Cornbread

I make this cornbread probably every other week, and each time it only lasts a couple of days…

Anyway, this is an easy and versatile bread that you can customize to your particular tastes and the dish its accompanying. My most recent iteration included jalapeños- the perfect amount of kick.

Cornbread

The gnomes are coming... for the cornbread!

Makes 20ish pieces

Cook Time: 10 min prep, 25-30 min cook, 10 min cool (if you can keep your hands off them!)

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

2 cups plain yogurt or buttermilk
½ cup milk
¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
2 eggs, beaten
Non-Stick Spray (or melted butter)

Optional: diced jalapeños, minced garlic, shredded cheddar or parmesan cheese (choose ONE of these, or none)

What To Do

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Coat a 9×13 inch pan evenly with non-stick spray or butter. You could also use a cast iron skillet.

Sift the dry ingredients together into a large bowl. Since I dislike sifting things, I usually just dump everything into the bowl and mix together with a wire whisk.So dry! Like a desert. In your mouth.

In another bowl, combine the wet ingredients (yogurt, milk, brown sugar and eggs) and whisk until mixed.

Yin and yangFold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Stir (slowly) until combined.

If you’re adding in any optional ingredients, drop them into the bowl now and fold them in. I added jalapeños and diced crushed garlic to this batch, but you could add shredded cheddar cheese, sun dried tomatoes, onions or peppers.Pour (spoon, really- this mixture is pretty thick) the cornbread dough into the prepared baking pan. Be sure to spread it evenly- smooth it out with your spatula if needed. I topped mine with shredded pecorino romano.

Bake at 350 F for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cook longer if you prefer drier cornbread.

Once the toothpick comes out clean, remove the cornbread from the oven and cool for ten minutes before serving… or scarf down half the pan. Your call.

Serve warm with (garlic herb) butter or your favorite soup!

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Adventures in Food, Pt. 1

I had a pretty great day today- I had a vacation day and I got to do a LOT of shopping, and my boyfriend got back from his trip. So pretty much the trifecta of awesome.

Today is my first post about food adventures, which means I saw something cool on a shelf somewhere and decided to buy it.

We were in our local Indo-American Convenience store stocking up on essentials like red lentils and moong beans, when we saw this gem on the shelf. It’s Kurkure, Naughty Tomatoes flavor. Yes, that’s right: Naughty Tomatoes.

There wasn't much cheese flavor in these

So naughty

Just in case you can’t see how awesome this packaging is, here is a close up of what I’m going to call the flavor mascot:

Luscious Lips- Tomato LipsLook at those lips! And the horns- they’re vibrating (with what? Naughty-ness?). And the whole tomato-body-thing is pulsing with bright rays of light (or radiation? Maybe that’s why a tomato has such luscious lips and quivering horns).

A treat such as this must be shared with loved ones and friends, so I recruited my boyfriend and a fellow blogger/friend to join in this taste extravaganza. A bite-by-bite commentary follows:

Boyfriend and Blogger-Friend: (pick up and sniff the Kurkure-thing)

Fake Cheetos

Blogger-Friend: Smells like fake pizza flavoring.

Boyfriend: Smells like tomatoes.

Boyfriend and Blogger-Friend (Crunch)

Blogger-Friend: (Grimace, Looks confused): It looks like a Cheeto, but tastes like a tomato.

Boyfriend: This makes me want real Cheetos.

Blogger-Friend: It’s like you sucked all of the cheese dust off of a stale Cheeto, then dipped it in ketchup.

Boyfriend: There is just a little zip.

Blogger-Friend: They’re not good, but I feel strangely compelled to keep eating them.

Boyfriend: They aren’t as bad as Mountain Dew Doritos.

Blogger-Friend: They could be an accoutrement to tomato soup.

…. 30 minutes later

Blogger-Friend: A bowl of Cheetos would not have lasted as long as these have. And I would have a lot more orange crap on my lips.

So there you have it: Kurkure Naughty Tomato fake Cheetos. Tastes like stale Cheetos dipped in ketchup. All right!

Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup

The finished product- Yum!Winter is back again, and snow on the ground means that a hot bowl of soup is the perfect meal. Cooking in the kitchen seems to make my chilly apartment warmer (nevermind that I have the heat cranked up to 80 degrees). I thought I’d try this hearty soup to use up some of the barley that’s been sitting in my fridge forever.

I found my inspiration for this soup on AllReceipes.com but as usual I quickly deviated from the instructions to develop my own creation. This is a simple but hearty winter soup loaded with veggies and healthy grains (and my favorite legume- lentils <3).

Barley & Lentil Vegetable Soup
Makes 12 Servings

Time: Approx. 15 min prep, 45+ min cook time, 1 hr total

12 cups vegetable (or chicken or beef) broth (low sodium is preferable)
1 1/2 cups uncooked barley (I used quick cooking barley)
1 1/2 to 2 cups uncooked, rinsed lentils
3 large carrots, chopped (Ok, I cheated on this- I used peeled baby carrots)
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 zucchini and/or squash, chopped
1 1/2 onion, chopped
5-8 peeled garlic cloves, chopped (feel free to use more… or less)
1 (28 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes (you can also used diced canned tomatoes in sauce)
4 1/2 bay leaves
3/4 teaspoon ground black pepper (or to taste)
3 teaspoons dried parsley
3 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tsp cumin
Pinch of Garam Masala (optional- I had some on hand and thought it would be interesting)
1-1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar (a couple of good shakes)
Hot Sauce- to taste
Salt to taste, use less if your broth and canned tomatoes have a high sodium content

 

  1. In a large stockpot (and I do mean large!) begin heating your broth on medium high. I used about 3 tsp low sodium chicken bouillon powder mixed with the water- you can add more but that’s all I had left!Stock Pot I microwaved my water prior to adding to the stock pot to cut down on cooking time.
  2. Chop your vegetables so that they’re roughly the same size. If you have a food processor, I highly recommend using it here- it will shave off loads of prep time. I used my Cuisinart with the slicer blade to do the heavy lifting. The pieces were a little larger than I would have preferred if I

    chopped by hand, but that’s a tradeoff I’m willing to make when my stomach is grumbling. Also- feel free to substitute your favorite veggies for the ones listed above. The garlic, carrot, celery and onion are typically considered the core “aromatics”- so try to use them if Chopped Vegetablesyou have them on hand. (I promise you won’t taste the onion).

  3. Add in the barley and rinsed lentils. Stir to mix the ingredients together. Your pot should be pretty much full now.
  4. Add the bay leaves and spices and stir.Spices Since the recipe already called for curry, I thought an Indian flare might be interesting, so I added cumin and garam masala (a blend of spices that has a kind of sweetish spicy flavor).
  5. Let the soup cook on medium high until the mix comes to  a boil, stirring occasionally- for about 15-20 minutes. Cover loosely. The barley and lentils will absorb the liquid and thicken the soup.
  6. Once the soup has reached a boil, reduce the heat to medium or medium low. Simmer the soup for another 15-30 minutes, until the barley and lentils are tender and the soup has thickened.Soup Cooking
  7. Let the soup cool for 5-10 minutes. Serve with a hearty crusty bread or cornbread. Enjoy!

    Pot of Soup

    Yummy Soup!