Thursday, April 18, 2013

Celebrate National Cornbread Week

Z'Tejas cornbread.
As I've noted before, there are lots of designated food "holidays," and one of them is National Cornbread Day on April 27. Time to bake up your favorite cornbread recipe, or enjoy it at your favorite restaurant.

For years, I thought Marie Callender's had the corner on cornbread. During the 1980s, Ogden had a  Marie Callender's on Harrison Boulevard, south of Weber State College and McKay-Dee Hospital Center. I worked in McKay-Dee's community relations department and lived nearby. Salad bars were the "in" thing, and we liked going to Marie's and having the potato-cheese soup, a slice of cornbread and a trip to the salad bar. The cornbread was so sweet and filling there was no need to order pie (although sometimes we did anyway).
Another chain that's become known for cornbread is Z'Tejas, but it's served with a bit more of a Southwestern flair in a small cast-iron skillet. My favorite menu item is the Smoked Chicken Chile Relleno, a poblano pepper stuffed with chicken, pecans, apricots, raisins and Jack cheese, topped with pepitas and an artsy-looking drizzle of sour cream. What sets this apart from other relleno dishes is that the poblano is grilled, not the usual battered-and-fried.  A wedge of cornbread is the perfect accompaniment.  

At Z’Tejas, cornbread is automatically delivered to each table, in the same way that you can always count on breadsticks at Olive Garden. 
Additionally, April 22 through 26 is National Administrative Professionals Week. Guests can show appreciation to coworkers with lunch at Z’Tejas, located at 191 South Rio Grande Street (at the Gateway). Every administrative professional that visits will get a slice of Ancho Fudge Pie throughout the week.
Here is the make-at-home version, courtesy of Z'Tejas: 
Z'Tejas Cornbread:

Yields 4 – 6 1/2 in skillets
IngredientsCorn Meal 1 1/2 cups
Flour 1 1/2 cups
Sugar 1/3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon
Baking Powder 1 tablespoons
Baking Soda 1 tablespoons
Yogurt (plain) 1 cup
Cream Corn 1/3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon
Corn (frozen) 1/3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon
Buttermilk 1 1/2 cups
Eggs 3 each
Butter (melted) 1/3 cups plus 1 Tablespoon
Salt 1/4 teaspoon
PreparationMix all dry ingredients together. In a large mixing bowl, whisk all wet ingredients together.
Then add dry ingredients to form batter.
Use a small pre-heated skillet, spray with non-stick cooking spray and then fill with 9 ounces of batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 16 minutes. Rotate at 8 minutes.
These recipes prepared by using a convection oven so try 400 degrees in regular oven.
Test by using a toothpick in the center of the corn bread. Toothpick should come out clean.

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