Evolution of a Recipe

/ posted in: Reading

I read a lot of books about food.  A lot of these books have recipes in them.  I usually don’t make the recipes.  But there is one recipe from one book that I not only made but I have adapted it and screwed it up in so many ways and it is still a family favorite.

It is from the book A Trip to the Beach by Melinda Blanchard.  It is the story of Americans who start a restaurant on Anguilla.  I looked them up while writing this post and they are still in business (but currently closed due to hurricane damage).  This cornbread is still on the menu.

I hate cornbread.  It is dry and nasty.  But this stuff is amazing.  I wrote about it first on February 22, 2005.  (What is the point of having a long term blog if not to remember stuff like this?)  That post has the real recipe.  The real recipe will probably kill you if you eat it too much.  It is delicious though.  Over the years I’ve lightened it up and veganized it.  No matter what I try it is still amazing.  I even made it once without corn meal because I was out.  Still amazing.  No one noticed.

I made it for New Year’s Eve this year.  It is a full meal unto itself.  We have it with a side of baked beans.  It should be the other way around but this stuff is good.  I decided to make a double batch.  I went to two stores to find the ingredients. 

Then I came home and started to cook. 

First off, I didn’t have enough sugar to double it.  So I threw in a little brown sugar and called it good. 

Then I didn’t have any flax.  I keep my flax in the refrigerator.  I was shoving stuff around yelling, “Where’s the flax!!???”

The husband wandered up.  “I don’t know.  What’s flax?”

“There’s no flax and if there’s no flax, there’s no cornbread!!!” That might have come out in a rising shriek because his response was, “RUN FRECKLES!!!  SHE’S MAD!!!!!”  Then he took off for the living room and left the poor dog to fend for herself.  I stomped off to google how to make chia eggs because I had chia.  Then I had to have a serious think about the math to substitute a different type of egg replacer while also doubling the recipe because that could have gone bad.

Then, then, I picked up my can of baking powder and it was suspiciously light.  I was on my knees peering into the cupboard muttering, “I swear to #@$%^&*^%$# god, if there is not another can of baking powder….” I didn’t have to finish the threat because whatever deity was listening wisely showed me where the new can of baking powder was.

It is cooking as I write this and I’m not even worried.  This is a recipe that you can seriously abuse and it still somehow tastes great. 

Here’s my new and improved version of Caribbean Cornbread.

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 lb vegan butter, room temp
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons flax in 1/4 cup of water, sit for 5 minutes
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1.5 cups creamed corn
  • 1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, corn meal, baking powder, and salt, and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar.  Add in the flax and applesauce.  Mix well. Add the corn and pineapple and mix to blend. On a low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until blended well. Pour the batter into a 9 inch glass pan and bake until golden brown around the edges and a tester stuck in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour.

—The totally messed up version I made turned out pretty good.  It needed a little more sweetness so I topped each slice with a drizzle of honey and it was perfect.