I am stuck on C: cornbread. It combines C and B ... cornbread. It is one of the most simple yet satisfying recipes available. The photo-documentary evidence also demonstrates Humpty Dumpty's fate.
We begin by gathering the ingredients (as usual) and mixing the dry ingredients together with a fork: cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder—two teaspoons!
It is worth noting that although many variations on this style of cornbread exist, they follow a similar pattern: about one part cornmeal, one part flour, one egg, and one part milk. Less sugar and oil (about one quarter and one third, respectively) with a bit of salt, and enough rising agent. As long as you have two parts total of flour and cornmeal, you can adjust to taste and desired texture, such as 3/4 cup cornmeal and 1 1/4 cups flour, for example.
In addition, although I made this batch plain, cinnamon and other spices are excellent additions to the recipe, as is a teaspoon or so of (liquid!) coffee.
Humpty Dumpty took a trip to the beach and played in the ... erm ... sand. He ignored the Hammer of God descending from above, and that little faux pas left him with egg on his face. That part always cracks me up.
Now we take a brief commercial break to thank our sponsors: Gut & Günstig provided the flour, sugar, milk, and oil; my coarsely grained cornmeal came from my local Asienmarkt and was imported from Italy; and my container of Clabbergirl baking powder actually holds generic stuff from a German supermarket—just refills, folks.
Subsequent to the previous stirring we add the “wet” ingredients: milk, egg, oil.
After stirring the wet and dry ingredients together until the mixture is moist all the way through and small bubbles begin to form (from the baking powder), I pour the mixture into my not-quite-square pan. Let me explain: in the U.S. I would use an 8"x8" or 9"x9" pan ... the type of glass or gray or even black baking dish that I could and would use for brownies and such as well. Alas, the best I could do here was something not quite square, not quite 8 inches, not quite 9, but good enough. First, of course, I grease the pan with my handy-dandy Backfett, or baking fat, aka vegetable shortening. It came in a long block, 500g, I think, and since October or November or so I have used most of it. The rest rests on a saucer in my refrigerator.
Into the oven, set at 200 degrees Celsius, the pan goes. As usual, I start with the top and bottom elements, but after no more than 10 minutes I shut off the top heating element, otherwise the cornbread becomes too dark rather than the golden blond that I prefer. Note, too, my empty mixing bowl, sandwiched between photos of the batter after insertion into the oven and about ten minutes later, once it has started to harden on top.
After a little more than 20 minutes I removed the pan from the oven, which during the latter part of the baking period I had reduced in temperature a bit. The result is a nice spotted gold, almost freckled one might say.
Let it sit ten minutes or so, and then feel free to slice and eat. It is best served warm with honey and butter, or honey butter even, but I enjoy eating it plain. Yes, it is that good.
—June 29 2006