Baking Amnesia & Jalapeño Cornbread

This baking binge is a little frightening. Usually the mood to heat up the kitchen sets in during the crisper days of fall, yet somehow I’ve found myself at one moment reading a recipe, and at the next watching something delicious-smelling rising and developing a golden brown crust in the oven. Of course, the floury countertops and stubborn bits of dough clinging to bowls, whisks, and wooden spoons soon bring back all that happened in between.

The latest bout of baking amnesia happened when I was looking for a worthy companion to a big pot of pink beans (habichuelas rosadas) that I soaked overnight and then simmered with a bay leaf, onion, carrot, some vegetable stock, and a dusting of cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and coriander. Homemade tortillas came to mind, but that was idea was quickly scrapped when I spotted a recipe on the back of a bag of Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Meal.

Forty minutes later – match made in heaven. This quick bread could stand on its own – one slice is a deeply satisfying snack, with its blend of heat from the jalapeños and saltiness from the sharp cheddar. But pair it with beans, chili, soup, an egg, really anything that could benefit from a bit of sopping, and you’ve got yourself a perfect fall meal. So what if it’s still 80 degrees outside?

Jalapeño Cornbread
(recipe from Arrowhead Mills Organic Yellow Corn Meal bag, with some adjustments)

1 cup onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil or butter
2 tablespoons honey
1 1/4 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2-3 jalapeño peppers, finely chopped (I used 2, but next time may use 3 to make it spicier)

Preheat oven to 400. Prepare an 8×8 pan (or cast iron skillet) using oil or cooking spray.  Saute the chopped onions in the olive oil until just limp, about five minutes.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl, blending well.

Separately beat together the eggs, milk, honey and oil (or butter).

Add the milk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until just moistened. Stir in the onions, 1 cup of the cheese, and the jalapeños.

Pour into the prepared pan/skillet and top with the remaining cheese. Bake 20-25 minutes or until crusty brown.

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