Monday, September 13, 2010

"we cling to memories of some other time"

the food: Sun Dried Tomato & Gouda Cornbread
the song: "Biology Tricks" Centro-Matic

There is a part of me that has always wanted a big southern family. I am an only child and while I am very close to my family, I don't have those sittin'-on-the-porch, rockin'-your-nephew, talkin'-to-your-second-cousin memories. Big families have always charmed me. I hear this sentiment a lot from my girlfriends, who are mostly waiting to get married or have kids (if kids or marriage are on their priority list at all.) No matter what, it seems we all want to be a part of something bigger. 

One of our dearest friends celebrated his birthday Saturday night with a potluck dinner. As usual, we stayed up too late, got too loud, and drank too much wine. It didn't help that someone showed up at midnight with Shiner. I mean to say is that I love that someone showed up at midnight with more to share. Leave it to one of our own to carry the party twelve more beers into the evening. It was a fantastic Saturday.

It is still really hot here, so most of the dishes were light and cool. The hostess made a minty quinoa salad to accompany the pork shoulder she roasted. Another guest brought honey dew melon with sparkling white wine and basil. Still another brought tortilla chips with fig and ancho peppers. There were microbrewed local beers, free flowing vino verde, and a military issue bottle of tequila. Oh, how I love our friends. We lucked out having so many good people in our lives that care so much about food.

Evenings like this happen pretty easily when we all get together. I fall for our friends...all of them, new and old, present and absent...time and again. Thanks to them, I've got the big southern family I've always wanted. No, we don't (all) come from the same blood line. But they make me feel like I'm home.

So this morning as I'm sipping my coffee and trying to hold onto those sweet weekend memories, I thought I'd share my contribution to the dinner. While everyone was making cool salads, I decided to heat up the oven and make some cornbread. I spotted the recipe on The Kitchn a few days ago and the potluck seemed like the perfect time to try it out. It might not be the most traditional recipe, but our family isn't all that traditional either. The cast iron skillet is the key to good cornbread. I made this in my dad's cast iron, which has its own story that I'll share some other time. My only wish is that I had another pan this morning that I didn't have to share with anyone. I am an only child, after all.

Thanks for being born, Luther! Hope you enjoyed the cornbread.

Sun Dried Tomato & Gouda Cornbread
adapted from The Kitchn

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 1 teaspoon vinegar)
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from 2 ears)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons coarsely shredded Gouda cheese
2-4 tablespoons finely chopped olive oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and black pepper, and stir to mix. In a second large bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, and ¼ cup of the oil until blended. Add the corn, 1/2 cup cheese, the sun dried tomatoes, and parsley into this second bowl.

Place a 10-inch cast-iron skillet over low heat on the stove top and leave it to heat while you finish the corn bread batter.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add the buttermilk mixture and fold together until just blended. Drizzle the heated skillet with the remaining 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Immediately add the batter and spread it to the edges of the skillet. Sprinkle the top with the remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is golden and the edges have pulled away from the sides of the skillet. Serve hot or at room temperature.



  1. Been visiting here for a few months now, but never commented because I usually have to go find something to eat right away after reading your recipes & descriptions! This post, though, also rings true with regard to family. And I feel more "myself" with my adopted family than with my blood kin (at least those on the maternal side :-)

    Away, now...while there's still time to visit the Farmer's Market!

  2. intelliwench- thanks so much for commenting and for your kind words! Quality family...adopted and real...make the world go round. :)

    Hope you scored some good things at the Farmer's Market!