Wednesday, 4 May 2011

CC Cheddar Spoonbread

Eggs are a mystery to me.  I've never liked them.  Even as a child, my mum made me a separate dish when she made dinner with eggs.  Given this, it was no surprise that when it came to the Eggs theme for the Cookbook Challenge that I found it a tricky one. 

The theme called for a dish in which eggs were prominent.  Precisely the sort I rarely make.  I dislike cracking eggs.  I dislike their texture.  Any more than 3 eggs in a recipe is just too much for me.  I once made a cake with 12 eggs.  That was upon request.  Never again.  Another time I made a souffle with a friend.  Fortunately it was full of chocolate.  I considered making a vegan omelette for the Cookbook Challenge.  Or a vegan egg salad.  Such things interest me.  

In the end I returned to a dish I once made many years ago that intrigued me.  Spoonbread.  It hails from the American South and has been compared to a Yorkshire pudding and described as a cornbread souffle.  I vaguely recall it as being more sturdy than the delicate souffle, which is why I wanted to revisit it.

The recipe is from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest by Mollie Katzen.  It was one of my first vegetarian cookbooks.  Mollie was one of my first vegetarian heroes.  I was ready to try anything she offered.  Even if it meant separating eggs and beating egg whites.  These days I tend to know what I like and follow my instinct more. 

I can barely remember making spoonbread the first time.  It seemed like a large recipe.  I halved it and decided to cook it in ramekins rather than a large dish.  The recipe didn't give as much guidance as a novice like me needed.  I don't cook eggs or spoonbread enough to know what I was doing.  It was only after it went in the oven that I got nervous because I know that souffles are to feared. 

I started to look up other cookbooks.  They advised that the souffle dish should be filled to the top and it should be eaten as soon as it came out of the oven.  I was waiting for Sylvia to come out of the bath and worried we wouldn't be seated at the table ready to eat as soon as it came out of the oven.  You can see in the above picture that I also didn't fill the ramekins to the top.

As it was, I needn't have worried.  This was as resilient as I had initially hoped.  No rise and fall.  Not even a lot of air in it.  It would have helped if the recipe had told me how to know when it was done.   I took it out when it was firm but not browned. It was cooked through.  That seemed right. We had it with a simple vegetable soup.  Not only did it wait for us after coming from the oven, but I put one of the leftover ramekins in the fridge and we ate it at room temperature 4 days later.  It still tasted good.

Sylvia wouldn't eat hers but she did enjoy making it with me.  I found a little ramekin for her.  I told her that it was a special one for her.  Since then, she will go to the cupboard and pull out these smaller ramekins and tell me they are special ones for Sylvia.

It was a nice meal but not something I am eager to make again.  The spoonbread seemed more like cornbread than souffle.  Quite frankly I prefer other cornbread recipes with less eggs and less dishes.  E agrees!

If you want to see what my Cookbook Challenge Comrades made, go to the community page.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
This time last year: Greens, Carrots and Garden Update
This time two years ago: GYO Bill’s Broccoli Salad
This time three years ago: What does a pagan eat anyway?
This time four years ago: Waiter waiter there’s a shark in my chilli non carne
Cheddar Spoonbread
adapted from The Enchanted Broccoli Forest
serves 4
  • 3 eggs, separated and at room temperature
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 400g tin of corn kernels, rinsed and drained
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 cup of yellow cornmeal
  • 3/4 cups of packed grated (medium sharp) cheddar cheese
Generously grease 4 ramekins with butter.  Heat oven to 400 F or 200 C.

Heat the milk in a saucepan until it just reaches boiling point and remove from heat before it boils (also known as scalding the milk).

Melt butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or frypan and fry the corn and salt for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add cornmeal and fry another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  I found this went quite dry and gritty.

Pour scalded milk into corn mixture and stir in.  It will thicken.  Remove from the heat and transfer to a large mixing bowl.  Stir in cheese and egg yolks.  Cool slightly.

Beat egg whites until stiff (I used electric beaters but a house mate of mine used to do it with rotary beaters in a copper bowl).  Gently fold into the cheesy corn mixture with a metal spoon.  Spoon into greased ramekins.  It is ok if it doesn't reach the top.

Bake for about 25 minutes or until it is firm to touch.  Eat hot but it doesn't need to be eaten immediately.  We had one leftover and popped it in the fridge for about 3 days and then ate it cold with dinner like a bread. 

On the stereo:
New Wave Playlist: various artists


  1. That looks delicious Johanna! And how cute is the name of that cookbook? I must take a look at it!

  2. yikes there are alot of dishes arent there!!!

  3. If you want to make something particularly enticing to me, serve it in an individual ramekin. LOVE this Johanna! Particularly considering my serious affection for all things cornbred-ish :)

  4. Many congrats on overcoming your fears and dislikes to make these - they look great! Hope you felt they were worth the effort. Must get me some cornmeal so I can try them myself.

  5. How unusual Johanna. It is a shame you didn't really enjoy them. I go through phases of liking and not liking eggs. I am in a liking phase at the moment. I never mind baking with them, but sometime go off eating them.

  6. I go back and forth with eggs all the time...some days I love them, some days not so much. Weird. But this spoonbread? I could definitely love this.

  7. I have never heard of spoonbread before, but it looks delicious!

  8. Thanks Lorraine - you would love the title dish and mollie katzen did lots of gorgeous decorations in the cookbook - well worth a look

    Thanks Lisa - glad E did the dishes!

    Thanks Hannah - seems much nicer to serve these sort of things in individual dishes - I am with you in loving cornbread - as soon as I see any cornmeal or polenta in a baked good I take notice

    Thanks A forkful - fortunately I can rise to the occasion despite my egg aversion - and yes get yourself some cornmeal

    Thanks Jacqueline - I don't really mind baking with eggs unless there are too many of them - I appreciate what they do to baked goods even if I don't appreciate their taste

    Thanks Joanne - yes spoonbread demands more consistency than eggs - the latter are funny things

    Thanks Cakelaw - I think I have only seen spoonbread in the enchanted broccoli forest - not at all common

  9. I adore eggs! This dish looks so good!

  10. Mollie Katzen was my first introduction into the vegan world. I always found her recipes quite adaptable.

    Your Spoonbread looks mighty good to me. To bad it didn't agree with Sylvia. Seriously, Johanna you should check out that book Deceptively Delicious, By Jessica Seinfeld. It's filled with "sneaky" edibles:)

    I don't think your aversion to eggs is that odd. My daughter can't stand cooking with eggs and she absolutely refuses to handle any kind of uncooked chicken.

    Thank you so much for sharing...In case I don't make it back, things have be CRAZY around her, Happy Mothers' Day!!!

  11. I've never made spoonbread, but I don't like things that are too eggy either. Happy to hear that you ended up enjoying it! :)


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