Alright, I finally have some food for ya'll!! And this is a two-fer!! The dish above is a new one I tried the other night and really enjoyed it so I thought some of you might like it because the ingredients are right in season for most of us. It's a great summer dish: light and fresh. My green beans have just started coming in also, so I was trying to find some new ways to serve them anyway and it is scrumptious if the items are just picked. It's quick and easy too!
Green Bean and Cherry Tomato Salad
1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
1 1/4 pounds cherry tomatoes, halved
1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano
1 tablespoon minced shallots
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Cook bean in boiling water 7 minutes or until tender. Drain. Place beans, tomatoes and oregano in a bowl and toss gently to mix.
Combine shallots and vinegar, stirring with a whisk. Let sit for 10 minutes. Add oil, salt, and pepper to vinegar mixture, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Pour vinaigrette over bean mixture and toss well. Serve!
Now, I took a little liberty with this recipe and used basil instead of oregano, because I have it growing outside on the patio and think it goes well with tomatoes. I cut the amount of salt down a little and I used green onions instead of shallots. Oh, and I added a little feta, because feta goes with anything!
I served this with a grilled steak and roasted corn on the cob. Yummy!!!
Okay, now on to the cornbread. This is a pretty traditional southern meal; fried chicken, beans boiled with fresh taters and cornbread. It is also traditional in the South to serve fresh slices of tomatoes and cucumber with each meal in the summer, even breakfast, as they come in. No dressings or such; you just sprinkle a little salt or pepper on them if you want. Now, this is a true Southern cornbread recipe. It is very simple because Southerners were very poor back when this came about. No fancy ingredients or, God forbid, sugar. Please don't defile it by adding sugar and only use WHITE cornmeal. If mine has a golden cast it is because of the fresh, real egg in it. It astounds me that they actually sell cornbread mix in the stores because the recipe is so simple. I mean, it ain't much more than cornmeal and buttermilk. So,
Southern Cornbread or Cornpone
Now, this recipe is for a 6 inch skillet, so just multiply it or so. And you MUST use a cast iron skillet to cook it.
1 cup plain, medium grind cornmeal (WHITE)
1/4 cup all -purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
Mix the dry ingredients well, then add the egg and mix until distributed. Add enough fresh buttermilk until batter is slightly pourable.
Now, as you mix the batter, you have your skillet heating on the stove with enough oil to cover the bottom well. You must use enough oil that when you pour the batter in, the oil shows a bit above the batter. I know this sounds kinda voodoo but Southern cooking is like that. I can't tell you exact measurements; you just gotta know by lookin' at it.
So, pour the batter in the hot, well-seasoned skillet (it should sizzle a little). This heat, and the right amount of oil assures a crispy crust. Then take the hot skillet and place in a oven preheated to 425 degrees. Bake for 15 minutes or so. Or until the top is toasty and a knife inserted comes out clean.
Now, some people don't use the egg and you can use regular milk but I think the buttermilk adds a little myself. Serve HOT and with lots of real butter.
Now, if you want to be real white, southern trash, take any cornbread leftovers and crumble them up in a cold glass of regular milk or buttermilk. Or at least, that's what my ex-husband used to call me for eating that! And I did say, EX-husband.