Pin It

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

As you know dear Diary, I have been on a quest for a healthier lifestyle most of my life and lately I'm findin' great success with eatin' more vegetarian dishes. Not only have my derriére and grocery bill been goin' South but upon deletin' dairy products from my diet I have noticed no more terrifyin' lactose intolerant episodes. Hallelujah! I simply must share my latest cornbread (and vegan too, I might add) concoction...

How to make Country Veggie Curry over Curried Cornbread Cakes
4-5 servings in less than 30 minutes:
For the cakes:
1 (7.5 oz) box of cornbread muffin mix
1 teaspoon Tandoori Masala Seasoning from the health nut store (or use half coriander and cumin)
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup coconut milk
2 Tablespoons oil
More oil for fryin'
For the curry:
3 Tablespoons oil
1 medium onion, sliced thinly
2 carrots, slices thinly
1 large jalapeño, chopped and leave the seeds in for spice!
1 heapin' teaspoon Tandoori Masala Seasoning (or use half coriander and cumin)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large Roma tomatoes, diced
1 can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup coconut milk
1. Mix the muffin mix, seasoning, salt, coconut milk, and 2 Tablespoons oil together in a small bowl.
2. Heat some more oil in a large 10 inch iron skillet. Drop the batter by tablespoonfuls and fry til done turning once. Set aside.
3. In same skillet add 3 Tablespoons of oil and sauté onion, carrots, and jalapeño while also adding  the seasoning and salt until tender or about 5-6 minutes.
4. Add the tomatoes, garbanzo beans, and coconut milk. Heat till hot and bubbly throughout.
5. Arrange 3-4 Curried Cornbread Cakes on a plate and heap some Country Veggie Curry all over. Garnish with extra jalapeño.

Looks yummy! 

Till next time, 

Love, Di

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

Goodness gracious! Has it been almost two months since my last entry?? Question: Whatever have I been doin' with my sweet little ole time?? Answer: Only workin' on all my other blogs and neglectin' you terribly! Sooo sorry but to briefly catch up I must link to one of the most scrumptious cornbread delights I have ever concocted if I do say so myself, Vegetarian Green Bean Fritters with Luscious Fontina White Sauce! Still workin' hard on that vegan thing but simply loving the vegetarian lifestyle!

Oh, and I have been doing a little socializing at the Crescent Hotel as well!! Check out my blog adventures there...Blogging Adventures at the Crescent Hotel. And, I certainly can't sign off with out braggin' about our new Louvre quality art museum right here in the Southern Ozarks! You must check out what I had to wear to this grand event...What I Wore To Crystal Bridges.  Now, I'm tired of talking about me, me, me... do tell me what do you think of me??? Just kiddin' but, I do love your comments!

Until next time, sweet diary...Love, Di

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

I do find myself attemptin' to keepin' up with the Clinton's these days. Well, that would mean Chelsea and Bill to be more precise. I'm thinkin' about becomin' a vegan. Yes, one of those pesky, skinny no it alls who raves about their enormously increased energy with clothes fallin' off their bony little figures. Not to mention...these kind of people seem to never get to lament about heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, or tons of other chronic ailments happening to them. But, I certainly must perfect a vegan cornbread recipe before this new adventure will ever come to pass, and I do believe I have done just that!

Skillet Vegan Cornbread
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon butter substitute, Earth Balance is a health nut store

1 cup almond milk, unsweetened
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons EnerG Egg Replacement mixed with 2 tablespoons warm water, found at a health nut store

1 1/2 cups medium grind cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Heat canola oil and Earth Balance in a 9 inch iron skillet on medium heat on stove top.
3. Whisk the vinegar into the almond milk so it will curdle.
4. Mix the EnerG Egg Replacement with the warm water.
5. Mix the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium size bowl.
6. Add the milk and egg replacement to the dry ingredients. Stir to mix. Pour into heated skillet.
7. Bake for 30 minutes.

Will keep you posted on the vegan outcome...Love, Di

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

How embarrassing is it when company asks, "Where's the dumplings?" Nothing makes me more mad than when time comes to serve the homemade pot of chicken and dumplings and there are no dumplings to be found. Just a thickened pot of stewed chicken, veggies, and broth! But, that was then and this is Oprah do better when you know better. And, these days I am so excited about knowing how to make the perfect pot of chicken and plumped up dumplings. The secret ingredient is yellow corn meal, of course!

How to make the perfect be here now dumplings with your perfect stewed chicken & veggies:
Have a simmering pot of stewed and deboned chicken on hand with your fave veggies and broth
For the dumplings:
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow corn meal
1 heaping tablespoon of baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups half and half
2 tablespoons of fresh minced parsley

1. Sift together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt.
2. Add the half and half and stir gently to combine.
3. Drop dumplings by the heaping tablespoonful into the simmering pot of stewed deboned chicken, veggies, and broth.
4. Add minced parsley and half cover to simmer for about 15 minutes
5. Check seasonings and wait 15 minutes to more 'where's the dumplings' humiliation!

Until next time...Love, Di

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

On a recent trip to the Smokies, I stumbled upon a Lodge Cast Iron store in the Pigeon Forge, TN area. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. OK, forget the sports cars, diamonds, silver, and gold...just don't try to take away the cast iron family jewels collection I have long been accumulating over the years!

Here's a picture of one of the older ones...thanks, Nannie...I've been taking excellent care of it. Dates back to the Martin Stove & Range Company of Florence, Alabama. And believe it or not, there are folks all up and down the Net who dabble in Swapping & Meeting, and Showing & Telling all about their cast iron siblings. I just like to use mine.
And here's a picture of the newest addition...a round 8 inch cast iron serving skillet with a wooden place holder. I did splurge and buy four of these little jewels...excellent for serving individual portions of something sizzlin' at the table. I don't know if I will ever stop adding to the family.

And, I do agree with the Lodge people...there are three reasons why everyone should learn how to use an iron skillet and know how to make a really good cornbread:

  1. Cornbread is easy to make. Stir the batter up, pour into a skillet and bake.
  2. Cornbread is the best accompaniment to beans and greens for sopping up the "pot likker."
  3. Cornbread is an easy way to transform a simple meal into a rib sticking dinner.  
Till next time...Di

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

My imagination really runs wild when I think about cornbread and Arkansas summertime veggies! There's nothing like mixing the cornbread batter with seasonal produce and coming up with some interesting and delicious cornbread concoctions! Today I have four wonderful lookin' zucchini squash in my fridge and I am really in the mood for some Zucchini Fritters!

I hope I never forget how to make Zucchini Fritters:
 Take four good lookin' zucchini squash, cut the ends off, and peel. Leave a little skin on for more nutrients. Dice the zucchini, add a little salt and pepper, and put in a pot of water to boil until tender. Then, drain and mash them up good. I use a colander and push the extra liquid out as I smash with a rubber spatula.

Mix the dry ingredients: 3/4 cup of cornmeal, 1/4 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon of baking powder, and 1 tablespoon of sugar. I do love using my Nannie's Fire King mixing bowl to do this and I know she's overseeing these little fritters as I stir! Now make a hole or well in the middle of the dry ingredients and add 1 slightly beaten egg and about a 1/2 cup of milk. Mix a little more and then add about a half of a medium onion (chopped) along with the smashed zucchini. Stir a little more and... 

Let the frying begin! Heat a little canola oil on medium high. Cook about 3-4 minutes on each side, drain on paper towels, and serve with this delicious sauce...

Mix 1 cup of sour cream, 1/4 cup of honey, 1 teaspoon (more or less) of cayenne, 1 teaspoon of salt, and 4 sliced scallions...these moist and scrumptious fritters are To Di For!!!

Tomorrow is another day...and I'm already thinking about my next cornbread fritter concoctions. The corn crops are in and okra will be harvested soon...anything goes with cornbread!  

Well, that's as far as my imagination will go for now...sweet cornbread dreams.  Love, Di

P.s. Maybe some strawberry fritters...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

I'm really missing a crab or shrimp shack in our area. However just because we don't have one in the Central or Northwest Arkansas parts of the state (or any other part, as well) doesn't mean me and #3 go without. In fact, tonight is the night for my favorite Shrimp Boil with Corn, New Potatoes, and Homemade Tartar Sauce. And, of course you know what the final compliment to this meal is...Di's Famous Hushpuppies! An easy way to have this seafood feast in less than and hour is as follows:

Shrimp Boil with Corn, New Potatoes, Homemade Tartar Sauce and Di's Famous Hushpuppies:
Serves: 2-4/Prep Time 10 Minutes/Cook Time 30 Minutes
For Shrimp Boil:
4 qts water
3 Tbs salt
1 Tbs Old Bay Seasoning
1 Tbs Zatarain's  Concentrated Shrimp & Crab Boil
8 new potatoes, whole
3 fresh or frozen ears of corn, cut into halves
16 oz jumbo shrimp, EZ peel kind is great

1. In a 6 qt pot bring the water, salt, Old Bay, and Zatarain's to a boil on high heat. Cover and it boils faster.
2. When it boils add the potatoes and cook for about 8 minutes.
3. Then add the corn and cook all for another 8 minutes.
4. Lastly, add the shrimp and cook all for another 5-7 minutes or until the shrimp are slightly pink.
5. Drain and spread onto some newspaper for easy grabbing.

Homemade Tartar Sauce:
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup dill relish
 Juice of one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix all together and chill till ready to serve.

Di's Famous Hushpuppies:
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
3 Tbs onion, chopped
3 Tbs jalapeño pepper, chopped
1 egg, slightly beaten
Buttermilk to thicken
Fresh oil for frying, heated to 350 degrees

1. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.
2. Add the onion and pepper.
3. Make a well or hole in the middle of ingredients and add the egg and buttermilk to thicken. The batter should be thick enough to drop into the oil without all running away from you.
4. Drop by tablespoonfuls or small ice cream scoopfuls into the prepared oil. Turn and fry till golden brown. Keep oil temp correct for perfect frying and don't take out too early or they will be gooey in the middle!

I never met a hushpuppie I didn't love...Love, Di

Monday, June 27, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

     I just found this great Corn-meal Fried Onion Rings recipe from The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten on Foodnetwork! Of course I have been cooking like this for years...battering up my fried thangs with that great Southern staple...cornmeal. Now, even those darn Yankees are gonna know what a nice crunch cornmeal adds to any fried recipe. I really do admire Ina for daring to bring a little bit of South to the Hamptons! She is my favorite cook...East of the Mississippi, that is.

Sweet cornbread dreams...Di

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

I thought I knew everything there was to know about cooking a great skillet of cornbread until I saw Down Home with The Neely's on Food Network the other day. You know Pat and Gina Neely...that sickening sweet little couple from the Memphis area who cook, grill, chat, and love each other sooo much in the kitchen. I think if #3 was in my kitchen as much as Pat (isn't he suppose to be out grilling or something) is in Gina's, there would be an open door for #4 to come rushing in!

Oh well, the forever loving Neely's taught me something new and I do thank them for that...just add some butter to my basic cornbread recipe (in a couple of ways) and watch that little bit of heaven come out of the oven and onto the table for all the family and friends to gush about how really golden and tasty my cornbread has gotten to be! Hum-mm, nice to know that I am still able to adapt and improve upon something I thought I had been doing perfectly all these years.

How to make Golden Skillet Cornbread Inside and Out:
Servings: 8/Prep Time 5 minutes/Cook Time 25 minutes
1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1 tablespoon oil (plus a little extra for coating the 10 1/2 inch iron skillet*)
1 tablespoon melted butter** (plus a little extra for coating the 10 1/2 inch iron skillet)
1 cup buttermilk (or a little extra) if needed to make a pourable batter)

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Heat the little extra oil and butter together in a 10 1/2 inch iron skillet.
2. Stir together the first five (dry) ingredients.
3. In another bowl mix the eggs, 1 tablespoon each of oil and melted butter, and the buttermilk.
4. Make a well or hole in the center of the dry ingredients and add the liquid mixture; stir just till blended. Pour into the prepared 10 1/2 inch iron skillet with the oil and butter heating up.
5. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Invert (or not); cut into wedges. Serve immediately.

*  Gosh, Dear CB Diary...can you ever ever imagine what cornbread would taste like if it weren't cooked in an iron skillet! I pity the poor fool who doesn't own one.
** This is the secret to golden cornbread inside and out...adding butter to the skillet and the batter!

Until next time...Love, Di