Cleverly Averted Cornbread Fail

no, this is not *just* cornbread...

Cornbread is a hot commodity in this house. Like, better eat it while you can, before it gets sucked down into someone’s stomach (perhaps the resident vacuum cleaner, Vati?!). And by this house, I mean home home! As in, not Salem. Someoneeeee is home for the holidays, hoorayyy! Time for hopefully epic holiday eating, which translates to epic holiday blog fodder. Everyone wins :]

Anyway. Where I was going with this whole cornbread biz. Last night, to accompany tree-decorating, we decided on chili and cornbread (Because one without the other is clearly sacrilege). Cornbread is the first thing I remember learning to make, so I have rather a fondness for it…and besides. It’s delicious. So I got busily to work on the cornbready goodness…measuring here, whisking there… and into the oven it went. Simple pimple, right?

So not.

Twenty minutes later, I took it out. There appeared to be a number of things wrong with it. It was brown. This is a crime. Cornbread should not be brown on the bottom. Lightly golden, yes. Brown? NO. Borderline burnt? Absolutely NOT. Strike one. Second. It didn’t SMELL like cornbread. Which is not necessarily a deal breaker, but tipped me off there might be something funky with this particular batch. Strike two. Thirdly. I tasted it.

EW.

Blandest, most boring cornbread everrrr. Apparently I left something out?! Because I’ve made this same recipe with the SAME ingredients before, and it was mega tasty. Oops. Strike mega-three. After mutti and vati also tasted it and we all decided that it was not a fit partner for chili, I decided to make another batch (different recipe—I was too irritated at the last one). I really didn’t want to compost the last batch though—it felt wasteful, and I’m obviously not one to throw out food. So instead… I had a brilliant (if I do say so) idea to make it into a sort of cornbread-bread pudding, like for a breakfasty type dish! Huzzah, for frugality! AND. I winged it. But it was super tasty—Vati the Vacuum (hehhe) had two slices for breakfast. It’s lightly sweet but not overly so, and nice and corny—tasty with a drizzly of maple syrup.

Besides, I was quite proud of neatly averting a cornbread crisis… with the creation of some awkward cornbread pudding!

Natural light! Hooorayy, California!

Awkward Cornbread Pudding

Adapted from… the jungle of my brain. Makes one 8 by 8 pan.

For the cornbread: I used a failed version (obviously), but I’m sure normal cornbread would work too, you might just want to reduce the sugar. Mine was originally sweetened with a scant 1/4 c honey. Use your favorite, and adjust sweetness to taste. For a dessertier bread pudding-type, I would use cornbread that is already on the sweet side.

  • 1 8 by 8 pan of cornbread, cut into 1/2″ chunks. Use mostly the soft middle, and some of the crust for texture
  • 2 eggs
  • 1.5 c 1% milk, or non-dairy sub of choice
  • a good slug of cinnamon
  • a few grinds of fresh nutmeg
  • brown sugar to taste (I used somewhere around a heaping tablespoon, perhaps a bit more)
  • 1-2 tsp turbinado sugar
mmm, maple

Preheat the oven to 350.

Place chunks of cornbread into a lightly greased 8 by 8 pan. In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pour the liquid over the cornbread in the pan, making sure to even distribute it. Sprinkle your desired amount of brown sugar evenly over the surface of the cornbread, and then use a fork to turn it under, and completely saturate the cubes of bread in the milk mixture. Sprinkle turbinado over the top (creating a yummy crust-type thing). Bake for just about 25 minutes, until custard is set, and a tester comes out clean. You shouldn’t see too much really liquidy/mushy business in the pan, but it also shouldn’t be too dry (you don’t want dry custard, ewww). Keep in mind that it’ll set up a bit when it cools in the pan. Just about 25 minutes should do it.

Eat. Preferably for breakfast, with maple syrup. MMmmmm… And revel in your cleverly averted cornbread fail.

I apologize for the slight overexposure... I was way excited to have natural light in which to photograph. Thanks, Oregon. NOT.

Professional-looking Pancakes!

Pancakes.

I know, I know. Again, you say? YES. Again. For a number of reasons: a) I make them about once a week, but never the same kind two weeks in a row (so it keeps it interesting), b) they make a FAB dinner, c) Ian was coming over and I thought he might like them (which he did, YAY!), and d) I had a half a can (here we go again…) of coconut milk in the fridge (what a terrible problem, NOT. I LOVE having leftover coconut milk). Oh. and e) I LOVE THEM. Why NOT make them once a week, I ask you? You should try it… designate a day, like “Pancake Tuesday”, and make a new kind every week. Ask Harriet… or Ashley… they know I’m a big proponent of pancake day. Thursday oddly seems to be the day of choice at this point in time…

Wow. I just reread that paragraph and realized how many parenthetical comments I made… I must be a very parenthetical person. Or maybe I think in parentheses. Hmm. Something to think about (parenthetically) (hahah).

ANYway.

These coconut pancakes are perfect. Fluffy, symmetrical, and beeeeautiful. And delicious. Of course, I’m sure their fluffy, symmetrical beauty is largely due to my superior pancake pro abilities… but it also might have a teensy bit to do with the recipe… maybe. Or not… it’s all in the wrist flick. Become one with the spatula!

I love the pancakes because I get a nice coconutty flavor, without it being like BAM, in your FACE coconut! Which is good, in some situations, but I find that pancakes are not one of them (think along the lines of coconut cream pie, if you want BAM). These are light, fluffy, and perfect with bananas (and chocolate, I might add…AND almond butter, of course!). There’s just enough coconut flavor without being overwhelming. They made a lovely Thursday night din din :)

So! Here’s the recipe. It’s really simple… like most of my pancake recipes, I find the simpler, the better.

beeeautiful!

Coconut Pancakes

You know the drill…. mix dry, mix wet, mixy mix mix. Cook! Eat. Here are the particulars.

  • 1 c whole wheat flour
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 tbsp olive oil (or canola)
  • 1 c light coconut milk (I was a bit short this time—you can make up the difference with soymilk or milk, whatever you have)

These are really good with sliced bananas and chocolate chips thrown in :)

up close and personal, hehehe

It’s not easy being green…

that's right. GREEN PANCAKES.

Ok.

I just have to say, in my defense… I don’t normally make green food.

I mean… I EAT green food. You know, like that color produced by chlorophyll. Like plants. Mmmmm, plants. I do love them. Especially the green ones! Like broccoli, bok choy, celery, lettuces. Um. I could go on, but in the interest of holding your attention.. *ahem* Let’s move ahead!

So.

Since I’m currently roomie-less (but NOT FOR LONG, YAYYYY!!!), I’m purchasing and consuming for one stomach (and its resident gremlins). I’m discovering this to be an exceptionally fun challenge, not only to eat all the stuff in the fridge before it goes traveling southward, but also to eat a varied, balanced, and nutritionally sound diet. BUT. This diet also has to be interesting. Why would I EVER eat boring food? Boring food is, well…BORING. Life is too short and my stomach is too small (sadly I’m not a cow with five stomachs, why weren’t humans invented like that, I ask you?!) to eat lame food.

Right. Sorry, that was rather tangential. ANYway. As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself about boring food… In my travels through the recesses of my fridge, I happened upon some spinach. I knew it was in there, of course, but I wasn’t exactly sure how I wanted to use it. I also have three lonely mushrooms, just in case anyone cares. And NO, they are NOT going into pancakes, ewwy ew ew.

As I was staring down the spinach, I had¬† a BRILLIANT PLAN! (Because anything involving your adorable and tiny *PURPLE* food processor is a brilliant idea) I decided to make spinach puree and… wait… ADD IT TO PANCAKES! Can you say nutritional value, all in one tidy little yummy package? Because I can. And there’s more, ooohhhh yes. They were DELICIOUS! Spinach is so totally going into my pancakes from now on (except with a certain Pancake Friday buddy–you know who you are!)

So. Without any further babble, here is the recipe! You’ve seen it before in other forms, although the base for this is the most basic.

down at pancake level

Spinach-Oat-Buttermilk Pancakes (Serves one with a cow stomach, or one normal human plus leftover breakfast!)

Hugely adapted from Marion Cunningham’s Breakfast Book

Do the pancake shtick! Mix dry:

  • 3/4 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • very scant 1/2 tsp salt

*Tasty add-in: I chucked in about 1/4-1/3 c rolled oats. I highly recommend this! It gives them a bit more body and lovely chewiness.

Mix wet in a separate bowl:

  • 1 c buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • some melted something (I used Earth Balance… the original recipe calls for 3 tbsp, I usually put in a spoonful or so… or not. Sometimes I leave it out. Butter or olive oil are fine too)

*To the wet ingredient bowl: ADD YOUR SPINACH! I’m not sure how much I actually used, probably about 2 c? I had about 2/3 or so of a bag left, and I used mostly all of it. It’s not very exact, but however much you want is probably fine.

You see? Healthy and delicious.
BABY PURPLE FOOD PROCESSOR!!

Mix wet into dry! I threw in a finely chopped banana, as per usual, which I also highly recommend. I may have even added a few frozen huckleberries and choc chippies to one or two but shhhhh don’t tell!

Pour. Cook. Drool. Photograph. Discover, whilst on the phone with a bestie, that you have GREEN SPRINKLES that match your pancakes. Freak out just a little bit and pour them on a wee bit over enthusiastically… then find out that the sprinkles have soaked into the pancakes while photographing, and that you now have sprinkles on your dinner. Secretly do a happy dance for sprinkles.

Watch Voyager. Eat and LOVE your green food. And NO, it did NOT come out of a replicator (though I wish it had!).

“At ease, Ensign Kim, before you sprain something” -Kathryn Janeway.

Do it.

oh. and ps: I just wanted to share this too!! I tested out my personal cake pans (size 6.5″) by making a half batch of Crazy Chocolate cake! It was EXCELLENT. I just made a few changes to the posted recipe, namely brown sugar instead of white or turbinado. Yummy! And sooo cute.

Perfect thirds!

Pancakes for my new apartment!

 

Woah.

Let’s hope I’m not really this much of a blogging slacker… I’ve been busy! I promise. No more long hiatuses (or would that be hiati-i?) between posts. That means you, thesis. No interrupting when I’m doing something fun!

So.

I have a new apartment! Which means… I HAVE MY OWN KITCHEN that is NOT in a sorority, wheee!! (Of course I do love sharing a kitchen with my Mutti back at home, that’s the best!) This also means I have NO EXCUSE not to blog. Because I have to feed myself, and preferably tastily. Also. Cooking is WAAY more fun than doing theoretical art history readings… (No offense, Ricardo, if you’re reading this: I love your class!!) and thesising. Not that I procrastinate… at all. Psh.

Anyway.

Even though this isn’t my first meal in my own apartment (and I am NOT counting the few days of PB&J that happened whilst moving in), I think it’s the most important. This is MY place now, now that I’ve made and eaten pancakes here, hehe. I do miss my pancake eating buddies though (you know who you are, and you know I LOVE YOU!)…pancakes aren’t quite as good without gossiping whilst eating them. But whatever. I had a lovely night with my instant netflix and my pfankuchen.

This is a recipe adapted-ish from The Breakfast Book (again, psh what else??), and it makes the BEST buttermilk pancakes ever. I wanted something a little different though, so I added cornmeal. It’s up to you, whatever your heart (or tastebuds, I suppose)¬†desires!

Pancakes for the win!

Cornmeal-Buttermilk Pancakes

Serves 2 (or one, with leftovers for breakfast, yessss!)

1/2 c whole wheat pastry or whole wheat flour (either works, I’ve used both)

1/4 c cornmeal

very scant 1/2 tsp of salt (I’ve reduced it to 1/4 tsp and it’s been fine)

1 tsp baking soda

1 egg

1 c buttermilk, well shaken

3 tbsp butter or earth balance, melted (I’ve left this out on occasion or put in less and been fine—I usually use whatever happens to be on hand. This time it was a spoonful of Earth Balance)

MY STOVE! (it's electric, psh. but whatever, I can have a gas one later in life)

These also had fresh blueberry and banana additions… I like fruit in my pancakes! They’re good with chocolate chips, too, if you MUST have chocolate disguised as dinner (and trust me, I’ve been there).

And look at this. I am PRO, clearly because I have a moose on my microwave. Do YOU have a moose? Yeah. I didn't think so!

Do your usual pancake shtick! Mix dry. Mix wet, without getting egg everywhere. Combine. Stir. Grease (coconut oil!). Pour. Dollop. Cook. EAT!