10.25.2010

Sunday Meals from Scratch

Mmm... comfort food bliss.
Sunday Meals from Scratch

Now that my incredibly busy summer has slowed down and a nice, relaxed fall season is in full swing, I've really been enjoying free time on the weekends to whip up some of the meals/treats I've been putting off until time allows. I've been compiling a truly epic recipe book for the past few months, but have noticed it's really skimping in the "meals" department, whereas the "treats" section is bursting from the brim (you know... the brim of the 3-ring binder...). I am definitely more of a baker than a cook, and don't often have many ideas for whipping up a hearty meal rather than, say, a three-layer buttercream cake.

Lucky for me, there's my very own yin to my yang living right with me! He is the savory to my sweet, and is a better cook than I am. Our strengths in the kitchen balance out perfectly, which allowed for us to make a meal of epic proportions for lupper (lunch/supper... it was a 3pm meal!) yesterday afternoon.

The boyfriend suggested we make chili for football Sunday (uuhhh... HOW many more weeks are left???), which I thought sounded like a great idea. I will say I usually prefer a white chili over red, so I wasn't too ecstatic to hear he wasn't up for turkey and white beans, but nevertheless, I knew it would be tasty. He whipped up the chili, which had a mix of so many delicious things: black beans, kidney beans, navy beans, fire-roasted red peppers, fresh green peppers, chorizo and, what I thought was the star of the show, SWEET POTATO. Mmmm... we topped it off with a sprinkling of mild cheddar and a dollop of sour cream and it was ssooooo good. The perfect hint of spiciness. I had to swallow my pride and admit it was better than any white chili I would have made...

While the chili was simmering (and after a completely killer workout on the bike trainer), I started on the corn bread. I knew I didn't want your typical, run-of-the-mill, crumbly, plain corn bread. I wanted to make something a little special. Something with a kick. A corn bread that lies somewhere between savory side and decadent dessert. And so was born my cheesy, spicy-sweet corn bread. Say it with me now, "Drool....."

It was super moist, but dense. It had a kick to it, but also a mild sweetness. It definitely was not the crumbly, cardboard-esque stuff that comes from a box. Honestly, it was the best cornbread I've tasted in a long, long time. Maybe.... dare I say..... EVER?

And you're in luck! Because I will share the recipe wit you. I apologize in advance, as I would've like to take photos and explain each step in the corn-bread-making process, but honestly I just flew right through it and improvised a lot. There was no time for photography, folks. Just see the photo at the top of the post.

(P.S. I posted the above photo to my Facebook profile, and a couple friends/old roommate commented on how they recognized those bowls. We all bought them together when we moved into out first apartment our junior year of college. We bought them at the Dollar Store, and I inherited them after we graduated. They're still holding up today! Hooray for good bargains!)

So, here we are:

Cheesy, Spicy-Sweet Cornbread



Ingredients:

• 3/4 cup all purpose flour

• 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal

• 1/4 cup sugar

• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

• 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• 1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

• 1/4 cup minced jalapeƱo chile with seeds (I actually used pickled hot peppers from a jar in mine, but regular old canned, sliced jalapenos would work fine)

• 1/2 cup frozen corn (thawed)

• Red-pepper flakes, to taste
• 1 1/4 cups buttermilk

• 2 large eggs

• 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled

• 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
• Drizzle of honey



Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter metal baking pan (I used a 12"x8" pan). Whisk flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in large bowl to blend. Stir in green onions and jalapeƱo. Whisk buttermilk and eggs in medium bowl to blend, then whisk in melted butter. Add buttermilk mixture to dry ingredients and stir just until blended (do not overmix). Then stir in corn, red pepper flakes and drizzle of honey. Transfer batter to prepared pan (batter will come only about 3/4 inch up sides of pan).

Bake cornbread until lightly browned on top and tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and cool cornbread completely in pan.




Do you prepare more elaborate meals on weekends than you do on weekdays? What's your favorite go-to Sunday comfort food?

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