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humble beginnings

January 14, 2013

Lately I’ve been pondering how much richness we’ve been given in the land and animals available to us, and how little we make of it all. If I started walking down the road of “why” this is so, I’d be here for hours and I’m sure it would lead to a debate. So I’ll leave that for another day and just exclaim how satisfying it is to eat the fruit of one’s labor and realize so many good gifts have been given. The pig we raised and tried to care for respectfully did not die in vain- even if we didn’t make head cheese or blood sausage. (I’m not there yet.)IMG_4493-001

Our leaf lard was perfectly white and tasteless, just like they said it would be. We’ve used it for biscuits, frying eggs, and tonight, cornbread. Who’d have thought simple ground corn and grain (gluten free for us tonight), mixed with a little egg and milk could be so sought after by everyone at the table. In honor of the lard we used, I thought I would share my Dad’s Cornbread recipe. It’s probably from some old cookbook somewhere, so if you recognize it other than “Dad’s Cornbread” feel free to let me know and I’ll give additional credit. Until then, thanks, Dad, for making me think the right way to make cornbread was in a cast iron pan. I know no better way to make it!IMG_4510

The rest of the ham we cured last week and enjoyed all weekend turned into a simmering soup of white beans, leftover ham and broth from the ham hock, and kale. Thyme, sage, and marjoram are my favorite bean and pork combination. I don’t usually measure, but I try to remember that marjoram usually plays a smaller role in any dish.

Beans and cornbread. A winter staple.

Dad’s Cornbread

  • 2 Tablespoons lard, or butter if you are not in possession of quality lard
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour, regular or gluten free
  • 3/4 c. cornmeal
  • 2 Tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cups milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place lard in a cold cast iron pan and place pan in the oven until the lard is melted, and then take it out. IMG_4487

Mix dry ingredients.IMG_4483-001

In another bowl, mix the milk and egg.IMG_4484-001

Stir together just until mixed. IMG_4485-002

Turn the pan to coat on all sides with lard, then pour the remaining melted lard in the cornbread mix. IMG_4491

IMG_4505-001

This was the only shot I got before everything was consumed…

Pour it all back into the pan. Bake for 20 minutes. Serve with butter, and honey for a treat.

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