“The Film Strip”
One of my many early food memories is of my Dad eating a glass of icy thick cold, golden-flecked buttermilk with some of my Mother’s warm cornbread crumbled into it. I am pretty sure this combination is mostly a Southern thing.
My Dad was a rounder to say the least. On this eve of Father’s Day I think of him and can still see him sitting in our linoleum floored West Tennessee kitchen. Bare-bulb ceiling light casting harsh shadows, the back screen door keeping out the moths and letting in a summer breeze, sitting, alone in the summer night heat, the beginnings of a hangover about to take hold, quietly eating his buttermilk and cornbread, looking up, seeing me standing in the doorway…a cocked smile on his face, offering me a bite.
Most of my food memories have mental film strips attached to them. Some are laugh-out-loud funny, some are quietly poignant, others from my raucous youth and a few bitter-sweet. I keep them all and they have all helped me as an adult in so many ways. So, on this Father’s Day, while thinking of Dads in general and my own in particular, I came up with a new way to combine buttermilk and cornmeal with a dash of sweet.
“Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread”
(For this recipe I used local, just picked blueberries from the Sylvan Park/West Nashville Farmer’s market and fresh buttermilk from J.D’s Dairy in Russellville, Ky from the Downtown Nashville Farmer’s Market.)
1 pint fresh blueberries
1 1/2 cups fresh buttermilk
1/2 cup yellow self-rising cornmeal
2 Tbsp cream
2 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup raw sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
First things first: Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
1. In a saucepan bring the buttermilk & raw sugar to a low boil. When the buttermilk begins to bubble around the edges of the pan slowly whisk in the cornmeal. Stir with the whisk for about 8 minutes with heat on low. Mixture should be mushy. Remove from heat. Cool slightly.
2. Beat egg whites with the salt until stiff. Set aside.
3. Whisk butter & vanilla into the slightly cooled cornmeal mixture.
4. Add egg yolks to mixture & whisk until well blended. Stir in cream with whisk.
5. Gently fold in beaten egg whites. Pour 1/2 of the mixture into a buttered baking dish & top with 1/2 of the blueberries. Spread the remainder of the cornmeal mixture over the blueberries. Top with a scattering of the remaining blueberries.
6. Bake for 30-35 minutes until top is golden brown, firm but wobbly in the center. This spoon bread will be somewhat like a souffle in puffiness. Remove from oven and let sit for about 5 minutes. Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar. This Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread is really good at room temp or chilled as well.
Father’s Day June 19, 2011
Most Sunday mornings my friend Terry Martin and I work (or don’t work) the NYTimes Crossword Puzzle. It is our long-standing tradition and unless one of us is out-of-town we honor this custom without fail. Terry has been a bit dismayed that she has so far missed out on my “Blog Food”. This Father’s Day morning (both of our Father’s are long-dead) I made this “Slightly Sweet Blueberry Cornmeal Spoon Bread” especially for her. We worked the puzzle, we ate the warm, powdered sugar dusted Spoon Bread, we worked the puzzle, we ate some more…….