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the amazing sweet potato cornbread {gluten free}

November 4th, 2013 | Comments Off

I talked about walking away from wheat in my last post, with that delicious Maple Apple Cake that had no wheat whatsoever in it, and I couldn’t resist sharing this incredible Sweet Potato Cornbread recipe with you as well.


Cornbread is a staple around here in the cold months. We eat it with all manner of soups, chili and such, and all of us love a good hearty piece, drizzled with honey as a side to a steaming bowl. I needed to find a wheat-free option for this quickly.

Fortunately, it didn’t take much searching to come across this recipe for Pumpkin Cornbread on Ashley’s delicious blog, Edible Perspective. I’ve been following Ashley’s site for quite some time now and love all her simple yet inventive recipes. She inspires a great deal of dazzling food thought for me in my own kitchen.

Ashley has no less than three versions of her Pumpkin Cornbread in the referenced post and the last one she lists is the one that nailed the homerun of wheat-free Cornbread that will now be my go-to recipe. Again, like that phenomenal cake I just made, the base is a mix of flours and does not rely on a commercial blend. I just don’t want to take the lazy route to make my favorite baked goods without wheat, and exploring the means of creating these standards is half the fun.

Texture is of vital importance in baked goods without wheat. A good quality result shouldn’t immediately raise a red flag that something is missing, and this cornbread’s texture is spot on for what I love about top-notch cornbread; it has that cracked, rugged top and a dense crumb that holds just enough moisture to keep it from crumbling with the first bite. Adding roasted and mashed sweet potato helps with that tenderness. Sinking my teeth in to that first piece, cut while still warm from the pan, and I rolled my eyes in joy. It was perfect. The crumb was perfect. The taste- superb. The texture was pure cornbread, with hardly a hint that the wheat was missing.

It’s results like this that I can’t resist praising. I LOVE this cornbread, and can’t wait for the next bubbling pot of soup so I have an excuse to make it again.

Like I need one, right?

 

Sweet Potato Cornbread

1/2 c. gluten free oat flour (I grind Bob’s Red Mill GF oats to make mine)
1/2 c. medium grind cornmeal
1 c. corn flour (use Masa Harina in a pinch- this is different than cornmeal)
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
3/4 t. fine grain sea salt
2  large eggs
1 c. mashed sweet potato (about one good sized spud; I roasted mine until it collapsed, cooled, skinned and mashed)
2 T. maple syrup
3/4 c. unsweetened almond milk (use whatever milk you wish)
2 T. olive oil

Heat your oven to 375°. Spread a few tablespoons of oil around the pan you chose for baking. I used an 8×8 square baking pan.

Whisk together the oat flour, corn meal, corn flour, baking powder, soda, and sea salt. In a large measuring cup, measure out the milk, then add the sweet potato, maple syrup, eggs and oil. Whisk wet ingredients together until smooth, then pour over the dry ingredients and gently mix with a rubber spatula, scraping across the bottom of the bowl. Mix only until combined, then scrape in to prepared pan and smooth the top.

Bake 30-40 minutes, or until tested done in the center of the pan. Allow to cool before removing from the pan.

 

This recipe is adapted slightly from Ashley’s. Please check out her post on how she created, and re-created this cornbread, and the multiple ways she made her version.

simply sunday, and spoonbread

May 29th, 2012 | 1 Comment »

There are those days that beg for nothing at all; you know which ones I mean- vacation days of sand between your toes, gazing over azure water under a floppy hat, or ones spent in crazy fun activity with family, day trips of time on the road, the ribbon of concrete slipping away under your tires while you watch the landscape woosh by you. We’ve had them. We need them.

One recent Sunday was like that. The house emptied out early, before my mind was even fully awake and I sipped coffee, feet tucked under me in a big cozy chair, book in lap and content kitties napping near by. After a few days of record May heat and intense sunshine, the weather gave way to a thick continual mist and wind-whipped trees. I stepped outside briefly to see if it was worthy of even trying to take a walk, and my hair flew around my head, smacking me in the eye like a mischievous pony. Turning back to the patio door, I saw one cat lift it’s head and stare at me, as if to say ‘What ARE you doing out there??’ I really had no answer.

Back inside, another coffee in hand, I was hungry, and craving something with rhubarb but wanting more than a coffee cake, better than a muffin. Serendipitously, I sleepily browsed my blog reader, and suddenly, a gorgeous Rhubarb Spoonbread jumped out at me, thanks to Autumn, of Autumn Makes and Does. I’ve been reading Autumn’s blog for a few months now, and whoa…. you should too. I’m pretty sure it will make you sigh in happiness at least once or twice. We all could use those moments, right? Where we sigh with joy over something delicious?? Yes. Yes, we do.

I managed to haul myself off the chair long enough to pull together the ingredients for this delight, savoring the fact that I’d stocked away baggies full of fresh rhubarb in the freezer, JUST for a moment like this one. {{high five, self!}} And with a few minutes under cold running water, those luscious red cubes were good to go. The oven sparked to life in that affirming way that chases gray, rainy days away; as the pan cooked, the kitchen filled with it’s inviting scent, tickling my already empty belly, teasing in it’s delicious way. That sound, the woosh of flame igniting seems to bring a grounding for me. I waited patiently for the spoon bread, browsing magazines, and the piles of recipes culled from a thousand sources and soon, all I wanted to do was cook.

That may not sound simple at all, but it is, to me. It’s what pulls together all the fibers of who I am that get scattered in my days away from the kitchen. When our food storage containers are stuffed in the drawer and not in the fridge, I feel like something is missing, and with all this inspiration around me, in blogs and websites and magazines, it doesn’t take much to make it all come together. Maybe all I needed was a spoon bread, an empty house with quiet jazz from the speakers and a misty morning of oven humming and hot coffee.

Like Autumn, I’m not sure why I haven’t explored spoon breads more often. Oh, right; Mike doesn’t eat eggs. Ah well, too bad for him. This was a perfect custard-y bread, sweet and tangy at the same time and dug out warm from the pan, drizzled with good maple syrup and eaten, tucked back in to that cozy chair, and more coffee steaming from the table next to me. It was much, much more than I had imagined for my day when I opened my eyes that morning, or as I stood briefly  in the mist outside, thinking maybe it hadn’t been so worth getting up in the first place. But a spoonbread, warm from the oven, set me upright even with the dull low clouds outside.

And this spoon bread, well, it’s perfect for a savory snack, with maple syrup {although a good dousing of heavy cream isn’t bad at all} and of course, it makes an easy dessert, warm, again, and topped with vanilla ice cream, a scoop of yogurt or possibly maple-sweetended mascarpone cheese. Oh sigh, and sigh again {{see? again with the sighing, and so soon!!}} Something simple, on a blustery, misty day never tasted so good, in so many ways.

Rhubarb Spoonbread

Ingredients

  • 6.5 oz (about 2 cups) rhubarb, sliced about 1/4 thick
  • 2.5 oz (1/3 cup) sugar (I used organic cane sugar)
  • 2 T maple syrup (preferably grade B), plus more for drizzling
  • 4.5 oz (1 cup) yellow cornmeal
  • 2 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t baking soda
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 3 T butter, preferrably unsalted
  • 3 eggs

Cooking Directions

  1. Place chopped rhubarb, maple syrup, and sugar in a small bowl. Stir together and set aside while you gather the remaining ingredients and complete the following steps.
  2. Preheat the oven to 400.
  3. Place the butter in an 8 x 8 inch square pan and put the pan in the pre-heating oven.
  4. Whisk together the cornmeal, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Make a well in the center. Add the eggs, but do not stir, set aside.
  5. Check on the butter. Take it out of the oven when it’s completely melted. Allow the oven to continue preheating.
  6. Now, stir the eggs into the cornmeal mixture and add the buttermilk. Stir briskly until completely combined.
  7. Swirl the butter around the hot pan and pour any excess into the batter. Stir to combine.
  8. Stir the rhubarb sugar mixture into the batter and pour into the buttered 8 x 8 pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the center no longer jiggles.
  9. Serve warm drizzled with more maple syrup.
Recipe printed in it’s entirety from Autumn, of Autumn Makes and Does. The only thing I did different was bake it in a 4-qt pyrex baking dish.

The time in between years

December 27th, 2009 | 10 Comments »

I’m not sure whether I feel sadness or relief that Christmas is over.


Some years, it’s a combination of both.

This year it seems to be more relief, as I struggled to bring the holiday forefront in my life. I am more eager for this coming New Year’s Day. I’ll be happy to throw out the last calendar page of 2009, thinking this month I might rip it into tiny pieces before fluttering them into the recycle bin, watching the last of a year to forget slip through my fingers. Maybe the metaphorical shredding will empty my heart of the effects of too many trials and ongoing stress. I’ll keep my fingers crossed for that.

Our Christmas celebrations were nice, as they always are. There was plenty of good food and family time. There was lots and lots of snow, Minnesota-style. We even had some rain, which led, of course to ice and then on top of that, more snow. I love how when I look out over a fresh snowfall, I feel giddy again like I did as a kid. It’s nice to feel that sense of wonder still inside me.


The more adventurous of our two cats had enough curiosity to venture onto the front steps, but that was about it. The sound of the snowblowers was a bit too much for him.


The Christmas celebrations had plenty of high points; my son, our little carnivore, got his fill of good meat, a gift in and of itself. We caught up on some much needed sleep and my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful, warm hand-knitted shawl that I am completely uninterested in removing from my shoulders any time soon. We’ll have a new niece or nephew any day now and the anticipation is very high. There is much to be joyful about, and this is no lie. Even in my pensive state I am well aware of the multitude of blessings that surround us.  And I am here now, in the last few days of one year, a year I can’t imagine ever wanting to re-visit again, eagerly full of hope, mystery and the potential of something far better starting in the new year on Friday. I’ve always been in wonder over the fact that you can lay down to sleep on December 31st, and wake up to a whole new stretch of months ahead, a new numbered calendar year, a lineup of days, blank and exciting to make into what you wish. I remember being young, ushering in a brand new year, and unaware that life had the potential to keep kicking you after you’ve tripped and fallen flat. I always thought it should look different, that switch from one year to the next; I expected the new year to dawn bright and shiny, unblemished and superbly fresh, like that moment you step out of the bath. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have the ability to place your burdens on the ground, the stroke of midnight imminent, and step over some magical threshold into 2010, closing the door and leaving them behind? Spiritually this is full of possibility. I hope to be able to do just that, the best I can this coming Thursday evening. I think about changes I wish to see in the coming year. I think about stress relief, smiling more, hoping more, praying more. I think about rising up to a better level of personal contentment, stretching my culinary wings, digging deeper, loving more fully, reaching out farther, accepting life more gracefully with less judgment. What’s the next step? The right step? Maybe my best option is simply to keep myself open to immense possibility.

And let’s talk about immense possibility, with regards to this Cornbread Stuffed Poblano Pepper.


I came across this idea while blog surfing one day and had yet another ‘Eureka!’ moment. If I recall correctly, we ate it for dinner that night and I was swirling with the potential of greatness to be found in this simple option. Like the New Year ahead, it’s bright with new promise and endless outcomes. I think about chunks of pork, mixed with green chile sauce and topped with cornbread mix nestled into a dark green pepper, baked to perfection and steaming hot, topped with avocado and a spot of sour cream. I think about chili beans too. Maybe spicy chicken pieces. I like thinking in terms of potential, for both my life in the 12 months coming rapidly my way, and for my food. It makes future endeavors seem much more delicious.

For your Cornbread Stuffed Poblano Peppers:

Buy as many poblano peppers as there are people to serve. Look for firm, unblemished peppers with as much roundness as possible, not the easiest option in a poblano. Heat the oven to 375° and cover a baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.  Slice the peppers the long way and trim out the core and seeds. Prepare your favorite cornbread recipe, reducing the liquid up to 1/3. A more dense cornbread won’t spill out of the peppers as it bakes. Jazz up the cornbread by adding a chopped jalapeno, or a 4-oz can of diced green chilies, some sharp cheddar cheese, a spoonful of minced chipotle peppers. Be creative with the additions. Spoon some of the cornbread mix into each pepper half, just enough to barely touch the top. Sprinkle extra cheese over the top. Any remaining cornbread can be baked as muffins, or any option you wish. Bake the peppers until the cornbread is cooked, about 18-20 minutes. Serve immediately.

A savory meat or bean layer underneath the cornbread strikes me as a delicious option for these, turning a healthy side dish into a delightful main course meal. Oh, the possibilities……..