I love the chance discoveries that we make through blogging that connect us to others, both near and far away. I love reading Hickory Ridge Studio, which I discovered after Lana stumbled onto the LCC and contacted me. Lana recently posted about cooking in cast iron, and included a recipe for skillet cake, and talked about corn sticks. I learned to cook in cast iron cookware, and for so many things, it is the perfect cookware.
Making perfect corn sticks involves some simple, but highly important steps:
- make sure the corn stick pan is clean and seasoned; any residue of cornbread left in those tiny little pockets that are the corn "kernels" will not only be unappetizing and unsanitary, it will encourage rust and sticking of the cornbread, neither of which is a good thing;
- use Crisco shortening to grease the pan; I know what you are thinking, and with good reason, about shortening, but nothing seasons the pan and prevents sticking as well; must be Crisco (the Pure Vegetable shortening) for the perfect results achieved above;
- rub a generous amount of Crisco onto the surface of the corn stick impression, and then place the pan in a hot oven--hot means 450 degrees;
- let the shortening melt, which obviously won't take long in a 450 degree oven; be careful, it will smoke if you leave it in there too long;
- remove the pan and use a brush to make sure all the sides of the corn mold are thoroughly coated with grease; there should be a small amount (I have no idea how much that is, but it should cover the bottom of the corn stick mold) of the melted shortening in the bottom;
- pour the cornbread batter into the mold immediately--the key is that pouring the cold cornbread batter into the very hot cast iron will cause the batter to form a crisp crust, which keeps it from sticking to the mold.
I baked for 15 minutes, and voila! Perfect corn sticks that easily came out of the pan, no sticking, and with the pretty little corn ear design on the bottom.
skillet apple cake--especially when she compared it to a Dutch Baby or custard, had me hooked from the get-go. I forgot to take the photo before I cut it--dad was hungry and could not wait for supper as he had not felt well earlier in the day and had not eaten since breakfast.
coffeeshop/bookstore/Internet cafe that I open in Byhalia, and that alone will cause me to become famous all over the county. I will gratefully give credit to Lana and post a large rendering of her blog page on one wall as part of the decor in my quaint little hotspot.
In a world where you do not always see results of your work, I still find immense satisfaction in a simple, but extremely important, task like cleaning the water trough. Now mind you, last night my hip and knee were screaming "What were you thinking?!!??" but Rio was thinking "thank you for taking care of me." I love that horse. Jennybelle and I are slowly developing a relationship--she takes a long time to trust--and I am beginning to feel affection for her as well. Life is good.