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Posts Tagged ‘cornmeal’

Tap, tap.  Is this thing on?

Hello out there!  Is anyone left?  I’m sorry.  I’m so, so, so, so sorry.  I realize that I officially take the prize for Worst Blogger Ever.  The truth is, I’ve had an incredibly hectic month – hubby and I are currently in the midst of a personal project which has taken on all the intensity of a hurricane, and what feels like the proportions of Ancient Rome.  We’re doing something completely necessary, yet completely crazy at the same time: we’re BUYING A HOUSE.  I know, right?!?!?!  We fell in love with a house back in October, made an offer, and have been in the process of buying it ever since.  If you know me in “real life,” you’ve probably heard the entire saga several times.  So I can now explain that, other than the week when hubby and I both fell sick within days of each other back in January, most of my blog disappearances have happened around the times when things were heating up in the house-buying process.  It’s been a long haul, but I finally feel that I can mention it on the blog, because our closing is in less than two weeks, our move is three days later, and we have boxes stacked up containing many (but not all – like I said, I’ve been busy) of our worldly possessions.  We received word that our sale was going through in late February, and since then it’s been a whirlwind of doing all of the things that you need to do in order to buy a house, plus numerous phone calls with our broker, discussing whether we want to sell or rent our condo.  And I’ve been dealing with the complete shock of realizing that I’m actually moving and I’m not going to be cooking in my condo kitchen anymore, which does make me sad.  Because I do love my condo, especially the kitchen.

Given all this, hubby and I decided to throw the condo a farewell party.  We had actually planned to have a party for no reason back in February, but Snowmageddon ruined our plans.  So we moved the party to early March, and it just happened to fall after we had tumbled head-first down the rabbit hole of house-buying.  I was exhausted from the whole process and making frequent panicked phone calls to my mom about how I wasn’t sure anymore if I wanted a house, like, ever… so I mostly opted for “easy,” and our friends liked it all just fine.  One of the most popular dishes at the party was a savory mini corn muffin, jazzed up with chopped sun-dried tomatoes and Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese.  Mmmmm, that’s what I’m talkin’ about!  So, in the hopes that you’ll forgive me… here ya go.

Sun-Dried Tomato-Parmesan Mini Corn Muffins

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup skim milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup (approx.) chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmeggiano Reggiano cheese

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Prepare a 24-well mini muffin tin by spraying olive oil baking spray in each well.
  • Combine dry ingredients.
  • Mix in milk, oil and egg, until just incorporated.  Stir in chopped sun-dried tomatoes and grated cheese.
  • Using a teaspoon, portion batter evenly into muffin wells.  (You may have a little extra, depending on the size of the wells in your muffin tin.  I got about 6 extra mini muffins out of my emergency backup Bakers Secret mini muffin tin, but my muffin tins have small wells.)
  • Bake 20-25 minutes, until muffins are just golden on top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Source: adapted from Quaker

I promise that I am going to try to be better about blogging during this moving process.  I have some photos banked from the past few weeks, and as soon as I remember what the recipes were, I’ll post them.  However, the next two weeks are going to be a little bit difficult.  Most of my cookbooks, and a fair amount of my bakeware, are already packed.  Hubby and I have enough left out that we won’t starve, but I’m not planning to do much creative baking or cooking until we get unpacked and settled and get our condo cleaned up and on the market.  Please bear with me, and I promise I’ll be back with tons of fun new recipes from my new kitchen-to-be!

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Tamale Pie

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Growing up, I was never much of a television watcher.  Partly, that was because I just didn’t have that much time with all of my extracurricular activities, and partly it was because I really preferred reading.  Yes, I was one of those.  These days, I still prefer reading, but I have recognized that there are certain joys to collapsing on the couch and turning your brain off for an hour or so, especially after a long day of reading LEXIS printouts.  I still don’t have that much time, though, so a show has to really capture my attention for me to actually invest in it.  When a show succeeds in getting my undivided attention, I find that I want to know everything about the characters.  I check out websites… read news articles… and (confession time) I even bought The Desperate Housewives Cookbook.  (What can I say?  I enjoy the show enough to want to make Bree’s Basil Puree and Gabrielle’s Black Bean Soup.  Don’t act like you don’t have your own guilty pleasures.)

Recently, I discovered “Big Love” – an HBO show about a modern polygamist family.  It’s a great, well-written show starring some very big names – Bill Paxton, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Chloe Sevigny and Ginnifer Goodwin – and I’m totally invested in the characters.  So when I found a fictional blog on the HBO website, “written” by Ginnifer Goodwin’s character Margene, I had to check it out.  And of course, when “Margene” posted a recipe for “Barb’s Tamale Pie” (Barb being the first wife, played by Jeanne Tripplehorn)… well, I absolutely had to make it for myself.  And I’m glad that I did!  The filling was savory and the cornbread topping was crisp and made the perfect counterpoint.  I’m considering stopping by the Henricksons’ for dinner… if they have room for me at the table.

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Barb’s Tamale Pie

1 package lean ground turkey
1 shallot, minced
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 teaspoon ancho chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin
1 28-ounce can of diced tomatoes in juice
1 poblano pepper, minced
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 cup grated Monterey Jack cheese
1/3 cup chicken stock
1 package boxed cornbread mix (I used Bob’s Red Mill, but Jiffy is fine too) and other ingredients called for to make cornbread

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Heat canola oil in a large skillet over medium-high and brown chopped shallot, yellow pepper and turkey.  Season with salt and pepper and add chili powder and cumin.
  • Drain any excess fat and transfer to a large heat-proof bowl.  Mix in cheese, minced poblano, canned tomatoes, chicken broth and golden raisins.  Stir together.
  • Pour mixture into a lightly oiled large baking dish and spread into an even layer.
  • Prepare cornbread mix according to package instructions.  Spread over meat mixture.
  • Bake 40 minutes, until top is browned.

Yield: Serves one polygamist, three wives and eight kids.  If your family isn’t quite that big, feel free to halve the recipe or resign yourself to leftovers.

Source: Adapted from Margene’s Blog

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I was having a really lousy day on Friday.  Part of my lousy day – though not all – was due to the fact that I had ordered a new baking book from Amazon on Wednesday, or started to, anyway.  I guess I never completed the order (dratted short attention span) and I had the unpleasant surprise on Friday morning of finding out that the book I expected that afternoon was still sitting in my virtual shopping cart, and not on a delivery truck as I had thought.  This made me extremely cranky, so I did what I always do when I am cranky – I wrote a list of grievances and emailed it to the hubs.  Because he loves to help, and because he knows I love to bake on the weekends, my book arrived at my door the very next day on a rush order.  Does it get sweeter than that?  He deserved a special treat after this one, so bang, on goes the apron and out of the kitchen comes this:

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Blueberry Cobbler with Cornmeal Biscuit

Fruit Filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 dry pints blueberries (fresh, if possible)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Cornmeal Biscuit
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 cup cold cream (the recipe calls for heavy, I used light)
4 teaspoons turbinado sugar

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.  Butter a 2-quart baking dish.
  • Combine sugar, cornstarch and salt in a large bowl.  Add blueberries and toss to coat.  Gently stir or fold in lemon juice.  Spoon the blueberry mixture into the prepared baking dish.
  • To make the biscuits, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.  Add the butter and cut in with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers (more fun) until the butter is the size of peas.  Pour in the cream and stir to combine.
  • Divide the dough into 8 pieces – if you use a standard-sized ice cream scoop, you will have just enough – and pat into biscuits.  Place over the fruit filling, then sprinkle with the turbinado sugar.
  • Bake 45 minutes, until the biscuits are golden and the fruit filling is bubbling up.  Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

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Thanks for the book, honey!

Source: Adapted from Rustic Fruit Desserts, by Cory Schreiber and Julie Richardson

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