Monday, January 24, 2011

how to make your lover melt (a.k.a. cornmeal spoonbread)

Well. It has been a while, hasn't it?

We've missed you, you wonderful Thin Crust Deep Dish readers. But we're back now.


The fact that we haven't been here, though, doesn't mean we've been doing nothing. Far from it. Since we last checked in, Adriana's graduated from culinary school. (Or maybe you already knew that? I can't even remember, that's how long it's been.) And I've gotten a new full-time job. It's gay-er than the last one, which means it gets major bonus points in the Cool Job category.

Oh, and, you know, ADRIANA STARTED A BUSINESS and ohmygosh it's the greatest thing since, well, spoonbread, which is what we'll be discussing today, coincidentally. Seriously, though, Adriana's pet portraits are truly adorable, and you really should check them out, even if, like me, you don't yet have a pet but simply like to fawn over them.

Speaking of businesses, I've started one, as well. It combines my love of making people feel beautiful through portrait photography with figuring out how to bring that beauty to the world through life coaching. It's a seriously good time.

Both of us usually blog twice a week at our respective websites, so if you're jonesing to hear from us more often, we'd love to have you visit.

Otherwise, we'll be here. Less frequently, sure, but here nonetheless.

To return to the task at hand, today I'll be sharing the recipe for a spoonbread that will make your lover melt with delight. Or at least that's what it did for me. I made this spoonbread over our December vacation, when we wanted something special for breakfast but weren't in the mood for pancakes. Mary declared it The Greatest Thing I've Ever Made. Usually, I would brush off such a compliment, as she tends to pull it out every time I make something she likes, but she continued to wax poetic about the stuff for days (and now weeks) after. I made it again last week, and the effect was the same.

With that said, ladies and gents, wield this one with caution. And don't say I didn't warn you.


Cornmeal Spoonbread
Adapted from Whole Grains: Every Day, Every Way by Lorna Sass

1 cup fine yellow or white cornmeal, preferably stone-ground, plus 1 Tb. for coating the pan
1 1/8 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. honey
4 Tb. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, cut into bits, plus more for coating the pan
1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk (I used regular milk, and it still turned out spectacular.)
3 large eggs, separated
3 Tb. finely grated cheddar

Serves 4 to 6

Set the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter a 1 1/2- or 2-quart souffle dish or an 8-inch square baking pan. Use 1 Tb. of the cornmeal to coat the bottom and sides of the pan. Set aside.

Pour 2 1/2 cups of water into a heavy 2-quart Dutch oven or saucepan. Whisk in the cup of cornmeal until well blended. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir in the salt and honey. Reduce the heat and cook uncovered at a gently boil, stirring frequently to prevent sticking and lumping, until the mixture resembles a thick porridge, 5 to 6 minutes.

Transfer the cornmeal mixture to a large bowl. Add the butter and stir until it melts. Stir in the buttermilk and then the egg yolks.

In a mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold half the whipped whites into the cornmeal mixture until just incorporated. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Do not overmix. (It's okay to have a few unincorporated streaks of white.) Pour the mixture into the prepared pan.

Place the pan in the oven and bake until the spoonbread puffs up and the edges are golden brown, 30 to 40 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese on top and return pan to the oven until it melts, about 2 minutes. The souffle will remain somewhat jiggly, especially in the center. Serve immediately and with love.

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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009