Thursday, July 10, 2008

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread--Barefoot Bloggers, Served With The Food Network's 30 Minute Turkey Chili

Yep, its that time again...a Barefoot Bloggers Recipe Posting. If you haven't seen it all over Blogs everywhere by now (there are almost 90 of us signed up--look here), The Barefoot Bloggers, started by Tara at Smells Like Home, is a group that cooks and posts the recipes of Ina Garten--The Barefoot Contessa, on the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Members of this group take turns choosing the recipes and this one: Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread, was chosen by by Sabrina and Alexander of Cooking With the Kids. (Sabrina and Alexander are the adorable and highly kitchen-skilled children of Megan at My Baking Adventures. That family will never go hungry with all those talented chefs in the kitchen!). I had actually never made cornbread before (except once out of a Jiffy Mix box) and it isn't something I usually care that much for, but having not yet found a recipe of Ina's that I didn't like, I was game to try it. The recipe is from page 154 of The Barefoot Contessa at Home and can also be found online here at the Food Network site.

Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread
Barefoot Contessa at Home
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp baking powder
2 tsp kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted plus extra to grease the pan
8 oz extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish
3 Tbsp seeded and minced fresh jalapeno peppers
Combine the flour, cornmeal sugar, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. in a separate 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 over mix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapenos, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x13x2-inch baking pan. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top and sprinkle with the remaining grated cheddar and the extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The recipe went together easily and my cornbread turned out well, although it took about 40 minutes to get it done in the middle. I find that I talk to Ina sometimes as I make her recipes (is that strange??!!) For example this time I had to "lecture" her a little about the butter, saying things like "Really Ina, two sticks of butter? Do you think you are Paula here? Now Ina, do you, Jeffery and I really need that much butter in our cornbread?" I desperately wanted to reduce the amount of butter but not being a baker or a corn bread maker, I wasn't sure what would happen. For "cooking" recipes, I will happily add and subtract ingredients all I want but when it comes to baking I find I really feel the need to stick to the recipe as given. This is not a traditional, crumbly cornbread and is much more cake-like and you definitely taste all that butter ! (Bad Ina!)

To accompany cornbread, I think you need something like a nice bowl of chili and so I decided to make some turkey chili. In the interest of multi-tasking and working towards my Cook From Each Book Initiative goals, I found a recipe for 30 Minute Turkey Chili from The Food Network Kitchens: Making It Easy Cookbook. (It can also be found online here)

30 Minute Turkey Chili
Food Network Kitchens
3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp kosher salt
2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1 chipotle chili en adobo, coarsely chopped, with 1 Tbsp sauce
1 lb ground turkey
1 (12-oz) Mexican lager-style beer
1 (14 1/2 oz) can whole peeled tomatoes, with their juice
1 (15 1/2 oz) can kidney beans, rinsed and drained
Sliced scallions, cilantro sprigs, avocado, sour cream, grated cheese and/or tortilla chips for garnish, optional
Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, salt, chili powder and oregano and cook, stirring until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and the chipotle chili and sauce; cook 1 minute more. Add the turkey, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, and cook until the meat loses its raw color, about 3 minutes. Add the beer and simmer until reduced by about half, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes--crushing them through your fingers into the skillet--along with their juices and the beans; bring to a boil. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 10 minutes. Ladle the chili into bowls and serve with the garnishes of you choice.
The chili was quick and easy and had a nice smokey spice from the Chipotle. I also added a can of drained and rinsed black beans to the above recipe because I like them in my chili. Since the recipe called for a bottle of Mexican lager-style beer, I had to get out the step stool and open the "cupboard of random beers and assorted alcohol" that lives above my fridge. Basically this cupboard holds leftovers from parties, house guests and such that don't get consumed until there is another party or house guest or such and I managed to find a bottle of Dos Equis up there that fit the bill nicely. Since I left the step stool out, Max decided to leave his usual post, sleeping in the bathroom sink, to hang out on the stool in the kitchen doorway and watch me cook. He makes for a cuter picture than the sight of raw turkey cooking--so no chili making shots!

All in all, both recipes were successful and made for a nice dinner combo on Sunday. Then the leftovers went where all good things that I don't want hanging around my house and permanently attaching themselves to my stomach, back end and thighs go ... to work with me the next day, where they made a nice lunch for myself and some co-workers.

Great job to Sabrina and Alexander for picking out a fun recipe to try! You can check out the other Barefoot Blogger's cornbread adventures here.


  1. The chili looks great, as does the kitty. I'll have to try that one.

    BTW, calling it cornbread is a loose definition. I loved it, but it ain't cornbread. ;-)

  2. mmm, cornbread and chili, looks delicious :) I agree about the increase/decrease in cooking but not with baking.

  3. Yum! You just made me want a bowl of chili and REALLY miss Hawaii. Paradise, indeed.

  4. I love that so many of us made chili in the middle of summer!

  5. Deb-that cornbread looks amazing and that chili topped with avocadoes-YUM! I agree that the cat is adorable, much more so than the raw meat:)
    Life in Hawaii just looks too wonderful. Your blog puts me in the island mood.

  6. I think it is official, Barefoot Bloggers' first convention is at your place!
    Your cornbread and chilli look wonderful, I will have a bowl at sunset while the the wind tousles my hair on the beach. Ok?

  7. Your cornbread and chili look delicious. You've got me craving chili in the 95 degree heat!

  8. Webbie, Good point--maybe "corncake" is better!

    Kat, yep that baking thing is hard to mess too much with!

    1freshstart--I have to admit I am pretty lucky to live here!

    Melissa--I think you just have to have the chili/cornbread combo regardless of the season--although here it doesn't matter that much!

    Prudy--I love my avacado--probably too much sometimes! Max will appreciate the fact that you think he is cute! ;-)

    Natashya--OK, I'm in! Come on over and I'll try to arrange for the sunset breeze!

    Roni--maybe you can sit in front of the fan and have some?! ;-)

  9. Cornbread and chili are so wonderful together! Great job and I love the pic of your cat!

  10. Nothing like killing two birds with one stone! I did the same – posting the soup tomorrow.


  11. Cute kitty! It looks wonderful served with chili.

    Like you, I'm always nervous to change the quantities when baking, but I'm glad this is one dish where a little less butter works out just fine! I had a good laugh about asking Ina if she was Paula or something (she just floors me, she's even worse than Ina that way!)

  12. Love the cornbread, love the chili, LOVE max! Nice job. Oh, and yes, I talk to her when I cook as well.

  13. This sounds decadently delicious! I'm so happy to have found another food blogger in Hawaii - and especially one that came from the NW because I just moved here from Oregon! Where were you living before moving here?

  14. Christine, Anne and Kimi--Max will appreciate the fact you think he is cute! Glad to know some of you also talk to Ina or can at least relate!

    Rebecca, can't wait to see the soup!

    Michelle--yea another Hawaii blogger! I am going to go look at your site now. Although I came lastly from Seattle, I spent years in the Portland area.


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