Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cookin' it old school...Cast Iron and Cornbread

I had a "cookin' it old school" moment the other day when I made my contribution to Sunday dinner at my sister's home.  When I think about "cookin' it old school", the thing that comes to mind is making classic recipes with classic this instance it was making cornbread in my 10in smooth cast iron skillet.  

Smooth cast iron has become an obsession of mine...the classic cookware was the original non-stick pan, but now they are languishing away in thrift stores and antique shops; unloved, lonely, and dusty.  

My first piece of smooth cast iron came from my mother in the form of a Griswold, #6, 6in. skillet.  This skillet had belonged to her mother, my grandmother, "Good Mama" (we're from Kentucky).  I couldn't believe how smooth this little skillet was; it was like looking into black glass.  It fried an egg with the greatest of ease, no sticking...much easier than those skillets you buy at big box stores that are supposedly seasoned.  I was hooked, but my mom was not going to relinquish any more pieces to me...something about prying it from her cold hand (again, we're from Kentucky).  So at this point, I realized I would have to keep an eye open on Ebay, antique shops and thrift stores that I frequented in order to round out my cooking collection.

The last few years I have been on the look out for the perfect skillets/griddles for my home.  I have been able to acquire a perfect unmarked smooth cast iron 10in. skillet (no rust, like new and you can see the machine marks in it, supposedly from the '40s according to the vendors tag), a Wagner Ware Juinor Krispy Korn Kob Baker, and as of this afternoon a #9 Griswold griddle.  These pieces that grace my home now, once helped get food on the table for a family, they stayed on the stove ready to heat up at a moments notice, they have seen joy and tragedy, these pieces are what helped shaped cooking in America.  

Now to get back to "cookin' it old school"...I wanted to make cornbread for Sunday dinner at my sisters; what better way to bake it, but in a cast iron skillet. 

Cornbread from "William Sonoma's Comfort Food" cookbook
For printable recipe, please click here 

1 C  AP Flour
1 C  Yellow Cornmeal
¼ C  Sugar
¾ tsp  Baking Soda
½ tsp  Sea Salt
⅛ tsp  Cayenne Pepper
⅛ tsp Cinnamon *(this was my little addition)
⅔ C  Sour Cream
⅔ C  Whole Milk
2 Lrg Eggs
6 Tbsp  Unsalted Butter, melted *(I use TJ’s salted butter)
¾ C  Corn Kernals, fresh or thawed frozen

Preheat the oven to 400⁰F.  Butter a 10in. cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet or baking dish), set aside.  In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking soda, salt and cayenne pepper.  In another bowl, whisk together the sour cream, milk and eggs until blended.  Make a well in the center of the cornmeal mixture, pour in the sour cream mixture and melted butter and stir just until combined.  Do not over mix.  Fold corn kernels into the batter.

Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and smooth the top.  Bake until the corn bread is golden brown and it passes a tooth pick test, about 20 min.  Let cool in pan for 5 min.  Cut into wedges and serve warm with butter.

Cornbread in my 10in. cast iron skillet
Sunday Dinner with Cornbread

One of the other guests at dinner seemed shocked that the cornbread did not stick to the skillet when I was getting it out, I just smiled...its the original non-stick cookware, plus I slathered the skillet with butter before I put the batter in it. 

The cornbread was moist and delicious, plus I got to showcase my cast iron. 

Enjoy the foods of your labor.  :-)


Cheryl Valadez said...

It was delicious the next morning warmed up and slathered with butter and jam. YUM!

Chris said...

Cast iron rocks for cooking cornbread. Well, anything else for that matter too!

The cornbread looks moist and delicious.

Mary said...

I love to make my cornbread in castiron. It makes the most wonderful crust. This is my first visit to your blog but I'll definitely be back. I enjoyed the time I spent here and I like the food and recipes you feature for your readers. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary