This meal was a redirection after I ruined what I was originally making.
I still have lots of volunteer tomatoes. I pick them while they are pink and after few days on the counter, they are red and ripe. While I was working from home one afternoon, I decided to make tomato sauce. I must have actually been working, because I forgot about the tomatoes simmering on the stove, and when I checked on them, they were thick and sticking to the bottom of the cast iron pot they were cooking in. But, they weren’t totally burnt and after I tasted them, I thought this
would probably might make a good not horrible chili.
I added a little bit of chili powder, a little cayenne pepper and a couple of dashes of sriracha sauce (I didn’t measure anything for this whole process. If you need exact amounts, I can’t help you today.) I didn’t add too much spicy stuff because I didn’t want it to be too hot; must have been feeling particularly kid friendly this evening. To thin it out, now that it needed to be chili, I added several cups of chicken stock (3 cups maybe). I chopped and sautéd 1/4 onion and some minced garlic in olive oil and added that to the chili. I also chopped the last of my roasted peppers and added 1-2 cups of stewed tomatoes to increase the tomato-iness of the chili.
Since I only have dried beans and it was too late to soak any, I skipped beans. Looking in the freezer, I found a package marked “lamb neck” and decided that sounded chili-worthy.
I defrosted my lamb in the microwave, and when I opened the package, it had three slices about 1″ thick of meat around the central bone. There was little fat and they slipped right into my pan of simmering chili. I allowed this to simmer for the rest of the afternoon.
When we got close to dinner time, I pulled out our fish shaped corn bread pans and decided to try a new corn bread recipe – I was obviously in a mood to take risks! I opened up my Baking Illustrated, and read a treatise on Northern v. Southern cornbread. I had once tried a Southern cornbread from another cookbook, and we almost tore the pages out of the cookbook. It was flat, dry, crumbly and definitely not edible! Rather than deface a beautiful book, we simply annotated that page to mention we thought it was “starvation food” and warn us to never try that particular recipe again.
After my cornbread history lesson, I wanted to make Northern cornbread, but in the cupboard, my husband had bought white cornmeal, which the book said was definitely Southern cornbread makings. So off we go straight to bastardizing recipes again.
The adults in my daughter’s life have impressed upon her that baking is much more scientific than other areas of cooking and it is important to follow the recipes very closely. I feel like I ought to hide what I am doing when I go off recipe while baking. I am so ashamed….
Here is what I did:
Preheat oven to 425°.
In a large bowl, combine with whisk:
- 1 c. white cornmeal
- 1 c. unbleached flower
- 2 t. baking powder
- 1/2 t. baking soda
- 4 t. sugar
- 1/2 t. kosher salt
Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, then into the well, add:
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 greek yogurt (this is all I had left, and since I didn’t have any buttermilk…)
- 1 c. milk
Stir all these ingredient until almost combined, then add:
- 2 T. melted unsalted butter.
Stir until everything is combined.
Pull the heated pan from the oven and pour batter into the pan. For my goldfish, I try to fill about 2/3 full, making sure I get some batter in the tail. Baking time varies depending on the shape of the pan. My fish take about 20 minutes. When I do a square 9″ x 9″ pan it takes about 40 minutes. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out clean.
The fish pans are finally cured enough that the cornbread pops out fairly easily, particularly when the pan has been pre-heated. The first few times, cornbread stuck in the fins and it was not pretty or fun to remove the stuck cornbread afterward.
Turning my attention back to the chili, the lamb had been simmering for about 3 hours. I removed the slices from the pan and pulled the meat off the bones, cutting larger chunks into about 1″ pieces. The pieces got added back to the chili, and it was time to eat!
It ended up a nice tomato-y chili and you can’t go wrong with corn bread goldfish! 🙂