I must apologize for how lazy I have been lately. It's not that I haven't done anything - I just haven't taken any pictures! So, I formally apologize, and I plan to make it up to you today by not only posting pictures, but also posting a fantastically yummy recipe!
We had some company over after church today, and since they were bringing the main course (two yummy homemade pizzas!) I made some side dishes: santa fe salad and corn bread muffins! The Santa Fe Salad is a blatant steal from Earl's. Their Santa Fe Chicken Salad is fantabulous and quite easy to make a reasonable facimile: greens, black beans, cajun seasoned chicken, avocado, feta, corn, dates, crispy tortilla strips, and lime vinaigrette. Today I didn't have the chicken or feta, so I cooked up the black beans with some cajun seasoning and lime juice instead. It was yum!
And for the corn bread muffins... well, that's something special :)
I've always adored corn bread, and perhaps that's because I never had it in my house. My mom was never a fan so the only time I got it was at restaurants, or at a friend's house. When I was working at the cafe through high school I made up their corn bread recipe one day and was delighted by a few important ingredients: a can of creamed corn, chili powder, and green chiles. I knew those were the things that made a dry, ordinary piece of corn bread moist and delectable! About three or four years ago I decided to make corn bread at home for the first time, and I opted to try a recipe I had as it was - no tweaking. And boy, was I disappointed. It was more dry than not, mealy, it didn't bind very well, and the flavor was less than enthusing. Round two I tweaked a few things and the flavor got better, but the texture was still a bit off. But by round three - I knew I had it. It was the perfect corn bread recipe. And I'm going to share it with you :) Oh, and I'm not going to reference the original recipe since a) after all this smack talk about it, it would hardly be fair to associate them with the unimpressive recipe, and b) all that 'tweaking' I did? The recipe isn't even recognizable anymore.
My Perfect Corn Bread Muffins:
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
2 1/2 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp chili powder
a dash of chipotle powder
3/4 c. milk
1/4 c. oil
1 can creamed corn
1/2 c. shredded cheddar
Mix together first 7 ingredients in a large bowl - set aside. Whisk together eggs, milk and oil in a separate bowl. Add wet ingredients and corn to dry mix all at once - stir until just moistened. Fold in cheddar.
Divide between 18 greased muffin cups and bake at 400 for 15 minutes.
*Tip - don't start preheating the oven until after all the ingredients are combined, and then wait to divide between the muffin cups until the oven is ready - this will give you nice, fluffy muffins!
They look good, no? Oh, and if you're not into the whole tex-mex realm, try putting dill in, instead of the chili powder and chipotle, swap out the cheddar for gouda or gruyere, and serve them with chowder!
Mrs. VanderLeek ;)