Friday, September 14, 2007

Beth: Feta & Chives Cornbread Recipe

As the days shorten and temperatures take a nightly dive, my food cravings begin to turn towards fall's hearty soup and stew offerings. It's not that I am done with summer — there are still lots of tomatoes on the counter and the herb garden is bursting with late summer goodness – it's more that I feel the need to diversify a bit. Hedge my bets against the day the sun doesn't shine so brightly.

Maybe it goes with the simmering pot of blueberry habenero chutney, another sure sign of fall, or perhaps it's just absence making the heart grow fonder, but the other night I found myself pulling a container of someoneElse's chili out of the freezer.

A brief digression may be called for here. Around our place, there are several levels of heat in food: warm, hot, hot, hot, and GeorgeHot. The latter refers not to George Clooney but rather is named for a friend who likes really hot stuff – a high point of one of George's recent vacations was discovering a tourist shop in a small Washington town with a shelf full of one of his favorite hot sauces from New Zealand...on sale. someoneElse has been working on making something so hot that George is satisfied. Said satisfaction may involve post-tasting skin grafts on his tongue. I, unfortunately, get sideswiped by incorrectly labeled things on occasion. This chili said hot, I swear.

Where was I? Oh yes, chili... freezer.

The plan was simple: chili, salad, bread. A quick and easy dinner that could expand to include the friend who called from the road and was invited to join us. I was a happy mage.

Except that the month of the broken oven (now over, thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster!) left me with darned little in the way of bread in the house. Nothing, actually.

Checking the clock, I realized that all I had time for was some sort of quick bread. Chili...quick must be cornbread!

As the only part of the meal I could claim to have worked on, though, the cornbread had to be special. A peek in the refrigerator uncovered feta cheese. I can work with that.

Google "quick bread" + feta and I see this sentence: "Cornbread is a quick bread." Thinking, "Ah, cornbread, with a reference to feta somewhere - that must be a sign" I clicked on the link.

Kevin's Cheese Bread. Um, err, is that my site?

Is that a sign?

If so, it was off by one post, because I didn't have sour cream, which looks essential to the cheese bread recipe. What ended up catching my eye was Susan's Savory Cheese and Scallion scones, for which I didn't have cream cheese.

(Am I the only person who gets this phone call: "Hi, do you happen to have two and a half pounds of cream cheese in the refrigerator?" Seriously, that was an actual call from yesterday. It's sad that I didn't because there was cheesecake involved and I am sure I could have claimed a slice. note to self: stock up on cream cheese)

Click to enlarge

Taking my inspiration from Susan's scones and applying it to my original idea of cornbread, I came up with feta and chive cornbread (because I didn't have scallions either). Baked in a preheated cast iron skillet, this came together in minutes and was ready to eat in under an hour. Which is about how long it takes to heat chili, make a salad and clean enough of the dining room that you can eat at the table.

Oh yes, the chili. The hot+ chili. I mean the georgeHot chili. It's enough to make a mage glad there was a lot of cornbread.
kitchenMage's Feta Chive Cornbread

Ingredient wolume US wolume metric weight US weight metricFlour 1 1/2 cups 355 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Cornmeal 1 1/3 cup 295 ml 6 3/4 oz 190 gr
Salt 1 1/2 tsp 8 ml 1/4 oz 7 gr
Sugar 2 tsp 10 ml ~1/2 oz 14 gr
Baking soda 3/4 tsp 4 ml 1/8 oz 3-4 gr
Baking powder 2 1/2 tsp 13 ml 3/8 oz 11 gr
Feta cheese crumbled 1/2 cup 20 ml 3 oz 85 gr
Chives fresh, chopped 1/4 cup 60 ml 1/2 oz 14 gr
Eggs 3
Buttermilk 1 1/2 cup 355 ml 12 oz 335 gr
Butter 1/3 cup 80 ml 2 5/8 oz 75 gr

Preheat oven to 425F (220C).

If you are making this cornbread in a cast iron skillet or similar heavy dish, and I do recommend it, place it in the oven while it preheats. Otherwise, grease a 10" round pan and set aside.

Place flour, cornmeal, salt, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in bowl and stir to combine. Add crumbled feta cheese and chopped chives and toss gently to coat.

Beat eggs lightly and combine with buttermilk. (If you don't have buttermilk, put 2 tsp of white vinegar in a measuring cup, add milk to the 1 1/2 cup mark and let sit in a warm place for 5-10 minutes before using.)

If you are not using a preheated baking pan, melt the butter, let cool a bit and add to liquid ingredients.

Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and mix gently until just combined.

If you are using a preheated pan, cut the butter into several pieces and toss them into the hot pan just before adding the batter. Otherwise, just add batter to pan and place in preheated oven.

Bake at 450° for 25-30 minutes, until golden brown. Turn out onto rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.


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Anonymous Patti said...

That sounds SO GOOD. I am on deadlines so last night we had chili and *tortilla chips*, and ate between the piles of stuff on the dining room table, but as soon as I get a little time, I'm trying this bread.

9/14/2007 7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh Yum! How funny, just as I was planning to whip up some chili, I see this post on yearinbread! Now I want cornbread :).

9/16/2007 5:38 PM  
Blogger Josh and Jen said...

Love this recipe! It was great, I doubled it and fed a crowd w/chili. The feta mellowed right out and I ended up using scallions instead of chives cause I didn't have them. It was great.

9/19/2007 1:36 PM  

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