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The end of summer draws near and fresh corn stands dot the urban landscape. Ripe and juicy, ears of corn, wrapped tightly in their husks, make it home to be quickly boiled, buttered and devoured, the leftovers turned into Fresh Summer Cornbread.
Nothing says late summer to me more than a batch of cornbread baking in the oven. A simple quick bread, it’s one of life’s little pleasures, the toasted buttery scent of it wafting through the house brings back thoughts of childhood and sticky, hot summer days in the kitchen.
This was at once a staple and a treat; golden brown on the outside, sweet and moist on the inside. Cornbread was a way for Mom to use up leftover buttermilk and the last remains of jams and jellies in the fridge which would find their way on to the sideboard as we took a break from canning peaches or preserves.
My fondest memory of cornbread comes from a journey through the Southern United States as a child. It was my first taste of biscuits & gravy, real fried chicken and racial tension. To this day cornbread inevitably makes me feel like a ‘southern belle’ – which I am not. I often lapse into my best Georgian drawl and quote long passages from Tennessee Williams. Beware cornbread, heat and bourbon, it is a lethal combination.
Served hot, dripping with butter, cornbread is one of my favorite summer rituals. I love it for breakfast with eggs, or cooked flat served with honey ham and mustard. Among my favorite bread substitutes, it’s also a terrific way to make use of leftover cooked cobs after a righteous feast – from which I am still removing the butter marks from my shirt.
Such are the dangers of good eatin’.
Fresh Summer Cornbread Recipe
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Makes: 9 servings
6 tablespoons butter
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup white whole-wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pre-cooked corn, cut from the cob
Preheat oven to 375* F (175* C)
Melt butter in skillet and brush over the bottom and sides of a 9 inch pan. Pour remaining butter into a large bowl, add buttermilk and eggs and whisk lightly.
In a separate bowl, combine sugar, baking soda, cornmeal, whole-wheat flour, and salt and mix to blend. Add fresh cooked corn, cut from the cob to cornmeal mixture and stir to blend. Then add wet ingredients to corn mixture.
Turn cornbread mixture into butter coated pan (or baking dish) and bake in preheated 375*F oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of comes out clean – 20 to 25 minutes. To serve, run a sharp, pointed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the loaf, then turn out and cut or cut and serve in the pan, fresh from the oven.
Cool slightly. Serve. With. Butter.