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Let's ear it for stalking up on versatile cornbread recipes

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Hearty Skillet Cornbread

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First of all, thanks to Edna Mroz of Beausejour and Kathleen Mihaychuk for their Imperial cookie recipes. I missed putting them in last week. This week, thanks to everyone who responded to my shout-out for cornbread recipes, including Jim Rodger of Argyle, Kathleen Land, Elma Hiebert and Darlene Smith. Any kind of cornbread is my favourite quick bread. Easy, reliable and versatile, it can be served with breakfast, lunch or supper.

Jim Rodger wrote in to say his father, who grew up in Alberta, always called it Johnny Cake. (My dad grew up in northwestern Ontario, and he called it that, too.) Jim also had a brilliant tip for using my vintage cast-iron pan, which bakes cornbread into small sticks that look like corn cobs. He suggests greasing the pan well with shortening and then preheating the pan until it's "smoking hot." This gives a nice crust.

Both of the following recipes can be baked in corn stick pans or in skillets in the oven. The first has a touch of sweetness and would be great at breakfast with jam or with the lemon-honey spread. The other recipe, with green onions and cheese, would be a great side for chili or stew.

This week, Aline Ludlow has written in with a request for a recipe with the great name of "More Than Potato Soup." And Joanne Hill of Keewatin, Ont., has a request that I'm sure will touch a lot of other readers. Joanne is interested in recipes for "treats" -- desserts and baking -- for people living with diabetes. As Joanne points out, just swapping in sweetener for sugar doesn't always work. Often the other ingredients need to be slightly adjusted, so it's best to go with recipes specifically developed for reduced sugar. Does anybody have some really good diabetes-friendly recipes?

If you can help with a recipe request, have your own request, or a favourite recipe you'd like to share, send an email to recipeswap@freepress.mb.ca, fax it to 697-7412, or write to Recipe Swap, c/o Alison Gillmor, Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave. Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6. Please include your first and last name, address and telephone number.

 

Hearty Skillet Cornbread

2 eggs, beaten

80 ml (1/3 cup) sour cream (commercial)

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

500 ml (about 8 oz or 2 cups) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

1 x 284 ml (10 oz) can cream-style corn

250 ml (1 cup) yellow cornmeal

30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar

10 ml (2 tsp) baking powder

5 ml (1 tsp) grated lemon peel

5 ml (1 tsp) salt

 

HONEY-LEMON BUTTER

125 ml (1/2 cup) butter, softened

30 ml (2 tbsp) honey

5 ml (1 tsp) fresh grated lemon peel

15 ml (1 tbsp) fresh squeezed lemon juice

Preheat oven to 205 C (400 F). Thoroughly grease an oven-proof 20-22 cm (8-9 inch) skillet or baking pan. In medium bowl, combine eggs, sour cream and oil. Stir in 375 ml (1 1/2 cups) cheese, cream-style corn, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, lemon peel and salt. Blend well. Spoon into prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake 5 minutes more or until cheese melts. Cool 5 minutes. Cut into serving pieces and serve with honey-lemon butter.

To make honey-lemon butter: In small bowl, combine ingredients, blending well.

 

Tester's notes: This recipe from Elma Hiebert is very moist, with great taste. This is a real Southern-style version that uses cornmeal but not flour. As a bonus, this recipe is gluten-free (though you should check the canned creamed corn -- some brands are gluten-free and some are not). You can certainly bake this cornbread in a standard pan. If you decide to bake the bread in a skillet, make sure it's ovenproof, including the handles. Teflon-coated pans are not recommended for the oven, though some non-stick ceramic pans are fine. Counter-intuitively, I found the non-stick pans were stickier than old-fashioned cast iron. Elma makes the honey-lemon butter in a mini-blender.

 

Gloria's Skillet Cornbread

Vegetable oil spray or soft butter for greasing

250 ml (1 cup) yellow cornmeal

250 ml (1 cup) all-purpose flour

60 ml (1/4 cup) granulated sugar

15 ml (1 tbsp) baking powder

2 ml (1/2 tsp) salt

250 ml (1 cup) grated old Cheddar cheese

3 green onions, thinly sliced (optional)

1 large egg

310 ml (1 1/4 cup) buttermilk

60 ml (1/4 cup) melted butter

Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Thoroughly grease a 25 cm (10 inch) cast-iron or oven-proof non-stick skillet with spray or butter. In a medium bowl, place the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and whisk until combined. Stir in the cheese and green onion.

In a separate bowl, beat the egg until the yolk and white are well blended. Mix in the buttermilk and melted butter. Mix the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared skillet. Bake for 30 minutes or until the cornbread springs back when touched gently in the centre. Cool the cornbread on baking rack for 20 minutes. Run a knife around the pan, invert and cut into wedges. So good!

 

Tester's notes: Another great cornbread recipe, this one from Darlene Smith. I liked the green onions so much I'd probably double or even triple the quantity next time.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 21, 2013 D5

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