July 10, 2008

The Salsa Conspiracy

First it was tomatoes.

Then jalapeños.

Now cilantro has been added to the list of possible sources of the salmonella poisoning striking more than 1000 Americans in recent months.

So, what I want to know is:

Who has it out for our dear, spicy friend salsa?

It's a little coincidental that all these ingredients on "the list" somehow all appear in salsa. I mean what's next, onions?

Of course, this is all in jest and is my weak way of trying to bring a little bit of humor to a bummer situation. As a consumer, it is scary to know if what you are eating is safe. But, the group hurt most is the farming community. Many farmers are taking a big hit during this salmonella scare, even if their produce is just fine. Hopefully, the true source will be identified soon and we can all go back to our chips and salsa without worrying about it wreaking havoc on our intestines.

So, what does any of this have to do with my blog anyway? Well, for the latest installment of the Barefoot Bloggers (for which I am a week late posting), Sabrina and Alexander from Cooking with the Kids charged the group with making Ina Garten's delicious Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread. There was some group discussion as to whether or not it would be safe to use jalapenos as called for in Ina's recipe. Many decided against it and either omitted it or substituted for something else. I'm lucky to live in an area where local produce abounds and you can buy directly from many farmers. I was able to get my hands on some locally grown jalapenos and, therefore, include them in my cornbread. While it's certainly never without risk when you're eating food grown by someone else, I feel good knowing I was able to continue supporting those whose livelihoods depend on the farming industry.

I never knew until doing a little research on the subject, but it turns out cornbread is a pretty contentious issue, with many clamoring to have their recipe earn the distinction of "the best cornbread ever." Really, I like pretty much any kind of cornbread out there just fine and have yet to come across one that knocked my socks off. Ina's recipe included. It was tasty and easy to make. That's about it. I'd make it again, but I don't know that I would personally hang on to this recipe as the end-all, be-all in cornbread recipes.

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cups milk
3 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus extra to grease the pan
8 ounces aged extra-sharp Cheddar, grated, divided
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts, plus extra for garnish, 3 scallions
3 tablespoons seeded and minced fresh jalapeño peppers

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, eggs, and butter. With a wooden spoon, stir the wet ingredients into the dry until most of the lumps are dissolved. Don't overmix! Mix in 2 cups of the grated Cheddar, the scallions and jalapeños, and allow the mixture to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking pan.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, smooth the top, and sprinkle with the remaining grated Cheddar and extra chopped scallions. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool and cut into large squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.

I've also made Ina's:


Joelen said...

These look awesome and I especially like the pan you used!

Kirsten said...

I feel the same way you do about the salsa bandits. Love your pan!

SteamyKitchen said...

YES! It's totally a conspiracy!!!

Prudy said...

I love your pan for the cornbread-more crispy sides...yum. I know what you mean about the salsa; there goes one of my main food groups..

Kristen said...

Such a good point about the salsa... I bet the avocado farmers have a hand in it all... eat more guac! :)