Tuesday, January 27, 2009

January 27, 2009

Good morning, campers. I had every intention of posting this last night, but my old worn out body just ran out of gas. So here I am now, all bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to go.

This first picture is the key to making the best cornbread in the world. It is my trusty cast iron skillet that I have carried around with me for over 30 years. I use this one piece of cookware more than I use anything else, I think. I have a wok--I like this better. I have baking pans-I like this better. And for cornbread, the even heating and density of the cast iron makes it the ideal vehicle to carry you to heaven.

First I preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Then I use vegetable shortening and lavishly grease the skillet, sides and all. Then I put the greased skillet into the oven and set about making the cornbread batter. By the time I am finished mixing the bread, the skillet will be good and hot.

For my favorite cornbread, the ingredient list goes like this:

1 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

5 TBSP sugar or 3 TBSP honey

1 cup yellow corn meal

6 TBSP melted butter

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

Start by sifting the flour, soda, salt and baking powder together in a medium sized bowl. Stir in the sugar and the cornmeal. Melt the butter, beat the eggs and buttermilk together. Add the butter and beat some more. You can do this by hand, you don't need a mixer. Just use a fork. Stir this mixture into the dry mixture with a spoon, and use as few strokes as possible to mix it well.

Take the hot skillet out of the oven, and pour the bread mixture into it. It will sizzle and crackle nicely. One thing this does it seal the crust a little and insure a beautiful moist cornbread. Bake it at 425 for about 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Then butter and serve. Because it's a round skillet, I usually cut it into pie shaped squares. My hunky husband and I (with a tiny bit of help from 3 dogs) will eat the entire thing.

All day yesterday, I had a lovely batch of pinto beans simmering away in the crockpot. It was the perfect repast for a cold winter night...cornbread with beans scooped on top, chopped onion on top of the beans and cornbread on the side with butter.

It just doesn't get any better than that. A simple meal, good protein from the beans and the satisfaction of knowing that you can cook very basic foods with a great deal of love...and eat like kings.


  1. I'm with you on the cast iron. It's my most used cookware, too. I finally ditched all the other skillets.

    Sounds like you eat like we do and you're right, it doesn't get much better.

  2. Thanks , Earth heart, for coming by! BTW--I really enjoyed Rainbow Tree's blog, too.

    I'm reading your blog everyday...sounds like we live the same kind of life too....


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