Callie’s Cabin: Sweet and savory cornbread (recipe)
It’s August and I’m still on a baking strike due to the heat wave. Well … sort of.
Lately, this summer I’ve been tormented by the aroma of barbecue around me outdoors. While I’m a vegetarian, it doesn’t mean those carnivore cravings don’t pay me a visit from time to time.
During the last hottest month around the Lake (I Googled it), I am also sad because Marie Callender’s on U.S. 50 is no more. (I called this week like ringing up an ex-mate to prove they’re really gone.) As one who eats rabbit food, that was a hot spot for me. Instant gratification.
The first time I went, I was immediately greeted by an elderly Marie-like imposter for the fun of it. She brought menus, ice water, a mini loaf of the famous homestyle cornbread and little cups of honey butter.
Then, I walked over to the salad bar — for bunnies, like me, it was heaven at its best. Vegetables galore and different dressings. Second helpings. Cornbread packages to make at home were for sale. Plus, I paid for a pie to take home. It was an unforgettable customer-restaurant relationship and utopia for a no-cook summer day and night.
I know I’ve dished on Marie in the past. No more tears. So instead of whining and going down nostalgia lane, I went to the kitchen (three fans were on; four counting the ceiling one) and I whipped up a batch of cornbread for you and me.
I changed it up a bit and added fresh herbs and lemon. It’s quick to make and bake. (I suggest doing it in the morning, not afternoon for comfort’s sake.)
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup cake flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup white granulated sugar
1 brown egg
½ cup 2-percent low-fat milk
¼ cup Honey Greek yogurt
1/3 cup European-style butter
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons lemon rind
1-2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
1 teaspoon mixed herbs, fresh or dried (basil, rosemary)
Mix half and half ratio of raw local honey and European-style butter. Chill in refrigerator until solid.
In a medium bowl, mix dry ingredients (flour, cornmeal, baking powder and sugar). Add wet ingredients: egg, milk, yogurt and juice. Fold in rind and herbs. Pour batter into a lightly butter greased 8-inch by 8-inch baking dish.
Bake in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes. Do not over bake.
Remove from oven and cool in room temperature. Cut into squares.
Makes about nine to 12 servings. Store in airtight container in refrigerator. Serve warm or cold with honey butter.
The best part is this recipe is fail proof. The squares cut nicely — no sticking to the dish. They look oh-so pretty with the tart lemon rind and green herb mix.
Spreading honey butter on a square of cornbread will tease your palate with sweet and savory bites. Yes, yes it will go perfectly with chicken, chili, and the m-word.
Also, you can do what I do — pair it with a kale and spinach salad drizzled with olive oil and red wine vinegar. I miss Marie so much I’m tempted to go buy a pie in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store.
Nah, I’ll wait and bake one from scratch come this fall.
Cal Orey, M.A., is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, and Superfoods) published by Kensington. The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club. Her website is http://www.calorey.com.