You know how I said that this post would mention why my wedding thank you cards are late? It’s because it’s so easy to become distracted with new and shiny projects when there are slight blocks to doing chores. Although, technically, the thank you cards aren’t late. According to the general rule of wedding etiquette, one has a year to write them. I’m just on month 6. But am feeling horrible about not having them ALL done already (just about a third done so far). If anyone who was at my wedding is reading this, the notes are on their way! Am diligently writing out my appreciation and gratitude for your caring, friendship, and generosity, one thank you card an evening. My slowpoke schedule does not reflect my genuine thankfulness.
And speaking of new and shiny and blocks to doing things, that’s this post all over! I was planning on doing Part II of the Poundcake Smackdown this evening, but…I ran out of flour. I finished work too late to go shopping and the DH worked late too so he couldn’t. But I was itching to cook (New! Shiny!) something yummy to eat. I had just about a cup of flour leftover, so I decided to make some cornbread, since that was on my brainstorming list of meals-to-make-with-ingredients-already-in-the-house, that I write up every now and then and stick on my fridge. And since we had some yummy peaches in the fruit bowl, and some strawberries in the freezer, I decided to make strawberry-peach jam!
But, just like I had run out of flour, I didn’t have any eggs, and I needed eggs for the cornbread. Meh, I’m the Queen of Substitutions, so a tablespoon of ground flax seed and two tablespoons of water later, I had a flax egg! (It’s a thing, really. Google it.) Basically, if you let it soak, it gets a bit thicker and acts as a binder, the way an egg would.
And I had more peaches than the recipe I was using called for, so I tossed those in with the strawberries and just added an extra bit of lemon juice and honey to even things out. But as I was cooking it up, it seemed a bit runny to me, so I added a dash of fruit pectin. I don’t have a food processor like the recipe called for, so I mashed it by hand and then blended it.
The purdy, purdy fruit being cooked.
And did I mention that I didn’t have any cornmeal either? What I did have was a very roughly ground corn flour from Venezuela that the DH insists is the only type of corn flour one can use when making Venezuelan recipes, so hey, I substituted that for the cornmeal! (I really am the Queen of Substitutions.)
Up with substitutions! (Pan brand corn flour & ground flax seeds)
Want to make some too? The recipes, dear readers:
- 1 c. cornmeal (I used Pan brand corn flour, a mixture of the very coarse one and the finer textured one)
- 1 c. all-purpose flour
- 1/3 c. white sugar
- 2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. ground flax
- 2 tbsp. water
- 1/4 c. canola oil
- 1 1/2 c. milk
Mix up the ground flax and water and let sit for two minutes. Then add the rest of the wet ingredients and then add the dry ingredients. Mix. Pour into a greased muffin tin and bake at 400 until the tops are golden brown and a toothpick pushed into the centre of the muffin comes out cleanly. Makes about a dozen muffins. What did I do? Well, if you ready this far, you know I had to do something differently. I used a mini muffin pan and a tortilla shaper pan to get some cool shapes. Why stick to the ordinary?
- 2 c. strawberries (I used frozen, about a stuffed sandwich bag full)
- 3 peaches (cut up into chunks)
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1/3-1/2 c. honey
- 1 tbsp. fruit pectin
Plop all the ingredients into a pan on the stove, put on medium heat and cook until soft. Mash up until chunky, or use a hand blender if you prefer a finer jam. Boil until the jam turns a deeper red and there is foam on the top. Pour into sterilized jars and boil sealed jars for 15 min. to process. Take out and cool the jars on the counter. Once you hear the jars pop (the seals being sucked in as the jam cools down and contracts slightly), they’re ready for storage! Or, you can just pour the jam into a pretty container and keep it in the fridge for a few weeks (if it lasts that long, because yum!). Makes about 2 1/2 jars.
Time to make cornbread AND jam: start to finish, 90 minutes, including washing the dishes and eating the fruits of my labour. Z-snap!
And…the finished product! Was delicious! I stuck the loaf-ish thing into the freezer to have with chili or soup some time, and happily nibbled on the mini muffins. Now THIS is cornbread! It actually tastes like corn! Real corn! (And I’m pretty sure I saw a piece of corn stalk in the flour, so it really is rustic-style cornbread.) If you like thick jam, definitely add several tablespoons more of the pectin, as the version I made was more runny than some people like, I think.
I was trying to get across how adorable and cute the mini muffins are, but they look like they could be the same size as regular muffins so I was playing around with some different staging ideas to get a sense of scale. (Be gentle, I’m a cook/baker, not a food photographer, but I’m trying!)
I’m tiny, sooo tiny! *sung as Eliza Dolittle but with more squee*
What do you guys think? Do they look small? Let me know in the comments! And, do you guys substitute stuff?
Next Post: Part II of the Pound Cake Smackdown. Really. I’m pretty sure this time.