buttermilk cornbread

source: jackie sherry | soups & breads cookbook {modified}

i found this recipe in a cookbook given to shaun & i by his aunt. there are tons of delicious sounding recipes, so you can bet you'll see names of people i don't know & "soups & breads cookbook" again!

when we were in college, we had a friend {who shall remain nameless} who thought he could cook. he did make some scrumptious dishes, but many times we stared at his creations with raised eyebrows & turned noses {like at the chocolate cake made with only whole wheat flour...}. we once had a conversation about southern cooking, & cornbread came up. he stated that real cornbread had to be made in a cast iron skillet. being a southern girl who does not do southern cooking, i informed him that i make cornbread all the time, & i don't even own a cast iron skillet. he replied with, "well, what kind of woman are you?!" it's been a running joke ever since.

this is my first attempt to make anything in a cast iron skillet, & i had to borrow it from my best friend, rachel! in truth, she actually made it, so technically i guess i still haven't made anything in a cast iron skillet... oh well! it was some of the best cornbread we've ever had, so it still deserves a post!

1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 cup masa harina {you can substitute more cornmeal}
1 cup flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, slightly beaten

1. preheat the oven to 400 degrees. measure shortening into cast iron skillet {or other baking pan}, & let melt in the oven while making the batter.

2. blend the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl.

3. remove the pan from the oven. swirl the melted shortening around the sides of the pan to coat. add the shortening to batter.

4. pour batter into skillet/pan, & bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden & toothpick comes out clean.

12 servings

bean & bacon soup

source: the tasty kitchen {modified}

this is a hearty & rustic soup, & it's super easy to make. we paired it with buttermilk cornbread -- yum-O!

1/2 pound bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 bay leaf
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup white wine
3 cans {15 ounces} navy beans, drained & rinsed
1 tablespoon italian seasoning
salt & pepper
4 cups chicken stock
green onions, chopped {optional}

1. cook the bacon until crispy, & crumble. reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease.

2. add bacon grease & butter to a soup pot over medium-high heat. once the butter is melted, add the onion, carrots, celery, & garlic. cook until onion & celery are soft & the garlic is fragrant, about 5 minutes.

3. add the white wine, & let simmer for 3-5 minutes.

4. add the beans, italian seasoning, salt, & pepper. use the back of your spoon or a potato masher to mash some of the beans up. {this helps the soup thicken.}

5. add chicken stock, & bring to a boil. reduce heat, & let simmer for 30-45 minutes, until thickened.

6. add the bacon at the end. garnish with green onions, if desired.

5-6 servings