Saturday, December 13, 2014

Healthy Cornbread

We have been eating a lot of pea soup around here, and I like a good cornbread with my pea soup. The problem is that most cornbread recipes include half or even an entire cup of butter! This is a healthier recipe that still tastes good. I make mine in a cast iron skillet.






  • 1 tablespoon butter, for the pan
  • 1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cup whole-wheat flour (or white flour)
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels (optional)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt (or buttermilk)
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Put 1 tablespoon butter in cast iron skillet and put it in the oven to preheat.
  2. Whisk cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, frozen corn and salt in a large bowl. Whisk egg, yogurt and melted butter in a separate bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. 
  3. Using a potholder, take the cast iron pan out of the oven. The butter should be melted by now, use a spatula to move the butter around so it coats the bottom of the pan. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly.
  4. Bake the cornbread until the top springs back when touched lightly, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for at least 5 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

How to make Ghee (Indian clarified butter)

I've heard Ghee (pronounced gee) called "clarified butter" but until today it's been a bit of a mystery to me. I think that's because once I saw an American chef on TV make something also called clarified butter by melting butter and skimming the solids off the top. I didn't see how that process would end up with the caramelized product my mother-in-law uses in her cooking called "ghee."

Today she showed me how she does it. Which is NOT like the western way of making clarified butter. It's more like making a browned butter sauce, the purpose being to evaporate the water from the butter and caramelize a bit for a better, more flavorful product and higher melting point.


-- 1 pound unsalted butter.

1. Melt butter in a pan on the stove. Over low/medium low heat, boil butter for 10-15 minutes. The water in the butter will be evaporating during this time.

2. Once the water is gone, the butter will start to brown. This happens all of a sudden so don't walk away! Once the butter starts to brown, cook for a few seconds longer and take off the heat. It will continue to brown to a honey color and smell caramelized and nice. This is ghee:

Note the honey color of the actual ghee (in the scoop). The dark brown stuff in the bottom of the pan is the solids in the butter which have browned quite a bit but will be filtered out of the finished product.
3. Filter the ghee through a sieve and pour in a container while still hot. It will last a long time in the fridge.

color of finished, filtered, cooled ghee.