Meals (Not Quite) Ready To Eat

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Archive for December, 2007

Cornbread made better

Posted by acidqueen5426 on 7 December, 2007

Well. I’ve tried twice to make cornbread, and both times it came out as dense as a lead brick and as dry as the Great Sandy Desert. I’d take one bite, and I’d have to reach for the milk or a 2-liter bottle of soda or something. I’d drown it in melted butter, and it would look at me like Oliver Twist saying “May I have more?”  I’d slather it in honey, and the honey would vanish into the great dry beyond. And it would stick to the pan, too–a well-oiled pan, I might add. It was like all that oil just got sucked up into the cornbrick, turning the bottom into some kind of bizarre sovereign glue that could only be removed by super-generous application of enough water to end North Carolina’s drought.

In short, it was 100% ass and had very little flavour to boot. But I like cornbread, and that stuff is all that I have–so, rather than just give up in despair I decided to do a little experiment this morning. The recipe I used was as follows:

1c applesauce (addition)

2c Martha White’s Self-Rising Cornmeal Mix (where I got the original recipe from)

1 1/3c milk

1/4c oil

1 egg, beaten

I whisked the mixture together and poured it into my nice Pyrex pie dish, which I had oiled with a little canola, and popped it into a 450-degree oven for 18 minutes + 5 minutes carryover time.

What resulted was a good deal more moist than the original recipe, with a slight hint of appleness. The bread was also slightly brownish from the applesauce, and the texture was–curiously enough–considerably lighter than what I had before. It was rather yummy and didn’t require that I have a gallon of milk to drink with it, which was a plus. I think I’d make it again.

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Quick and dirty onion ring post

Posted by acidqueen5426 on 2 December, 2007

The tools:

4 small onions (we’re talking an inch and a half across–small storage onions).

1 cup self-rising cornmeal mix (since the cornbread it was giving me wasn’t the best IMO, I figured I might as well find a use for the stuff)

Beer (some gods-awful Anheuser-Busch seasonal crap that a friend of mine gave to me–it was all I had to hand)

1/4 cup canola oil

Hot pan

I peeled and sliced the onions to a moderate width I got about three or four slices per onion, and set them aside. The onions were little storage onions, so I figured that they were going to be a little on the hot side. Do I add sugar to the batter I’m about to make, or no?

I decided against the sugar.

I whisked the cornmeal mix and the beer into some rough semblance of a batter. The batter was a tad lumpy, which I decided I’d live with–if nothing else it would be an interesting experiment in tempura right? I set the bowl aside and punched the slices out into little onion ring looking things while I heated the oil in the pan over a medium-high coil, and then dumped them in the batter.

I try to stay organized and clean when I’m in the kitchen–but I’m not “fussy” and insistent on everything looking restaurant-quality, because I usually only cook for myself. Aegir only knows my husband won’t eat what I cook, because it might be something of a moderately healthy nature.

So. Into the batter went the onion rings, and thence to the pan. I didn’t use a ton of oil because the onions (and resulting rings) were so small. This worked in my favor. I fried them quickly–about a minute and a half, tops–and then pulled them out with a fork and laid them out on a treble-folded paper towel to drain while I turned the heat off and put a lid on the pan. I cracked a Leinie’s Sunset Wheat while waiting for a minute or two–mmmm, Leinie’s–and then plated up the rings (and the clump that formed from the little inner bits).

The flavour was interesting. I’d seasoned the batter with a touch of salt and pepper, and let the beer (a seasonal brew–Pumpkin Spice flavored somethingorother) provide the rest of the seasoning.

I love onions, and I love cornmeal, and I love pumpkin and spices, but I don’t know if I’d do that again.

For a dipping sauce I combined 1/4 tsp yellow mustard with 1/2 tsp mayonnaise (for the record, I use Duke’s–I prefer the texture)–and that made for a unique adventure.

Don’t know if it’s something I’ll try again…at least, not with that particular beer.

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