I'm not from the South, but one thing I've heard that they make a lot down there is cornbread. You know I was "born in the corn" (Iowa) so that's right up my alley. However, I have a somewhat different way of making cornbread. It's not for all you people out there who just want to mix up the batter and stick 'er in the oven. That's great! I have an old-fashioned way that is supposed to make the corn more digestible and to give up more of its nutrients. Give it a try. It's almost like spoonbread. I love cornbread that's very moist. This is it. I hope you enjoy it. Oh, and by the way if you have collard greens or kale growing in your garden right now, this cornbread is really wonderful with greens. I'll include my Brown Butter Greens recipe, too. It's easy as pie. I can make a meal of these two items all by themselves.
Chile Cheese Cornbread
1 1/2 cups lime water (see below)
2 cups freshly ground cornmeal or packaged cornmeal
1/2 cup freshly ground spelt, whole wheat flour or packaged white unbleached flour
1/2 cup unbleached white flour (if all you have is white flour then it will be a total of 1 cup)
1 cup buttermilk or yogurt
3 eggs lightly beaten
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup melted butter
1 cup grated mexican style cheese
1 small diced green chile (I use jalapeno)
(Lime water: Place 1 inch pickling lime in a 2-quart jar. Fill jar with filtered water and shake well. Cover tightly and let stand overnight. The powder will settle and the resultant liquid will be your lime water. It's not necessary to refrigerate. Just set it in a cool place. To use, just pour out the clear part carefully.
Soaking cornmeal is said to improve the amino acid quality and also makes certain B vitamins more available.)
Soak cornmeal in lime water for about 7 hours.
Stir in flours and buttermilk and let stand in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. It will rise better if you do this.
Blend in remaining ingredients.
Pour into a buttered and floured 9-by-13-inch Pyrex baking pan. Bake at 325 F for about 1 hour, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Greens in Brown Butter With Pepper Flakes
Pick a bunch of greens, rinse and cut out the tough spines.
Tear or cut into large pieces.
In the meantime, put a big pot of water with a handful of salt on to boil. When the water is boiling, dump your greens into the pot and let them boil for a scant minute or two. We're not trying to cook them. We're just parboiling them to soften them a bit. (By the way, use your cooled cooking water for soup or any other thing you can think of. Maybe just drink it!)
On the side, take your iron skillet and put a 1/4 cup butter in it. Melt the butter and let it brown. Don't let it burn.
Drain your greens and immediately put them into the hot pan. It will spatter. Stir the greens around to coat with butter. Sprinkle with salt and black pepper and red pepper flakes to your liking.
Serve with Chile Cheese Cornbread.
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