I love quick breads. (I also love yeasty breads that require multiple kneadings, risings, etc., while you make some giant, time-consuming stew, but that's another post.) There's just something so wonderful about grabbing a few things from the cupboard, throwing them into a mixing bowl, and having bread emerge from the oven within a half hour or so, especially on a cold morning. When I was a kid we always had homemade corn muffins on hand; I swear my mother must have baked them 3 times week, and I remember hers being very buttery and sweet. As what generally passes for a grown-up, I prefer a more savory cornbread, and have toyed with various approaches over the years. But by George, with this one I think I've really got it! For one thing, I highly recommend using a coarse cornmeal (I use Bob's Red Mill Polenta), and we like to add fresh or frozen corn for a nice, chewy texture. You can also throw in some scallions, chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes, the sky's pretty much the limit; then again, you can also make it plain and simple with delicious results. This is great with the expected things like chili, or black-eyed peas and collards, but it's good for breakfast, too; the most recent batch was the perfect accompaniment to a tofu frittata on a snowy weekend morning.
~ 1.5 cups whole wheat pastry flour
~ 2 cups coarse cornmeal
~ 1 tbsp. baking powder
~ 1 tsp. kosher salt
~ 1/2 tsp. each thyme, smoked paprika
~ Fresh black pepper to taste
~ 1/3 cup oil (I used olive, but canola or safflower would be fine)
~ 2 tbsp. pure maple syrup
~ 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
~ 1 15 oz. can lite coconut milk (or 2 cups other non-dairy milk)
~ 1 tbsp. oil or vegan margarine
~ 1/5 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
~ 2 scallions, thinly sliced, and/or 1/4 cup chopped olives or sun-dried tomatoes (optional)
~ Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit.
~ In a mixing bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients until combined.
~ In a separate container, combine the oil, coconut milk, cider vinegar, and maple syrup; stir thoroughly.
~ Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined.
~ In a skillet or saucepan, heat the oil and saute the scallions or other veggies (if using) and corn kernels over medium-high heat for about 5-10 minutes, adding a little salt and pepper if you like.
~ Remove the corn from the heat and stir into the batter.
~ Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13" pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes, or until a knife or toothpick comes out clean. If you can, allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes so it can set up a bit before you slice it into big squares and devour it.