Browned Butter Cornbread

browned butter cornbread

Browned butter cornbread, hot out of the oven.

I’m pretty sure that my great-grandmother from Shelbyville, TN never made cornbread with browned butter, or, without bacon grease/fat for that matter. Well, I did adhere to one Southern tradition when I made my version of cornbread: no sugar. I’m not a fan of sweet cornbread, I it like more savory. But, if you like a slightly sweeter bread, by all means, add the tablespoon of sugar. Also, I think the browned butter adds a deeper, nuttier flavor to the cornbread. I think the next time I make this I’ll add some grilled corn off the cob. I only had some sad, old frozen corn, which, after heating up in the microwave tasted like, well, old corn (yuck). I suppose I should clean out my freezer….but, that’s for another day!

*Recipe slightly adapted from Paula Deen

  • 6 TB unsalted butter, browned, plus butter for baking dish
  • 1 C cornmeal
  • 3/4 C AP flour
  • 1 TB sugar (Optional)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 425 degrees

Brown your butter and set aside to cool.

That extra 2 TB of butter you have from the stick you cut earlier? Use that, or most of it to grease your 8×8 baking dish.

Mix all dry ingredients into a large bowl, set aside. Once the browned butter is cooled, add the slightly beaten eggs and buttermilk, stir. Then add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, making sure you get out all the dry parts (you don’t want any pockets of batter with dry bits because nothing is more gross than biting into a baked good and getting a bite with dried bits of flour.) The batter will be slightly lumpy and that’s okay. Bake until top is golden brown, about 20-25 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is. Mine took exactly 20 min. Let it cool and then eat. I’m going to have mine with a bowl of vegetarian chili for dinner.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

vegetarian chili

Yum! Spicy vegetarian chili with three beans

I have several different versions of vegetarian chili and I can’t believe I never posted any of those recipes on this site! Vegetarian chili is a staple during the Fall/Winter for me. I like to switch up the recipe and use whatever I have on hand. Sometimes I use a grain like farro or bulgar, and vegetables like red/orange/yellow peppers, corn and green beans or edamame. It’s starting to get slightly cooler here in Brooklyn…it’s also rainy and grey and I wanted something warm, spicy and comforting for dinner. Plus, now that college football season has begun, I really enjoy “College Football Saturdays” (Go Blue!!) in my house where I’ll have a beer and a bowl of veg chili, so, it’s a win-win. More importantly, the chili freezes well and I can enjoy it later on.

In this version of chili, I use black, white and garbanzo beans. I like using Muir Glen’s Fire Roasted Tomatoes, regular and with green chilies. These tomatoes add an extra kick and level of flavor to the chili that I really like. I also used Penzey’s crushed jalapeños and for a smokier flavor, I use a little bit of smoked Spanish paprika. A little paprika goes a long way, so, you can just add it and the other spices by dashes (and not teaspoons/tablespoons) and adjust accordingly.

Spicy Three Bean Vegetarian Chili

  • 1 medium-sized red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced/minced
  • 3 carrots, sliced
  • 1 can each: black, cannelini, garbanzo beans, rinsed, drained
  • 1 28oz can Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen diced tomatoes with green chilis
  • 1 14oz can Muir Glen tomato sauce
  • 2tsp cumin
  • 1TB chili powder
  • 1-2tsp Smoked Spanish Paprika
  • 1-2tsp dried jalapeños
  • 1-2TB olive oil

In a Dutch Oven or large soup pot over medium heat, add olive oil and let it heat up, add onions, carrots and garlic and sauté until soft. Add tomato sauce and diced tomatoes, stir, then add beans and spices. Let chili simmer for 30-45 minutes. Spoon into bowls, add shredded cheese, raw onions or even small cooked pasta (this might be a Wisconsin thing because I used to have really good veg chili at the Fuel Cafe in Milwaukee back when I was in grad school, and they topped it with all three. It was delicious). Enjoy!

Raw Asparagus and Chickpea Salad with Lemon

a spring-y salad.

a spring-y salad.

You may say, “Raw asparagus?!?” And, I will reply: “YES!”(with much enthusiasm). This is an easy and light salad to make for lunch, like I did yesterday. I used both a little bit of Bulgarian feta and Pecorino. I enjoyed the play of the two different flavors and textures of cheese. If you can find Bulgarian feta, buy some, pronto. It’s not salty like Greek feta cheese, it’s more mild and creamy/not so crumbly.

  • 1lb. (bunch) of asparagus, rinsed, cut into 1-2″ pieces
  • 1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup (or more) of crumbled Bulgarian feta cheese
  • a couple glugs of olive oil
  • zest of lemon, plus juice of half a lemon
  • flaky sea salt and pepper to taste
  • some shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese

Add cut asparagus and chickpeas in a medium-large bowl. I cut the asparagus into tiny, diagonal pieces to make it more visually appealing (I guess, haha). drizzle with olive oil–enough to coat the beans and veg. Add lemon zest and juice and feta pieces. Stir until combined. Add some shaved (I used a vegetable peeler) Pecorino Romano on top. Enjoy!

Avocado Egg Toast…

oops, I ate the other half of bread.

oops, I ate the other half of bread. Yes, that is a Zabar’s coffee mug!

…it’s what’s for breakfast! I’ve been on a hardboiled egg kick that I think started with having a salad last week with egg, avocado, greens and a spicy cilantro-lime dressing. I’d forgotten how much I love the combination of egg and avocado. I even ate it one evening for dinner following a softball game. There really isn’t anything fancy or overly-complicated or cutesy about this breakfast (or, lunch or dinner). It’s quite simple:

    toast your favorite bread
    drizzle a little olive oil on bread
    spread 1/2 of a an avocado on bread
    put sliced hardboiled eggs on top
    salt and pepper to taste
    sliced tomatoes on the side (optional)

You’re done. Now go do something productive.

Brown Basmati Rice and Black Bean Salad with Tangy Lime Dressing

It’s finally getting warmer in Brooklyn, to the point I had to switch on the A/C for a few days (Con Edison loves me). For me, when it’s warmer outside, I’d rather eat lighter meals that can be served cold. This is a nice, light lunch or dinner option. I think you can add diced pepper and corn to this salad and that would work well too. Go on and make yourself a margarita too!

  • 2 C. cooked brown basmati rice, cooled
  • 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 avocado, cubed
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 4 scallions, sliced
  • 1/4 C. Bulgarian feta cheese, crumbled (optional)

For the dressing:

  • 2-3 TB mayo
  • 1/4 C. lime juice
  • 2 TB olive oil
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • dash of salt/pepper
  • dash of crushed red pepper flakes

Add all ingredients in a small bowl and whisk together until smooth. Adjust accordingly, ie: if you want it tangier, add more lime juice, more creamy, add a bit more mayo. Note: I used bottled organic lime juice (Santa Cruz brand). It’s pure lime juice, no sugar or extra crap. I also use it to make margaritas [upcoming post!])

In a large bowl, add beans and vegetables to cooled rice. (you want to use cooled rice because you don’t want mushy tomatoes and cooked avocado, nor do you want the dressing warmed by the rice). Add dressing and mix until everything is coated. Add crumbled Bulgarian feta on top. Bam, you’re done. With this recipe, I’m pretty sure you CAN win friends with salad

Now, go do your laundry that you’ve been putting off for a few days.