Basil Cornbread

Cliff is nutty for cornbread. I could take or leave it, until I made this one. Now, I’m a bit more amenable to it – especially with a pot of chili. I found this one here and deviated very little from the original, however, I’m thinking of leaving out the basil and adding jalapeños and a handful of shredded cheddar. I’ll update if I do it and it works.

2 c cornmeal
1 c flour
1/2 c sugar (I used less – I think you could get away with 1/4 c)
4 tsp baking powder (yes, 4)
1 tsp salt
1/2 c chilled unsalted butter, diced (I don’t think chilled is necessary, but I’m trying to follow directions)
1 1/2 c buttermilk
3 large eggs
1/3 c chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 c fresh or frozen corn kernels

Preheat oven to 400° F (204° C) and grease a 9×9 pan. Combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter with a pastry cutter until coarse meal forms. Set aside. Lightly whisk together buttermilk, eggs and basil until just combined. Stir cornmeal mixture into buttermilk mixture with a wooden spoon until all dry ingredients are moistened. Coarsely chop corn kernels in a food processor and stir into batter. Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to sit for 10 minutes and serve.

Bleu Cheese Crisps

Hang on tight, please — this post is going veer and swerve violently around three pillars of pleasure for me: linguistics, google, and cheese.

First, the cheese:

Sarah’s mom gave her a book of recipes compiled by alumnae of her Catholic high school founded by an order of French nuns a couple of years ago (the giving, not the founding). Up until now, we haven’t done much with it except make fun of its name (I’ll spare you). But after our Strawberry Shortcake success on the weekend, I started thinking that we’ve become rather famous (at least in circles around the water cooler) for our dessert prowess. It might be good to branch out. So I started perusing the book and I found a winner pretty quickly.

Bleu Cheese Crisps

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 4-oz. package crumbled bleu cheese, softened
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (pecans are so hard to find here)
1 baguette sliced

Mix butter and bleu cheese until blended. Stir in pecans and set aside. Place baguette slices in a single layer on baking sheets. Bake at 350°F for 3 to 5 minutes. Turn slices and spread evenly with bleu cheese mixture. Bake 5 minutes. Serve immediately. Yields 32 appetizers.

We’re thinking about editing the recipe; we’ll update this post if it works well. These are really good and easy, but we’re interesting in giving them a boost of red or black pepper (or paprika maybe) and seeing how that goes.

Which brings us to the linguistics:

This stuff is fairly similar to Obatzda, which is a typical Biergarten treat. You’d expect more flavory things in an Obatzda like onions and garlic, but the general concept here was by-and-largely the same, if a bit more refined, owing to the touch of Fronce. Anyhoo, I was thinking about Obatzda, the word. Not so much what it means (someone explained that to me years ago), but what its non-Bavarianized equivalent would be. Based on what I hear people at the office say when they’re excited (mostly negatively…is that telling?), I surmised that the ‘O’ represented a high-German “an” and that the ‘batzd’ was a past-participle with a silent ‘-ge-‘ past-participle marker that Bavarians (at least here in the Oberpfalz often just don’t need to use). Lo and behold, that wikipedia link above confirms the suspicion. How I found that out is the third pillar of this post.

What’s the sound of me dorkin’ out on the computer? “Goosh!”

Man, that’s fun to say. It’s short for the Google Shell (think bash, ksh, csh, tcsh if you ever had a unix account at your university or place of employment). For the keyboard-loving information junkies, just point your browser at http://goosh.org and go to town – start off with an ‘h’ command to show you what’s available. The best part? In my opinion, it’s the “addengine” command, which puts the goosh toolbar in your Firefox browser’s list of searchboxes. From there, you have the power of all those commands right in the search box. Here’s how I used it and was so tickled that I started this post: “wiki Obatzda” and “in regenblogsblog.com shortcake”. I love the keyboard.

trying new things, like making our own pizza

We got inspired on New Year’s Eve by Matthias’ awesome pizza. And I’ve been thinking about revamping our recipes as part of the blog. This might look weird at first, but if I can make it work to my satisfaction, I’ll migrate all our recipe posts into this format. The point is to use the blog for its blogging purposes and not misuse it for something else, and re-creating blog functionality inside the non-blog parts of it should we ever decide we wanted a blog after all. Confused? Try working in my office sometime.

We started with the Ultimate Pizza Sauce as a base for our sauce, but as predictable, there wasn’t enough garlic in the recipe. Here is our enhanced version:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup onions, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
2 (70g) cans tomato paste (the little bitty ones)
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 small bay leaf (we meant to put this in, honestly…just forgot it)
1 teaspoon celery seeds (it was supposed to be fennel, but we forgot)

1. In a large skillet, melt butter with the oil. Add the onion, celery and garlic and saute until soft and transparent.
2. Add tomato sauce and tomato paste and stir until smooth.
3. Add remaining ingredients and bring to slow simmer.
4. Simmer for 30-60 minutes (or not at all depending on your taste and time frame).
5. Remove the bay leaf and spread the sauce on your prepared pizza dough.