I’ve gotten into the habit lately of, instead of buying things for people on holidays, baking or cooking for them. Food is something that EVERYONE loves. Plus it’s kind of a gift for me as well because then I get to eat it too. Is that selfish? Maybe, but it would be wrong for me to turn down a bite if offered. I have to taste my goods. For safety reasons of course.
When Father’s Day rolled around I was semi-stumped about what to make for my dad. His favorite dish is Osso Buco but all of the recipes I found all required ingredients that I know he doesn’t like and I wasn’t confident enough in my abilities to improvise. Sure, he eats it in restaurants and in those cases it probably contains all of the ingredients he supposedly hates but he is hypercritical of my cooking when it comes to herbs and spices. So I didn’t go there.
Instead, I decided to make him some crockpot pulled pork – a dish that I’ve made before and that he loves. This was also a good choice because it required no attention and left me to focus on my favorite aspect of the meal – the sides! First, I bought a large kabocha squash (and thought of Sophia while doing it), cut it up into eighths and roasted it for 30 minutes at 450 and 20 minutes at 350. It got so caramelized from doing this that it was sweet and perfect without any extra seasonings. Then, I turned to the master of all things food – Mr. Florence himself – and stumbled upon his recipe for cornbread! Ty has two cornbread recipes – one with chiles and one without. Since my dad doesn’t really like spicy things, I went with the chile-less recipe. Even though it got mixed reviews on the food network website, I thought the cornbread was really good. I made a few changes, that being to use less bacon than called for but it still turned out really well. My dad ate 1/4 of the loaf! I will definitely make it again WITH the chiles for myself.
Tyler Florence’s Cornbread
Serves 12, adapted from Tyler Florence
2 slices bacon
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp salt
4 large eggs
2 cups almond milk
2 tbsp chives, finely chopped
1. Preheat the oven to 375.
2. Cook the bacon in the microwave or in a pan or in the oven. I microwaved it. I was lazy. Let it cool and then crumble it into small pieces.
3. Grease a 9-inch springform pan. In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking pwoder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat the eggs until foamy. Whisk in the milk. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined. Fold in the bacon bits and chives. Pour the batter into the pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Tyler says 20-25 minutes, I say 35-40 minutes.
And because we all know that no holiday meal is complete without dessert, I also made a batch of my dad’s favorite cookies – Oatmeal Raisin Cookies! These babies were chewy, moist and delicious. I got the recipe from Simply Recipes, an awesome blog. The only thing I changed was to sub half the butter with applesauce. This lightened the cookies a bit but also made them chewier. I personally like chewier rather than crispier cookies, but to each his own.
Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Makes 2 dozen cookies, adapted from Simply Recipes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla
3 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups raisins
1. Preheat oven to 350. Grease two baking sheets.
2. In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add in the sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in eggs. Add vanilla.
3. Mix flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Stir dry ingredients into the butter-sugar mixture. Stir in the applesauce. Stir in raisins and nuts. Stir in oats.
4. Spoon out dough onto cookie sheets. Bake until edges of cookie starts to brown and center of cookie isn’t soft anymore. Elise says 10-12 minutes, I say 15-20 minutes but I think it’s because of the applesauce. Cool 1 minute on cookie sheet and then transfer to a wire rack.
I am submitting the cornbread to Tyler Florence Fridays, one of my favorite blog events!