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Cooking, Everything Else, Growing (Gardening), Living (in Sonoma County), Uncategorized

Ode to Corn (continued)

Imagine my surprise, when after we discussed the best ways to prepare fresh corn here, in my modest little blog, that David Tanis of the New York Times did the same! Fabulous. His post, recipes, and reader comments are wonderful – more about the wonders of corn, which I decided are worth one more post. So here ‘tis:

First, with gracious permission from Anna Thomas — cookbook author, screenwriter, and more — I present the best cornbread recipe in the world, from Thomas’s 1972 classic, The Vegetarian Epicure.

The Vegetarian Epicure Corn Bread
1 and 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
3/4 cup whole-grain corn meal (medium grind is best)
4 tablespoons sugar
5 teaspoons (yes, that’s five) baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons melted butter (slightly cooled)

Sift together dry ingredients. Beat the egg with the milk, and add to to the flour mixture, with the melted butter. Stir everything well. Spread batter in a buttered 8 or 9-in pie dish or square baking pan. Bake in a preheated 375-degree oven for about 30-35 minutes. Serve warm, with butter.  Unbelievable.

Second, for those of you who are looking for yet another kitchen appliance, I can’t recommend highly enough the Retsel Mil-Rite(TM) grain mill. My sister Charlotte has had one for more than 30 years. If you have access to wheat berries, dried corn, etc., you can make the best breads ever by grinding fresh flours and cornmeal. The mill is incredibly easy to use.  Retsel is a US company, and its products are made domestically. (Charlotte, please comment!)

Finally, several readers pointed out that I should mention the demise of real corn, now replaced by genetically modified varieties. Living in Sonoma County, California, I can get fabulous fresh corn, some of heirloom varieties. If you are inclined to grown your own corn next season, visit online the many resources for heirloom seeds, such as Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds. Baker Creek has retail locations in Petaluma, California, Marshfield, Missouri, and Wethersfield Connecticut.

To learn more about the demise of corn, read just about anything by Michael Pollan, such as Omnivore’s Dilemma, a disturbing and wonderful book.

Until next time.

Author’s note: I have no financial interest or association with any of the companies or products mentioned in this blog.


4 thoughts on “Ode to Corn (continued)

  1. I will try the cornbread recipe today! Yes, I love my Retsel mill for grinding grain. I bought it in the early 70s, and have been making bread with fresh-milled wheat berries ever since. I buy a 50 pound bag of organic winter wheat berries from my local health food store, and that lasts me about a year. I use a recipe I got from a friend in 1975 for wheat bread that has served me and my family well for decades: Dissolve 2 tablespoons yeast in 3 cups of warm water, add 1 tablespoon salt, 1/3 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup molasses, 1/4 cup brown sugar, 3/4 cup freshly ground rye berries, and stir in about 3 cups of the freshly ground wheat berries. Mix well, and add enough white flour to be able to knead by hand. I usually knead for 3-4 minutes- as long as I can push myself. Put this in an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise in a warm place until double in size. Punch down, cut in half, roll out and then roll up, sealing the ends. Place in oiled 2 baking pans (9″x5″ ) and let rise until double. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. You can leave out the rye, change the ratio of wheat to white flour, reduce the sugar, add other goodies. This recipe makes delicious rolls and great mini-loaves for kids or party sandwiches. When the loaves are cool, I slice thinly and put the bread in a freezer bag for storage in the freezer, unless I will eat the bread in a day or so. Then I can take out a slice or two at a time, defrost, and enjoy fresh bread for several weeks. My grandkids love a warm slice with peanut butter and raspberry freezer jam for a heathy snack or lunch. It is also fabulous in a melted cheese sandwich or just toasted.

    Posted by Charlotte Spada | August 28, 2011, 12:51 pm
  2. Thank you Charlotte! This is indeed wonderful bread – I have eaten loads of it! Thanks for sharing the recipe and how-to advice. 🙂

    Posted by dianeolberg | August 28, 2011, 1:40 pm
  3. THE VEGETARIAN EPICURE! What a book!!! Try their potato salad, it is AMAZING…AMAZING!

    Good Diane!

    Posted by Cathy Henning | August 29, 2011, 2:31 pm

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