Corn Bread

Quick to make and soooo good! Make it instead of popcorn for movie night, serve with chili, soups, stews or toasted for breakfast, lunch or snacks. A big hit with old folks, children, teens and the growing numbers of people known as “foodies.”
The following recipe gets you started into the wonderful world of corn bread; you may find yourself surprised at the long history of corn bread, from ancient, old-fashioned and traditional peoples to the settlers in native lands who expanded the uses of this amazingly simple and very nutritious staple food of the ages.

Watch how to make Corn Bread on video!

1 C. corn meal
2 C. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
2 T. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 C. sugar
1 1/2 –2 C. milk or 1/2 milk 1/2 water, or part canned or powdered. (Hey you vegans! – you can replace the milk with plain water and 2 T. cooking oil.)

Mix dry ingredients together, add milk or water, stir well, adding enough liquid so that the mixture is not too thick, like a cake batter. Pour into a greased 8 x 8 inch baking pan (or pie tin) and bake 35-50 minutes until done (a toothpick or knife inserted in the middle comes out clean and quite dry). Cornbread should be nicely browned on the sides, but not too brown on top. Great as is, buttered, and with jam for breakfast and snacks.

Suggestions: Add canned corn and/or jalapeño peppers for a Mexican flavor; make it Italian-style with a few finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes. Add soy flour to the dry mix or grated cheese to the wet for extra protein. For corn cake, increase the sugar, add an egg or two, mix in a little oil or vegetable shortening, beat the batter very well until smooth. I love using frozen berries in my corn “cake-bread” in wintertime. Tastes really great toasted and buttered; try it under poached eggs. Mini cornbread pizza slices? Garlic corn bread? – why not?
Hints: Instead of plastic, use a clean kitchen towel for wrapping leftover corn bread to keep it soft. You can make a double batch and freeze one for later. Great for pot luck suppers and a really nice gift for your favorite friends and neighbors.

Corn kernels remind me of nature’s generosity – so many seeds from one corn cob! Corn plants will grow well with good earth (shred and add last year’s stalks to the earth – nitrogen!) and some care and give you many more seeds to feed many more people. The best whole brown corn husks can be harvested and dried – pull back the husk, tie and hang until the seed kernels are hard, then twist them off and store a non-plastic bag or envelope – want to grow your own popcorn or grind your own cornmeal?
Good seed growing and saving information is easy to find – e.g., check out the Long Island Seed Project. Share and trade your seeds to keep them strong.

~ Sometimes I pray that it becomes impossible to contaminate corn;
I am careful about it. ~

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Creamy Gourmet Pasta & Garlic Bread

Creamy Gourmet Pasta

I like “retrofitting” low fat recipes. This one became an instant family favorite, it’s so easy to make and soooo good to eat. We found it by looking for something to make with some cottage cheese that was getting close to its due date.

Cooked pasta for 4 (spaghetti, linguine, shells or what you’ve got)

Olive oil for sautéeing

1-3 Tablespoon chopped fresh garlic, or to taste

1 C. diced tomatoes with their juice – fresh, canned, frozen

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano (1-2 t. fresh), other herbs to taste

Salt & pepper to taste

1 C. cottage cheese (1/2 of a small container)

3 T. Parmesan cheese

1/4 C. water

While the pasta is cooking, gently sauté the garlic in the olive oil a frying pan, add the tomatoes, cook for a few minutes, then add the herbs.

Blend together the cottage cheese, parmesan and water (in a blender or stirring it with a fork) until nice and creamy. Add the cheese mixture to the cooked pasta, mix well, add the tomato mixture, mix well, serve portions sprinkled with cheese, enjoy!! Very nice with “Quick’n’Easy Garlic Bread” (see below)

Suggestions: This recipe is one that can be adapted to whatever you’ve got. Omit the tomatoes, add more garlic, sliced olives, sausage bits, cooking wine and so on.

Add vegetables like spinach, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and you’ve got a nice “primavera” style dish. Use feta cheese for a Greek touch, cheddar for a farm-style meal.

Vegan option: replace the cheeses with fresh tofu blended with nutritional “cheesy” yeast, water or broth, salt, garlic and herbs.

~

“Quick’n’Easy Garlic Bread”

In a small bowl or cup, use a fork to mix softened margarine or butter with garlic powder and salt to taste.

Spread it thick or thin on sliced bread, rolls, buns – toast it under the broiler, in a toaster oven, on the barbeque or over a campfire!

Gourmet garlic lovers tip: Make a paste with crushed fresh garlic, olive oil and salt to taste and spread as above.

Bread – Bannock

Baked Bannock

This is our family recipe, rooted in the traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s easy to make and delicious …a good reason to keep a bag of flour in the cupboard. Why run to the store for bread?

3 C. Flour
2 T. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Oil or shortening
2/3-1 C. Water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir well with a fork or sift dry ingredients together. If using shortening, cut it well into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl, add water (and oil), mix quickly to get a firm, but not too dry consistency. Pour into a greased pie plate or 9 x 9 in. baking pan (glass is best). Bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with butter or margarine, jam, peanut butter. Enjoy!

Options: Use unbleached flour, half & half whole wheat and white flour, bran. Substituting 1/4 C. soy flour and adding milk powder adds extra protein.
Add 1/2 C. sugar to mix and: On top of half the batter, add any of the following fruits: blueberries, apples, strawberries – sprinkle 1/2 C. sugar over fruit. Cover with rest of batter and bake.
Mix raisins into dry mix and drop biscuit-size spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet – a great favorite with kids for breakfast and snacks!

Suggestions: Warm leftover bannock in a slightly damp kitchen towel, paper bag or paper towels in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 10 minutes in a low oven.