Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Tuesdays with Dorie: Spicy Cornbread Muffins

This post could be subtitled: In Which The Author Suffers A Case of Blog-Writer's Block.

I've put off writing this entry most of today because I can't think of any clever or interesting ways of approaching it. People, I am on a strict New Year's-inspired diet and exercise plan. All of my mental energy is going toward forcing myself not to eat fudge for lunch and convincing myself that plain yogurt with splenda is a delightful "dessert." How can I be expected to write amusingly about food at a time like this? What is wrong with you?!

Also, I think the diet is making me cranky.

But back to real food...
We made Savory Cornbread Muffins this week for TWD, and I was kind of psyched about the choice, simply because it came after much holiday overindulging, and it was a relief to not have to make a five-layered cake or something. Like just about everyone else, I served it with a hearty soup (my famous smoky black-bean soup) and the muffins were a nice complement to the soup.

Being a lifelong Californian, I can claim ignorance as to the intricacies of the Great Cornbread Debate between the North and the South (sugar? bacon grease? cheese? cast iron? who knows?) so I came to this recipe baggage-free. I thought it was a fine recipe, in that it tasted good but not extraordinary, and probably wouldn't supplant my favorite corn bread recipe any time in the near future. To be fair, I usually bake my cornbread in a preheated cast iron skillet so it has those great crunchy edges, and that may have been part of what I was missing.

There were lots of good add-ins in this recipe: green onions, cilantro, jalapeno, yellow bell peppers, and roasted corn kernels. I added a little pepper jack cheese, and increased the amount of spices for an extra kick. I liked the flavor just fine, but thought the bread was a little crumbly and dry for my taste. It was great crumbled over the soup, but a little less exciting when eaten on its own.

Any 30 Rock fans in the house? I think I'll sum up by saying, this was a good cornbread, but not one I'd like to take behind the middle school and get pregnant.

(Hee hee, pregnant cornbread.)


  1. I totally hear you.. I really have to get on a diet.. but I've been putting it off because of those same side effects :)
    Your muffins look really good though.. keep up the great work!! :)

  2. LOL diets do make a person cranky!
    Your muffins came out great.

  3. Anonymous4:04 AM

    I can relate to not understanding the cornbread debate. The muffins look good!

  4. Liz, great minds think alike...I also went with a black bean soup ...I hope you'll share the recipe)! :P

  5. I hear you on the diet front. It's making it so hard to find good things to post about! Would love your black bean soup recipe, I've been looking for a great one!

  6. Ha! I came to these muffins baggage-free as well. Although after reading other blogs and getting educated in the intricacies of the Great North/South Corn Muffin Divide (which is apparently as intense as the Great East Coast/West Coast Rapper Divide of the early 1990s) I have to wonder what kind of rock I've been living under to have missed all of the controversy. Oh well. Your muffins look great! I guess they can't all be our all-time favorites. I am now off to see if that smoky black bean soup recipe is on your blog (and if it's not, I'd love if you would post it sometime!)

  7. I made these awhile ago, they were good with our black bean soup. I liked the color and spice. Yours look great!

  8. Anonymous11:18 AM

    Love your 30 Rock reference!! Your black bean soup looks great. I'm a native Californian too and was for the most part blissfully ignorant of the cornbread debate.

  9. Anonymous11:47 AM

    I had to laugh about writer's block. There just isn't much to say about cornbread muffins. Pepper jack cheese would be a great addition.

  10. The muffins were great with chili and for breakfast, imo. We liked them a lot, but I don't cook much cornbread. And I think I may have stirred up that controversy, although really, I like most cornbread. Sorry about the crankiness!

  11. Diets'll do that to ya. That's why I avoid them at all costs and just try to scale back from 6 cookies a day to 2 :) Those muffins look awesome though, and I had mine with a thick soup too.

  12. Anonymous8:16 PM

    Looooooove me some 30 Rock.

    I picked the muffins, because I'm trying to eat healthier, and I just wasn't ready to crumb coat, glaze or frost anything. And, yes, dieting makes me CRANKY. The dog is hiding from me right now.

  13. These look great! I'm putting off my new years resolutions until Chinese New Year... :) And then I might put them off til Jewish New Year...and then the next one...

  14. Anonymous8:46 PM

    I love 30 Rock, but I hate diets. Tina Fey? Awesome. Plain yogurt with Splenda? Sucks. (As does writer's block.) Your smoky black bean soup is making me really hungry!