Our family is packing up and heading for the hills this morning.
It’s not what it sounds like…we’re not running away from anything (that whole thing with the neighbor’s cat was a total misunderstanding!), we’re running TO something. About a gazillion years ago, my mom and dad bought a 10 acre patch on the side of a mountain in Southern Oregon. It is the home to tall trees, cold water creeks, and more peace and soul restoration than one could think possible to pack into a small chunk of wilderness. When I was a teenager, my parents built a rustic cabin on that mountainside. (By rustic, I mean an awesome cabiny shell with no electricity or plumbing. C’mon…rough it a little!)
The Mountain, as I typically call it, has been a retreat for three generations of my family, and it’s where we’re headed today.
As the Curly-Haired Chick and I were planning our meals, it seemed like the respectful and brilliant thing to take along one of the Griswold cast iron skillets my dad gave me and use it for as many dishes as possible. At the top of that list is Skillet Cornbread. This recipe is easy, delicious, and a good match for either cooking at home or while camping. Cooking over a campfire requires a slightly different plan, of course…I’d recommend taking a Dutch oven approach and harnessing the heating power of embers.
Well, the coolers are filled with ice and tastiness, the truck is packed for the road, and it’s time that we wrangle the kids and blaze a trail. I hope you and yours find some time to enjoy a hot, buttery slice of cornbread soon.
- 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
- 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup instant nonfat dry milk
- 1 large egg
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- Butter or vegetable oil, for skillet (use the butter…it loves you.)
- Over low, heat a 9-inch cast iron skillet with a cover. (It helps a great deal if that cast iron skillet was handed down to you by a grandparent or generous neighbor. It’s totally fine, though, if you have to buy if for yourself. Look for them at second-hand stores in small, out of the way towns.)
- Mix flour, baking powder, sugar, salt, cornmeal, and nonfat dry milk in a large bowl.
- In a small bowl, whisk together egg, 3/4 cup water, and melted butter. Make a well in the center of dry ingredients, and pour the egg mixture into it. Stir until just combined.
- Brush bottom, sides, and inside of skillet lid with melted butter or vegetable oil; pour in the batter. Cover, and cook over low heat until top feels almost dry, about 35 minutes (check the bottom occasionally to make sure it’s not burning; lower heat if necessary). Invert onto the skillet cover; oil pan bottom again. Slide bread back into pan, and cook 5 minutes more, until dry and light brown. Transfer to a plate, let cool slightly, and cut into slices or wedges and serve to your hungry family with something wonderful like chili or a hearty soup, or just more butter and some honey.