Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Yellow Cornbread

This is not a southern style cornbread.  I understand that in the south, cornbread is supposed to be made with a) white cornmeal, b) no flour, and c) no sugar.  Occasionally I make the cornbread recipe from Southern Plate, which fits those requirements, but we kind of like this recipe even more.  It's Canadian!  And has flour, sugar, and I like using yellow cornmeal because it's prettier!  My kitchen, my rules, and sometimes we want a sweet, yellow cornbread.

This recipe is originally from AllRecipes and I've been making it for years.  I've tried a lot of cornbread recipes, and this one is pretty perfect: sweet but not too sweet, soft, moist but not too moist, and just generally yummy.  This is a half recipe because a 9 by 13 pan of cornbread is just more than my husband and I can eat before it goes stale.  My one change is to reverse the amounts of cornbread and flour so there's more of the former.  It makes the perfect cornbread and is my go-to recipe.

Yellow Cornbread

1 C yellow cornmeal
1 1/4 C milk
3/4 C flour
1/3 C sugar
1/2 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/4 C vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400 and grease an 8 by 8 inch baking dish.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together cornmeal and milk.  Let it sit for 5 minutes.  Add remaining ingredients, and stir until well combined and smooth.  Pour into prepared baking dish.  Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes.
Yield: About 9 servings.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fantastical Food Fight: Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs

In the wake of the sad demise of Secret Recipe Club, I've decided to join another bloggy cooking group.  This one is called Fantastical Food Fight.  It's pretty different from SRC and I don't know if any other blogging group could take SRC's place in my heart, but I'm happy to give it a go.  With this one, all we have to do is choose and make a recipe from any source that fits a certain category (it can't be a recipe you've shared before), then post about it.  This month's assignment is deviled eggs.
My husband is crazy about deviled eggs and I make them fairly frequently.  Usually they're just the standard deviled eggs, which for some reason I've never posted a recipe for, or Deviled Eyes on Halloween.  My first thought was to make bacon deviled eggs (I even have cooked leftover bacon in my refrigerator right now!), but while briefly snooping around online deviled egg recipes, I found this one for Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs over at Country Living.  All I can say is YUM!  In typical form, I fussed with the recipe a little and added garlic, Worcestershire sauce, and changed the kind of mustard.
Verdict?  Good!  These would be nice to make for a special occasion, maybe Christmas.  Deviled eggs are often a rather impromptu thing I toss together and this recipe needs more planning because it has some ingredients I don't typically have, but that's okay.  It's nice to make special treats sometimes, and as far as special treats go, this one is pretty damned easy to make.  Next time I'll cut back on the cream cheese and add more cheddar so it has more of a cheddar flavor, and I'll use freshly grated cheddar instead of the packaged kind.  The amount of cream cheese in the recipe tasted fine, but it made a LOT of filling as is and adding more cheddar without reducing the cream cheese would just be too much.
Pimento Cheese Deviled Eggs
12 eggs, boiled, cooled, peeled and cut in half
2 oz grated cheddar cheese
3 oz cream cheese (I used the whipped kind)
1/4 C mayo
3 Tbsp diced canned pimentos, plus more for garnish
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp yellow or dijon mustard
1/2 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper to taste
Place egg yolks in a flat bottomed bowl and mash them with a fork until fluffy.  Stir in grated cheddar, cream cheese, mayo, pimentos, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, garlic powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Scoop a little into each egg half and garnish with a diced pimento.  Refrigerate eggs for an hour or so until they're cold all the way through, then serve.

Yield: 12 reasonable sized servings, more like 3-4 Mr Cheese with Noodles servings

Pumpkin Pie Spice

It's so much cheaper to mix up your own pumpkin pie spice than to purchase it!  Plus you can customize the ratio of spices in the mix to your own preferences.  I've only bought pumpkin pie spice once in my life and it was when I was about 16 and very new to cooking.  It sat in the pantry for a long time because I didn't like the flavor, it had too much cloves or nutmeg or something.  This version has lots of allspice because I adore allspice!  
Note that you can use this in pretty much any recipe that calls for cinnamon.  So far I have used it in pancakes, pumpkin bread, apple pie jam, apple dump cake, and several other things.  The one thing I haven't used it for is pumpkin pie, but we aren't big pumpkin pie fans in this house!  Also, the blend stores very well.  Just put it in a glass jar and keep it in a cabinet.
Pumpkin Pie Spice
3 T cinnamon
1 T ginger
2 t allspice
1 t nutmeg
1/2 t cloves
Yield: 1/2 cup

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Secret Recipe Club: Grandma Pizza

Today is the very last Secret Recipe Club post.  I've been a member of the group for 2 1/2 years, but the organizers decided to end it.  Very sad.  It was fun while it lasted.
My blog for this month was Karen's Kitchen Stories.  Unsurprisingly, it's written by a lady named Karen, and Karen has been blogging since 2012.  She's a member of multiple online cooking groups and really likes to bake bread!  Her blog has many tempting recipes.  I chose Grandma Pizza, but Yukon Gold Potato Wedges, Peanut Butter Whirligigs, Buffalo Chicken Baked Mac & Cheese, and Rosemary, Cayenne, and Brown Sugar Cashews all called out to me.  My original plan was actually to make the buffalo mac and cheese, but I had to change plans.  I will still make it sometime soon, along with the cashews for Christmas.
So, Grandma Pizza.  I had never heard of it, but it sure looked and sounded good.  It's a rather rustic looking style of pizza, always rectangular or square, that has just recently become popular in restaurants in some areas, seemingly in the northeastern part of the US.  This particular version has a make ahead pizza crust (convenient!).  No fancy toppings for this one, just fresh basil.  My pizza didn't get the basil because I was headed out of town the next day and wouldn't have been able to use up the rest of the package of basil before I left.  No regrets over choosing this for my last SRC, it was great and I'll make it again for sure! 

Grandma Pizza
1 tsp instant yeast (this is a specific kind!)
3 C bread flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 1/4 C lukewarm water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 C crushed tomatoes
4 oz sliced or grated mozzarella
sliced fresh basil to taste
Mix first 4 ingredients in a large bowl (I used my stand mixer) until it comes together.  It will look shaggy and ugly, that's okay.  Pour the oil into a gallon Ziploc bag and swirl it around to coat the inside.  Put the dough wad into the bag and seal it.  Refrigerate overnight or for 2 days (I did 2 days).
Preheat oven to 375 and plop the dough wad, complete with olive oil, onto a 9 by 13 rimmed metal baking pan.  Squish the dough into a rectangle with your fingers.  The dough may be stubborn since it's cold, but just keep trying.  sprinkle the tomatoes over the dough, leaving a 1/2 inch edge, then sprinkle the cheese over top.  Sprinkle the basil over the cheese.
Bake the pizza until the cheese is bubbly and a bit browned and the bottom is crisp, about 30 minutes.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Jam & Oat Bars

This is a Pioneer Woman recipe.  I stumbled upon it recently, couldn't stop thinking about it, and had the ingredients on hand, so whipped it up!  It's so quick to make, and the bars are wonderful.  For some reason I had been reluctant to make this kind of bar with jam instead of making my own fruit filling, and let me tell you, that reluctance was unfounded.  These bars will be made many times over.  I used Bonne Maman cherry preserves for this batch, but it seems like pretty much any jam would work.  Just don't skimp on the jam!  A full 13 oz jar went into this.
These bars are pretty perfect as is, but I'd like to experiment with it in the future.  Perhaps applesauce in place of the 3/4 stick of butter (it would still have a full stick!) and half the sugar.  Normally I don't worry about healthifying desserts, but almost 2 sticks of butter really is a lot for such a thin dessert and the jam itself has plenty of sugar.  I'll update this after I try it out!  If those tweaks don't work, well, full butter and sugar it is.
Jam & Oat Bars
1 1/2 C oats (I used instant)
1 1/2 C flour
1 C brown sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1 3/4 sticks cold salted butter, cut into cubes (add 1/4 tsp salt if your butter is unsalted)
13 oz jar jam (I used Bonne Maman Cherry Preserves)
Preheat oven to 350 and grease a 9 by 13 dish.  Place first 4 ingredients in bowl of stand mixer and mix until combined.  Add butter and mix until everything comes together in a chunky dough.  Press half of the dough into the prepared dish and spread jam on top, going almost to the edges (jam will burn a little if it touches the edges).  Sprinkle remaining dough on top and press down gently.  Bake until golden, about 35 minutes.
Yield: 12 servings