Sometime in mid-December, I wanted to make chili. I’ve posted about making chili a number of times on here, but the recipe doesn’t vary much. My version has tomatoes, ground beef, and red kidney beans… which may not be your regional variation, but y’know, I don’t care ;P I just care what tastes good.
I even brought some to school for lunch one day…
Anyway, I usually top my chili with cilantro, diced onions, cheese, and sour cream (ALWAYS sour cream!). Some combination of those things, depending what I have on hand. Sometimes I have Frito Pie with corn chips, sometimes I eat this chili like soup. But on this night, after I’d simmered the chili for quite a while, I realized I wanted cornbread. I’d recently had a pretty nice spicy chili from Panera with cornbread floating in it, and I’d loved how the sweet cornbread from Hill Country had helped temper the spiciness from the chili as well. I don’t even like cornbread usually, but that’s what I felt like. I accurately recalled I had a container of Jiffy cornbread mix in my pantry, so I went to grab it and make it.
Frito Pie before…
Only it was… well, a few years old, and in pretty poor shape. I msg’ed a friend complaining about this, not wanting to go back out to get a new box, and he responded, “I guess you’re making cornbread from scratch tonight.” Yeah, right. I can’t bake. Isn’t that why the Blind Baker exists?
Frito Pie after!
But then I looked up a few recipes, and when it became obvious I actually had all the ingredients on hand, I thought, hell let’s give this a whirl. (The yellow cornmeal was leftover from, um, this recipe. Yep, that long ago. And it’s a small bag.
And you know what?
It came out pretty damn well. Not amazing, but it totally was yummy broken into my chili and eaten like that. I ate almost all of the chili like that, no joke.
At one point, I even just put a piece in the bottom of a bowl and ladled the chili right on top of it. How awesome is that?
If I can make this recipe, you’d have to be fairly incapable of reading to mess it up. (Watch me try this again the next time I make chili and totally FAIL. Haha.)
But the best part of this? Since that day, since that moment… I’ve been on a baking and candy making kick non-stop. It kind of pushed me into that, hell, why not try that. So I’ve been scouring my cookbooks and most of the time, it’s a matter of, “Do I have all of the ingredients on hand? I do? Special equipment? Yes? Okay, let’s go!” And I’ve made a lot of things that just over a month ago, if you told me I’d be attempting, I’d have laughed in your face and asked you what you were smoking because damn it would be good.
Stay tuned to find out what else I’ve made. 😉
Cornbread recipe found here. My only modification is that I don’t own ANY ROUND CAKE PANS (which has prevented me from making a couple of cakes I saw in my cookbooks, sadface! Any recommendations on equipment brands, what I need to buy and what I don’t? Thanks!)… so I used a 9″ square tin foil pan I had for making brownies, and they came out perfectly, plus I was able to cut into neat squares for the above photographs.
Perhaps the unofficial resolution of 2011 shall be “I will learn how to bake.”
We’ll see 🙂