Perfect Sweet Cornbread

I don't know about you, but I think that people have a reallllyyyyy weird thing with cornbread.  I lived in Texas for a while, and it seems that the South as a whole would be shocked and appalled at a sweet cornbread.  Their cornbread is crumbly and savory.  Hey, I like that too ... but there's something about cornbread that's moist with just a touch of sugar that gets me excited.

That's the saddest realization I've ever come to on this blog.

Anyway .. say what you will, this cornbread is really delicious.  Put away your Jiffy mix, and get out the butter and honey.

You'll need.... (this is for a TON of cornbread, like a 9x13 pan full)

1 cup of yellow cornmeal
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 1/3 cups of sugar
2 Tablespoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cups of vegetable oil
1/3 cup of melted butter
2 tablespoons of honey
4 eggs, beaten (be gentle)
2 1/2 cups of whole milk
Optional: some diced pickled jalapenos or a can of green chilies would be great in this.  You can also add some cheddar or Monterrey jack cheese ... lots of tasty options.  

Alrighty, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, and grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  

In a large mixing bowl, put in your flour, salt, sugar, cornmeal, and baking powder.  

Mix until just combined.

In a separate bowl, add your eggs, vegetable oil, melted butter, honey, and milk.  Whisk together. 

Add the egg mixture to your batter, and stir until just combined.

That's it for the batter!  At this point I would add in any cheese or peppers if you want to spruce this recipe up a bit.  I didn't think about it until later... it was still delicious on it's own!

Add the batter to your greased baking dish.

Bake for 45 minutes until it starts to turn golden and shows a few cracks on the top.

Let it cool for a bit, then slice it up and serve warm with some melted butter and honey.  Ohhhh man.  I ended up serving this with my chicken tortilla soup ... keep an eye out for my next post for that recipe!

Hope you enjoy, even if you like the crumbly stuff.


Butterscotch Chip Cookies

I brought these cookies into the office the other day and there was almost a riot when I ran out.  These come highly recommended!!  The secret ingredient is some cream cheese - adds an interesting texture and tang to the cookies.  You'll definitely have to let me know how these go over if you end up making them.

P.S. I just realized these are the first cookies I've posted to this blog. I'm going to celebrate with a glass of wine.  Fine, it's an excuse to drink wine. 

You'll need... (for about 20 cookies)

1 stick of butter (room temperature)
4 oz of cream cheese (half a package)
1/2 cup of granulated sugar
3/4 cup of packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
8 oz of butterscotch chips

Ok!  Throw in your butter and cream cheese into a mixer and cream that together really well... like 2 minutes on high well.

Should look like this when you're through.

Next you'll add both the brown and granulated sugar, and mix until fully incorporated to the cheese and butter.

It should look pretty similar to this!  

You'll then want to add the egg and the vanilla and mix until everything comes together.

Action shot!

OK! We can move on to the dry ingredients.  You'll want to mix together the flour, salt, and baking soda ... you can sift it if you like but that just dirties another tool and I am against doing dishes.  

Slowly add this to the butter mixture on a low speed.  You don't want to over mix it because the cookies will turn out tough.  Just do it to the point where everything looks like it has come together.

You'll then want to fold in the butterscotch chips with a spatula, then cover and refrigerate the dough for about 2 hours.  This will allow the butter to harden up again, and your cookies won't spread out as much when you bake them.

When the two hours is up you'll want to preheat your oven to 350 degrees, then scoop the dough into about 1 1/2 inch balls on some lined cookie sheets.  If you overcrowd the pan, the cookies will all run together and not bake properly.  TRUST ME.  (Bad past experience).  

Bake these babies for 10-12 minutes, turning the pan halfway through to make sure everything is cooking evenly.  My oven is pretty hot, I took them out almost exactly at 10 minutes.

Let them sit on the pan for a couple of minutes (they will be really soft at first), then move them to cool on a wire rack.

Ta daaaaa!!  You're done!  Store these in a tupperware container or a ziplock bag, they should stay soft and delicious for about 3-5 days.  I'm just guessing, the batch I made lasted about 3 hours.



Easy Spinach Dip

This is one of my favorite appetizers, and just so happens to be one of the easiest things to put together. I always make sure I have some frozen spinach and cream of leek soup on hand, you never know when you'll be hosting an unexpected predrink with 23 hungry boys.  No? Just me?  Alright then.  Feel free to serve this with afternoon tea.

You'll need...
1 cup of mayo
1 16 oz container of sour cream
1 package of dry leek soup mix
1 frozen package of spinach

...that's it.  I'm serious.  I'll have to post something else today because I feel like I'm ripping you guys off.

Measure a cup of mayo...

And grab a container of sour cream.

Combine in a medium sized bowl with the leek soup.  You can also use onion or veggie soup in a pinch.

The most "difficult" part is the spinach .. you want to thaw it out and then squeeze out the excess moisture so your dip isn't runny.  I used a colander and a paper towel and just squeezed it until it was 95% dry.  Then add the spinach to the bowl with your sour cream and mayo. 

After a couple stirs... you're pretty much done!  Just let it sit in the fridge for a couple of hours to let everything mingle.  If you can, leave it over night, it will be so much better.

Serve with some hunks of pumpernickel or sourdough bread.  Voila!




Veal Marsala

Veal Marsala!  This is one of my favorite week night meals.  Why?  1 pan.  Half an hour.  'Nuff said?  I also recently moved into a new apartment downtown .. so get ready for more updates.  It's the end of mom's cooking!

You will need...
- Veal  (3 or 4 thin pieces)
- 1/2 a spanish onion
- about 1 cup of mushrooms
- 2 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of butter
- a hand full of chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
- flour for dredging (about a half cup, but just eyeball it)
- 1 cup of Marsala wine
- 1 1/2 cups of beef broth (or chicken broth)
- 1/4 cup of parmesan cheese

Please ignore the fruit bowl in the back.  That's just for show.

Let's get going.

First, you'll want to brown your onions and mushrooms, so add them to a large pan on medium high heat.  Make sure to add the butter and oil beforehand so they don't stick to the bottom.  

While that's working, season your veal with salt and pepper on both sides, and get your flour spread out on a plate.  You'll want to coat the veal just enough that it's covered, not clumpy.  

Perfect!  Check on your mushrooms... 

Looking good.  And I don't even like mushrooms.  Once they have some color on them, move them to a plate.

Ok! In the same pan, add more olive oil if it looks dry, and put your veal in.  Don't overcrowd the pan too much, I should've used a bigger pan so I could sear all of them at once.  Don't be like me.

This part will go really fast because the veal is so thin.  About a minute on each side in a very hot pan should do it.  When they're done, put them aside with the mushrooms.

Yum!  Ok, onto the sauce.  Deglaze the pan with your cup of red wine.  My recipe only called for a half cup, but I decided to double the sauce recipe for you guys so you can serve it over mashed potatoes or some buttered pasta.  Plus...I'm a lush.

Scrape the bottom of the pan with a spatula and make sure you get all the brown bits up.  Let that reduce to about half the original amount, then add the beef broth.

Perfect! Now you can add the veal and mushrooms back in to heat everything up.

Add on your chopped parsley....

Maybe a little parmesan cheese to thicken things up....

And you're done!

Enjoy with some pasta and a big glass of red wine.  Maybe take in a sunset while you're at it.

I may just eat some leftovers right now since I have veal on the brain.



Pita Pizza

Sometimes, I just can't decide what to eat.  I know, I know, #firstworldproblems.  I'll sit there in front of the open fridge eating peanut butter from the jar because I can't make up my mind.  This is a new favorite because of 3 things.  1) It's easy.  2) It's fast.  3) It's got options.  You can switch up the ingredients and have it be a totally new lunch.  This one is a caprese salad inspired creation.  New #firstworldproblem : I don't get to work from home enough so I can eat these more often.

Grab a pita!  Easy enough, no?  I just use store bought, but my mom made them from scratch once and I gotta tell ya, it made a HUGE difference.  Also, preheat your oven to 425 degrees.

I added red onions ... but I hate raw onions.  I quickly sliced up a few pieces and started to caramelize them so they didn't have as much bite.  Feel free to skip this step if you're not as picky as I am.

Slice up some tomato fairly thinly - the "pizza" is not going to be in the oven long.

Add just a brush of olive oil and some sea salt to the pita.  Simple, but big flavor difference if you skip this step. 

So instead of a tomato sauce base, I used some pesto!  I don't have any fresh basil on hand, so the jar stuff will do.

Next, a thin layer of mozzarella cheese.  Mama mia!  You don't want to add a ton, it will weigh down the pita and make it kind of soggy in the middle.  Learn from my mistakes.  

Layer on the tomatoes...

And then the onions ...

And you're ready to go!  Put it in the oven for about 12 - 15 minutes.  Keep an eye on it, you'll want to make sure the cheese is melted, and it starts to brown up on the edges.

 Slice with a knife or pizza cutter, and you're ready to rock!  I made a BBQ steak version a couple of days later, using BBQ sauce as the base and cheddar cheese.  The world is your oyster ... or in this case pita pizza.

Enjoy!  And here's a picture of Mac because he's just too adorable to leave out of the occasional post.