Corn bread is a classic. The perfect accompaniment to chili, a super side in the summertime to all those vinegary fresh vegetable salads (if you actually feel like turning on the oven) and a best friend to anything barbecue.
I found the recipe I use most often on the back of a cardboard can of Quaker Corn Meal. Once I cut it out and stashed in my bread file, I have used it over and over, creating multiple variations using up leftover canned green chilies, apple sauce and even pumpkin puree. But by far the most delicious, moist and cake like variation is this one. Heat the cast-iron pan for a bout 5 minutes before adding the batter for a nicely browned crust and top the cornbread with sea salt and lots of ground black pepper before baking. You can’t go wrong and you won’t ever look back.
Remember the campaign “Eat More Kale!” back in 2001? A crazy t-shirt designer named Bo Muller-Moore who clearly loved the stuff came up with this mantra to get America to eat healthy and to make a few bucks. I was so offended by it and it pissed me off. I really hated kale. Ever since I was a kid and my mother made kale soup for my dad (He was the only one who liked and requested it.), I had a deep dislike for its pungent, strong flavor. She grew it in her garden and tried to get us kids to like it, all in vain. We turned up our noses at Portuguese Kale Soup, a staple on Cape Cod. Which is weird considering that I absolutely loved to eat spinach which holds it’s own when compared with hearty, green, leafy vegetables. But I never wore a t-shirt that implored others to partake. Not even a Pop-eye or Olive Oil shirt which could have been acceptable considering I grew up in the 1970’s when Saturday morning cartoons were king.
Sometimes you just need to get dinner on the table. Am I right? Springtime in my household presents numerous challenges when it comes to making a warm, satisfying dinner that can be served at different times throughout the evening. One kid is off to baseball practice not to return until well after 7:30pm but the dancer would like to eat before class which starts at 6:00pm. And what about the hangry parents? (Who do you think will finally get to drink that glass of red wine likely after 8:30pm once everyone is home and showering before bed?) I also like to make lighter versions of favorite meals since it means I may not be eating until well after regular dinner hours. That’s where the turkey comes in. But then there is the problem of dense, dry meatballs due to the lowfat nature of the turkey meat. I solved that problem by adding ricotta cheese and eggs as well as crumble feta for some extra flavor. Don’t be alarmed form the meatballs, they are super sticky. Relax. Just set up your rolling station right next to your pot of simmering sauce and drop the meatballs in as you roll them. Boil up some pasta and pour yourself a glass of wine and in no time, you will be a dinner hero.