More Corn Bread- This Time With Spices and Winter Squash

Pumpkin Corn Bread
Pumpkin Corn Bread

 

This is a new corn bread recipe for me at least although I’m sure someone has thought of it before*. For this recipe I added puréed roasted winter squash, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ginger and a little more honey and maple syrup. The results were better than I expected for a first try. It’s a soft, moist bread, not too sweet and with just about the right amount of spices (I like spicy pumpkin pies so next time I’ll up the spices just a little in the winter squash-corn bread). The recipe uses less water because the squash is wet and makes up for it.

The Recipe:

2 Cups flour corn meal
1 Cup toasted sweet corn meal
1 Cup puréed roasted winter squash
1 Cup water
2 Eggs (use an egg substitute if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
3 Tablespoons honey
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
1/2 Teaspoon vanilla
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ginger
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
4 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt

Soak the toasted sweet corn meal (a type of pinole) for about 15 minutes in one cup warm water. Meanwhile mix all the other dry ingredients (flour corn meal, baking powder, spices, salt) together in a separate bowl.

When the sweet corn has soaked add the two eggs, honey, maple syrup, vanilla, and oil to it and mix well. Next mix in the winter squash. After the wet ingredients are mixed add the dry ingredient mixture and mix well. If the batter seems a little dry add water a tablespoon at a time until it is loose enough. I don’t use a mixer with my batter just a large fork.

Pour the batter into an 8 inch by 12 inch by 2 inch deep greased pan. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400º F for 30 to 35 (40 at most) minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the bread clean. Be sure not to overcook or a crunchy crust will form on the bottom. The result is a sweet and spicy bread orange from the squash and with a delicious aroma.

Pumpkin Corn Bread
Pumpkin Corn Bread

 


 

*I did a quick search after making the cornbread and writing this and there are lots of squash and cornbread recipes. Some don’t use spices, others do. My recipe draws on my experiences making pumpkin pie.

Corn Bread with Mashed Potatoes

Mashed Potatoes For Corn Bread
Mashed Potatoes For Corn Bread

 

This is an idea I’ve had for a while using mashed potatoes in corn bread. I’m using the same recipe as in my previous post but with the addition of mashed potatoes as a substitute for wheat. I don’t have wheat allergy but I do have plenty of corn and potatoes which are much easier for me to grow and harvest where I live.

Corn Bread Made With Flour Corn, Toasted Sweet Corn, and Mashed Potato
Corn Bread Made With Flour Corn, Toasted Sweet Corn, and Mashed Potato

The recipe for corn bread with mashed potatoes is essentially the same as my other corn bread recipe with a few changes. I added maple syrup and a little more honey because the fingerling potatoes I used have a slight bitter aftertaste.

The Recipe:

2 Cups flour corn meal
1 Cup toasted sweet corn meal
1 Cup mashed potatoes (I used some of my roasted fingerlings)
2 Cups water (divided)
2 Eggs (use an egg substitute if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons honey
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
4 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt

Soak the toasted sweet corn meal for about 15 minutes in one cup warm water. Meanwhile mix the flour corn meal, baking powder, and salt together in another bowl.

When the sweet corn has soaked add the two eggs and oil to it and mix well. Next, add the mashed potatoes, honey, and maple syrup and mix well. Now add the dry ingredient mixture and stir it into the sweet corn meal/egg/potato batter. Add the remaining cup of water and mix well. If the batter seems dry add water one tablespoon at a time until it becomes looser. I don’t use a mixer with my batter just a large fork.

Pour the batter into an 8 inch by 12 inch by 2 inch deep greased pan. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400º F for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the bread clean.

This is my first try at potato-corn bread and I like the results. The bread is firm, holds together and has a good flavor. I’m having some with my lunch of vegetable soup today.

Corn Bread Without Wheat Flour

Corn Bread
Corn Bread Made Without Wheat Flour

 

When I first began growing corn I only had two varieties of sweet corn (Golden Bantam and another called Black Iroquois). These were allowed to cross and I planted the seeds from that cross the next year resulting in a corn that was black and yellow. I had thought that sweet corn would be suitable for corn meal. It is not. Sweet corn meal becomes gummy and sticky when cooked and does not make a good corn bread. But sweet corn’s stickiness is not a drawback because it can be used in place of wheat flour as I discovered today.

Following the standard recipe for cornbread but substituting sweet corn meal for wheat flour makes a sweet tasting and firm corn bread. I used two cups of corn meal made from Painted Mountain Corn and one cup of corn meal made from toasted (parched) sweet corn. The sweet corn is from cobs that have grown past the milk-stage to full maturity and dried on the stalk.

The recipe:

2 Cups flour corn meal
1 Cup toasted sweet corn meal
2 Cups water (divided)
2 Eggs (use an egg substitute if you prefer)
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 Tablespoons honey (or maple syrup if you have it)
4 Teaspoons baking powder
1 Teaspoon salt

Soak the toasted sweet corn meal for about 15 minutes in one cup warm water. Meanwhile mix all the other dry ingredients (flour corn meal, baking powder, salt) together in a separate bowl.

When the sweet corn has soaked add the two eggs, honey, and oil to it and mix well. Next add the dry ingredient mixture and stir it into the sweet corn meal/egg batter. Now add the remaining cup of water and mix well. I don’t use a mixer with my batter just a large fork.

Pour the batter into an 8 inch by 12 inch by 2 inch deep greased pan. Cook in a pre-heated oven at 400º F for 20 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the bread clean.

This cornbread is good with black beans or for breakfast and has a real and pleasing corn fragrance.

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes

Roasted Fingerling Potatoes
Roasted French Red Fingerling Potatoes

 

Last summer I grew more potatoes than usual and harvested about 400 pounds of spuds. Part of the crop was for my chickens and part for me. I’ve been eating potatoes in soups, in bean dishes, boiled, roasted, and cooked like hash browns in thick round slices, shredded, or cubed. Mashed potatoes are now a part of the ingredients in wheat bread and corn bread, too.

Yesterday I roasted about 10 pounds of French Red Fingerling Potatoes. I set them in a deep roadster pan, added a little water to create steam, covered the pan and baked at 400º F until they were tender enough for a fork to pass through them (about an hour). Today they will be sliced into thick pieces, browned in a frying pan with a little oil then served with garlic, onions, little bit of habañero pepper sauce, and freshly ground black pepper. They’re so good that way!

Flat Bread with Pumpkin Hummus

Pumpkin Hummus and Flat Bread
Pumpkin Hummus and Flat Bread
A Stack of Flat Bread
A Stack of Flat Bread

I love hummus and baba ganoush but neither chickpeas nor eggplant grow well here in our cool one day, warm the next climate (but I keep on trying!). I grow hundreds of pounds of squash every summer so I’ve had to find new ways to enjoy this delicious fruit (yes, it is a fruit, a berry actually, and not a vegetable). Pumpkin hummus is, like chickpea hummus and baba ganoush, a Levantine spread that uses tahini (sesame butter), olive oil, and garlic with cooked mashed winter squash or pumpkin. The hummus recipe I use is one adapted from a vegan pumpkin-tofu hummus recipe that I’ve had for many years. But after the first few made with tofu I left it out because after freezing the hummus became very watery. I have also experimented with changing some ingredient quantities to my tastes using more tahini, more garlic, and hot spices. I make a lot of pumpkin hummus each year and keep many quarts of it in the freezer for year round use and often serve it on homemade flat bread. The recipes for flat bread and pumpkin hummus are very simple and easy to make.

Flat Bread Ingredients and Recipe
2 Cups whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
1 Teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
A pinch of yeast
Water

Preparation
Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly, then mix in the oil. Add water slowly mixing with a spoon until a dough begins to form. Knead with hands until dough is soft and not sticky. Add a little more water if the dough is too dry. Keep covered in a warm place for 2 hours. Don’t worry if it doesn’t rise because it isn’t supposed to much.

After 2 hours take the dough and form small dough balls about 2 inches in diameter. Flatten these with your hand on a board sprinkled with a little flour and roll them out with a rolling-pin into round sheets about 4 to 5 inches in diameter. When you ave several made start cooking on a warm lightly oiled griddle. Flip the flat bread over after about a minute and cook the other side for a minute. Then flip again watching to be sure it doesn’t burn. Flip over cook a little longer. I flip the flat bread over several times to keep the cooking even. It should take about three to four minutes to completely cook. Some bubbles and air pockets will form as the bread cooks. Makes about 15 to 18 flat breads.

Pumpkin Hummus Ingredients and Recipe
16 ounces of cooked mashed squash
4 Tablespoons tahini
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lemon juice (white wine vinegar can be substituted)
1 Teaspoon cumin
1/2 Teaspoon salt
2 or 3 large cloves of garlic

Preparation
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blend until very smooth. I gradually add more lemon juice or wine vinegar as the hummus is blending if it doesn’t taste acidic enough.

For a hotter spicier pumpkin hummus add crushed red pepper flakes and black pepper to taste. For a different flavor you can use roasted garlic in place of fresh garlic.

Serving
Chill, garnish with paprika, fresh parsley or chopped chives and serve on warm flat bread. The hummus is sweet tasting with a hint of garlic and lemon juice. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin Pie

 

Every year since 1999 I grow 200 or more pounds of winter squash. I started out growing two Hubbard types called Blue Ballet and Orange Kuri (Uchiki Kuri). These are small squash weighing between 5 and 8 pounds. Both are varieties of the species Cucurbita maxima and not pumpkins which are C. pepo. I started saving seeds from Blue Ballet and Orange Kuri the next year but wasn’t very careful to keep them from crossing. The next season I got a mixture of colors but the same good tasting squash. A couple of years later I let them cross with two other C. maxima varieties, Lakota and Jarrahdale. Now I have squash that are orange, blue, green speckled with orange, green speckled with gray, solid green, and peach plus any of these colors with stripes. Some have star burst patterns at the flower end. Some are teardrop shaped like Blue Ballet, Kuri, and Lakota, and others are flat and round like Jarrahdale. Still, they all taste good and mature fast in our short season.

 

Squash flower and bumblebees.
Squash flower and bumblebees.

 

I use my squash in soups, pasta sauces, bean dishes, breads, and pies. Yesterday, I cooked up four large squash and got five quarts of sweet pulp with a flavor like chestnuts. Tonight, I made two pies from some of that pulp. The recipe uses tofu instead of milk and eggs but all the other ingredients are the same for the most part. You may increase the spices (not so much the cloves, though) if you’d like your pie to be spicier.

The Recipe

This recipe is vegan and makes enough filling for one pie. To make two pies just double the ingredients. All spices are ground in powder form. The pie crust recipe is for two crusts for 9-inch pie plates.

Start with one pound of cooked mashed winter squash. To cook squash split them into quarters and scoop out the seeds. Cook in a covered roaster pan skin side down with a little water on the bottom (less than 1/2 inch deep). Cook in a 375 degree pre-heated oven for 45 minutes or until tender. Check the squash after 30 minutes to test how down they are. Test by poking the squash with a fork. If done the fork will easily pass all the way through. Cook a little longer if it is not done.

    Filling Ingredients

16 ounces silken tofu
16 ounces mashed cooked winter squash
1/3 Cup vegetable oil
3/4 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup mild unsulphured molasses
1/2 Teaspoon salt
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon ginger
1/2 Teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 Teaspoon cloves
1/8 Teaspoon black pepper (optional)

Mix together the tofu and oil in a food processor until smooth. Add squash, process until smooth. Add brown sugar, molasses, salt, and spices and process until thoroughly mixed. This is enough for one pie filling. If you don’t want the pie so sweet cut the brown sugar to a half cup.

    Crust ingredients

2 and 1/4 Cup all-purpose flour, white or whole wheat or a blend
2/3 Cup shortening
1 Tablespoon granulated sugar
1 Teaspoon cinnamon
1 Teaspoon ginger
1 Teaspoon salt
1/3 Cup plus two Tablespoons water

Mix together flour, spices, sugar and salt. Cut in shortening with a pastry cutter until the mixture looks like coarse cornmeal. Add water and mix well until a dough is formed. Press into a ball and flatten slightly. Take half the dough, form it into a ball and press between two sheets of wax paper and roll with a rolling pin. Put crust into greased pie plate, prick surface with a fork several times, chill 15 minutes. Bake for 10 to 15 minutes in a pre-heated 425 degree oven or until golden brown.

To bake the pie pour pie filling into pre-cooked crust. Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees then at 350 degrees for the last 20 minutes to avoid burning the crust. Cool for at least one hour before serving.