Friday, 24 January 2014

Beany Cornbread (Gluten-Free)

Well, this has been a week. We visited Dad and Trevor over the weekend to have our postponed Christmas celebrations. (We had originally been scheduled to go down to visit when the big ice-storm hit.) We had a lovely visit, and ate out a couple times at restaurants. I had Veal Parmigiana for dinner, and a cheese and prosciutto panini the next day, washed down with a festive butter tart. Notice a theme? I ate, not wisely but too well. For certain values of well.

Sunday evening after supper I drank a glass of... water. Plain old water. And suddenly, I felt just terrible. I will draw a veil over the ensuing night, but suffice to say I still felt awful enough on Monday morning to ask Mr. Ferdzy to drive me to the hospital. I thought I was suffering from food poisoning. The hospital didn't think so. I wasn't surprised when they did blood tests. I was mildly surprised when they did a cat scan. I was quite surprised when they did x-rays and completely flummoxed when they admitted me, and didn't let me out for 2 days.

To make a long story short, my gall-bladder and I have agreed to have a divorce. I've known I've had gall-stones for at least 8 years, but I thought we could learn to rub along together okay. I just had to be patient and forbearing, and lay off the fried and the cheese and especially the fried cheese. But one little slip-up, and this... so, no. Out it goes. See how happy it is without me. Hmph.

I've always tried to keep the fat down to a dull roar around here, and I have now got an incentive to actually succeed, so expect to see some fairly plain stuff around here for a while. As ever, I still want it to be GOOD, so that will be a challenge. Eat more beans, said the doctor, and after all we sure have lots of them waiting to go.

So, here is an attempt at a plainish cornbread, with beans. It is inspired by one I had many years ago at a First Nations sponsored pot-luck. That one was a fairly standard modern cornbread, with whole beans added but without sugar and very low in salt. I found it striking as an example of a different view of how food should taste, and  I liked it quite alot even though some of my non-native friends thought it strange.

I've kept it as low fat as I thought I could get away with, and since I wanted something really corny and beany I eliminated any other flours. The beans keep it reasonably moist. I enjoyed it, but keep in mind that my tastes are modest at the moment (Does it hurt? being the main consideration.) It would certainly have been tastier with a good schmear of butter. So many things are. If I had bacon fat, and if I dared to eat bacon fat, I would replace the oil with it. I am sure that would be delicious. If you use canned beans, omit the salt. Maybe if you use bacon fat and it is salty, omit the salt.

6 servings
30 minutes - 10 minutes prep time

1 tablespoon mild vegetable oil
1 cup bean cooking water
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups cooked beans
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 large egg
2 tablespoons mild vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the 1 tablespoon of oil in an 8" cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat as well.

Heat the bean cooking water to a boil. Put the cornmeal in a mixing bowl with the salt. Mix in the boiling bean water. Stir well.

Drain and mash 1/4 cup of the beans very thoroughly, and mix them with the baking powder. When the cornmeal has cooled for a few minutes, mix in the remaining beans, the egg and the 2 tablespoons of oil. Mix in the mashed beans and baking powder.

Remove the skillet from the oven (POTHOLDER!) and swirl it to make sure the oil covers the bottom and sides completely. Scrape in the batter and smooth it out. Return it to the oven and bake for 17 - 20 minutes, until firm and lightly browned.

Last year at this time I made Rosemary-Garlic Rutabaga.


Melynda Brown said...

Feel better soon, good luck with the menu changes.

Marnie said...

Well, that should teach you not to drink a glass of water. I hope you're feeling better!

Ferdzy said...

Thanks, Melynda and Marnie. I am feeling a bit better.

Kristin Lord said...

Best wishes for a speedy recovery from all of your friends at KAMM!

Daniel Allen said...

Eep! Hope you feel better soon.

And stay away from the water! You never know what the fish have been doing in it, to paraphrase W.C. Fields.