Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Orange and Black Cornbread

Today's cornbread obsession is brought to you by the colors orange and black.

I've been wanting to do a sweet potato cornbread. And, heaven knows there are plenty of recipes for sweet potato cornbread out there. Problem is, most of them are... sweet. And, sweet won't work with black beans. Because the other thing I've been wanting to do is a cornbread that celebrates the impending month of October.

Beautiful, glorious October. Month of changing leaves, mercurial weather, the return of pie pumpkins, and just about everyone's birthday. Oh, yeah... and that other holiday.

So... this calls for an unapologetically orange cornbread, speckled with black beans, topped with creepy black sesame seeds.  And, just like October in Southern Cal, a touch of heat.

It's too bad Spouse would rather die than eat sweet potato.  But, sometimes a girl's just gotta bake what a girl's gotta bake. Today, I had to bake sweet potato and black bean cornbread. 

    1 1/2 C. rinsed and drained black beans
    2 ounces oil
    280 grams organic yellow cornmeal (2 C.)
    1 tsp. salt
    1 tsp baking powder
    1/4 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp chipotle pepper
    Dash or two of smoked paprika
    1/4 tsp xanthan gum
    9 ounces goat milk
    7 ounces sweet potato puree
    2 eggs
    1 Tbsp. agave syrup
    Black sesame seeds
  1. Put oil in 8" square baking pan. Turn toaster oven or real oven to 425 degrees. Place pan in oven while oven preheats. Pay a little attention to the oven as you're mixing up the cornbread. Oil left unattended at high heat: Bad things could happen. 
  2. Mix cornmeal, salt, baking powder & soda, chipotle, paprika, and xanthan together.
  3. Mix goat, potato, eggs, and agave together.
  4. Mix dry and wet stuff together.
  5. Take the pan out of the oven, swirl the oil around a bit, then pour it into the batter. Mix well.
  6. GENTLY fold in the black beans.  If you're too vigorous, the black beans will smoosh and discolor the cornbread. Which could also be nice and disgustingly Halloweenish. But really, it's not what we're going for here. So, do be gentle.
  7. Sprinkle black sesame seeds on top, then bake for about 20 - 25 minutes until the cornbread tests done.
Serve with organic butter. Just don't serve it to Spouse 1.0.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Cheese Toast a la Jared

A recipe for cheese toast? Really??  Who needs a recipe for cheese toast???

Well, it's not about the recipe, kids. It's about the ingredients.

And, no. Jared isn't an ingredient.

But, his delightful farm ( ) produces delightful ingredients.

So, back to the ingredients....

You'll need a couple of slices of reasonably decent gluten-free bread.  Ramona Family Naturals and Windmill Farms sell a locally-made sourdough that toasts up nicely.  And, of course, Canyon Bakehouse rocks.  But, today, I had T-Jo's multigrain, so T-Jo multigrain it is.

Next, you'll need a couple of Jared's small golden tomatoes. These cute little guys are low acid, vine ripe, organic, heirloom, flavorful... And did I mention they're just so cuuuute!  Slice them up and place them on the bread.

Next, grab one of Jared's Marconi peppers.  Lovely sweet red pods of joy, they look like they should be hot, but they're not. Slice a few paper-thin slices and sprinkle over the golden tomatoes. 

Top all that with a few transparent slices of one of Jared's onions.  These bad boys are pungent, aromatic, and utterly onionicious!

Bake in the toaster oven at about 375 until the kitchen smells amazing.  In other words, until the onions have started to brown at the edges and the tomatoes are hot. Maybe 5 minutes or so?

Now add some raw pepper jack cheese.  Good luck finding it.  I got mine in Ramona.  If you can't find it, then just use your favorite goat cheese.  Pop it back in the toaster oven and continue baking just until the cheese warms enough to melt.  Probably another 3-5 minutes.

And, there you have it: Cheese toast a la Jared.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

I don't know what it is bread

Lately I've been obsessed with making variations of the Cherokee Bean Bread recipe on the War Eagle Mill web site.  (

The latest variations have involved using blue cornmeal, black beans, and green chili peppers.  But, today, I had some magnificently aromatic sage from Grebar Farm. So, what if I made the blue cornbread with sage instead of chilis? 

Well, that means I should probably use white beans.

And, if you're going to use sage, then you should definitely add fresh parsley, rosemary, and thyme. Or dried thyme, since I didn't have fresh.  And, some ground black pepper.

And, if you're going to do all that, then you should sauté a little carrot, onion, and celery for extra flavor.

And, if you're going to add all those extra vegies, then you probably need an extra egg and a pinch of xanthan gum to help bind it.  And maybe an extra pinch of baking powder, just because.

But, OH NO!!!  I only have about 70 grams of blue cornmeal, and the bag of blue cornmeal in the freezer turned out to be brown rice flour.  And the bread (or whatever it may be) is now half made!!!

Deep breath.  Millet flour.  I've been needing to use that up anyway, and it has something of a corn-ish taste.  Yellow cornmeal.  Spouse shouldn't have it, but it's nowhere near the top of his no-no list.  And, since it's organic...

And, with all that extra stuff, it's probably a good idea to use just a splash more oil than the recipe calls for.

So... Is it a bread? A pudding?  A stuffing substitute?  I have no idea what to call it.  I just hope that Spouse calls it, "It's good. I like it."