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Friday
Jan282011

blueberry cornbread

I am not a hippie.

I may wear long skirts and have ridiculously long hair.

I may like patchouli and those thin green shoots of bamboo they sell at head shops. 

I may have homemade my babies' food.

Maybe I even like Pink Floyd and a little reggae now and then.

But I am not a hippie.

However, I am starting to have a thing for the hippy-ish, eat-from-the-earth book that bore the recipe for this blueberry cornbread -- Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods.

I'm actually reading this book. With two toddlers, reading is a rare occurrence relegated to very late weekend nights.

But this one has slowly sucked me in. I can't speak for the entire book yet, but it has more than just recipes.

There's a story about one guy's overnight delivery of fresh broccoli to a "hippy health food" vendor on the bad side of 1980s San Fransisco. Andy Griffin, the author of this particular article, recounts a stop at a liquor store he regularly visited in order to get ice for the load.

"One night when I got to the liquor store, both lanes of Bayshore Boulevard were blocked by a couple of pimps with flashy cars. I don't know for sure they were pimps -- they could have been librarians dressed to kill, out for a night on the town in dark glasses and comporting themselves like fighting cocks, so that ignorant country boys like myself would presume they were successful pimps."

He later refers to them as the "pimp/librarians."  

It was this dry, humorous story that got me reading some of the book's other stories, such as the article detailing the origins of a small, family-run vineyard in the backwoods of North Carolina.

The owner of the farm says he was inspired by his uncle's homemade, Prohibition-era blueberry wine.

Then there's the recipes.

On the savory side of things, Edible has a recipe for Hoppin' John Supreme (a Southern black-eyed pea specialty), slow-cooked maple-cider brisket, poblanos stuffed with goat cheese and shrimp, and a Vermont cheddar ale soup that's topped with Sweet Heat -- a maple syrup infused with jalapeno.

Among its desserts -- a strawberry shortcake I will bake and post, a cider-cinnamon frosting and this blueberry cornbread. 

I definitely have a thing for cornbread, especially one we can eat for breakfast.

However, in un-"locavore"-ish fashion, I used frozen blueberries. 

But it's January. The farmer's markets won't pop up for another four months.

And I needed this blueberry cornbread. Although the frozen berries turned the batter a little purple, the bread still puffed up into a golden-yellow corncake. We brushed it with just a touch of honey butter, which perfectly accentuated the crunchy-edged-but-soft-in-middle cake.

After reading this book, I may have to try to grow something this spring. Maybe berries. A vegetable or two.

I won't call it an urban garden, though. I won't claim to be "green."

And I still won't be a hippy.

Blueberry Corn Bread

adapted from Edible: A Celebration of Local Foods, by Tracey Ryder and Carole Topalian, recipe courtesy of Jennifer Keller

Note: I included the original recipe and my own "healthy-ish" version in parenthesis. Although I'm a butter-lover, I tried to trim down on the fat by subbing a little sour cream in its place. The results were delicious...and I didn't feel so guilty about eating a lot of it.

For the cornbread:

  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup whole milk (I used non-fat)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted (I used 1 1/2 tablespoon melted butter, 2 tablespoons sour cream)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 pint (2 cups) fresh blueberries (I used frozen, unthawed)

For the honey butter:

  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup honey

Preheat oven to 400 degees. Butter (or coat with vegetable spray) an 8 inch baking pan.

In medium-sized bowl, whisk together cornmeal, flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.

In large bowl, whisk together milk, egg, butter, vanilla and sour cream, if using. Fold in dry ingredients until just combined. Carefully fold in blueberries.

Pour batter into baking pan. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool in the pan on a cooling rack.

To make the honey butter, whisk together the melted butter and honey. Brush the mixture over the top of the warm cornbread.

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