March 15, 2012

Have Your Cornbread and Eat it Too

Texas never can make up her mighty mind. One minute, we're all frolicking around at kite festivals in shorts and flip-flops. The next, rain rolls in and the temperature drops 18 degrees in one hour, and we suddenly regretting wearing sandals to work today.

But the cold weather that blew in last week enticed me to the kitchen, where I had white beans soaking, a head of home-grown cabbage waiting for its debut, and a clean cast iron skillet beckoning from the countertop. Big night. Biiiiiig night.

I did what any sensible 20-something hipster would do: I threw on my PJs, texted the Hubcap our low-key dinner plans, and started making a meal steeped in my German heritage: Boiled cabbage and onions, white beans, and cornbread.

Healthy cornbread. With flaxseed.

I'll wait for a moment while you consider clicking on that ad over there instead of reading the rest of this post.

Let me tell you something: This cornbread will surprise you. It looks like a dry boring puck in the oven and it lacks the lovely golden color one normally associates with cornbread. But it's made in a cast-iron skillet, it's nutty, it's packed with ancient grains, and despite its aptitude for health, it is quite delicious.

So this cornbread is awesome because it's unconventional.

This recipe is based on Whole Foods' Flax and Pumpkin Seed Cornbread. I took the liberty of un-veganizing it, omitting the pumpkin seeds, and swapping the whole wheat for spelt. Here's how I did it, and if you want to ease in to the "healthy cornbread world," I'd say this is the way to do it.

Cornbread with Flaxseed and Spelt
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 3/4 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup stone ground corn meal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1 cup nonfat or 1% milk
1/4 cup canola oil
4 teaspoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350. Spray a cast iron skillet with non-stick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flaxseeds through salt). In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (egg through oil). Make a well in the dry ingredients, pour in the wet mixture, and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared skillet and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the bread comes out clean. The bread will just pull away from the sides of the skillet.

Serve warm, with butter if you must. Go ahead and put some honey on it, too, would ya?