Cornbread (and Soup Sacrilege)

I love rain. Really, I do. I like listening to raindrops drumming on the roof and cars swishing by. And it's not difficult to be satisfied when you live on the sodden West Coast. However, it's a bit of a rude awakening when you return from the hot, sunny Mediterranean climate and suddenly it feels like mid-February again. Sometimes the only appropriate thing to make on a day like this is a nice bowl of soup.

But I think I'm still in vacation mode because there was no way I was going to trudge out into the downpour to buy vegetables to patiently simmer for an hour or two.

Bless canned soup.

Luckily, though, there are some things that are always hanging around the house, like ingredients for cornbread. This is a very old recipe that my mom has made for years. I don't remember where it came from, but it makes a sweet bread with a pleasantly crumbly texture and crunchy top. And even better, I'm pretty sure the recipe is foolproof. In less than a half hour, I had a nice hot pan of cornbread to go with my soup. Let it rain, let it pour.

Yields 1 8" square pan (9-16 pieces)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
1 egg, slightly beaten

Heat oven to 425F. Grease an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in remaining ingredients, beating by hand just until combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for 18-22 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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