It was a rainy and cold day here, on the last Saturday of the year. For us it was also one day after the last of a string of Christmas get-togethers and one day before the first New Years to-do. It seemed weird to just be doing normal chores instead of cooking (or cleaning or wrapping) for the masses.
It was the kind of cold and wet in-between day that just sort of cried out for a fire in the fireplace and steaming bowls of the chili that simmered on the back burner while I was getting Christmas dinner ready. (Cook once + clean the stove once + eat for days = my present to me.)
Chili's good with Fritos, but when we smoked yesterday's brisket for the Barton family meal at our house, I threw 20 whole jalepenos on the top rack of the smoker. They smelled so good that Chet's mama's Mexican cornbread seemed in order, as well.
And then I noticed that everything in it except the jalepenos was either sunshiney yellow (corn meal, corn, oil, eggs, cheese) or the cloud white of a pretty day (onions, sour cream). Just stirring it up brightened my day.
Leona passed on in December about five years ago, so having one of her signature dishes was warming in another way, too. Not only was she the family's glue, she was a foodie before the word was invented. She read cookbooks for entertainment long past the time she was able to cook any more.
When I found this stuck between the pages of one of the many cookbooks I inherited from her (Lucky me!), I could just see her chatting with some "lady at the groceries." Realizing she was about to get a good recipe, she would start scrabbling in her handbag for a pen and something to write on. In this case, she pulled out a check.
|Notice the simplicity of the document. It's from the days when you were |
a person and not a number, I guess.
Even though she'd pretty much stopped cooking this long before I entered the family,
it's a fond memory for them and a favorite for my family and friends.
And lucky you, here's the recipe.
Leona's Mexican Cornbread
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
1 cup creamed corn
1 cup sour cream
2/3 cup vegetable oil
1 T baking powder
1 t salt
2 jalepeno peppers, chopped
2 T diced onion
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Mix all ingredients in order listed but reserve the cheese.
3. Pour half the batter in a greased 9 x 13 pan. Top with half the cheese, then the rest of the batter. Top with cheese.
4. Bake in preheated oven until cornbread is light brown, the center is set and cheese is bubbly, about 30-35 minutes.
Enjoy this with your family on some cold and wet day.