Party in the USA!

Exploring worldly cuisines

School is back in session and a new course has begun on world cuisines. I’m most excited about this new 12-week course. We’ll be highlighting different countries each week. Not only will we be learning about a variety of dishes but we’ll be educated about the history of the countries, too. I can’t wait!

America the beautiful

This first week, we’re making dishes from my country tis of thee- the United States. We’re highlighting cornbread. Mmm! It’s one of my favorite comfort food.

A history lesson

1This week, we learned that one of the three staple crops of the Native American population is corn. This produced corn pone and hominy, used to make grits. They’re both variations of traditional Native American dishes, which were originally called apones and uskatahomen in Powhatan.

2Corn is referred to as one of the “three sisters.” Her other two siblings are beans and squash. It has been stated that corn was protected from insects and rodents. The beans grew up the cornstalks and prevented the rodents from eating the corn. Lastly, the squash kept the bugs away from the corn.

3When the English arrived on the East Coast in the 17th century, they experienced difficulty growing their staple crops. They immediately recognized that cornmeal could be used for practically everything. They weren’t able to grow wheat, so they began making breads with rye and cornmeal. Hasty pudding, which is a staple of the region similar to Italian polenta, consists of corn ground that is made into a porridge.

Corn is such an abundant crop, especially in my household. My family loves corn. We have corn with our meals several times a week. We can’t get enough of it! It pairs so well with our dishes.

Recipe

  • 5 oz pastry flour, sifted
  • 5 oz cornmeal, sifted
  • 4 oz sugar, sifted
  • ½ oz baking powder, sifted
  • ¼ oz Kosher salt, sifted
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 8 oz whole milk
  • ½ oz honey
  • 3 oz melted vegetable shortening (or melted butter)
  • Non-stick spray
  • Food scale
  • Mixing bowls/cups/spoons for mise en place ingredients
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Mixing bowls
  • Spatula
  • Fork
  • Sifter
  • Glass pan
  • Toothpicks 

Production steps

  1. Sanitize kitchen (sink, countertops, stovetop/oven, cupboard handles, phone, computer, and recipe books).
  2. Mise en place ingredients.
  3. Preheat the oven to 400ºF.
  4. Sift dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  5. Beat the egg.
  6. Combine wet ingredients in another mixing bowl.
  7. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until combined.
  8. Spray non-stick spray in a glass pan.
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until the toothpick that is inserted into the center comes out clean.
  10. Cool the cornbread before slicing and serving.
So bright and vibrant!

Reference1,2,3: August Escoffier School of Culinary Arts: Week 1 Lesson, January 2022.

Happy baking!

FS x

Two of 20 Things 2020 Has Taught and Reminded Me + Cornbread

Happy Sunday! We are 12 days away from Christmas Day. The days are flying by! Though, we are celebrating the holidays differently this year, I’ve never been more busier than this holiday season. I’m doing more baking and slowly expanding Foodnista Soul…, just to name a few…

I spent a lot of time this year thinking and reflecting upon myself, my family and friends, my life, my goals, my actions, thoughts, and emotions during our stay-at-home orders. There were many things- good, bad, and ugly, that were revealed to me during these periods of isolation. I think a lot of us can relate and say that we had a lot of time on our hands to sit, reflect, and even dwell in and on our own thoughts way more frequently than usual.

For the next 20 days, I am thrilled to share 20 things the year has taught and reminded me. My hopes in sharing these revelations would be to instill optimism, inspiration, realization, and knowing you’re not alone if you’ve felt like this, too. Plus, let’s talk about one dish each day. Food, for me, has always brought happiness, comfort, and togetherness. Cooking and baking, especially for me, brings joy and happiness. I also love trying new foods in my community, though, it’s been a little challenging to do that this year with a lot of restaurants closing, not fully operating at 100%, and the anxiety of being out in public places amidst the pandemic. 2020 lesson number two is…

2. To believe that everything happens for a reason, even if we don’t understand why.

I’m sure we’re all wondering why this year turned out the way it did- with all the distressing events that happened and are still happening amongst us. I envisioned 2020 to be a start to a brand new decade, full of clarity, vision, and new beginnings and opportunities. But that wasn’t necessarily the case for many of us. There’s a reason behind why 2020 was the year it was. It doesn’t make sense to the human mind. It’s confusing, frustrating, anxiety-provoking. Nevertheless, I know that there’s a light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. The light is coming. Soon.

Life is mysterious and complex. Life is challenging sometimes, and “not always fair.” When good and not-so-good things happen in our lives, we don’t always understand the meanings behind them. At least for me, I sometimes find that to be the case. Over the span of several years, I began to look at life, including mine, differently. I began to instill the notion that everything happens in life for a reason- wonderful things, not-so-great things, and terrible things… We may not always understand why, especially when things turn south. Sometimes we’re meant to learn something from the event. Sometimes it’s meant to show us something that may or may not have an influence in our lives in the future. Whatever those reasons may be, I find it important to keep the faith, no matter what, and to keep moving forward. It wouldn’t do good, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically, to always dwell in the negatives. Something great always arises from disappointments. Another door is opening; another opportunity is coming. A better one.

During the week of Thanksgiving, I was craving cornbread. I wanted to try making cornbread with creamed corn. Well, the recipe I followed, didn’t produce a yummy dish. The cornbread was very dry. It was not very appetizing. I still wanted to satisfy my craving of eating some good cornbread, so I tried again over the Thanksgiving weekend. I found a different recipe and omitted cream corn from the ingredient list. I also added almond flour to the dish. It was the first time I’ve ever used almond flour. I’ve been eyeing it for quite some time. It is a healthier alternative to white flour. Well, this second attempt at baking cornbread was a success (featured image)! It was a lot more moist, and it tasted great with the almond flour. Therefore, I was inspired to now use almond flour in future baking recipes. One of my goals when in the kitchen is about utilizing healthier ingredients in my cooking.

Have a wonderful new week. Until next time.

FS x