Today at Tech Center we were blessed with the opportunity to prepare chili and cornbread--which was perfect considering it finally is cold again so it was a little dank, grey, and dreary out this morning.The plus side to that was when i strolled out the door; the brisk air greeted me with a pleasantly harsh caress on my cheeks; the smell of wet pavement from a midnight rain still lingered. This is my kind of weather. Having said that, the warmth and comfort of chili and cornbread never hurt anyone, especially not me.
Chili is one of those dishes that i love in fall--I also loved apple cheddar sandwiches, but that's another story for another post--and having chili without cornbread is like having a dog that meows, just plain wrong. If you already didn't realize this, I'm a bonafide southern cook, I know how to make southern food right and good, ergo, I make damn good cornbread.
A common mistake with cornbread is adding an excess of sugar, rightly so considering it shouldn't have any sugar in the first place. I myself won't use more than 2 tablespoons of the stuff, the corn in the bread provides enough sweetness but unfortunately the American palate has been warped into a sugar-happy child. I mean seriously?! Look in any canned tomato sauce and there will be sugar added in, It don't need that! People need to get back to the heart of food and in the name of Gaga stop raping Mother nature's already perfectly delicious ingredients. But I digress.
Rule Number One of cornbread: never ever over sugar. Rule Number Two: whip the egg white(s) till stiff peaks form and then gently fold into the batter and the very end before baking. This creates a light delicate cornbread with a moist crumb, if you've had cornbread before you know it can be dense and feel like its sticking to your throat or stomach walls, not yummy, not one bit. The Third and final rule of cornbread is: Always sprinkle the top with sugar before baking, and brush with melted butter once it's out of the oven.
I'd also like to throw out there that you don't need to measure everything down to a kilogram. I've mastered the art of eyeballing measurements, as everyone should, i hate getting out a teaspoon or tablespoon, even for baking powder or soda.Cloud Nine Corn Bread:
-1 c. yellow corn meal
-1 c. AP flour
-1 1/2tsp. baking powder
-1/2 tsp baking soda
-2 tbs. sugar
-pinch of salt
-1 large egg, separate. [put the egg white in a small mixing bowl]
-3 tbs. vegetable oil
-2 tbs. melted butter. [measure after melting]
-1/4 c. yellow corn
Preheat hotbox to 325 F
In a large bowl combine corn meal, flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Set aside
Beat the egg white until stiff white peaks form. Set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together the egg yolk, buttermilk, oil, and butter. Slowly pour into the dry ingredients while whisking at the same time. Mix in the corn. Finally gently fold in the egg white; be sure not to over stir or all the air incorporated in the egg will be released, and we wouldn't want that now would we?
Pour into a greased 9" pie pan. Spinkle the top with an extra teaspoon or two of sugar. Bake for 25 to 30 mins, or until it sounds hollow when tapped. Also, the toothpick method will work just as well for checking done-ness. Once out of the oven brush generously with melted butter.
Slice and enjoy! Be carefully not to drop it when eating, this is a very delicate crumbly bread. I recommend eating with chili, gravy, honey, hell jut eat it plain.