Monday, July 19, 2010

Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread, and a Beach Picnic


Do you have a little sweet spot in your heart for cornbread?  I know I do, and I am not sure if it is because I grew up in the Midwest or just because I like corn.  Tell me, is cornbread a best-loved food in the New England states, or the Pacific Northwest, or even in Europe?  (Maybe I am showing a little foodie ignorance here, but I really don't know, and I think googling isn't going to give me the answer I want.)  Whatever your current preference, I think you should consider developing a little adoration for this slightly sweet treat.        


I know for sure that some San Diegians are eating the delicious cornbread that is served at Bud's Louisiana Cafe.  Oh, their cornbread muffins are delicious little bites of heaven that are flecked with sweet corn... and also some other sweet flavor that I can't seem to put my finger (or tastebud) on.  And, you can get a cornbread muffin at Bud's for the bargain price of 50 cents!  So if you have a few quarters in your pocket and you live in So Cal, just cruise on over to Bud's and get yourself a muffin or two.      



Or, if you don't live in San Diego, you can whip up a batch of cornbread for yourself in a jiffy with this recipe.  This cornbread is sweet, and moist, and definitely spicy, and the golden cheesy topping really takes it just over the top. If you want it a little less spicy, just decrease the amount of jalapenos or omit the whole jalapenos from the top.  Don't want cheese?  Just leave it out!





Essentially, I have found that when you have a basic cornbread recipe you can modify it in a whole manner of ways.  Maybe you want to add chipotle chiles instead of jalapenos, or you want to change it up with some exotic cheese or use fresh corn kernels.  Change the recipe to fit your tastes, be they sweet, spicy, or savory.



I have made cornbread before, but this batch I made for a beach picnic party that I had with my co-workers at the end of June.  We had TONS of food!  We probably could have fed a small army of scientists, but instead, it was just the labmates and a few little ones.  

(There is the cornbread up there, and do those cupcakes look familiar?)



We had an awesome day for a picnic; the So Cal "June gloom" disappeared for the afternoon and everyone was able to bask in the sunshine.  Playing football, soccer, and frisbee gave us a little exercise and let some people show off off their hidden athletic talents. ;) And as anyone who works a full time job knows, any day when you can get out and breathe some fresh air is definitely a good day.      


(Check out that photo on the bottom right: It might be hard to tell, but we "grilled" the ice cream to thaw it out. :)  Keeping it on dry ice all afternoon was a good way to keep it from melting, but then it was a solid frozen rock!)  

For the picnic, a few of us made all the food, and Grillmaster Steve tamed the flames and expertly took care of all our barbecuing. A few highlights of the menu included some Pineapple Fried Rice and Strawberry Shortcake from Quy, delicious Yakitori from Atsushi, and Pork Satay with Peanut Sauce from Steve.  And of course, The Cilantropist contributed an amazing cornbread, some summery cupcakes, and one of my favorite couscous salads (look for a post coming soon!).  We all got to eat, eat, and eat to our hearts content, and a good time was had by all.







Cheesy Jalapeno Cornbread
Adapted from Epicurious

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 ounces cheddar cheese
2 large eggs


1 cup fat-free milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup sweet corn kernels, from canned, rinsed and drained
2-4 tablespoons pickled sliced Jalapeno peppers, minced
16 whole pickled Jalapeno peppers

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, and grease an 8-inch square baking pan.  In a medium bowl, mix first five ingredients, and half the cheese.  In a separate medium bowl, beat the eggs, and then add the milk, vegetable oil, corn kernels, and minced Jalapeno peppers, and mix well.  Add the egg mixture to the cornmeal mixture, and fold together until blended.

Pour the batter into the greased pan, and top with the 16 whole Jalapeno peppers, distributing them evenly (in an 8-inch pan, that would be a pattern of 4 x 4), then sprinkle the remaining half of the cheddar cheese over the Jalapenos.  Bake the cornbread for 20-24 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the cheese on top is golden brown.  Cool on a wire rack, and serve warm or at room temperature.      

37 comments:

  1. Oh yummy, this looks perfect. THis weekend was really nice - I am in North County.

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  2. ummm yum! That cornbread looks divine! And it looks like you had a blast at the BBQ... gotta love the sunshine!

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  3. Oh my goodness! This bread looks amazing!!! I don't know about cornbread history, but I always thought it was a Southern creation and Southerners do not like it sweet, but Notherners do?

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  4. I love this kinda of cornbread, I haven't had it in a while, thanks for the inspiration! The bbq looked like a blast!

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  5. Mmmmm...spice + cheese = love.

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  6. ...cornbread is always welcome in my family...love the jalapenos in it too...

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  7. Anything with cornmeal it right up my alley! This looks marvelous!

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  8. I like cornbread every which way. I've never made it in quite this way, but I plan to very soon. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

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  9. A fun beach party!
    I guess almost all women love cornbread. :-)

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  10. My husband could probbaly eat that whole pan...cheese, cornbread AND jalapenos...yep, he would. It does look very enticing and bakes up to a lovely golden brown.

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  11. Yum! I love the addition of cheese and jalapenos. what a way to kick it up a notch! And yes, I recognize those strawberry lemonade cupcakes - in fact now I feel like I must have one - NOW. It looks like you had a great time!

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  12. Wow, this looks amazing!! Definitely going to try this soon!

    I grew up in the Northeast, and I definitely love cornbread. I have a Colombian friend who makes this cheesy cornbread type dish from her country; we used to eat it all the time when we were younger and she lived nearby. I don't remember much about it except that it needed a pound of butter! Now that I'm thinking about it, that would be a good recipe to have....

    Take care!

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  13. Mmmm that looks delicious! Fun party too, somehow our summer gatherings have gone by the wayside at our company, maybe all the cutbacks meant that we couldnt afford it, or maybe now that we are part of 'big pharma' it isnt the done thing. Oh well!

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  14. I am sure your cornbread and cupcakes were gobbled up quickly. I am looking forward to seeing your salad recipe.

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  15. I love savory cornbread:) What a great picnic, looks like you all had a wonderful time...

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  16. Love your corn bread recipe, what a nice addition to your picnic!

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  17. This is cornbread just the way I like it--with cheese and a kick with the jalapenos. It looks so good!

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  18. I love that you used the canned jalapenos as opposed to fresh ones. I'm partial to the canned ones because of the texture and the tang (especially if you're talking nachos). And I've never had cheese on my cornbread but this looks so good, my next batch of cornbread is definitely going to have cheese!

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  19. Sounds like it was a fun afternoon with colleagues and lots of great food. This delicious cheesy cornbread must have a major kick and would also be fantastic with the right mug of soup. Savin' this to the recipe file, for sure!

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  20. oh how I love cornbread.....cheese and jalapeños go so well with cornbread! just pass a big hunk and some butter please!

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  21. Oh my goodness that looks absolutely divine! I have not had dinner yet and wish that I had your cornbread right now. This is a must make! Thank you for sharing!

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  22. that looks so good. I have a big bag of corn meal at home and no use for it till now!

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  23. YUM!! I have a similar recipe planned for this week!! Great minds think a like! Looks fantastic!!!

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  24. cornbread without cheddar cheese is a useless endeavor. i applaud you for knowing that.

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  25. This looks ridiculously delicious! I love cornbread and I love jalapenos..and that picnic looks so fun!

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  26. I love cornbreads and that one looks delicious! I hope you had a fun day...

    Cheers,

    Rosa

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  27. love your blog, really. i always get inspired by people who cook well and blog well. love your recipes and photos too! a fellow foodie tagged me as a versatile blogger, but i thought that should be you. hence, i'm passing over the versatile blogger award to you :)

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  28. As I see mentioned above I've always thought of cornbread as a Southern treat (but down here sugar is a no-no!) I, however, enjoy mine sweet once in awhile, and with a little heat I'm sure it's even better. Looks wonderful.

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  29. Okay definitely have to try this as I love cornbread (and we all know cheese!) Reminds me of a bobby flay creation - Looks delicious!

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  30. We are headed to Carlsbad's Jazz in the Park tomorrow... this cornbread will fit will on my little portable Crate & Barrel table! Hopefully we will get a sunny day like you had in June

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  31. "Don't want cheese? Just leave it out!"

    Surely no one will get rid of the cheese... it's the best part of any recipe!!! Lovely post!

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  32. Made this Friday night for Carlsbad Jazz in the Park... met with rave reviews and numerous recipe requests1!! I did sub Manchengo cheese, (just what I had on hand) and added some finely diced jalapeño to the batter. Excellent recipe! Thank you so much for posting.

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  33. Nicole: I believe that you are right: the dish originated in the South and made its way to the North, where people prefer it to much sweeter (I am one of those sweet gals!)

    Jenny: that is too bad that you cant have company picnics anymore, this one was more lab-sponsored than company-sponsored, but it was definitely fun! Maybe I can invite you next time! ;)

    Azmina: I am also partial to the canned jalepenos, and I am glad to find someone else who is too! I feel like everyone prefers the fresh ones, but sometimes they just don't have the same "kick."

    Thella: I know I told you on your blog, but THANKS again for the award!

    Liv Life: Actually the original recipe called for Manchego but I thought it was something most people actually wouldn't have on hand and sometimes it is a little more costly, glad you enjoyed it so much!! I am curious how much diced jalepeno you put in your batter; some thought mine was the perfect amount of heat and others thought it was a little too much for them. Let me know if you have time!

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  34. Next time you have a cornbread picnic party, please invite me.

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  35. This cornbread looks fantastic! Love the name of your blog, btw!

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