This summer, Amanda and I had spoon bread for the first time (how good is it to discover a new food?) at an amazing restaurant in Rochester. While the spoon bread was definitely a highlight of the meal-- we also had a bottle of rosé, oysters and French fries, I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that the best part about it was spending time with my sister. Sometimes there's nothing that fills your soul more than the conversations you have with people you genuinely love to be around, people who enrich your life and your nights talking about anything, and nothing at all. I don't remember everything we talked about, but I do remember it was meaningful.
A few weeks ago, my pre-ordered copy of the Cherry Bombe Cookbook arrived. I spent about 3 hours thumbing through and reading the recipes - each one contributed by a kick ass lady in the food scene. I came across a quote in the intro that I have since thought about daily.
"No one who cooks cooks alone. Even at her most solitary, a cook in the kitchen is surrounded by generations of cooks past, the advice and menus of cooks present, and the wisdom of cookbook writers."
It resonated with me because it brought to mind all of my ladies who at that moment were probably in their kitchens, making a complex, labor intensive meal for their family, or prepping tomorrow's lunch, or boiling water for Velveeta. I love the idea of all of us doing something together, regardless of where or how, and the differences between us.
Whether we're out on the town together, dressed up with cocktails, or standing in our kitchens alone, eating spoon bread right out of the pan, it's nice to know that good food bonds us all.
Adapted from Lady & Pups
Yield - serves 4 as a side
1 1/4 cups of yellow cornmeal
1 1/2 cup of sharp cheddar cheese, grated (set aisde 1/3 cup for broiling)
1 cup of parmesan cheese, grated (set aside 1/3 cup for broiling)
1 cup of water
2 1/2 cup of milk
1/2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
2 tsp of hot sauce
2 tbsp of butter
Preheat the oven to 375º.
Bring 1 cup of water to boil in a pot and add 1/2 cup of the yellow cornmeal. Stir until the mixture thickens (it might be a little clumpy - don't worry), then turn off the heat and let the cornmeal soak for 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed. Return the pot to low heat and add the milk, remaining cornmeal, 1 cup of cheddar and 2/3 cup of parmesan. Bring to a simmer, stirring continuously, and cook for 2 minutes. Take it off the heat, and add baking soda, baking powder and hot sauce. Set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, beat 2 eggs. Ladle 1/3 cup (doesn't need to be exact) of warm cornmeal mixture into the eggs and stir vigorously to temper. Add the egg mixture back into the pot of cornmeal and stir. Add the butter; adjust the saltiness with salt, and season with a dash of white pepper. Stir to combine. Spoon the batter equally into 4 ramekins and bake for 30 minutes.
Take the spoonbread dishes out of the oven and sprinkle with the remaining cheddar and parmigiano mixture on top. Sprinkle with a bit of cayenne pepper (if you like some spice). Turn the oven temperature to broil and return the spoonbreads to the oven. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly.