That reminds me, something I've never mentioned here before is that when we started this whole thing, we decided to make it as low-impact on the environment as we could. This means we use real dishes, real silverware, glass glasses, and cloth napkins. This also means that if we get a ton of people, like we did today (they heard that there was going to be cake!), then dish washing is a must. We also bought some extra bowls at the recycle centre (thrift store) and today we actually needed them for the first time.
The Southerner did the cornbread today which meant that he really never left the kitchen. Beforehand, I mixed up three batches of his dry ingredients for him, and while everyone was eating, I mixed up two more while he whipped out cornbread like a pro! But he was not fast enough for this hungry hoard. It is approximately ten feet from the oven to the deck and he was not two steps out onto the deck with a fresh plate of cornbread before he looked down and saw the plate was empty. As promised, the recipe will be included at the bottom of this post.
The soup was quite well loved today too, and while I'd been a bit worried that we'd have tomato orange soup coming out of our ears for the next week (I made nearly 9 quarts), there's hardly any left and I can honestly say that if there hadn't been dessert, I don't think there'd be any soup left at all.
For dessert I made a chocolate rhubarb cake, served warm, with hot English custard. Yeah...yummmm! The cake was my own concoction, but I had tested it out last week to make sure it worked. Everyone who tried it said, "Chocolate Rhubarb? I've never heard of that." Yep...that's because I made it up. Just in case you're thinking of trying it, don't forget to stew or roast the rhubarb with some water and sugar (and drain) beforehand, or I don't think it will work out very well. The cake recipe I tweaked is supposed to have sauerkraut in it, which I left out and replaced with rhubarb. While you might not believe me, it's excellent with sauerkraut too. We also had a towering apple pie that one of the other Steves brought. When someone asked him if he made it he said, "I don't make pies, I eat them." It looked delicious and I managed to sneak a piece when no one was looking into the cupboard for later tonight.
Anyway, thanks to all of you came today! It was lots of fun to have so many people, and don't forget to come early next Sunday to help clean out the gutters. Every week, as things are winding down, the subject seems to turn to things that might need to be done around our house...luckily for me, most of these jobs seemed aimed at The Southerner. Tonight it was brought to his attention that the gutters have plants growing in them. We're so glad to have made so many friends in our new home that are willing to give up their Sunday afternoon to help deforest the gutters. Y'all are really too kind!
And now for the famous cornbread recipe:
From Cook's Illustrated "The Best Recipe".
4 teaspoons butter
1 cup stoned ground yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place the drippings in a 8-inch cast iron skillet and set on the oven rack.
Measure 1/3 cup of the cornmeal in a bowl. Whisk the remaining cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in another bowl.
Pour the boiling water all at once into the 1/3 cup cornmeal and stir to make a stiff mush. Whisk in the buttermilk in a stream. Whisk to remove lumps until the mixture is smooth.
Whisk in the egg.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just mixed. Do not overmix.
Pour into the preheated skillet.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
You would probably bake it the same amount as you did for your smaller skillet.