Saturday, January 13, 2007

Tooting My Own Corn

I know it's been quiet here on the blog since New Year's, and I hope you'll forgive me. I've been so wrapped up in other projects and some minor upheaval at home thanks to the renovations next door that my cooking has been very simple and unexciting.

But this weekend, I was determined to get into the kitchen and cook lots of good things to get me through the coming cold weather (a rarity around here of late). I started a pot of chili this morning, throwing together a couple jars of home-canned tomatoes, a can of beans, small handfuls of dried red peppers and garlic and carrots, and a chopped onion sauteed with the requisite spices. (And yes, all those vegetables came from last year's farmers' market!)

While it simmered, I dashed out in the drippy weather to run a couple of errands, and when I returned home and changed out of my damp clothes, I whipped up a pan of cornbread to go with the chili.

I honestly don't know why I don't make cornbread more often. It's so easy to make (I used the corn muffin recipe from the Tassajara Bread Book but spread the batter in a 9" square pan), it takes a lot less time than yeast bread, and it tastes so good with hearty soups. I guess I don't always think about making complete meals, just individual dishes, for myself.

After a mere half an hour, the cornbread came out of the oven looking crackly and wholesome:

While it had baked, I had also made a savory butter flavored with chili powder, lime juice, and a touch of fresh chopped cilantro, so I split open a square of cornbread and spread it with the mix.

Mmmm... can't beat that for a damp, chilly (or is that chili?) day!

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