an american great


Categories: Breads, Pizza, Tarts, Dinner for Two, Supper, Dinner Party, Breakfast/Brunch, Sources, Posted on June 7, 2020 by Sandy Bergsten

“One of the greatest pleasures of my life has been that I have never stopped learning about Good Cooking and Good Food.” ― Edna Lewis

Just as Julia Child enlightened the American home cook to French cuisine, and Marcella Hazan to Italian, Edna Lewis is a central pillar in our culinary landscape, one who helped define the American view of Southern cooking. A renowned chef, teacher, and author, Lewis was a pioneer who championed the use of fresh, in season, and locally sourced ingredients. Think of her as the Alice Waters a quarter century earlier.

I have been a lifelong fan of her writing and recipes. Notably she was among the first African American women from the south to write a cookbook that did not hide the author's true name, gender or race. 

One of my favorite cookbooks is her “Taste of Country Cooking”. It’s beautifully written and sashays through a series of memorable meals season by season.

For dinner tonight I decided to whip up a batch of her heavenly corn muffins to accompany our bowls of chili. These cakes are the real deal- no added sugar or white all-purpose flour. The key here is corn flour (not to be confused with corn starch) and room temp buttermilk. Oh and of course burning hot generously greased muffin tins.

Preheat oven to 400. Generously grease the wells of a 12-well muffin pan or two 6-well muffin pans with 2 tablespoons of butter, leaving the extra butter in the wells. 

In a mixing bowl, whisk together 2 ½ cups corn flour or extra-fine cornmeal, a teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of baking soda, and half a teaspoon of baking powder. When the oven is hot, place the greased muffin tin inside to preheat.

Meanwhile, stir the room temp buttermilk into the dry ingredients.

And mix well.

Then stir in the beaten egg and two tablespoons of melted butter. 

When the muffin pan is very hot (the butter should have just stopped sizzling), carefully remove it. Quickly fill each well with batter, distributing evenly (about 3 ounces of batter into each).

Bake for 17-20 minutes, rotating once, until a toothpick comes out clean and the edges of the muffins are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let the pan cool for 2 minutes on a rack, then remove the muffins. (If necessary, use a paring knife to release them.) 

I like to mix a tablespoon of honey into a quarter cup softened butter.

Serve muffins hot, with butter. 

No cookbook library is complete without this American great.

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