Well, Friday night went just as planned. We had friends for Shabbat dinner -- corned beef, cabbage, steamed carrots, scallion champ, and chess squares for dessert.
I am rarely one to boast openly about my cooking -- though I would admit to having accomplished much in the kitchen -- but corned beef is one of those dishes I make better than anyone I know. It was so tender, so moist, so flavorful. Yum. The only disappointment at dinner were the chess squares. The recipe comes from Miss Mary Bobo's Boardinghouse Cookbook, which is usually right on the mark, but these were disappointing. They were buttery, they were sweet, but they were bland. They reminded me of blondies.
Saturday. Not much acutally accomplished, but not a bad day. I had just put a pot of leftover bean soup on the stove to heat slowly for lunch when our friend Leora called to say she was dropping by some stuff for Myfanwe. I asked if she would join us for Shabbat lunch, which she accepted, and then I sprang into action. Leftover challah might have been good enough for just us, but company deserved better. So I pulled out Miss Mary Bobo again...and did what a good cook is never supposed to do. I rushed into things. I looked int he index for a cornbread recipe, opened the book and started mixing.
I didn't read the recipe all the way through. I didn't even read the list of the ingredients all the way through. I just started grabbing and sifting and measuring. And then I came to a packet of yeast. And I knew I needed to pause. I had screwed it up. But I still needed something to serve! So I winged it. I looked at what was already in the bowls, made a few calculations, and formed a new recipe in my head.
And it was great. Everyone agreed, a keeper. Right out of the oven it was almost puddinglike -- I ate it with my soup spoon. Next day it was great split, buttered, and broiled.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Melt 3 T. butter in a 10" cast iron skillet over medium heat until bubbly. Swirl to coat inside of the pan. Set aside.
2 cups yellow cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 c. vegetable oil
In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients, then whisk well. In another bowl, whisk the wet ingredients. (At this point place the skillet back on the heat to re-warm.) Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and, using a whisk, stir to combine. Do not over-mix. A few small lumps are fine. Pour into the pan, still resting on the heat. Place the pan in the preheated oven and bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.
Sunday. Sunday was occupied by the normal stuff -- errands. We took Norbert to Target to pick out a scooter, we went to the grocery store, etc. Then, in the early afternoon, while Norbert and Myfanwe headed to a playdate, I drove up to the North side of town to hook up with my nephew, Sean. Together we saw Fellow Travellers, a new play which was really well done. I won't say anything about the plot, but I will say it was compelling and full of surprises. Lilly, Sean's Significant Other, was the stage manager for the production -- her Chicago theater debut -- and did a spectacular job with a fairly complex production.
Yes, it was a full weekend, but I don't feel like I got a lot of knitting done. I'm about an inch still from starting the toe on the 2nd mock cable rib sock. I hope I'll get to finish it at the Stitch 'n Bitch tonight. And then maybe I'll start some Mock Croc socks for Myfanwe. My, socks are addictive, aren't they?