Friday, May 7, 2010

Real Southern Cornbread


• 2 cups cornmeal
• 2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup margarine, melted
• 4 cups buttermilk
• 1/4 cup corn oil


1. In a large bowl mix together the corn meal, flour, salt, and baking powder.

2. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, butter, and buttermilk. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until well blended.

3. Heat a dry 12 inch cast iron skillet over high heat for 2 minutes. Add corn oil to skillet, swirl oil around to coat bottom and sides. Leave remaining oil in pan. Return to high heat for 1 minute.

4. Pour the cornbread batter into the skillet and cook on high heat until bubbles start to form in the center. Remove from stove.

5. Bake in a preheated 400 degree F (200 degree C) oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve warm.
**Half the recipe bakes beautifully in a 10" skillet. I confess I did add 2 tablespoons of sugar to half the recipe (my personal preference), substituted unsalted butter for the margarine, and doubled the salt. Also important to stir wet ingredients into dry only until moistened. A somewhat lumpy consistency is okay. Don't overmix if you want the bread to be tender.

A well-seasoned cast iron skillet is a must for this recipe. Preheat as directed and use a generous amount of oil to prevent sticking -- enough to have a slight puddle in the bottom before the batter is poured in. Also helps to sprinkle some cornmeal over the oil. The batter should sizzle and sort of "fry" when poured in. This recipe is very moist, tender, and flavorful.

Super Duper Crockpot Garlic Dip

  • 1 8 oz block of cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup of mayonnaise
  • whole head of garlic

I used my mini crockpot for this dip, and it only filled it halfway. Next time I will double the recipe if we are expecting company. If you don't have a mini-crock, you can nestle an oven-safe dish in the stoneware of your large one.

Smash and peel all of the garlic cloves, and dice the garlic into tiny pieces. I used my Pampered Chef chopper thingy.

Put the cream cheese and mayo into the crock, plop the diced garlic on top. You won't be able to stir until the cream cheese melts.

Cook on high for 1 hour, low for 2. Stir well and serve with your favorite crackers and vegetables.

If you cook it a bit too long and it looks like the garlic is scorching on the side, unplug the crock and give the dip a good stir.

Slow Cooker Cheese Enchilada Stack

  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (the whole can)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion (or 1 small onion, finely diced)
  • 8 corn tortillas (check labels for hidden gluten)
  • 4 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 (4-ounce) can sliced olives, drained
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream

This is vegetarian as written, (well, except that I used chicken broth because I always have chicken broth in the house! BUT you can add meat, you should use already cooked pork, beef or chicken (great use for shredded chicken!).

This is NOT because the meat won't cook---it definitely will, but while it cooks, it will give off so much liquid that your enchilada stack will be soggy and gross.

And nobody wants that.

Anyhow. Use a 4-quart slow cooker. In a large mixing bowl, make enchilada sauce by combining:


Stir well and set aside. Put a layer of tortillas into the bottom of your slow cooker (you may need to tear a few). Add a handful of cheese, and some sliced olives. Scoop a large spoonful of sauce on top. Repeat layers until you've run out of ingredients.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours, or until cheese has melted, is brown and bubbly, and the top layer has begun to pull away from the sides. Let it sit unplugged for about 15 minutes before serving with a dollop of sour cream.

Buried Treasure Bunt Cake

From baking banter at King Arthurs Flour

Tart lemon cake filled with sweet, gooey coconut is just the ticket for a bright, fresh spring day.

Here are three ingredients you might like to keep handy in your pantry.

Cream of tartar is a stabilizer for any kind of meringue, or egg white-based filling or topping. You may also find it called for in old-fashioned cookie recipes; it was one of the original leaveners in snickerdoodles, for instance.

Coconut flavor is one of the 27 extra-strong flavors we offer. Just 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon is all you need to add great flavor to cake, cookies, scones, pancakes… you name it. Vanilla-butternut flavor, anyone?

Lemon oil is the perfect stand-in for grated lemon rind (zest), when you don’t have any fresh lemons on hand. Substitute 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon lemon oil for the zest of 1 to 2 large lemons. It’ll make your cakes, icings, cookies, and muffins positively sing.

Let’s get started. Since it’s all about lemons, we’ll begin by making lemon glaze.

First, grate the rind from 2 medium-to-large lemons.

A Microplane grater-zester does a fine job here. It’s one of those tools you don’t use every day, but when you need to zest a lemon or lime – man, you’ll be glad you have it.

Set the grated rind aside; you’ll be adding it to the cake batter later.

Now, take those two denuded lemons and squeeze them; you want 1/3 cup lemon juice. Any extra, stir into your bottled water with a bit of Splenda for delicious calorie-free lemonade.

Stir 3/4 cup sugar into the 1/3 cup lemon juice. If you have superfine sugar, so much the better; it’ll dissolve more readily.

Set the glaze aside while you make the filling and cake.

First we’ll make the coconut filling.

Put the following in a mixing bowl, and start to beat, using your mixer’s whisk attachment:

2 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/8 teaspoon salt

Add 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, and beat at high speed till the mixture forms fairly stiff peaks. When you scoop some up in a spoon, it should hold its shape easily.

Stir in 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon coconut flavor or 2 teaspoons vanilla. Or both. Can’t get too much of a good thing, and that includes complementary flavors.

Mix 2 cups shredded or flaked sweetened coconut with 2 tablespoons King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour, and add to the egg whites.

Stir to combine.

Set the filling aside while you make the cake. It doesn’t need to be refrigerated.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Lightly grease a 10” to 11” Bundt pan, or a 10” tube pan.

 Put the following in a mixing bowl:

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt* (*Use just 1/2 teaspoon salt if you choose to use salted butter)

Beat till well combined.

Add 4 large eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl after you’ve added the first 2 eggs.

Look at that lovely, fluffy batter!

Add 3 cups (12 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour alternately with 1 cup milk.


Beat at low speed as you’re adding the flour and milk.  Stir in the grated lemon rind, or 3/4 teaspoon lemon oil.

Spoon about 1/3 of the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top with a spatula. You want to add enough to cover the bottom, and start to come up the sides, barely; but not so much that you don’t have enough left over to cover the filling.

Distribute the stiff filling atop the batter, centering it within the ring of batter so it doesn’t touch the sides of the pan. Pat it down gently.

Dollop the remaining batter on top, again smoothing it with a spatula.

Bake the cake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean.

It should rise nicely, and turn golden brown on top.

Remove the cake from the oven, and set it on a rack.
After 5 minutes, run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen, and turn the cake out onto a rack. Place another rack on top, and flip it over, so it’s right-side-up.

Oh, boy… isn’t it a pleasure to work with a great Bundt pan! No sticks, no tears – that’s one perfect-looking cake. Aside from the coconut filling you see peeking out around the inner edge… promise of good things to come.

Brush the cake with the glaze.

Brush the glaze on heavily; you have plenty.

Once it’s soaked in, brush some more on. The result is a mildly lemon cake with a moist, assertively lemon outer crust.

Now comes the hard part – wait till it’s completely cool before you make that first slice!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Picante Chicken Rice Burritos


• 2 tablespoons butter
• 1/2 cup chopped green onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 7 cups shredded, cooked chicken meat
• 1 tablespoon chili powder
• 2 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
• 1 (16 ounce) jar picante sauce, divided
• 1 cup uncooked long grain rice
• 1/2 cup sliced black olives
• 3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
• 12 (10 inch) flour tortillas


1. To Make Chicken Mixture: In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter and saute green onion and garlic until soft; stir in chicken, chili powder, 1/4 cup broth and 3/4 cup picante sauce. Heat through, then set aside.

2. To Make Rice: In a large saucepan, bring rice and remaining 2 1/4 cups broth to a boil. Reduce heat, cover pan and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in remaining 1 1/4 cups picante sauce, cover and simmer for another 5 to 10 minutes or until rice is tender.

3. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).

4. To Assemble Burritos: Stir chicken mixture into rice, then add olives and 2 cups of the cheese. Mix well. Spoon 1 cup of filling onto each tortilla, off center. Fold sides and ends over filling, then roll up. Arrange filled tortillas in two 9x13 inch baking dishes and sprinkle remaining cup of cheese on top.

5. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 10 to 15 minutes, or until heated through.