(Chinese versions coming soon)
If I don’t live in China, these are just bizarre numbers that I may never need to make any sense of. But I dooooooo… and these became significant index that I rely on greatly to plan my daily activities, kind of like… terror-alert levels for New Yorkers. So just a little FYI for those lucky ones who are blissfully unfamiliar with “toxic-airology”. The American standard for “pm 2.5” is 0~15, max 30 for short term exposure. Here, pfffffffff… 200~300 is just any given day. “To go (out), or not to go” IS the question.
So for the people out there with really good karma, this could really be a delightful recipe for a leisurely brunch/picnic on Sundays with crisp breezes and waving dots of sunlight casted from the happy tree named Molly by the window. For me, it’s a – scavenging every corners in the fridge and pantry cuz I’m laying low in the gas shelter out of groceries – kinda recipe. I really DO hate sounding so depressing ALL the time, I REALLY do, but life is sunny with 100% chance of toxic overcast. Ignorance is almost a blessing.
But don’t get me wrong.
It isn’t to say that this southern spoonbread isn’t EVERY bit as worth making on a “blue sky day”. I’ve always had a fantasy for southern cuisine. Makes me wanna start a sentence with “My grandmama…”. So homey and rich. Soul-warming, artery-clogging, heart-exploding…, a big middle finger to cardiologists! Deeeefinitely a repertoire I want to expand. I~~~~~~~ don’t want to bring up my success on my biscuits, but only to remind that there isn’t 1, but 2!! southern dishes already under my belt thus far. I’m gon’make my grandmama proud…
So what is a spoonbread?
Think if pudding and cornbread started spooning and had a baby, it would be a spoonbread. Firmer than a pudding but soft enough to be spooned… I mean eat with a spoon. Cheesy, corny, and buttery with a tiny bit of heat. Absolutely wonderful paired with pepper confit (replace the fish sauce with approx 2 tsp of salt)! Think jalapeno and cheddar cornbread in bread pudding form!! I don’t know what soulless zombies wouldn’t want to eat that.
This is a recipe I’ve had for a long time but never gotten around to try it just like many other things in this blog, until of course… China happened. Aaah, a blessing in disguise…
- 1/3 cup of coarse yellow cornmeal
- 3/4 cups of fine yellow cornmeal
- 1 1/2 cup of grated sharp cheddar (save 1/2 cup for broiling)
- 1 cup of grated parmigiano (save 1/3 cup for broiling)
- 1 cup of water
- 2 1/2 cup of milk or buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp of baking powder
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 2 tsp of tabasco sauce
- 2 eggs
- 3 tbsp of butter
- Some flour
- Some cayenne pepper
- Salt and white pepper
Preheat the oven on 375ºF/190ºC.
Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a pot and add the coarse yellow cornmeal. Cook and stir until slightly thicken, then turn off the heat and let the cornmeal soak for 15 min. Then add 2 1/2 cup of milk (or buttermilk), fine yellow corn meal, 1 cup of cheddar and 2/3 cup of parmigiano to the pot. Bring to a simmer and cook for 2 min. Take it off the heat, and add baking soda, baking powder and tabasco. Let it cool down a little bit.
(If using just fine cornmeal, then just cook 1 cup of cornmeal in 1 cup of water until thicken (it will happen very quickly), then add the milk and everything else in and cook for another 2 min. I personally like the difference in texture but coarse cornmeal isn’t always available.)
Meanwhile, mix the reserved cheddar and parmigiano with a little flour (approx 1 tsp) and set aside.
Beat 2 eggs in a bowl. Ladle a bit of the warm cornmeal mixture into the eggs and stir vigorously. Then add the eggs back into the pot of cornmeal and stir. Add the butter and stir to combine. Adjust the saltiness with salt, and season with some white pepper. OK, now we are done with the “batter” part of it. Ladle the batter equally into 4 ramekins and bake in the oven for 30 min.
When the spoonbreads are done baking, they will look all GLORIOUSLY puffed up. DOOOON’T get too cheered up yet. They will deflate faster than you can say “Mississippi”. Yeah it’s a fake out. That’s life. Take’em out and sprinkle the cheddar and parmigiano mixture on top, then dust with some cayenne pepper. Turn the oven up to broil and return the spoonbreads into the oven. Broil until the cheese is melted.
Really, this spoonbread is dying for some pepper confit. Don’t disappoint them.