Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Cool Weather Cooking
Brrr! It has been so cold, wet and wintry around here that it has me wanting to pull on a sweater and some long socks and put a big pot of soup on the stove. The Dallas area has gotten into a seemingly endless rain cycle, and it's made for a much cooler-than-usual October.
So with the coming of fall and cooler weather, we've been craving cool-weather comfort food.
In the past few weeks, I've made clam chowder, beef chili, split-pea soup and cream of broccoli soup, all homemade and all delicious. Soup from a can just isn't the same, and homemade soup is too easy not to try. On a cold fall day, nothing beats simmering some soup on the stove all afternoon and serving it with some fresh, hot bread.
Last night I made some yummy corn chowder from Posie Gets Cozy. I love this recipe. It's sweet, simple and delicious. Alicia's blog always has gorgeous photos on it and lots of good recipes.
To go with the corn chowder I made one of my other favorite recipes -- Albers Cornbread.
Albers is a West Coast brand of cornmeal that I can't find out here in Texas, but you can use any brand of cornmeal you like. This recipe is from the side of the box.
Now everyone knows there are many different types of cornbreads, with both family and regional differences. Most people prefer either really sweet cornbread or not-very-sweet-at-all cornbread. I like mine in between, and I really like this recipe because the cornbread is just right: thick and moist, with just the right touch of sweetness. We've made this quick and easy recipe in my family for years.
1 C yellow cornmeal
1 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 T baking powder
1 t. salt
1/3 C oil
1 C milk
Combine dry ingredients. Then add wet ingredients. Pour in greased 8" square pan. Bake 25 mins. at 400 degrees. If doubling recipe, put in 13" x 9" x 2" pan. Test with toothpick in center. It should be slightly brown on top.
When we went to Indiana this summer, we visited the Stockdale Mill in tiny, rural Roann. The old, water-powered grain mill was built in 1857 and ground flour for Union troops in the Civil War. It operated for many decades before finally falling into disrepair in recent years. Recently it was refurbished, and now it is open for tours.
We took our kids on the tour and found it really interesting. One of their favorite parts of the tour was getting to operate an old corn grinder that takes dried kernels and grinds them into a coarse cornmeal.
I bought a bag of this cornmeal ground at the mill and have been using it in my cornbread recipe for the past two months.
The stoneground cornmeal is a little coarser and flakier than factory-processed cornmeal, so the result is slightly different. But you know what? Our cornbread is even better than before!
The stoneground cornmeal is not only healthier for you because it has the nutritious germ still in it, but it also makes for a fluffier bread. I store this cornmeal in my freezer to keep it fresh. You might be able to find a brand of stoneground cornmeal at your grocery store. It's worth a try!
Why don't you bake some bread today?