I am a Southern girl. I may have a cosmopolitan set of values or an eclectic variety of tastes, but my roots are true Southern. And nothing - NOTHING - is as quintessentially Southern food as cornbread. It transports me directly back to my childhood when my grandmother would make us a skillet of cornbread and a big pot of white beans for a meal. I still love that meal, so I made it last night. All Scott could do was roll his eyes while I exclaimed my love for cornbread every time I took a bite.
Here's my grandmother's recipe for cornbread (with some slightly modified ingredients to align with today's healthier values). I know some people don't share family recipes, but this stuff is too good to keep to myself.
2 c. yellow cornmeal (Since corn is one of the most common foods to be victimized by genetic engineering, consider getting organic.)
a little more cornmeal to spread in the skillet
1 c. all-purpose unbleached white flour
1 T. plus 1.5 t. non-aluminum baking powder
1 t. salt
2 T. sugar
1 stick of vegan margarine (or 1/2 c. canola oil, but the flavor won't be quite as rich)
3 free-range eggs, beaten (or substitute Ener-G's egg replacer if you need the product to be vegan)
1 3/4 c. rice milk
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Put the stick of margarine in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet, and put the skillet in the oven while it is preheating to melt the margarine. Don't let it burn while you're busy doing other things. (If you're using the canola oil instead, just pour it into the skillet and let it get warm in the oven while it's heating up.)
Mix the dry ingredients with a fork in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients, including the margarine or oil. Mix well with a wooden spoon.
Sprinkle cornmeal over the margarine or oil to cover the bottom of your iron skillet. Pour in the batter. Cook at 400 degrees F until the bread is golden-brown on top and has pulled away from the sides of the skillet. Eat warm, with or without margarine. Perfect with a big pot of white beans and, perhaps, some sautéed kale or collard greens!
NOTE: Some people find cast-iron cookware a mystery. You are not really supposed to scrub them out with soap and water, because you want the cookware to become "seasoned." I can't stand the thought of not scrubbing mine clean, so I do so anyway. I then use a paper towel to coat the surface with a thin layer of oil to keep it from rusting. My cookware has still seasoned to a fine, black finish. Lodge cookware is what I use for cast-iron skillets and griddles.