The first thing that I ever cooked regularly was cornbread.
We were a family of routine. Fish sticks were eaten with Kraft Macaroni and Cheese. Tacos were eaten with Spanish Rice. And Beans & Franks (which is, in case you're wondering, exactly what it sounds like) was eaten with cornbread.
We ate a lot of franks. We ate a lot of beans. And we ate a lot of cornbread.
The cornbread was my responsibility. Which seems, considering The Great Ironing Burn of '87 and my aversion to wooden spoons (the family's spanking tool of choice), fairly poorly thought out.
Plus, one thinks there should have been a general concern about what goes into your food when you put an angry pre-teen in charge of the household baking. But whatever.
I never did spit in the cornbread, but I did introduce my own special twist to the recipe: a healthy, surreptitious glug of honey.
Sure, it doesn't sound like anything now. But considering it was the first recipe I'd ever worked with, and this was happening in a household where sugared cereals were known as the devil's tidbits, this was fairly revolutionary. It was pretty clear I was a genius.
So imagine how much 12-year-old me would have been blown away by this guy here: the cornbread cubed and tossed with cheese, corn, peppers and onions, buttermilk, and the most magical of elixirs, enchilada sauce. The whole thing baked until soft and firm and crisp on top. And then served as a side dish. Even though it was a pudding.
Be still, my rebel heart. Someone's initials might just end up on my Trapper Keeper.
Southwestern Corn Pudding
from Bon Appetit
Flour [ 1 cup ]
Yellow Cornmeal [ 1 cup ]
Sugar [ 1/4 cup ]
Baking Powder [ 2 teaspoons ]
Baking Soda [ 1 teaspoon ]
Salt [ 1 teaspoon ]
Extra-Sharp Cheddar Cheese [ coarsely grated, packed, 1 cup ]
Buttermilk [ 1 cup ]
Eggs [ 2 ]
Unsalted Butter [ 1/4 cup, melted and cooled slightly ]
Frozen Corn Kernels [ 2 cups, thawed and drained ]
Pepper Jack Cheese [ coarsely grated, packed, 2 cups - about 8 ounces ]
Red Bell Pepper [ 1, seeded and chopped ]
Green Onions [ chopped, 1/2 cup ]
Buttermilk [ 1 3/4 cups ]
Canned Enchilada Sauce [ 1 cup ]
Eggs [ 4 ]
Salt [ 1/2 teaspoon ]
1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Butter a 8-inch square baking pan.
3. In a medium bowl, whisk together Flour, Cornmeal, Sugar, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, and Salt.
4. Mix in Cheese.
5. In a second medium bowl, whisk together Buttermilk, Eggs, and Butter.
6. Add Buttermilk Mixture to Cornmeal Mixture; stir just until blended.
7. Pour Batter into buttered pan.
8. Bake until Cornbread is golden, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. This will take about
9. Cool completely in pan on a baking rack.
10. Butter a 13x9-inch baking dish.
11. Cut cooled Cornbread into 1-inch cubes and place in a large bowl.
12. In a large, dry pan over Medium-High heat, stir Corn until dry. This will take about 3 minutes.
13. Add Corn, Cheese, Bell Pepper, and Green Onions to bowl with Cornbread.
14. In a medium bowl, whisk together Buttermilk, Enchilada Sauce, Eggs and Salt.
15. Add Buttermilk Mixture to Cornbread Mixture.
16. Pour Mixture into buttered pan.
17. Cover pan and refrigerate at least 1 hour, or as long as 1 day.
18. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
19. Bake, uncovered, until Pudding is golden and a little crisp. This will take about 1 hour.
20. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting.