Sunday, September 25, 2011

Mama’s Cornbread

It’s FALL Y’all!!

Even if we still had triple digit temperatures this week, nothing will stop me from baking my favorite fall dishes. This week I decided to whip up a batch of my mama’s cornbread. Everyone loves my cornbread, a lot, folks even eat it for breakfast the next morning. Ever since I was a little girl, I’d eat cornbread the next morning too. I’d cut myself a big ol’ square, break it up in a bowl, add some milk – just enough to moisten everything up, and microwave for two minutes. It was my “corn meal mush” breakfast of champions.
In fact, one of my mom’s favorite stories is about the year I gave up sweets for Lent. Being a good Catholic school girl, I kept off of sweets for THIRTY-TWO of the 40 days! Do you know how hard that is for a 9 year old?? Finally, I told my mother I couldn’t go one day longer without any sweet for my tooth, so I came up with a plan. I developed this long, convoluted story about how cornbread really shouldn’t count as sweets, and did she know that cowboys lived on this “journey bread” for months at a time while out on the range. I convinced her that since it only contained a shy cup of sugar, that the sugar was merely acting as a preservative, not as a sweetener like in chocolate cake!! Can you believe that?! I think my mother was more impressed with my story-telling ability than how much she believed my tall tale, but, she made me the cornbread anyhow. It should also be noted I convinced her to put an extra spoonful of sugar in the batter, and that I covered my piece in honey and butter that night. But, I deserved it. That gave me my sugar fix, and I managed to finish my eight remaining days “sugar free.”

So whether you make your cornbread for chili or for dessert, this is easy and moist, and oh so delicious. In fact, I’m a little torn giving out this recipe! I used to keep it closely guarded, only shared with family. But, y’all mean so much to me…. I’m sharing my secret – so don’t tell anyone, k?

 

Get out your bowls girls – and boys!!

 

Gather your shy cup of sugar, flour and cornmeal.
I like using coarse ground cornmeal, or any corn meal I can find at a farmer’s market.

Add baking powder.

3 teaspoons in fact.

Ex-squeeze me?

(Lame Wayne’s World reference ~ I <3 the 90’s!)

And the salt! I forgot my salt picture.

Whisk together well!

Add one cup buttermilk.

If you forgot buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to 1 cup of milk, and let it set 10 minutes; it should do the trick!

Oh, and do NOT taste test this.

Melt 3/4 cup butter. Let it cool slightly before adding it to your mixture.

If it’s too hot, it will cook your eggs, and leave a “rubber band” texture between your teeth.

Ewww.

Glorious.

Stir.

But not too much.

Holy Moly, why am I still using a whisk??!!

No! No! Get a spoon.

Add 3 eggs, all at once, and mix JUST until blended.

The batter will be pretty thick. This is one of those DO NOT OVER MIX OR THE TOUGH BISCUIT POLICE WILL CALL YOU, your children won’t love you, your radiator will go out, you’ll lose your keys, and your hair begins thinning recipes.

The buttermilk begins intermingling (ooh, cozy) with the baking powder. Cool chemical things start happening…. and if you mix it too much, it can go flat.

Or worse.

Get tough.

Hanginnnn’ tough.

Whoa. corn-y alert tonight.

NO. PUN. INTENDED.

I’ll stop.

Gently spread in a 9×13 greased pan.

Bake at 400 degrees for approximately 20 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

 

Drizzle with ooey gooey honey.

And butter.

And serve with milk.

Here’s your recipe, y’all get to bakin’ now!
You hear?

~Peace, Love, and Johnny Bread Ya’ll!

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Mama's Cornbread

Ingredients:

1 cup yellow corn meal
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup melted butter, cooled
3 eggs

Directions:

Combine corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl and blend well. Add buttermilk and melted butter slowly. Cool the melted butter slightly before adding, or it will cook the eggs! Stir the mixture gently, then add all three eggs; stir just until combined. The batter will be thick. Pour into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 400 degrees 20 minutes or until golden a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.

 

 

Monday, September 5, 2011

Avocado Ice Cream?!

All hail the Avocado Ice Cream!

I don’t know what I’ll think of next, but I like this avocado kick I’m on. If you missed it, the avocado cookies taste nothing like the tropical fruit, but have half the fat, and taste super, duper moist.

Avocado Ice Cream tastes tropical. Reminds me of coconuts and mangoes.

I’m pretty darn sure too, that if you weren’t lucky enough to acquire an ice cream maker at some point in your life, you could place the mix in a air-tight bowl, freeze it, and it would still come out delicious.

Get yourself 3 avocados, a lemon, one cup of heavy cream, and 3 cups whole milk.

Shoot. And sugar. Forgot the sugar in the picture.

And vanilla. Dang it!!

Gorgeous!

How did I get so lucky to get all three perfectly ripe?
Usually I think they’re going to be perfectly ripe, and I’ll open them only to discover them full of brown spots.

It’s going to be a good day.

Scoop out those innards, we’re going to blend the heck out of them.

Blend up your avocados, lemon juice, heavy cream, and 1 1/2 cups sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla.

BBLLLEEENNNDDDD.

Looks like the goop they’d dump on you on that show “Double Dare.”

*PHYSICAL CHALLENGE!!!!!*

Stir in 3 cups of whole milk.

That’s it!

Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker, which of course you forgot to put the inner container into the freezer the night before, so, you need to refrigerate this mixture until the inner container is frozen and – sigh.

You get it.

But it’s a good idea to refrigerate any ice cream mixture anyways, gives it a good head start.

Turn the ice cream maker on and in 30 minutes, you’re done!!

I did notice that the mixture was still pretty soft. I placed it in the freezer for another hour or two.

Perfecto!

Serve up your tropical concoction!

It gets really firm in the freezer, so you’ll need to soften it a good 20 minutes prior to serving.

Peace, Love, and Avocados y’all!

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Avocado Ice Cream

Yield: 1 1/2 quarts

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 90 minutes freezing time

Total Time: 60 minutes

Ingredients:

3 avocados
1 lemon
1 cup heavy cream
3 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Directions:

Scoop out the innards of three avocados. In a blender, combine avocado, lemon juice from one lemon, 1 cup heavy cream, sugar and vanilla. Blend well. Pour the mixture into a bowl and add whole milk. Stir until mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, and let the maker do its magic for 30 minutes. Mixture will be soft. Place the ice cream into a freezer safe container; place a layer of saran wrap over the ice cream to avoid frost bite. Freeze an additional hour or until ready to serve.

 

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Nutella Pie, AKA Birthday Cake

 

 

 

Ya’ll hear about the cold front coming in? Ohh, roll your eyes. It’s ok. We’re all hot. “Hot – hot – hot” as Grandma would say. She loved her some Texas, but never stopped complaining about the heat. When my parents come to visit, every time they ask me “How do you stand this heat?”
My response- “I don’t. I stay inside until 8pm.” Work smarter, not harder folks. I work hard for my A/C bill.

Which brings me to one of my favorite summer dessert recipes, Nutty-ella Pie. A fun twist on Grandma’s classic Peanut Butter Pie. I’m darn certain if she had Nutella in her cupboard, she’d be using it. If ya’ll haven’t tried Nutella, it’s right next to the peanut butter at the grocery store; it’s a blend of hazlenuts and chocolate, so delicious! And yes, this is an icebox pie, no oven needed. Between the months of June and August, my oven is purely used as a drying rack, which solves the problem of lack of counter space in my modest kitchen. Turn that thing on and we heat up the whole house, and freeze over the A/C.

Ice box pies are convenient, easy, quick and COOL. When I asked my neighbor what she wanted for her birthday “cake,” she told me I had free reign as long as it had chocolate. Nutty-ella Pie to the rescue. I promise you, if you dare bring the leftovers (I know, WHAT leftovers?) to work, you will be signed up to make this fluffy treat every luncheon ’til the cows come home. Which, frankly, would not be a bad thing due to its simplicity.

Enough chit-chat, here’s the recipe. I guarantee ya’ll will want to try this within the week. Your children will love you. People will offer you cards, gifts, food! You’ll be surprised at how light, fluffy, and refreshing it is. Finally, this pie is highly adaptable. Looking for low-fat? Use reduced fat cream cheese, cool whip, or low fat peanut butter. On second thought, don’t skimp on the best part – only full fat peanut butter or Nutella allowed. Watching your sugar intake? Reduce the powdered sugar, or use Splenda. Or, if you’re going whole hog, just split a piece with your honey!

 

Start with one brick of cream cheese and 3/4 cup powdered sugar.

Beat until smooth and creamy.

Mmmmmm. Now add 3/4 cup Nutella.

While no one’s looking, lick those measuring cups clean.

Add the Nutella to your cream cheese and powdered sugar.

DON’T STOP BEATING!!!

Beat for three minutes so the mixture becomes light and fluffy.

Now. Resist the urge to wash the beaters.

See? I’m saving you dishes!

In a clean bowl, beat one cup whipping cream, and a teaspoon of vanilla until stiff peaks form.

Don’t beat it too long, or you’ll get butter.

About 3 minutes is good.

Gently fold your whipped cream into the Nutella mixture until thoroghly combined!
THAT’S IT! YOU’RE DONE!!

Isn’t that fast, creamy and delicious?

Resist the urge to taste the batter.

Too late? Oh, you’re in for it now.

Spoon as much batter as you can resist tasting into your 9 inch cookie shell.

Mound it high and perrrty.

Freeze for 4 hours.

Set it out about 20 minutes before you plan on serving it.

Then top with hot fudge, chopped hazelnuts, or shaved chocolate.

~Peace, Love, and Icebox Pies Ya’ll

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Ingredients:

Hot Fudge Topping
Chocolate Cookie Crust, 9 inch
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup powdered sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
3/4 cup Nutella
1 cup whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

In a bowl, mix the cream cheese and 3/4 cup powdered sugar using electric beaters, about one minute. Add 3/4 cup Nutella and beat until fluffy, about three minutes. Don't stop once it's just combined - three minutes adds air, making it nice and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons of powdered sugar until stiff peaks have formed - this takes about 3-4 minutes. Starting with 1/3 of the whipped cream mixture, fold the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture. Once it's combined, add the remaining whipped cream to the chocolate mixture, folding gently until thoroughly mixed. Pour the mixture into a 9 inch cookie crust. Freeze 4 hours or until firm. When ready to serve, let the pie sit out 20 minutes to soften. Top with additional whipped cream, chopped nuts, or simply a drizzle of hot fudge. Be sure to save a piece for yourself, it will go fast!