Friday, 8 February 2013

Southern Cornbread

           Today is a snow day and that is so exciting. Even for me, despite the fact I work from home and rarely leave my house anyway. (Well I do leave the house, I’m not some kind of shut-in. I just don’t HAVE to leave the house if I don’t want to.)

Anyway. Snow days are exciting and fun and they feel like a perfect excuse to not really work, but instead just lounge around and watch shows and eat. Which is exactly what I’ve been doing today. But I did have it in my mind to do a little cooking today, and I wanted to use my cast-iron skillet, which I haven’t used yet. (You may remember the skillet from Seasoning Your Staples

So, today I ventured out to the plaza, which was definitely treacherous. But, I was on a mission for cornbread supplies, and that is what guided my car into the Loblaws parking lot. And by “parking lot” I really mean giant snowdrift with cars strewn about in no obvious order.

I should mention at this point that I was also starving. None of the food in my house was appealing to me, so I decided I would just get something in Loblaws. By the time I arrived, I was so hungry and stressed that I just opted for a small package of potato wedges. Which I proceeded to eat immediately as I moseyed through the produce section.

Now, you would not expect to come across someone you know on a snow day such as this in the Loblaws. You would certainly not expect to come across a personal trainer that you happen to know. Absolutely, never in a million years, would you expect to come across said personal trainer whilst eating a free chocolate dipped strawberry sample and holding a fried potato wedge in the other hand. 

In case this is so far out of the realm of possibility for you that you cannot imagine how this might feel, let me take a moment to explain the feeling for you. It is akin to running into your ex on house cleaning day. You know, that day where you are about to scrub your bathtub, but you realize you’re out of the damn Vim. So you hop over to Shoppers, in your cleaning garb, hair undone, possibly last night’s mascara on your face, where you decide that you might as well grab other various embarrassing pharmacy items to go with that Vim. As you head to the checkout (up the family planning aisle, no doubt) you run into your ex, who is buying family planning products and looking very handsome. At this point, you attempt to drop the most mortifying items in your arms behind the Magic Bags and desperately try to smooth those sticking up bits of hair down.

He, of course, knowing how perfectly awkward you are, enjoys this sight and tells you how great it is to see you. You also say how great it is to see him, despite the fact you know perfectly well that if he is, in fact, looking at products in the family planning aisle, he is not wallowing in self pity on his couch every night, dialling your number and hanging up, drinking rye, and consulting a Ouija board on whether you miss him or not. Which is of course what you want your ex to be doing after you breakup.  Which is why this situation in Shoppers is not fun. Nor is it great to see him. You leave Shoppers vowing to never leave the house without makeup on again.

Oh. That’s never happened to you either? Well anyway. The situation was embarrassing, but not embarrassing enough to prevent me from eating a free sample of cheese when I came across it. My cashier was of course confused when she rang through the empty wedges box (which, I might add, I did not actually break the seal of. Instead, I pulled the wedges out through the sides of the box, one by one, because in my mind, I was going to make it home with those wedges to eat in the comfort of my own home at some point.) Mercifully, the cashier through the box in the garbage at her station, rather than making me bring home the empty box as a reminder of my chagrin.

On a cold day such as this though, I sometimes feel like cooking a summer meal, to make me forget that in reality it is -25 outside and pounding snow. For dinner, I’m making trout with cornbread and coleslaw. I’m using a recipe I saw on Southern Cooking classics and giving a slight adaptation of my own. (Mostly that I could not find self-raising cornmeal mix, so I’m using standard cornmeal with some baking soda thrown in. Surely this will suffice.)

Start with one and a half cups of your cornmeal (or cornmeal mix, if you can find such a thing) and a half-cup of flour. Add baking soda if it’s not self-raising. (I think. This is verging on baking and we all know how I feel about that.) Mix in a can of cream-style corn, a small tub of sour cream, 3 eggs and some chopped cilantro. I also would add chopped jalapenos if you want a little spice. I threw in a bit of sugar, salt and smoked paprika too. Why not?

Using your cast iron skillet, pre-heat your oven to 450° and once it’s heated, throw in your skillet for five minutes. Then I used some butter to grease the skillet, if you have extra butter that can only add to the deliciousness. Top with some cheddar cheese. Bake for 22-25 minutes, until golden and it pulls away from side of the pan. It was incredibly moist, no doubt from the creamed corn and sour cream.

My trout recipe basically consists of lime, cilantro, garlic powder, salt and pepper. You can find the full recipe here. With the easy-peasy coleslaw (read: pre-prepared salad mix and dressing) you have a delightful summer meal that will chase your snow blues away!

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