Friday, August 04, 2006

Smoky and spicy cornbread...

Jeff always told me in the past that he does not like cornbread - but every so often when I make it, he seems to now ask why we never have it! Hmph! Chipotle-Bacon Cornbread has a hint of sweetness, but what dominates the bread is a surprising smoky heat. Cumin and chipotle chiles pack these flavors, but is kept in check from the tang in the buttermilk. A good amount of crisp salty bacon adds a textural difference and brings its own depth of a smoky flavor. This is definitely a more moist, rather than dry and crumbly, cornbread. I could see bringing this to a summery barbecue picnic or having this as a side to a warm bowl of chili in the cool fall.

It may not be casserole weather, but I have been wanting to try this recipe, Zesty Broccoli Casserole, since we are big fans of broccoli. I used fresh steamed broccoli, as there are always a few crowns in the refrigerator, but it would be easier to use the frozen. When Jeff walked through the kitchen, he asked why there was naked broccoli sitting in a large baking dish... then he walked over and saw the cheesy sauce I was making on the stove and told me to hurry up! I used plain soymilk for the base of the sauce, but you can use milk. Once thick, two cheeses are melted in along with sour cream and plain yogurt to create a silky smooth texture. Sliced water chestnuts are added to bring a fun and unexpected crunch to the sauce. After the naked broccoli is drenched in sauce, a melted butter and panko combination is scattered on top. The casserole is then popped in the oven and baked until bubbly and the panko turns an appealing crunchy golden brown. We both really liked this, but be prepared for lots of different textures!


  1. Joe, the casserole look great! I also happen to love broccoli and so does my son, it is his favorite veggie!
    Now I have a question, I never used soy milk in savory dishes (usualy I buy the vanilla flavored ones and drink it pure or in smoothies, but obviously don't use in salty concotions!), can you taste some of the soy milk flavor on the finished dish? It seems to me that the soy has a particular flavor, and I always have some sort of aftertaste in my mouth when I have the soy milk, not in a bad way though, as it is usually sweetened and flavored!
    Just curiosity as how the soy milk performs in savory dishes like this.
    This casserole is now definitely on my list to try!

  2. Ana - Since I used plain soymilk, I don't think I noticed anything different. We drink it so often though, I'm not sure I could tell anyway. Plain soymilk has always worked well and no one says anything we people try the dishes we use it in when it calls for milk!

  3. ive always wanted to try cornbread but could nver find corn meal... is polenta the same thing? if so, it'll make things quite easy :)

  4. Catesa - Pretty much, polenta is usually more coarse though!