As much as I rant and complain about the cold, I do love fall. The one benefit to the cold is that I appreciate the warmth much more and can tolerate better the ridiculous August humidity. Today has been the quintessential “fall” day: bright, cool morning with the sun radiating onto the changing leaves, a tiny bit of mist rising off the ground, and a deliciously pleasant afternoon with snatches of sun and clouds. Did you like that description? Maybe I should look into careers at the weather channel…
I picked up some freshly fallen red leaves on a walk this morning, which reminded me of when I was in the 4th grade and I had to do a leaf collection. I pressed many leaves between huge volumes of the encyclopedia before carefully pasting them to a poster board. I had no desire to do that today; only to press them enough to mail to friends along with packets of tea.
Inspired by the fall-ness of the day and presented with the ubiquitous question: “what should we have for dinner?” I made a jazzed up cornbread. In fact, it was so jazzed up with extras that I hasten to actually call it a bread; really, it’s more of a casserole. I did use cornbread mix, but the stuffy boxed style ends there. Sage is a popular pairing with cornbread, especially when it is made into stuffing. We have no sage (except for pineapple sage, not really appropriate for this in my opinion), so I used rosemary instead as a savory flavoring. I also chopped half a purple onion and about 2 cups of frozen corn. Instead of regular milk I used buttermilk to thicken it and give it more richness. At the last minute I added a few tablespoons of brown sugar, which I think works for dual purposes: a deep sweetness and a distinct complement to the savory aspect. 1/3 had bacon sprinkled on top…1/3 had a dousing of feta crumbles…
And the final 1/3, separated from the bacon by the feta so that the bacon would have NO chance of “infecting” the meatless side, was just the plain cornbread with onions and corn.If you make something, it’s probably a good idea to try it before you serve it, so I did my kitchen duty and had a bite. Let’s just say it tastes a little bit like a warm, sweet fall day with a note of rich meatiness.
Savory Trio Cornbread
2 packages of Jiffy cornbread mix
1 cup buttermilk
2 eggs, beaten
3-4 tablespoons brown sugar
3-4 tablespoons chopped rosemary
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 cups corn (canned or frozen)
1/3 cup bacon, crumbled (I used bacon bits)
1/3 cup feta
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Beat the eggs with the buttermilk and stir vigorously into the mix, making sure to get all the lumps mixed out. Add the onion, rosemary, and corn. Pour into a greased 8×12 pan and smooth out. Sprinkle the bacon on 1/3 of the batter; mix in with a fork. Do the same for the feta. Bake for 30-35 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
*Don’t check for doneness on the feta third-the feta will melt and make the batter more wet. Once out of the oven it will thicken up.