All that jazz chile cornbread

You’ve got to love a minimalist – that individual who honestly thinks that less is more. They love paring down their possessions to one set of underwear, some black pants and a white t-shirt. They talk about ‘freedom’ from possessions and how liberating it all is.

Yawn. 

And then there are the rest of us who feel that more is well, more. We like a Christmas tree that’s heaving with decorations. Stacks of books that double as side tables. Kitchen drawers crammed full of obscure but potentially useful gadgets. And disco balls. We really love disco balls. 

And when it comes to cooking we’re not shy of an ingredient or ten. Take our green chile blue cornbread mix. It is the bee’s knees on its own. It’s so good that all you need to add is water or milk and some eggs and you’re done. But, if you’re in a OTT mood, it’s just the ticket too. We like to add corn, semi-dried tomatoes, and crumbled goat’s cheese. You could toss in some chopped green onions, toasted pecans or pine nuts, and chopped cilantro too. 

The minimalist might roll their eyes but who cares. Go big or go home. 

1 x 9.84 oz package of Green chile blue cornbread mix

2 eggs, lightly beaten

¾ cup of buttermilk or milk

6 oz. corn kernels, about 1 cup

1 oz., scant ½ cup semi-dried tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 oz. soft goat’s cheese, crumbled

Butter

Preheat the oven to 425°F

Heat a 9.5” cast iron frying pan in the preheated oven for 5 or 10 minutes. While it’s heating, combine the cornbread mix with the eggs, corn, semi-dried tomatoes and cheese in a mixing bowl. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes or so to let the flavors marry.

Add a tablespoon or two of butter to the hot pan, return to the oven to melt the butter – this will only take a minute or two. Remove the pan from the oven, pour in the cornbread mixture – the butter will spit and sputter (this is a good thing). Return to the oven and bake until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean – about 15-25 minutes. 

Serve warm with butter. Any leftovers make a dandy stuffing. 

Peach salad with goat’s cheese, pecans and chile pequin

Anyone need a stove? Please, take mine and put me out of my misery. Even looking at it makes me break out in a sweat. These days, you’ll find me standing in front of an open freezer, eating ice cream out of the container. Classy, right?

We’re well and truly in the dog days of summer. It’s hot and steamy – the kind of days when it takes all the energy you can muster just to pop another ice cube into your gin & tonic. The idea of actually cooking something is absurd, laughable and down right sadistic.

And even if you could stomach a pot of boiling water, who wants a plate of hot pasta? Or how about a nice hot stew? No. Way.

Nope, what we want is something cool with no muss and no fuss. A slice of watermelon with a pinch of chile de arbol and flakes of sea salt. Gazpacho with a sneaky dash of habanero to jazz it up. Or how about slices of peach – sliced razor thin and perfectly ripe – with some crumbled goat’s cheese, pecans and an acidy vinaigrette and a generous sprinkle of chile pequin?

So please – take my stove. Just remember to return it in the Fall.

Serves 2-3

2 peaches, halved & sliced thinly

1-2 oz. goat’s cheese, crumbled

1 ½ Tbsp. chopped pecans

Chile pequin

Vinaigrette

2 Tbsp. white balsamic vinegar

2 Tbsp. olive oil

Salt

Pick a plate. A pretty plate. Arrange the peach slices with an artistic flourish. Remember, your eyes eat before your mouth does. Whisk together the vinegar and oil, taste and season with salt. Drizzle some over the peaches. Dot the goat’s cheese and pecans on top then wet them with a bit more vinaigrette. Sprinkle the chile pequin and serve, preferably in a cool place with a generous glass of rosé wine.