I like football. This is surprising because I generally hate watching sports on teevee. I don’t know if its the tight-ends or the hairless arms, but football is a-okay in my books. Every Sunday, we dress baby Otis in his football onesie and have football family time. My friends love a good ol’ fashioned food competition, so I thought, why not host a soup competition for superbowl. Get it, Soup-erbowl. Turns out I’m not that genius and grantland hosted the king of all head-to-head souperbowl competitions online days after I had sent out my invite.
Superbowl custom dictates chili eating, so I decided to forgo the opportunity for soup supremacy and take myself out of the running by making a venison chili with skillet cornbread. I used up some of my black beans (thus continuing to fulfill my new years resolution) and used some fantastic Deer Valley venison from the Brickworks market. I wanted to be on theme, so I made Brooklyn based Baked’s tomato soup cupcakes with mascarpone icing. The batter was a horrifying shade of orange from two whole cans of tomato soup, the finished cupcakes were…Mmmm wow…unexpected…moist, spicy, tomatoey – genius!
Our friends are so impressive – almost everyone brought soup, with garnishes! Fancypantses. There was a creamy cold “tailgate” vichyssoise with croutons and a perfectly soft boiled egg from Ferran Adria’s new home-cooking book, a parsnip soup with toasted mustard seeds and parsnip chips, and a 101 cookbooks cheddar broccoli soup with crispy croutons. We each tried the soups and had a secret ballot drawing at half-time – the winner by a landslide was the “tailgate” vichyssoise, oh and that creepy slackline dancer.
Skillet Cornbread (makes one skillet)
1 cup All-Purpose flour
1 cup old cheddar
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1) Preheat oven to 400F. Grease seasoned cast-iron with shortening.
2) Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, cheddar and salt in a bowl.
3)Combine wet ingredients and add to dry ingredients until just combined.
4) Place empty cast-iron pan in heated oven for 5 minutes.
5) Remove and pour batter into pan.
6) Bake for 25 minutes, let stand 15 minutes before serving.
*I like to top cornbread when it comes out of the oven with a maple syrup butter sometimes. You know, to gild the lily.
|June 2010 – Vodka & Vanilla Beans|
|December 2010 – Vanilla Extract!|
I could not resist the 7 litre bushel of cherries at the farmers market. Who could? After gorging on cherries and suffering subsequent tummy aches, I decided to preserve some of them to enjoy later.
In the cake recipe, I needed vanilla extract. I only had some crappy artificial extract left from years ago, so I used that. My lovely friend Jacqui (co-founder of the Cross Country Baking Club), gave me a jar of homemade vanilla extract a few Christmases ago. I finally used it all up and decided it was high-time I made my own. I used rum as the alcohol because I had some from a recent trip to Cuba and think it will impart a nice flavour. The 4 split vanilla beans and 1 cup of rum will take about eight weeks to become the vanilla extract we all know and love. I’ll keep you updated on its exciting and slow progress.
Meyer lemons…what a blessed fruit. A cross between a mandarin orange and a lemon, they are a bit sweeter than the regular old pucker inducing lemons and such a lovely colour. The skin is a bit thinner and a bit more yellow, they call to me every winter…eat me!…make me into deliciousness!
Meyer Lemon Buttermilk Scones, adapted from Dish Cooking Studio
*In bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt.
*Add butter pieces, and using fingertips or pastry blender, work butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Leave a few large pieces to create flakiness.
*Pour in buttermilk and mix with a fork until ingredients are moistened. Gather dough into a ball, pressing gently until it holds together.
*Turn onto lightly floured work surface and knead briefly, and fold dough in half several times. *Gather into circle. Brush dough with melted butter and sprinkle with rock sugar. Cut into 8 triangles or use round cutter.