Today, Barefoot Bloggers around the world are posting Ina Garten’s Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. It’s a recipe she prepared on her TV show, “Barefoot Contessa,” for an episode called “The Cat’s Away.” Apparently, when Ina’s husband Jeffrey is away, she makes herself a pan of jalapeno cheddar cornbread and a steaming pot of Mexican chicken soup.
When my husband Jeff is away, I make myself a bowl of Fruity Cheerios.
Jeff’s working late this week, so it seemed like a good time to try Ina’s way. Be warned, her cornbread recipe has a few stunning omissions: a cast-iron skillet, buttermilk, and bacon fat. (Special note to my mom: I KNOW! Maybe they don’t have bacon in Connecticut.) Her cornbread also has three times more flour than cornmeal. Barely yellow, bless its heart.
But I think the Contessa is on to something. The cakelike crumbs soak in soup like a sponge without completely falling apart. And the fresh jalapeños add just enough spice to save the cornbread from being too sweet.
I guess we all have certain things we eat when the cat’s away. Ina has her cornbread and soup. I have my Fruity Cheerios or something Jeff doesn’t like (i.e. fruit salad, brie and crackers, a smoothie). So, I’m curious. What do you have for dinner when it’s just you? Do you make a serious effort or go for the Meal of Least Resistance?
P.S. I’ll get to the soup tomorrow! It’s fast, summery, and delicious hot or cold. Plus, it’s red. Bonus!
Sweet Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
Adapted from Ina Garten’s “Barefoot Contessa at Home”
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 cups milk
- 3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
- 8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
- 1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
- 3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9-by-13-by-2-inch baking pan.
- In a large bowl, combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt.
- In a small bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter.
- With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don’t overmix!
- Mix in 2 cups of the Cheddar, scallions and jalapeños, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.