a slice of warm cornbread on a cold night.


gluten-free cornbread, originally uploaded by shaunaforce.

Last night, it snowed in Seattle. For those of you who live in the Midwest or the Northeastern part of the United States, this may not sound like much to you. But here, in our lovely grey-skied city, snow is an event worth mentioning. It seems to snow only once or twice a year, if that. Some years, it never snows at all.

(Of course, that means that anyone who drives here in the snow is suddenly a big, panicky ninny. More people abandon their cars by the side of the freeway in two inches of snow than I can tell without being embarrassed for my fellow Seattleites. The Chef, who comes from Colorado originally, continues to be amazed.)

This month is just a few showers short of being the rainiest month in Seattle history. That’s over 15.33 inches of rain, folks. It has poured and lashed and blown sideways and drenched us and continued, unrelenting, for twenty-five days straight. Normally, I proclaim proudly that Seattle rarely lives up to its outside reputation of raining all the time. Pshaw, I want to say. It’s practically balmy here. But you know what? This month? I was ready to take an ax to a tree and start hewing wood for an ark. Sheesh.

Yesterday afternoon, however, the black clouds loomed over the mountains, the sky swirled with wind, and the air nuzzled against our skin with cold fingers. The Chef looked up and said, “It’s going to snow today. You watch it.”

About four in the afternoon, as we drove back from an hour-long stroll through one of our favorite grocery stores, I saw white flakes swirling in front of our headlights. “It’s snowing! It’s snowing!” Imagine me driving, and clapping my hands in front of my face in a dozen little claps, bouncing up and down in my seat. After the Chef put a hand on my leg to remind me to not do all this while I drove, he also giggled. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was laughing at me. A man from Colorado, driving in a car with a woman who grew up in Southern California, exclaiming over twenty-five flakes of snow.

But, it turns out, he was simply delighted. He loves how much joy I take in life. He loves how happy the simplest moments make me. He enjoys it because he reacts to life the same way. So, he was merely laughing near me.

Several hours later, after we had cleaned the kitchen and prepared dinner, we looked outside to see all the sidewalks covered in snow, the streets slicked with white, and flurries dancing under the street lights. “Hey, let’s go for a walk,” he suggested. Absolutely.

Bundled up and holding hands through heavy gloves, we walked down our familiar sidewalks transformed into white silence. We shook tree branches, remarked that the shadow of snowflakes on the ground looked like gnats dancing in abandon, and stuck out our tongues to taste the new snow. Seriously, we were like a montage sequence out of a romantic comedy. I know — we’re pretty sickening.

However, it didn’t take us long to turn to thoughts of food. “You know what I would love on a night like this?” he said, squeezing my arm. “Chili and cornbread.”

“Oh yes,” I said, our pace quickening simultaneously to reach home faster. “With sharp cheddar cheese and a dollop of sour cream.” He had already started marinating the pork tenderloin, so we would have to save the chili for another day. But the cornbread? We had all the fixings. Half an hour later, we were eating.

The night didn’t feel so cold after that first bite.

GLUTEN-FREE CORNBREAD, adapted from a recipe on the PCC website

½ cup white rice flour
¼ cup tapioca flour
1/4 cup sorghum flour
¾ cup cornmeal (like you would use to make polenta)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
3 tablespoons rich, high-quality honey
2/3 cup plain, gluten-free yogurt
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tablespoons melted butter

Turn the oven on against the cold and let it preheat to 400°. Grease a square or round baking pan with your favorite oil or butter.

Mix the gluten-free flours, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set that bowl aside.

Measure out the sour cream, butter, honey, and melted butter. Mix them all together. Whisk in the eggs and beat them all together until the liquids have become a coherent mixture.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ones and stir it all together until just moistened.

Pour the cornbread batter into the pan and bake the cornbread for twenty minutes, or until the top has reached the golden color you desire. Let it cool for a few moments.

This cornbread is particularly good with soft butter and the same honey you used to make the batter.

Serves six.

20 comments on “a slice of warm cornbread on a cold night.

  1. Kimberly

    Oh, the snow is so pretty! Having grown up in Houston, where it snowed perhaps once a decade, I still have a decidedly childlike (read dancing around the house, singing) reaction to snow. My Connecticut-born husband is less excited by snow, though he, too, enjoys my pleasure at it.

    Your cornbread is beautiful. I adore honey on cornbread (especially split, toasted cornbread), but much prefer my cornbread made without any sweetener… also an artifact of my Texan upbringing.

  2. Anonymous

    You’re not sickening — you’re awesome. I have begun checking into your blog daily (which is what I presume you want folks to do, or you wouldn’t put it out here) because .. well, it’s entertaining AND your love for The Chef reminds me of the wonderful love I have also found, and reminds me to savor it and be grateful and to marvel. Not that I need too much reminding, it’s just interesting to hear about someone else’s love and think “Yeah, I get that ! I know what you’re talking about !” I was also single for a long long lomg time, wondering, “Where are you ? I know you’re out there … won’t you please come find me ??” IT’s fun to hear about someone else’s adventures along the same lines. Plus, you’re just a really good writer. Can’t wait for the cookbook !

    Kristin in SB

  3. Adam Ek

    Thinking about snow, have you ever had Sugar on Snow?

    — Boil syrup to 255 degrees Fahrenheit.

    — Scoop snow into large bowl or pan.

    — Drizzle hot maple syrup lightly over snow.

    — Use forks to eat the sticky top layer.

    This traditional New England treat started back before thermometers were inexpensive. If a batch of maple sap started to burn before it was thick enough for maple sugar, it would just be dumped on the snow bank outside the sugar house. The burned bit at the bottom was no good, but the rest congeals into a delicious taffy.

    See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sugar_on_snow for more information.

    Oh, and after talking about maple syrup I thought I’d share my pancake/waffle flour mix.

    2 cups rice flour
    2 cups glutinous rice flour aka sweet rice flour (does NOT contain wheat gluten, just a sticky starch)
    1/2 cup buckwheat flour.

    Use to substitute for 4–1/2 cups of all purpose flour in any pancake or waffle recipe.

  4. Anonymous

    The Boss went to Seattle over Thanksgiving, and said that it was cold and wet. We ARE in the midwest, so we had a good laugh about closing the roads leading to hills.

    Meanwhile, I was raking leaves in a short sleeved shirt. We’re supposed to get frost tomorrow, however.

  5. a.

    After you finish writing your cook book, you must write a book, (that can later be turned into a screenplay and movie!) about how you two met, and life since then. This story unfolding is pure magic, love, excitement, adventure, a perfect romantic –food movie or novel! please! I love reading your blog, its so pure, and its your life, your truly blessed. Especially great is the story of the tattoos!
    cheers!

  6. Loner

    I saw the snow on TV watching the Seahawks game — it was really beautiful. Thanks yet again for a lovely recipe — my MIL loved the peanutbutter cookies I made from your recipe.

  7. Patti

    Here’s another g-f cornbread recipe. This one is from Alton Brown and uses only cornmeal, no other flours. The crustiness from baking it in a cast iron skillet is so delicious, but it will also work in an 8x8 round or square pan.

    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0„FOOD_9936_14233,00.html?rsrc=search

    For folks who cannot have dairy, I make “buttermilk” by adding 1 tablespoon of cider vinegar to 1 cup rice or soy milk. It also works with egg replacer.

  8. Anonymous

    Oh goodness, that looks so moist and scrumptious! I have never cared much for corn bread (guess I had too many bad ones), but I will try this one. Although there’s not a flake in sight here in Berlin — even the nature is confused, shrubs are sprouting buds and birds refuse to migrate — it’s dark by 5p.m. and that should be enough of an excuse to bake a corn bread! Thanks for posting so often, look forward to reading the “New Adventures of the Gluten Free Girl and the Chef” every morning. Dana

  9. GrewUpRural

    This sounds good. I haven’t had corn bread in a while.

    I wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t get snow in the winter. Having grown up in the mid-Atlantic and now New England, snow is expected.

  10. Shauna

    Kimberly,

    Oh my dear, if your Houston upbringing has you dancing around the house when you see snow, then I approve. No sweetener in the cornbread? You would have to convince me. But I’m sure you could.

    Kristin in SB,

    Thank you, my dear. That “sickening” remark was for the former-single woman in me who both loved to hear these stories and hated them too. How could that be true? But daily, I am amazed at how real and enormous this love feels, how even the best romantic comedies cannot come close to the banter and dancing of true love. I know what you mean — waiting until we are older makes it all so much sweeter. Thank you for reading and writing to me here.

    Adam EK,

    Oh goodness, I would love some sugar on snow. That recipe sounds fabulous. Unfortunately, around here, the snow has melted and compressed into a dirty city inch, so no possibility of that now. They say we’re going to have more tonight, though.…

    Elwood City,

    I know, we’re sort of the laughing stock of people in the midwest right now. Outside of the city, there was more snow. But seriously, the Seattle Public school system was closed for two days because of three inches of snow and icy roads!

    Loner,

    I’m so glad your MIL approved. This cornbread really is something special. Even three days later, it was delicious.

    Patti,

    I always love seeing other recipes. There are a hundred different ways to do cornbread, eh? I don’t have a cast iron pot yet. I must have one!

    Dana,

    Oh goodness, the “New Adventures of the Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef” makes us sound like super heroes. I have to say, though, I wouldn’t mind the costume! I’m so glad that you are enjoying the daily postings. Please come on back.

    grewuprural,

    I know. It’s all what we are used to that forms how we deal with this. Because I grew up near LA, snow still excites me, no end.

  11. Freckled Face Mama

    God, I want to move out west! I keep insisting that my husband apply for his med. school residency out there. I haven’t read in a few weeks but everytime I get on…you make me feel like I am eating hot-buttered gluten-free toast. :)Being in love and enjoying life is so wonderful! My hubby and I have been married for almost 8 years now (I married him when I was 19 years old and he was 24). We have a beautiful daughter and a son due in February. I look a life and think how much better could it get than this. I am actually, and this sounds so strange, happy we are living life with no gluten. It has made life so much…happier. Thank you Shauna for the cornbread recipe. I haven’t found a gluten-free one I liked yet.

  12. Dawn

    This cornbread is amazing! Thanks, Shauna. I baked it last night with some gluten devotés and they devoured it with no complaint. I, of course, ate most of all. It has been so long since I have had a decent-tasting gf bread I couldn’t keep away from it. It was just as good this morning for breakfast…

  13. Michele

    This cornbread was great! I have used mixes before and have hated the results. Even my non gluten free husband liked it!

    Thanks

  14. Michele

    This cornbread was great! I have used mixes before and have hated the results. Even my non gluten free husband liked it!

    Thanks

  15. Emma

    Shauna, I just made this cornbread today. It is fanstastic! All of the other cornbreads and muffins that I have made in the past have paled in comparison, and have been far too sweet. This version tastes as I believe cornbread was intended.

    My partner has just left for two months, and your bread has helped to fill a void in our little home with sweet smelling bread! :)

  16. Julia

    I love your site and will have to recommend it to my uncle and cousin, who are both celiac sufferers. I myself have U.C. so I’m only gluten-intolerant, thankfully, but I still try to stay away from it.

    Interesting cornbread recipe. I’d never heard of cornbread being anything but gluten-free, which I suppose is a product of having grown up in the Deep South (S. Carolina to be precise). Like the Texan said she prefers, I like mine without any sweetness to it. (And we also get snow so infrequently that I love to celebrate it!) It must be a Southern thing of cake as sweet and cornbread as bread, and never the two shall meet. :)

    If you’d like to try making Southern cornbread, you can’t get better or simpler than my Tennessean mother’s recipe: locally milled cornmeal, a small pinch of salt, buttermilk, and an egg all mixed to a batter-like consistency; then I heat some olive oil (just enough to cover the bottom of the pan) to just bubbling in an iron skillet. Pop it into the oven until golden on top and that’s it! Easy and yummy! Now, if you want to get fancy you can add rosemary,sage, parsley, marjoram, thyme, garlic, green onions or shallots to the batter before baking, which I do on occasion. Slice it up in wedges like a cake & serve piping hot. Cut a wedge through the middle and put a pat of butter in there to melt. Oh yum, now I want some cornbread!

  17. Anonymous

    I just started on the gluten-free path, and I was worried / sad that I wouldn’t be able to find a good-tasting cornbread. On top of the gluten thing, I’m also lactose intolerant. What’s a gal to do?! I’m so glad I found this recipe–I made a few substitutions (see below), and it came out fabulously. Thanks!

    I substituted lactose and gluten-free soy yogurt for the yogurt/sour cream.

    I substituted all-purpose, gluten-free baking mix for the various flours.

    I added a tablespoon of vegan cane sugar to the dry mix (mostly because my honey was congealed and I couldn’t get much out of it, lol).

    It came out great and I’m looking forward to trying many more recipes on here!

  18. Stacia

    I just made this corn bread for the first time…no others can compare. This is my new golden standard!

  19. Kirsten

    I made this tonight to go with chili, and it turned out amazing! It tasted just like my favorite gluten recipe. Thank you!