Lately, I’ve been thinking of our October holiday honoring Christopher Columbus who arrived in America in 1492. I imagined him stepping off his ship in America, encountering an indigenous culture and new culinary delights – some made with corn or "maize". This idea inspired me to kick up our usual cornbread recipe with different ingredients. To test my invention, I recently brought this cornbread to work and set it on our kitchen counter. Everyone seemed to like it because it disappeared in under an hour – Happy Columbus Day!
Prep time: 20 minutes
Bake time: 25 to 30 minutes
Servings: 12 to 14
1 small zucchini, cut in chunks
1 small carrot, cut in chunks
1/2 red bell pepper, cut in chunks
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1-1/4 cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
1-1/2 tablespoons baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup milk (whole or 2% milk fat)
1. Heat oven to 400˚F. Grease and flour a 9-inch spring form pan or regular cake pan; set aside.
2. In a food processor, pulse-blend the zucchini, carrot and bell pepper chunks until chopped but not mashed; set aside.
3. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat the 2 tablespoons oil and stir fry the chopped vegetables on medium high heat for 1 to 2 minutes.
4. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, transfer the vegetables to a plate and set aside to cool.
5. Meanwhile, in a 2-quart mixing bowl, combine the remaining 3/4 teaspoon salt, cornmeal, flour and baking powder; set aside.
6. In a 4-quart mixing bowl, with a wire whisk, mix the eggs and sugar until uniform.
7. Stir in the oil and milk. With a wooden spoon, add the combined dry ingredients and mix until blended – do not overmix.
8. Gently stir the cooled vegetables into the batter; pour batter into prepared pan.
9. Set the pan on a rack positioned in center of oven for 25 minutes.
10. After 25 minutes, check doneness by inserting a pointed knife in center of cornbread – knife should come out clean. If knife has wet batter around it, bake cornbread for an additional 5 minutes.
11. Remove cornbread from oven and set on a counter to cool. When it is warm, loosen and remove spring form pan sides and slice the cornbread. If using a regular cake pan, loosen sides of cornbread with a knife and flip onto a flat plate. Slice and serve.
Enjoy the warm cornbread with soups, stews or chili.
Text and Photographs ©2010 Nancy DeLucia Real