March 26, 2012

The New Real Cornbread and Mom's White Chili

       I am arguably the biggest cornbread fan on the planet.  I always have been.  My grandfather Bob always ate it crumbled up in a glass of buttermilk, and I thought that was genius.  Since my transition into gluten free living it's been one of the things I've missed the, more than cake or pasta or anything.  Sure, you can make flourless cornbread, but I have to ask the question:  why would anyone want to?  William and I have tried countless recipes, and they all turn out flat, dry, and so crumbly you can hardly pick it up.
        BUT.  Tonight something really amazing happened right here in my so-small-it's-practically-nonexistent kitchen.  I think it's the best cornbread I've ever eaten, although (just trying to keep it honest) I haven't had normal cornbread in a year so my judgement may be impaired.  Either way, this cornbread tastes like the real deal, and I'm as happy as a clam!  It came from Bon Appetit's website, but I've made a few changes.

Real Cornbread

Whisk together:
  • 1 3/4 cup rice or soy milk
  • the juice of 1 medium lemon
  • 5 large eggs 
  • 2 Tbsp sugar (don't worry--this isn't that sweet cornbread our northern neighbors like to make)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
Then whisk in 2 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal and finally 3 Tbsp melted Earth Balance.  Then pour into a large-ish cast iron skillet that you grandmother has passed down to you, and bake it all for about 22 minutes at 400 degrees.  

         This recipe may even be better with any combination of the following:  jalapenos, caramelized onions, fresh corn, and delicious little bits of crispy bacon.  I served mine with my mom's delicious white chili.  I have been blessed with two parents who really shine in the kitchen, which is one of the main reasons I always wanted to become a chef.  My mama has a soft spot for comforting soups, and this is one of my favorites.  Here's how you make it.  

Mom's White Chili

Saute 1 diced yellow onion and several minced cloves of garlic with a little oil in a very large, heavy pot.  Once they are translucent, add 2 cans of drained corn (of course, in the summer time this is even better with the fresh kind), 3 cans of white beans, 2 shredded chicken breasts, lots of chicken stock, a bay leaf, several minced chilies in adobo (depending on the level of spice and smokiness you prefer), and salt and cayenne pepper to taste.  Let this simmer for a while and then serve it with cilantro, green onions, avocado, and diced habeneros.  

       William likes to crumble his cornbread straight into the soup.  I like to eat my cornbread on the side with a little drizzle of honey to counteract the heat of the chili.  Any way you want to eat this it's going to be so perfectly comforting.  Plus you have the joy of several days of leftovers, and nothing beats that!

March 24, 2012

Goodbye, Winter! Meatballs

I’ve been in a very self-indulgent slump lately, not wanting to cook without my beloved forbidden ingredients.  But today is the first day of spring, and I woke up wanting to make something a little special to say goodbye to the nice wintery ingredients.
            To get in the perfect spring mood I cooked all of this while listening Clueless soundtrack, guaranteed to put you in a dancing mood (rolling with my homies, anyone?) and make you want to find a plaid mini skirt and thigh high socks stat.
            Now that you’re in the right mood, let’s get cooking!  First I threw together my meatball ingredients:  ¾ lb. ground chuck, 2 hot chorizo sausages removed from casing, 2 eggs, several cloves of garlic, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, and a couple of handfuls of minced kale.  Mix all of that up with your hands.  Then roll it into whatever size balls you want and bake accordingly.  I opted for 1 to 2 inch in diameter balls and baked them at 350 for about 25 minutes.
            In the meantime, heat about ¼ cup of olive oil and a pint of cherry tomatoes over low heat.  When the cherry tomatoes burst and mix with the oil...there will be major splattering.  Plan accordingly.  Let these cook down and caramelize for about 30 to 45 minutes.  For the last 5 minutes or so, add 2 large, crushed cloves of garlic.  Once your tomatoes are sufficiently cooked, cool them off a bit (so that no explosions occur) and blend until smooth in a food processor with the oil and garlic.  Taste and season it up.  Mine needed salt, a touch more olive oil, and a pinch of sugar to balance the bitterness.  This stuff is dangerous.  I almost drank it straight from the food processor. 
            You can have your meatballs and sauce over pasta, you lucky dogs, but William and I are having ours over roasted red and gold beets and sautéed garlicky kale, all topped with crispy homemade chiffonade kale chips.  I’m definitely out of my food rut now!

March 15, 2012

Gluten Free, Dairy Free Creme Anglaise

A year ago, I would have hated any recipe that started with "gluten free" OR "dairy free," much less both!  But here I am, and this recipe is revolutionary to the way I think about my new "free" lifestyle.

Reduce a cup and a half of vanilla soy milk and a pinch of salt to about 3/4 cup.  Then reduce the heat and let the liquid sit until it's just simmering.  In the mean time, whisk one egg yolk and a tablespoon or so of sugar until it's pale yellow and slightly thickened.  The very, very slowly temper the eggs with the milky mixture and let it all cook, whisking constantly, until it's just the right consistency for you.  I like to be able to draw a line in it on the back of a spoon.

This is delicious!  No, I don't know what I'm going to pour it on top of yet, but just about anything would taste delicious topped with this.