I was just thinking the other night that Kate has been on a role lately. I can tell, because suddenly all of my pants are fitting just a bit more loosely around the waist. I can also tell because I can hardly remember more than about 3 times we’ve eaten out or ordered in during the last month and a half or so. And I have to say, the weight loss is just a side bonus, because really what it means is that we’ve been eating fabulously. If I need proof, I need only look back through my posting history. It has been flush with awesome meals at home for a good while now. To steal a tag line from a restaurant which shall not be named, I’m lovin’ it. Kate is literally feeding my love affair with food.
For further evidence, I submit last night’s dinner, which was both super tasty, and a unique adaptation of one of my favorite things- cornbread. I’m not sure exactly why or when cornbread became one of my favorite foods, but it did. This is one of the few dishes I still make myself from time to time. I made some a while back where I used bacon drippings in place of the oil/butter. It was excellent. My only real problem is that I don’t have a well seasoned cast iron pan to make it in, which is how it should be made if you’re going the traditional route. But Kate’s cornbread dinner last night beat the pants off any cornbread I’ve ever made myself. And it wasn’t traditional by any stretch of the imagination. Southern traditionalist cooks might think it sacrilege to make it like she did, but it was awesome anyway. I’m all for traditional foods, but reinvention makes things interesting.
What we had last night was a cornbread topped with a peach, cranberry salsa. It was amazing. The cornbread was made with chopped green pepper that came in our farm box, which I think might have been the best green pepper in existence until we ate it. Kate also added some chipotle to the batter to give the cornbread a little kick, which was maybe the most brilliant addition ever. And even though it wasn’t made in a cast iron skillet, the cornbread developed wonderful golden brown edges to it. And the smell, in a word- mmmm. Okay, not really a word, but you get the point. The pepper and chipotle mixed with the smell of the cooking corn batter was amazing. Even after a night in a container in the refrigerator, my lunch gave off the same smell when I opened the container to heat it up. It started me salivating immediately. And the most brilliant part is that though the cornbread could have easily been served on its own, as a side dish to a larger meal, Kate made it the star, just by adding a salsa and serving it in a larger portion. Awesome idea.
The salsa was just as wonderful as the cornbread. I’m normally not the biggest fan of peaches, but I must say that in this case, they were really good. I’m sure this was part of Kate’s ongoing mission to get me to eat foods I’ve said in the past I didn’t like. And she still appears to be winning on that front. There are only a few items left, and my confidence in my dislike of them is waning quickly. Anyway, the peaches were accompanied by cranberries, jalapeno, cilantro, shallots, cumin, chili powder, and some freshly squeezed orange and lime juice. It was a great overall flavor. For some reason I really like when sweet flavors are combined with spicy ones. It makes for a more complex flavor than simple spicy or sweet flavors on their own. And the salsa was a perfect topping to elevate the cornbread to main dish status. It gave the overall dish a really finished look, and went with the flavors of the cornbread perfectly.
As I write this, I’m actually disappointed that we don’t have more. Maybe I can convince Kate to make this one again soon. I may have a new favorite cornbread.