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Thursday, December 26, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diary...

Well, we did it, finally! Yes, we cooked a non traditional Christmas right out on the back veranda. The only thing bad about our holiday meal was my sweet lil' pups were watching in agony wanting to partake of our 'to Di for' feast. They did manage to sucker us out of a few hushpuppies and sweet potatoe fries however, no go on the Aussie Beer battered fried catfish we served up! It was absolutely Di vine! Baked beans and homemade tartar sauce were big hits as well. Hope y'all had a very Merry Christmas meal and I do believe we'll go even more non traditional for Easter!!!

Until next time, sweet Diary...May all your cornbread dreams come true, 

Love, Di

...and here's how to make that Aussie Beer Battered Catfish:

4 big ole catfish fillets
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
Salt and pepper
1 cup flour
More salt and pepper
1(12)oz beer 

1. First coat the fillets in cornmeal
2.  Salt and pepper to taste
3.  Mix flour, more salt and pepper, and beer together in a bowl. Dredge fish in batter and shake off excess. Fry at 375 degrees in a big pot of clean vegetable oil till brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels. And, don't forget to serve up those little excess crispys!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Dear CB Diary...

Just made the most delightful ~to Di for~ Jalapeño Sour Cream Cornbread to go with my hearty Turkey Chili today. This recipe makes a whopping 12 servings' and is ready in 45 minutes. Also, handy if you (heaven forbid ) find no buttermilk in the fridge.  Step on outta the box and try this scrumptious recipe which has all the right flavorsin one little pan. Corn, cheese, jalapeño, sour cream, yum yum!!! I've learned sooooo many ways to pretty up my cornbread that I know my Nannie would be proud of her middle granddaughter! 

How to make Jalapeño Sour Cream  Cornbread...
1 1/4 c yellow cornmeal
1 c all-purpose flour
1 ts baking powder
1 ts baking soda 
1 ts salt
1 cup sour cream
1 cup cream style corn
1/4 cup jalapeño, seeded & chopped
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 eggs, slightly beaten
2 tablespoons bell pepper, chopped
4 oz (1 cup) Cheddar cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8x8 inch pan with vegetable spray. 

2. Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Add the remainder of ingredients except cheese and stir til moistened.

3. Pour half the batter into prepared pan and layer 1/2 of cheese on top. Pour remainder of batter over cheese. Cook for about 30 minutes in heated oven. 
4. At the end of 30 minutes, put the remaining cheese on top and bake another 10 minutes or until golden brown and a knife inserted comes out clean. Serve immediately.

And, util next time, may all your cornbread dreams come true...

Love, Di

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diary...

While iced in at Deer Haven for the last two days, I dreamed of a day long ago when all we had to eat, sometimes, was a good ole bowl of white beans and a couple of hunks of Southern cornbread. I remember often goin' to my dear sweet Aunt Mae's house and she would oblige us with the beans and cornbread, but added her special touch with a side of creamy Southern cole slaw! Yummy, yummy, yummy! Just had to bring back a lil' bit of those good ole days while me and my sweetie are iced in at Deer Haven, and these days I'm cooking for two...

How to make Golden Southern Cornbread for Two..

3/4 cup yellow cornbread
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 tablespoon bakin' powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg, large, slightly beaten
4 tablespoons butter, melted
About 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (sweet milk will not do!!!)
8 inch iron skillet

1.  Turn on oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Put butter in skillet and melt in the hot oven. Remove from oven and set aside.
3. Mix cornmeal, flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. 
4.  Make a hole in the center of dry ingredients and add egg and buttermilk and stir till mixed. Add half of melted butter to mixture, as well. Mix again.
5. Pour into the hot skillet and bake for about 20 minutes.

How to make a Pot of Beans For Two...

Sort about 2 cups of Great Northern Beans or as we say in the South, white beans. By 'sort' I mean wash, drain, and look for any small pebbles to remove. Place in a medium, heavy saucepan and cover with water. Boil on medium for about two hours or until tender. Watch closely and add more water to the pot to keep it soupy.

When tender, remove from heat and add your seasonings which for me is one square of Not Chicken Cube, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, couple of squirts Worcestershire sauce. and a little squirt or two of Louisiana Hot Sauce. Oh, for all you inquisitive people out there, you add the seasonings after you cook the beans so the beans won't get tough while cookin'.

How to make Creamy Southern Cole Slaw For Two...

1/4 head of medium size cabbage
1 carrot, peeled
2 tablespoons onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder 
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup Miracle Whip (my Aunt Mae and Cousin Brenda swear by the MW, sooo mayo won't do!!!)
2 tablespoons sweet milk (we call regular milk 'sweet milk' in the South, don't y'all ) to thin out

1.  Put cabbage, carrot, and onion in a mini food processor and chop till almost minced but not...get it???
2.  Put the veggies in a small bowl, add the seasonings and Miracle Whip, mix well, thin with sweet milk for desired consistency.

Perfectly delightful meal for two on a cold, blustery, iced in day! Till next time sweet diary and may all your delicious cornbread dreams come true...

Love, Di

Friday, August 9, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries,

If y'all hang in there with a perplexin' problem...the answer will come, eventually. Let me explain. I've been wonderin' how the heck to make a crispy, dense, tasty, fried type of cornbread patty that I have experienced in many a fine Southern restaurant. Seems like those testy restaurant owners would be flabbergasted when I dared to ask for the recipe. So, I just wandered around, clueless for years and it sorta happened by accident, that I finally found the answer...

You see, I make and serve lunch at the homeless shelter, Our House, once a month. And, one day as I was talkin' to one of the dear residents about the cornbread I had just served, she told me of her mother's hot water cornbread recipe she dearly loved. Seems you just whip up a little cornmeal mix, oil, egg, and hot water. And then you fry it in a skillet of hot oil. Hummm...could this be my answer. Well, I couldn't wait to try it and yes, my quest has ended for that crispy fried cornbread flat patty. Yes, Virginia there is a Santa Claus. And, the moral of this story is...

Never, never, never, never, never give up. Until next time, sweet dreams, dear diary,
Love, Di

Oh, here's the recipe:
Hot Water Cornbread

 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups cornmeal mix
Boilin' hot water
Oil for fryin'

Place the oil and beaten egg in a large bowl. Add the cornmeal mix and mash it up to make a crumbly mixture.Then add just enough boiled hot water to the mix so that the texture sticks together as you roll it up and flatten it out. Now, fry it in the hot oil that you've been heatin' in a skillet and be sure to brown on both sides.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries

Just so excited, dear Diary, about gettin' down to some serious gardening. But, what a nightmare last year!Well, you do recall that last spring we had some really nice rain but, as the season grew into summer we had a heck of a dry spell. In fact, it was so horrible that I shall never forget the summer of 2012! All my greens and things died right on the vine because I just couldn't tend my garden with those 100+ degree temps and my inability to work in that dreadful heat.

However, when I started workin' on the garden this year it seems like I did have a bit of luck because my rainbow chard survived the drought and heat and came back so very nicely. How sweet it is and, please check my gorgeous greens and things in the pics below.

And BTW, do you know how to harvest those precious stalks of chard? Just twist the outer leaves off at the base when the plant is about 10" tall and let the middle continue to grow. Will be having greens and things with a scrumptious skillet of cornbread real soon.

Until next time, sweet cornbread dreams.
Love, Di

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries,

Well, today it was about that time. So, you know what that means. A short drive (through the Exxon Mayflower oil spill) to the Hole in the Wall Cafe in Conway, AR where what use to be The Old Gin. The fried cornbread rounds are absolutely PERFECT!

Got my fill for a while, will return. Happy tummy, but really sad I missed Neil Young Rock Star cruising through the oil spill area in his reconstructed hybrid 1959 Lincoln convertible. Shelli Russell got the scoop, though. Check it out at the following link!

Till next time sweet diary. And I guess I'll have to meet a famous rock star in some other manner. Sweet cornbread dreams...

Love, Di

Hole In The Wall on Urbanspoon

Monday, April 1, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries...

Goodness gracious, I can't believe Easter has come and gone this year and believe it or not, Dear Diary, I did not serve a cornbread dish. So sorry to have to report that, and hopefully will not let it happen again on such a momentous holiday. Oh well, they say confessin' is good for the soul.

Anyway, I was reading a book the other day, and I do feel the need to offer a critique since it's all about cornbread. The book is titled Cornbread Gospels by Crescent Dragonwagon. Now, I don't know this sweetheart personally, but I do know she lives in Vermont after living in the Natural State for many years. But I really cannot, in good conscious, endorse this book as an authority on cornbread! Now, she does have some nice cornbread recipes from the South and a few from the North, but when she starts jabbering about tortillas, muffins, biscuits, soufflés and yeasted cornbreads I must raise a ruckus. These recipes are entirely different from my values of what a good cornbread cookbook should exhibit. I would feel a teeny bit better if she had named her book Corny Gospels instead of using the sacred name of cornbread to embellish her book with recipes that don't even fit the cornbread category.

Nice to get that outta my system...and it would be even nicer to have a real cornbread book with some really delicious cornbread enhanced recipes by a true Southerner that can do justice to a good ole skillet of Southern cornbread.

Maybe soon, Dear Diary... sweet cornbread dreams till next time...

Love, Di

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Flying Fish Hushpuppies

These little jewels are always fresh and crunchy when I order them at my favorite restaurant down on the river at the Flying Fish!! Put some crunch in your life...

Until later sweet diary,

Love, Di

Monday, March 11, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries,

I had no inklin' of how talented that sweet songbird Tricia Yearwood is! And, if it isn't enough that she made a huge name for herself in the country music industry by her singing and marrying that hunk of a cowboy, Garth Brooks, she's now a big star on Food Network! Seems that dear Tricia can cook like a soulful, Southern mama that everyone would love to come home to. I catch her show in the late afternoons as I'm resting on the sofa with a big ole iced tea in hand and, I do swear this girl knows Southern cooking! She made this Sour Cream Cornbread with Chili the other day that I just had to give a whirl. Tricia was so right, it is light and delicious with the sour cream and creamed corn added. And, when you serve it with chili which tends to be a bit heavy, a perfect balance is in the makin'!! I even tried it the way sweet Tricia said to, with the chili on top of the cornbread in the bowl. Perfection. I do hope you try this recipe in the link above and see what I am chattering about.

And, until later sweet Diary, happy sippin' ice tea and eatin' chili and cornbread on the sofa to all!

Love, Di

Friday, March 1, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries,

It is very chili these days in Arkansas however, we have not had but one night dip down into the twenties so far, so I really shouldn't be complainin' about our fickle Southern weather. And, if I keep my insides warm with some sort of hot meal, I know I will make it through these dreadful wintry days before jonquil season comes full bloom. And, I do love those gorgeous yellow daffodils!

Yellow means spring to me and it also makes me think of spring veggies and that superb corn chowder I made the other day with the corn I harvested and froze from last year. It was rather yummy and I especially liked it because the recipe has no dairy in it. You know sweet diary, I have been attemptin' to go vegan for quite a while. Anyway, on to a more successful endeavor, the chowder didn't really jump up to the spectacular level until I added the cornbread croutons! Fancy that! In fact, I really don't know how I ever enjoyed a plain old cup of soup, stew, or chowder before I topped it off with these tasty yellow nuggets. Cornbread croutons and corn chowder...golden ecstasy! Enjoy!

Corn Chowder Topped with Cornbread Croutons
2 ts nondairy butter    3 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels   
 1 T oil for sautéing  1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
    1 yellow potato, peeled and cubed
4 cup vegetable stock   1 cup nondairy milk
   salt and pepper to taste
1 large tomato, seeded and finely chopped for garnish
3 T chopped basil for garnish
Cornbread Croutons (recipe follows chowder)

Heat butter in a sauté pan over med heat. Add the corn and cook for 15-20 minutes.  Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and and sauté until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes.  Add the potato and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the potato cubes are tender, about 20 minutes. Now add the corn to the pot of potatoes and cook for 10 minutes. Ladle about 1 cup of the soup into a food processor or blender and process until smooth. Add back to the pot and add the milk. Heat just to warm and season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with the tomatoes, basil.

Cornbread Croutons
1 package yellow corn meal muffin mix
 (check for the one with water only if you go vegan)
3/4 cup water          4 T or more of nondairy butter, melted 

Heat oven to 450 °F. Grease with shortening or spray with no-stick cooking spray one 8 inch ovenproof skillet or 9 inch square pan. Place in oven for 7-8 minutes or until hot. Conbine cornbread mix and water in small mixing bowl; stir until smooth. Pour inbto hot skillet or pan. Bake at 450°F for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. When done cut the cornbread into small squares. Remove from skillet or square pan and place on a cookie sheet. Melt the 4 T of nondairy butter and pour over the croutons. Turn oven down to 375°F and let them get crisp and golden, about 10-12 minutes.

Until we chat again, sweet diary...hope all your sweet cornbread dreams come true...

Love, Di

Friday, February 15, 2013

Dear Cornbread Diaries,

Say it isn't so! Please don't tell me it is time, once again, for that dreadful Martha White cornbread contest! I know, I said I would never enter (cause I never win) that cotton pickin' cornbread contest again, but...never say never. I do have a wonderful (healthy) recipe I have submitted and I'm gonna share it with you right now. And, the contest is still takin' entries up to February 28th. So, don't you dare steal my entry!!! I did get it in first...

How to make Di's Southern Beans & Cornbread Veggie Burgers:
1 pkg Martha White Cotton Country Cornbread Mix
1 med onion, roughly chopped
2 pods garlic, peeled
1 (15oz) can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1 large egg
2 tablespoons Cajun seasoning
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons or more vegetable oil, for frying
4 hamburger buns
4 slices cheddar cheese, sliced
Lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, mustard or mayo for toppings
1. Make cornbread according to instructions on package using water, cooking spray, and 8 in skillet.
2. Cook in 450° oven for about 15 minutes or until done. Remove from skillet, cool, and then crumble into small, coarse pieces. Set aside.
3. In a food processor pulse the onion,  peeled garlic, drained and rinsed beans, and egg until finely ground.
4. Place bean mixture in a medium mixing bowl. Add Cajun seasoning, salt, pepper, and crumbled cornbread, Reserve about 1 cup of cornbread crumbs for coating the veggie patties later.
5. Divide mixture into 4 patties and roll each patty in the reserved cornbread crumbs.
6. Heat oil in a large 10 inch Lodge skillet on medium-low heat. Fry the patties for about 5 minutes on each side or until thoroughly heated. After turning, place cheese slices on each patty to melt a bit.
7. Toast the bun, and place patties on buns using assorted toppings. Serve with potato salad and baked beans for a great Southern Beans & Cornbread Veggie Burger cookout!

Until next time, dear diary and may all your sweet cornbread dreams come true!

Love, Di