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Picnic Foods #1: Cast Iron Skillet Cornbread

Cornbread in a pan

FINALLY!  Spring has arrived in New England!  Isn't it just mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful?

Ok, it doesn't QUITE feel like spring here yet.  We hit 27 degrees last night after a nearly 60 degree day, everyone's immune systems are going wonky, flowers are swearing at the frost by night and the frost is cussing at sun by dawn - but it's so close!  What's that lyric from that random band from the 90s that sang about a black backpack?  "It's like someone's holding on to the tail of the sun..."

With the warm(ing) weather arriving and the long(er) days lighting the horizon for a few minutes more every day, I suddenly feel like I have more time, more energy and, as always, more recipes to try. So - whether the weather is good, or whether the weather is bad, we'll weather the weather together - in fact, we'll do one better - we'll defy it!

I'm officially declaring it SPRING PICNIC WEEK on this blog!  Four recipes in three posts over four days - dishes perfect for al fresco snacking, and maybe, if we're feeling energized by the sun, we'll have a picnic food linking party at the end of the week!

I'll update the following links as the week goes on, and provide dumb subtitles to go with them!  Today: Star wars:

Picnic Foods Part 1: Cast Iron Skillet Cheddar Cornbread (or "A New Hope-For Spring - aka, this post)"
Picnic Foods Part 2: Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus (or 'The Winter-time Strikes Back")
Picnic Foods Part 3: Those Little Deviled Eggs (or "Return of the Sun" - at least that's the forecast)
Picnic Foods Part 4: Buttermilk-Battered Popcorn Chicken with Honey-Dijon Sauce (or "Revenge of the Frost!")

I know - it's ambitious.  Let's see if we can really pull it off - but I think this easy cast iron skillet cornbread is a great way to kick it off!

Picnic Food Recipes

Cast Iron Skillet Cheddar Cornbread Recipe

1/2 cup shredded cheddar jack cheese
3/4 cup flour
2 cup corn meal
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs baking powder
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
4 eggs
2 tbs salt
2 tbs honey
4 tbs + 1 tbs melted butter
NOTE: I used a 10" skillet for this - I kind of wish I used one slightly smaller, so you can adjust the recipe based on what size skillet your using.

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees, put the 1 tbs pad of butter in the cast iron skillet, and stick it in the oven to warm up.

2.  In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients (cheese, flour, corn meal, baking soda & powder, and salt) together with a fork

dry ingredients for cornbread

3.  Break the eggs into a separate bowl, and beat them with a whisk or fork - add the other wet ingredients (butter, buttermilk and honey), and mix until thicker, but not "thick" - you don't want to give the eggs any real weight, like with a hollandaise

Cornbread ingredients

4.  Pour the wet ingredients into the cornmeal and cheddar mixture, and stir until evenly coated, but again, don't beat the poor sucker into submission - just gently fold until evenly distributed

Cornbread with buttermilk

5.  USING AN OVEN MITT or something of the sort, take out your cast iron skillet, give a little twist to make sure the butter you put in is even, and pour in the cornbread batter.  The butter here browned a bit - no worries, it didn't effect the end result at all.

Cast Iron Recipes

6.  Leave in the oven for 20-30 minutes, or until the top begins to golden.  Not sure if it's done?  Do the toothpick trick - stick one in the middle and pull it back out.  If the toothpick is clean, your light is green.  Yes - yes, I just made that up.  Think it'll catch on?  Me neither.

And that, my friends, is part one of Cuts' Spring Picnicfest!  We still have a popcorn chicken, deviled eggs, and an asparagus dish to go, and we'll wrap up the week with a picnic food linking party at the end of the week!

As always, let me know if you try any of these recipes on www.facebook.com/cutseveryday!

Cornbread for picnic


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