, it's always on his head. He was playing tag at recess and was running full force (do 9 year old boys know any other way?) when he tried to duck under some playground equipment. Fast boy + metal pole + bad judge of distance = slight concussion. After a long afternoon in the doctor's office and a long night of waking him up every two hours, this mom is also thankful for the nap I am going to take when they're all off to school.

P.S. I told him he is now officially banned from tag. (This is his third whack to the head since school started this year.) But I have to smile when I say it, because I am officially banned from the skating rink. But that's a story for a different day.

Texas Cornbread Sticks

1 c. yellow cornmeal (I used white and the world didn't end)
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. ground red pepper
1 1/4 c. buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

Combine first five ingredients; make a well in center. Stir together buttermilk, butter, and egg. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened. Heat cast iron cornstick pans (you need two) in a 450 degree oven for 5 minutes or until hot. Remove pans from oven, brush lightly with oil. Spoon batter evenly into hot pans. Bake at 450 for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans immediately; cool slightly on wire racks.

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