Zucchini Daze

It’s finally happened! After a solid six years of trying, I grew a single, perfect, fuzzy zucchini!

Stop laughing.

Yes, they grow like weeds and turn into fat old gourds if you don’t pick them the very minute they arrive, and after paying actual dollars for dirt (dirt, people) and building a shrine to hold it in, and covering it with a critter-proof cage, and faithfully watering, and singing songs of hopeful longing to little sproutlings, I have managed to grow…this.

This being the sum total of four months of labor. This year.

I don’t know where I’ve gone wrong. It used to be so easy.

But the zucchini was beautiful. I discovered it an hour before we left on a family vacation and packed it gently with a towel into my car. There was no way I was not going to eat it. This little veggie cost me a lot of money and a few tears and I deliberated how to do it proper justice.

Enter Ziggy. Ziggy was not technically camping in our particular hut but he came over all the day long to cook his own food in the little kitchen we had, the cafeteria not able to furnish his dietary requirements. Ziggy is also not technically his name, because I protect the identity of happy campers who cook with wine and wield large knives. Furthermore, Ziggy was always barefoot. I told him we were going to lose our “A” in the window.

As the fam and I trudged off to the cafeteria for meals, heavenly aromas drifted on the breeze as Ziggy made himself smoked salmon omelets and lamb shank stews. He hummed the occasional melody. Carrot peels festooned our trashcan. I realized then that he was a Hobbit. I dubbed him Siegfried Wanderfoot.

My little triumph sat on the counter, blending in with the coffee grounds, pondering its fate. Days went by.

Finally, Ziggy asked, “Are you going to eat that?”

“Um, yes. I just can’t decide how.”

“Too small for bread,” he agreed, “too large for a pickle. What are your thoughts on garlic?”

And this is how the most triumphant zucchini dish ever prepared materialized out of actual thin air.

And also how I ended up with a personal chef who is also a Hobbit who can survive at an altitude of 5,400′ above sea level. If you ever used to have a plethora of zucchini and disguised them in a multitude of recipes, you have forgotten what a squash tastes like. Heaven. It tastes like fresh, green, heaven with little clouds of garlic butter. Enjoy.

Ingredient List: hand-reared organic zucchini, pure butter, fresh garlic, Oakwood smoked black pepper, pink Himalayan rock salt, Rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and a machete.

No shoes, no hairnet, no facenet, no “A” in the window…Ziggy living the life.

Ziggy’s Zippy Zucchini
Hand tended organic zucchini sauteed at altitude in pure butter with finely chopped fresh garlic and seasonal herbs.
  1. Plant organic zucchini seeds and tend and water daily.
  2. After many weeks, and in the height of summer, pick one fresh zucchini and carefully transport to a mountain over 5,000′ in elevation.
  3. Let zucchini rest for a minimum of three days, soaking up the wild scent of pine.
  4. Slice zucchini lengthwise into 5mm thin slices with a sharp knife. Put aside to rest.
  5. Grind both pepper and salt over both sides of zucchini slices with love.
  6. Finely chop fresh garlic cloves and place in saute pan with a sizable portion of pure butter.
  7. Put gas stove on high heat and melt garlic butter, adding herbs in small doses as it melts.
  8. Lay zucchini slices in hot pan and saute, turning every two minutes to ensure an even cook.
  9. When zucchini starts to caramelize and crisp up along the edges, remove from pan to rest for one minute.
  10. Arrange on plate in floral pattern. Enjoy with a glass of Layer Cake cabernet sauvignon.

The Plated Wonder

If Life Hands You Lemons, Make Limoncello

Sorrento” and “Limoncello” are interchangeable concepts. Outside of Sorrento, only groves in neighboring Capri are accepted to create this specialty liqueur. You should not buy it outside of Campania. Even Pompeii boasts a mural celebrating the Sorrento Lemon. Locals are fiercely proud of their limoncello, and you can purchase it on every street corner.

The terraced lemon groves in Sorrento have been organically cultivated for generations, surrounded by fencing and protected with overhead canopies and 60% of the harvest is reserved for making limoncello. Lemons are hand harvested when they turn from green to yellow: they never touch the ground. Once harvested, they are carefully cleaned, then kept away from human touch thereafter because limoncello is made from peel. The thick, intensely perfumed peel is distilled in vodka or Everclear, with a little sugar syrup added towards the end, completing up to a three month long process.

A shop owner gave us a brief education, showing us how to read the labels for quality limoncello. The bottle must have the Sorrento seal, and the ratio of lemon to alcohol should be high. 30% alcohol is acceptable, less is for the tourists, and 33% is ideal.

It is served chilled in a shot glass at the end of a meal as a digestive or as an aperitivo.

If you linger at all in a shop, you will be plied with samples. The limoncello speaks for itself.

The rest of the lemon is put to good use: you can buy lemon cookies, lemon candy, lemon balsamic glaze, lemon chocolate, marmalade…and don’t forget the complimentary kitchen baubles. After a few samples, it feels perfectly reasonable to pack it all up and bring the happiness home with you.

It smells and tastes like lemon candy with a tart kick beneath it. It makes you think of sunshine, bright blue ocean water, and good friendships. This is something you drink together, adding a sparkle to great conversation.

After we came home with our bottle, I went out to check our Meyers Lemon Tree. Sure enough, it’s cycling into bloom, with little green lemons being born on the branches. Winter in SoCal is citrus season. Now, my research informs me that the only other place – in the world –  you can cultivate a real honest-to-goodness Sorrento Lemon Tree is right here in San Diego. The lemons are here, if you look hard enough. I am not at all surprised. We may not be volcanic, but as I told you earlier, a lot of Italy sure feels like home.

I’ve never made limoncello but there are plenty of recipes online. I’ve gathered some of them together for us, below. If you have experience in the process, I’m interested in hearing about it.

For now, we will focus on our Italian treat and have you all over for sharing.

Salute!

 

From Sorrento Food Tours, Recipe #1

From Nonna’s kitchen, Recipe #2

From allrecipes (worth reading all the comments), Recipe #3

From Genius Kitchen, Recipe #4

And another from The Chew, Recipe #5

Kinfolk, Kissin Cousins, and Cowpies

The Aunt Ruth Reunion, as we call it, is written on the calendar for the last Saturday of every August, and woe to family members who neglect to observe it.

“You know, we’re getting too old to organize this event. It’s time to pass it on to the young-uns.”

Your absence may be noted over Thanksgiving dinner but if enough pie sits on the sideboard, it will be forgiven. Skipping out in August however, implies you have not made the effort to sit in the shade with Aunt Ruth and Uncle George with a glass of iced tea and chat about everyone else who didn’t make it.

goblet

“These goblets came from Alabama. I stopped to see a house I used to visit as a child, and they had turned it into an antique shop, and there they were, just like the ones my grandmother used.”

Aunt Ruth, bless her heart, understands that life can get busy and will include you in her prayers later tonight, but the rest of us – those who brought potato salad and cold chicken and frisbees and teenagers – will wonder just what has become of our family tree. The paperwork says we branch out in many-splendored directions, but it felt just a little like a bonsai yesterday.

We were such a small bunch that we elected to visit our elderly kinfolk right in their home, instead of Mission Bay where we usually meet. It saved on the hauling of tables, chairs, potluck food, coolers, water toys, towels, and other flotsam.

“When I was a child, our reunions were held in the pasture. Cousins were stationed all along tables covered in cloths, and as the food came out, they kept the flies moving with flyswatters. You wanted to watch your step out there.”

We laid out the food in her tiny kitchen and sat on the back patio, surrounded by her thriving gardens and plants, trees and flowers. She has a green thumb.

“Well, I can’t wear green. It’s not my color I guess. But if I set my pots to soak overnight in Miracle Grow, they just wake up in the morning so sassy! Be sure and take some figs home with you, the tree is full.”

Their living room is filled with a baby grand player piano, carved wooden trains, doll collections, and blue and rose colored quilt squares.

“The fabric was just going to waste. Someone may as well get some use of it.”

Over the years, I have pieced bits of her life together. I know how she met George one fateful day when he walked into her office.

“I decided I was going to get that man to ask me out, so the next day, I wore a swishy skirt and just walked right on past him. He got the message.”

We all celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at the Bali Hai, where her words of wisdom inspired me to stop playing in jello. This December, they will have their 65th.

“What will I do?” she says with a giggle, “Why, sit on his lap and thank God for living this long!”

Aunt Ruth has four children (“and we lost one early on, you know”), eight grandchildren, a dozen great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews and little children off the street in all directions and can tell you how they were doing last she spoke with them, and she just loves them dearly and blames her two knee replacements on a lifetime of praying her loved ones home.

She sends hand-written Christmas cards.

“Every time I see your daddy, he’s just this sweet little three-year-old boy in curls and I thought to myself, this family makes the cutest kids, I just have to marry into it!”

My two teenage boys got a history lesson that ranged from the depression to the murky future. They listened to their grandfather tell stories of his own father who was a plasterer.

“You can’t use that word,” interjects Aunt Ruth, “You’ll have to say he worked his donkey off.”

From there, the conversation heads backwards, covering family members in ever-widening generational rings, the good, the bad, the ugly and the interesting. Uncle George fills in.

“Now, there was a sweet lady. She always tucked a penny into a handkerchief and sent it home in my pocket, but my dad never let me go buy candy with it.”

First homes, first cars, high school sports and donut runs. Some things are very familiar to my boys and some things are a riddle. Everyone contributes a memory.

“After the depression, he never trusted another bank. He would fold up bills and tuck them into the armrests of his car or under the hood. We found a wire sticking up from the dash once and pulled up more money.”

“After a while, I started asking questions. Turns out he was a shady character. The more I got curious, the more I found out what he was hiding, and I quit. He disappeared into Mexico and I never saw him again.”

“When I found out I had a brother, I was so excited to meet him…but he didn’t really want to meet me. He wouldn’t answer questions I had or help me learn about the rest of our family.”

Aunt Ruth straightens in her chair.

“Let’s just let those poor people go. That’s why we started this reunion in the first place, because people just don’t know who their family is anymore. There’s something there that shouldn’t ought to be. I wasn’t brought up that way. If kinfolks are coming to see you, it’s a reason to celebrate! I’m going to do the right thing, no matter what anybody else is gonna do. Now, we have a lot of family missing today that I would dearly love to see, but they won’t be seen. They’re out doing what blows their hair back, I guess. But I’m just going to sit here and love ‘em all the same.”

My little life agenda blows away on the San Diego breeze, as strong deep Alabama roots intertwine with those from Minnesota and tunnel all the way to the Pacific. The saplings sit beneath mature established old-growth, harvesting the wisdom of experience. Whispered truths from the overhead canopy drift down, telling the past and seeing far into the future, undisturbed by the rustling on the forest floor.

“Everyone eat up,” interrupts Aunt Ruth, “the pudding’s going begging.”

Aunt Ruth

Alabama Banana Pudding in the Pasture

bring 3 eggs to room temperature, then separate
melt 1/2 C cornstarch in 1/2 C milk
in a saucepan, beat 3 yolks w/ fork
beat in 1/4 tsp salt
beat in cornstarch mixture
beat in 1/2 c sugar
add at least 4 cups milk until “just right”

over low stovetop heat, stir mixture constantly w/wooden spoon until it thickens
keep the mix below a boil; it’s thick enough if bubbles start up
stir in 1 tsp vanilla
remove from heat, put a lid on to prevent a skin, let custard cool

in a glass baking dish, layer custard, vanilla wafers, and banana slices until used up

in a clean, dry bowl whip 3 egg whites with a shake of salt
slowly add at least 1/3 c sugar while whipping, until melted in
once it’s setting, add 1/2 tsp vanilla

spread meringue over top of pudding

place in a pre-heated 325* oven until top turns slightly golden

(don’t let stay too long or you’ll cook/heat your bananas)
let cool enough to set on a table in a pasture

It’s best served room temperature. Yummy!

Hey Hey We’re the Monkeys

Because we love yeasty warm smells in the kitchen and because I miss long days with nothing better to do and because my fam is being awesome about my new job, we did this:

 

If you’re about to drool into your cellphone, I agree.

Let’s start at the beginning and I’ll walk you through a virtual Monkey Bread baking blog.

If I could only add a scratch-n-sniff meme, this would be complete.

You can go one of two ways:

  1. mix this in a big bowl with a wooden spoon and then knead by hand for ten minutes, getting a super arm and shoulder workout, or
  2. layer it in your bread machine that you still have from the early 90’s and hopefully makes round loaves because you’re cool like that. And also, you’re lazy like that.

Monkey Bread

1 1/3 C. warm milk
2 tbsp. diced butter
2 eggs
2 tbsp. sugar
2/3 tsp salt
4 C. flour
2 1/2 tsp. yeast

I’m not telling you which way I made this perfect little lump o’ dough, but many watts died in the process.

 

(What? What is she talking about? What watt?)

Let the lump rise for an hour or so in a warm place. I turned my oven on for a minute and then turned it off again, and set the dough inside to rise. If you’re not careful, it will be too hot and kill the yeast and then you will have a hard little lump of dough to go bowling with. We’re going for just mildly warmish here.

Next, turn your big puffy lump out onto a lightly floured countertop and show it who’s boss. This is the fun part. The punching, pushing, slapping, poking, kneading, and stretching reminds the kids that they are just a sass away from a trip to the family bakery.

Now we take the reduced lump and start pulling it apart.

 

Over and over and over…twist and pull. The smaller you make them, the more fun it will be to eat later.

 

Roll the dough into little balls and toss them into any shape pan you want. It makes into a nice sized loaf, so grab a pan big enough and butter the inside first. You could bake them in a glass or metal mixing bowl, or a casserole. I used my angel food cake pan. This is going to the monkeys, so it won’t stay in this shape longer than five minutes once it’s done, anyway.

Layer in half of the dough balls, sprinkle with your sugar/cinnamon mix, and repeat.

 

Pour two melted tablespoons of butter over it all. Your pan is already buttered though, right?

Set this little beauty back into a warm place to rise up for another hour. Clean your mess. Yes, I see it.

While it rises, get out your frosting stuff. Because, cream cheese.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting
6 oz softened cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp milk
16 oz powdered sugar

Mix together to desired consistency:
thinner, add milk 1 tsp at a time
thicker, add powdered sugar 1 tbsp at a time

This is the standard recipe, but life isn’t always so tidy, at least in the kitchen. I myself would have just layered a slab of cream cheese on a hot slice of Monkey Bread and called it a day, but when you add sugar and thin it out a bit with milk, it impresses the company.

Your Monkey Bread.

Your rules.

When it’s puffed up to your liking, bake it in a preheated oven at 350* for 20-30 minutes, depending on your pan. You will know it’s done when it smells terrific in the house and when you peek in the oven, it looks toasty on top.  Reach in and tap the bread; if it sounds hollow, you win. Let’s eat.

 

Let it cool for a few minutes, then dump it upside down over a plate, out of it’s pan.

I sliced it to make a pretty picture and to make life fair.

 

The kids were disappointed.

The right way to eat this, so I’m told, is for everyone to lay a hand on the bread, count to three and pull.

You then proceed to eat your hunk of bread by hand, dipping lumps into the frosting tub.

Animals.

 

Pass the Hasenpfeffer

The Easter Bunny stopped hopping by my house when I was about six.

He may have noticed the pens of rabbits in the backyard and realized that we took our bunnies pretty seriously. If he noticed the butcher block hung on the big tree back there, he probably made tracks into the next county immediately, spilling little black jelly beans along the way.

To make up for his sudden lack of love to our neighborhood, we invited all the local children over once in a while for butchering day.

We could’ve sold tickets, but we just wanted to share the stuff of nightmares around.

We just wanted to make things right.

You can’t be greedy with your cold sweat train wrecks, and the education these little friends received probably rises up, unbidden, into their frontal lobe even today, in the middle of corporate meetings or after their third martini.

They’ll thank us some day, if they need to go all Scarlett O’Hara and live off the land.

Eating rabbits are different from pet rabbits (little lop-eared litter-box-trained puffballs) or from game rabbits (Bugs Bunny and the Rabbit of Cairbannog).

You should try to learn the difference between pets, food, and entertainment.

The lines blur, I know, but as Duck Dynasty gets paid to point out, your dinner did not come from the grocery.

It came from the backyard.

And once in a while, we proved it.

When the rabbits were cleaned, skinned, quartered and wrapped, the show came to an end.

The dogs were running around with lucky rabbits’ feet in their mouths, the kids were running home to tell parents about their brush with The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, and we were running into the kitchen to see if Mom was gonna make dinner now.

And she was.

I sure miss rabbit for dinner, but the cottontails running around my current backyard are faster than I am.

I called to get the recipe just in case, exactly “The Way Mom Used to Make It”.

Mom: “I can’t believe we used to do that.”

Me: “Just try to remember, mom. This is for posterity. I will make sure everyone knows you are completely against hurting any animal of any kind.”

Mom: “I won’t even fish anymore. I used to love fishing. I just won’t hurt a fish.”

Me: “Okay. Pretend it’s a tofu bunny. How do I cook it?”

Mom: “Cooking rabbits are very tender and mild, not at all gamey. You can do it up like chicken, but there won’t be any skin so you lose a bit of fat in a recipe. You could bake it like chicken parts, but it will be slightly more stringy or chewy. It’s best stewed, I think.”

Me: “Cool. Tell me how.”

Mom: “I flour the pieces and brown them in hot oil in the bottom of my cast iron dutch oven. Then I put all the pieces back in, added maybe an inch of water, put the lid on and simmered it for about two hours. Check it now and then in case the water evaporates. Add a bit more, you don’t want it to run dry. Then add your veggies, potatoes or carrots or whatnot to the pot and simmer another hour or so until everything’s cooked through.”


Me: “Sounds like a roast beef.”

Mom: “Yes, and if we had crockpots then, that would have worked just as well. If you wanted to, you pulled out the food and added cornstarch or flour to the liquid and made up gravy for it.”

Me: “Gravy is my Alamo.”

Mom: “Well, cheat and add a packet of gravy mix from the store. It has all the spices and flavorings and thickenings done for you. Just stir it up.”

Me: “Thanks, mom. I may never eat another rabbit, but I will always have the memories.”

Mom: *deep sigh* “Wish I didn’t.”

Macaroons and Mayhem

Happy Friday!!

Just kidding.

Today is the start of our kids’ spring break, which goes for one week and one day.

Because they can.

This means that while the rest of you are gearing up for sleeping in on the couch, the TV remote in one hand and a fridge in the other, us moms are hunkering down for a marathon.

Also, we’ll have a house full of wanderers and vagabonds coming through, both of which are as fun as pirates but with less weapons, so I’m taking a good hard look at the kitchen this morning.

The kitchen is ground zero. It’s the place where all life decisions are made, where everyone ends up at a party, where plots are hatched.

I’m pretty sure President Obama argues with his daughters over a blueberry muffin in the White House kitchen.

“No,” he says as an aide brushes crumbs from his red tie, “until your grades are up, there won’t be any school dances in your future,” he scoops some Ovaltine into a glass, “And why do you girls wait until the last minute to bring me all these field trip papers to sign?” another aide shows him the calendar, “Which one of you volunteered me to send in three dozen cookies for the bake sale? The ambassador from Thailand is coming today. When am I supposed to do all this?”

Well, I’m sure Michelle stepped in, but it’s not like she doesn’t have stuff to do, too.

My list is straightforward: a gallon of milk per day in the fridge, leaving enough space for orange juice, string cheese, four dozen eggs, a 2# bag of baby carrots that no one will touch, and more tortillas than you can understand because we do burritos instead of PB&J around here.

Pantry stocked with cans of refried beans, spaghetti parts, sprouted potatoes, and cans of soup.

Cupboards topped off with Costco sized boxes of Ritz crackers, Honey Bunches of Oats, pancake mix and syrup. Microwave popcorn and liters of soda: check.

Freezers (yes, two): pepperonchi pizzas, ice cream, veggie packs, a turkey that was “a good deal” last November and we won’t eat until this October, and pie crusts.

Because life’s too short.

Some day I will be a gourmet chef. I will be able to make stuff that grown-ups eat.

But this (once more) is not that day.

My boys do all of the eating around here and they don’t bother tasting it, heck, they don’t even care if it’s got glass shards in the sauce, so long as it’s edible and goes down quick.

I watched a seagull once, on a pier in Santa Barbara, pull a fried chicken leg bone out of a trashcan and proceed to swallow it.

Slowly but surely, that thing went down its throat and…into what? Into where?

I had absolutely no plans to stick around and see what came out the other side.

But it sums up my kitchen action pretty well.

I have just enough energy to buy some bananas and make a batch of cookies.

Cookies are my kryptonite, depending on the flavor, so I rarely make them.

But this is go time. A girl needs her strength, right?

Fast, easy, and coconut heaven.

Thank you to my girlfriend Carol for the recipe, and you’re welcome.

Coconut Macaroons

Place rack in upper 1/3 of your oven and preheat to 325*
Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet

Stir together with a fork:

2/3 C sweetened condensed milk (most of a 14 oz can)
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Then add in and mix:
3 1/2 C flaked/shredded sweetened coconut

Plop about a tablespoon at a time onto the parchment paper, with your fork. This isn’t rocket science.

Bake 20-25 minutes until lightly toasted, depending on your oven.
Start peeking at them around 18 minutes if you’re like me and have oven conspiracy theories.
Cookies need to cool before you peel them from the paper.
If these last a whole day in your house, you win. Store them airtight.
So not happening here….

Summer Turkey Chili and Cornbread

Yes. This is it.

A combination of all things good, Summer Turkey Chili is easy, refreshing, healthy and delicious.

I avoid every other chili like the plague that it is. Most chili has a heavy mixture of beans and meat covered in a sauce as close to lava as the cook can make it. If you are haunted by a series of unfortunate events for hours after eating it, the cook has achieved his goal.

Death by flatulence.

Most cooks will take any reputation they can get. Go figure.

The first time I was served this dish, I was torn between being a gracious, thankful guest and looking for a convenient place to dump my bowl. Maybe in the big flower vase in the corner.

The recipe was cooked up between an inventive girlfriend and her sister, and there comes a time when you have to trust your besties, even when the word “chili” is involved.

On the first experimental bite, I realized this chili actually resembles a salsa on steroids, or a taco without the shell. It’s an explosion of flavors that come together like a Farmer’s Market basket of fresh goodies, without even a hint of hotness.

In my opinion, if the cook has to disguise the flavor of the actual food, he’s hiding the fact that he can’t cook. I’ve stopped going to many different restaurants over the years because the food is consistently too peppered, too salty, too spicy or just thickly breaded or sauced.

Take these ingredients and throw them into your crockpot for the day on ‘low’.

1 lb. cooked ground turkey
1 C chicken broth
1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
1 14.5oz can tomato sauce
1 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
10oz bag frozen corn
2 minced garlic cloves
1 Tbsp chili powder
2.5 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper

The original recipe says to simmer things at the stove for a half hour, then add four or five diced Roma tomatoes. As I prefer moving from beginning to end on a zip-line, I simply used the canned tomato products you see in the above list instead. Crockpots rule.

I also have chicken broth I’ve made myself out of real chickens, stashed away in the freezer for things like this. And I keep a jar of minced garlic in the fridge. I like cheats.

The masterpiece is finished when you top your bowl with your favorite ‘tasty bits’.

Mine is garnished with the first cilantro leaves from my garden pots. Cilantro is the little sparkling piccolo in the soupy symphony. You’re chewing along nicely, savoring the harmonies and suddenly cilantro comes along and tickles your tastebuds. Love that stuff.

Other terrific toppers: diced onion, crushed tortilla chips, sour cream, grated cheese, and avocado slices.

This recipe makes a nice amount for a voracious family of four or a fastidious family of six.

Tonight, I made cornbread muffins to go with. I make a basic recipe right off the side of the cornmeal box (as follows) and then once in a while I get crazy (and tired of my opinionated kids) and tweak the cornbread just for me and Hubby. I throw a fistful of grated cheese into the dry ingredients and 2oz of diced mild green chilis from a can into the wet ingredients.

So. Good.

I catch heck from the kids for ‘ruining’ the cornbread. Fine. More for me.

Dry
1 C cornmeal
1 C flour
1/4 C sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

Wet
1/3 C oil
1 C milk
1 beaten egg

Combine the two and plop into your lightly oil-sprayed muffin tin (which is actually made of silicone because it’s awesome) and bake your dozen muffins at 400* for 15 minutes precisely.

Double the recipe and pour into a buttered 9×12 glass pan at 400* for 21 exact minutes.

The regular recipe is a ‘sweet’ cornbread, I’m told. We smother our squares in butter and honey, just to make sure. I have a secret family recipe for a version of cornbread casserole that adds things like cream cheese to the mix. Cornbread is the ultimate comfort food.

But tonight, it’s a savory muffin next to a tasty chili at the end of a long busy day.

Dig in!