Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cornbread, with a Twist

I once heard that when people get homesick,  often what they miss the most is food. Nobody can make (your favorite dish) like (your mom, grandma, dad, etc.)! When I went away to boarding school, every break my mom would ask what I wanted for my first meal back home. And I always wanted the same thing: cornbread, baked bean, and broccoli. I'm not sure why that meal said "home" to me like none other, but it still does.

I've continued make that meal through the years and never thought of changing it till one day Alan, my husband, and I couldn't agree on what to have for supper. I wanted cornbread, and he wanted something spicy. So finally I said fine, I will make you spicy cornbread! A tradition was born, and now we never have the same cornbread twice. We always start with my mom's recipe and then add different spices or other ingredients we happen to have on hand. Try it plain, with one of our variations, or make up your own!

serves 4 people
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk

Optional mix-ins:
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/3-1/2 cup chunky salsa
  • 1/3-1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
  • 1 tsp minced jalapeno pepper (saute with corn if using before mixing into batter)
  • Millet seed (I haven't done this yet but my grandma used to and it adds a nice crunch)
  • 1/3 cup shredded Mexican cheese mix


  1. Heat oven to 400º. If using a cast iron skillet (8 in. works best) place in oven to warm. You can also do this in a pie pan or make as muffins.
  2. Mix together dry ingredients, then add wet ingredients and stir just until combined. 
  3. Mix in salsa, corn, and japapeno if using.
  4. Remove skillet from oven and grease with spray oil. Pour in batter. Sprinkle cheese on top if desired.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes (less if muffins or in a larger skillet) or until edges start to brown and pull away from the sides of the pan.

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