Thursday, July 10, 2008

Barefoot Bloggers: Jalapeno Cheddar Corn Bread




I was looking forward to making this month's Barefoot Bloggers selection. It's Ina Garten's Jalapeno Cheddar Scallion Cornbread, selected by Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking With the Kids.

I'm a big fan of cornbread, and, as far as the two camps (sweet or plain), I'm usually in the sweet category, but I like most varieties: Sweet, savory, crumbly, firm, yellow, white, baked, or skillet. I've never made my OWN cheese based cornbread, however.

I wasn't gung ho to use Jalapeno peppers. I don't like peppers, particularly Jalapeno, although I DO like the cooked/pickled green chili that you'll find in eggs or so-called "Monterey" style dishes. I thought I had some, so didn't bother to shop for them. Turns out I had a can of pickled Jalapeno Peppers, whole, seeds and all. Not what I had in mind, but I did chop one up and use it anyway, to keep an open mind.

My adaptation, below, took into account the comments made by my fellow Barefoot Bloggers -- that the original recipe was not very corny. I made the ratio of corn flavor to AP flour more level, and, I scaled the entire recipe by half, using less butter as well, as suggested by another blogger.

BAREFOOT CONTESSA JALAPENO CHEDDAR CORNBREAD

1 cup of all purpose flour
3/4 cup of fine cornmeal
1/4 cup of corn flour
1/8 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup of milk
1/3 cup egg beaters
3/4 stick of melted butter
4 oz sharp, grass fed New Zealand White Cheddar Cheese
Scallions
Jalapeno, pickled, chopped
Penzey's Southwest Seasoning

Combine all dry ingredients and set aside. Combine the milk, egg beaters, and melted butter in a blender cup and whip. Pour into dry ingredients and gently mix. Add most of the grated cheese, a generous teaspoon of chopped Jalapeno (or more if you actually like it), and diced scallions to taste. Spread in a greased 8 inch square pan, and let it sit for 20 minutes. Just before baking, sprinkle with additional reserved grated cheese, more diced scallions, and I added a sprinkle of Penzey's Southwest Seasoning for color and smoke. Bake for 25 minutes at 350, or until browned and a skewer comes out clean.

***

I liked the bread, but if I made it again (on the fence on that one) I'd leave out the Jalapeno and just stick with the scallions. The cheese and scallions added quite a bit of flavor and "bite" and that would be enough for me. Or, if I had them, I'd use the pale green, very mild canned chili peppers that I *do* like. I'm not sure what the distinction is, other than no seeds and a much paler color.

Ok, if you're still reading this far, I've got to tell you a funny cornbread story. I went to a potluck hosted by the soul-filled Southern Family of a friend of mine, and the "Aunties" were lording over the buffet table, loading it with some fierce chicken, beans, greens, cornbread, you name it. I was eating Auntie's cornbread and said "Oh my, this is the best I've ever tasted. It's so light and fluffy, but grainy at the same time. How did you make this?!" She responded "Oh honey, that's 'jes a couple boxes of mix." "A mix? Which one!" I was really excited I could recreate this. "Oh you just take any cornbread you like, I used Jiffy this time, and you make up one box of cornbread mix just like the box tells you, and then you take one box of yellow cake mix, and you mix that up just like the box tells you, and than you just stir it all up and bake in a pan. That's my special cornbread!"

Well no, um ... that would be corn CAKE courtesy of Betty Crocker. And no wonder I liked it so dang much. No, I never made it. I can't fool myself into believing I'm not just eating a pan of cake.

About this challenge:
The Barefoot Bloggers join forces and cook or bake recipes by Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten each month, chosen in order by members, and present them for discussion on two Thursdays each month. Our Next Challenge: Ina's Smoked Salmon Spread. Hungry? Please join us at the table!

10 comments:

  1. UGGG, Cornbread CAKE???

    Having now lived south of the Mason Dixon line for 7 years, I am amazed how religious people are about cornbread. Especially NO SUGAR!!!

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  2. I halved the recipe too. Yours turned out great...good job!

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  3. Your cornbread photos are beautiful. I love the story of the corncake/bread. too funny.

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  4. haha! Don't you just love those old bitties!
    ~The Cat's Pajamas

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  5. Yours looks great...but you HAVE to try fresh jalapenos next time...sooo good!

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  6. Your cornbread looks great! People around here will ONLY eat cornbread if it's swimming in honey butter. I had to convince them that it's ok to eat this one plain :)

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  7. Ha! Jiffy and Betty, I know that's right.

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  8. Looks terrific and using the Southwest seasoning is an excellent idea!

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  9. Your corn bread looks so good and I just love corn bread!

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