\\ SOUTHWESTERN CORN SPOONBREAD or, how I used up all the rapidly wilting vegetables in the fridge //

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I feel the foodie crush of late summer coming on, like I didn’t make enough use of local tomatoes or Georgia peaches or North Carolina blueberries. I didn’t have a crab boil or pig pickin’ or make any pies. I have all this bullshit guilt from buying Cheezits instead of organic okra. So I make poor decisions and over-buy corn at an end of summer sale and too much cilantro thinking maybe I’ll have a little party and I can serve guacamole but then realize I recently moved 300 miles away from anyone who might want to come over. And then all the vegetables start their inevitable descent into soft, useless rinds and bitter, hollowed out husks. So! Instead of THAT whole sad affair let’s make cornbread!

It’s super easy and all the ingredients are likely to be found in your cupboard.

Ingredients:

2 ears roasted corn

Half a jalapeno, seeded and chopped finely

handful cilantro, chopped or ripped apart roughly

Half a small onion, sweet yellow or vidalia if you can, diced

2/3 cup milk, whole or 2% or 1%, whatever you have

4 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup flour

1/2 yellow cornmeal

1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

3/4 teaspoons kosher salt

Cracked pepper to taste

Dash garlic powder

First! Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Then melt a couple tablespoons of that butter in a skillet and pop on dat chopped onion. Add a pinch of salt and spoon the onion around as it browns and softens. Add the jalapeño and the cilantro and let them souse together for a few minutes while you de-cob your pre-roasted corn.

(If your corn is fresh, then pop it in a 350 degree oven about a half hour before you decide to make this bread, husks and all. It roasts beautifully that way, is perfectly tender and awesome and hence cornbread ready).

After cutting the kernels off the cob, put them in the skillet with the onion, jalapeño, cilantro mixture and the last two tablespoons of butter and that dash of garlic powder. They all party together in the pan and that’s how the bread is so easy yet so amazingly, zingingly flavorful.

While they sizzle away in the pan you can get the batter ready. In a large mixing bowl, add the flour, cornmeal, salt, baking powder, and pepper. Give it a quick whisk so it’s uniformly incorporated. 

Take the skillet with the onions, etc. off the heat and let it rest a minute. In a smaller bowl, combine the milk and egg and whisk it quickly, like you’re making scrambled eggs, to beat a decent amount of air into the mixture. Dump the contents of your skillet into the eggy milk mix and give that a few whisks. 

Now adding the wet ingredients to the dry can be a source of panic, doubt, and anxiety for some people. Here’s that confidence thing again: sometimes you have to just close your eyes and dump it in there and hope for the best. All the fluffing and folding and careful measuring, who cares!? It’s not a big deal. You were probably going to throw out that onion and those corns tomorrow anyway. SOOO, put the wet ingredients into the dry and mix them together with a folding motion a few times until they just combine. Don’t over-mix or the bread will be dense and shitty. Just fold a few times and pour into a greased baking dish, preferably in a fun shape like a dinosaur or a tree or a circle or a square. They’re all fun. 

Bake at 375 for 30-35 minutes or so. The yellow cornmeal color should just deepen a bit, a blush of sorts, you’re not looking for a big burnished golden brown or anything. When it colors into a deeper yellow and cracks a bit on top, it’s ready. Pull it out, let it cool as much as you can before you dig in, and then eat. And eat, and eat.

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