Archives for posts with tag: Cornbread

Growing up, I ate a lot of banana bread. My mom always kept bananas in the house for us to bring to lunch or have for breakfast.  But the thing is, we hardly ever actually ate them. So come the weekend, we’d have banana bread! I suspect the real reason my mom bought bananas was to make bread with them, and if one of us kids happened to eat one along the way, then great.

Now that I’m all grown up and buying my own food, I do the exact same thing.  I’ve just gotten used to always having bananas on the counter, because I really don’t like them. I try to eat them all, but inevitably one or two get over ripe.  So I throw them in a ziplock bag and freeze them until I have enough for a big batch of banana bread.

Banana bread is an awesomely straightforward breakfast to make on the weekend. When you’re all groggy in the morning you don’t want to make something finicky and complicated. For this recipe you simply mix wet ingredients, mix the dry ingredients, mix them together, then you throw it in the oven and go back to bed for an hour. Easy peasy.

This recipe is an adaption of a more traditional banana nut bread recipe. I use 2:1 ratio of flour to cornmeal and include dried fruit along with walnuts. The addition of the cornmeal and dried fruits makes this bread more substantial and a little less cake-like. I tend to like hardier breakfast over pastries and this is reflected in this version of banana bread.

Ingredients:

Dry Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
Wet Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (optional)
  • 1/4 cup dried coconut (optional)

Directions:

  1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, baking soda and salt.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Mix in the optional nuts and dried fruit at this point.
  4.  Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

cast iron panCast Iron pans, oh how I love you!  I use my cast iron pans everyday-twice a day. I find them invaluable for their versatility and even, consistent heating. They are definitely in the top five of my most essential cooking tools. (In case you’re wondering, the other four are: a wooden spoon, big pot, sharp knife, and measuring cup.)

Cast Iron has been a basic and indispensable cooking implement for hundreds of years but I’ve come to realize a lot of folks are unfamiliar with basic care and upkeep. My Mom told me that she “ruined” the pans she received for her wedding by soaking them in water. I put “ruined” in quotes because you can actually revive rusted pans. The Kitchn has a great article on how to re-season your pans. Some basic rules for cast iron:

  • Keep it greasy! (well-seasoned pans are non-stick and have a shiny surface)
  • Don’t clean it with soap (it removes the seasoning)
  • Don’t put it in the dish-washer
  • Don’t use steel wool (use salt as an abrasive)

Cast Iron pans are pretty cheap, especially if you find one at a thrift store or yard sale. I just picked one up for $20 at flea market here in Berkeley. Plus, they’ll last a lifetime and can be passed on from generation to generation.

One of my favorite things to cook in my small cast iron pan in cornbread.  Cornbread cooks so evenly and browns beautifully in cast iron and it somehow feels more authentic (I imagine southern ladies of olden’ times making their cornbread the same way.)  The cornbread recipe that I’ve been using is both simple and delicious. It comes together quickly and is easy whip up while you’re in the midst of cooking the rest of your meal.

  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 5 tbs melted butter
  1. Pre-heat oven to 400 F
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients
  3. In another bowl whisk eggs, milk, and butter together
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until well-blended.
  5. Cook for 25 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean and the top is slightly brown)
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