Northern Arizona Corn Bread

 

NAZ cornbread

 

One of the few recent food happenings I have actually gotten a photo of is this cornbread.  It’s my adaptation of a recipe that my Mom has made since I was little.  It came from one of my elementary school teachers, Ms. Bené.  We made it during our creative retreat this year, actually twice, it was a hit!  It’s a sweeter-style cornbread, what in the US we call “Northern” style.  I’ve given it a Southwestern twist as well.  It’s great with blue cornmeal, if you can find it, and pretty awesome with some chiles inside as well.

 

Northern Arizona Cornbread

In a large bowl, mix well:

1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

2/3 cup sugar

2 eggs

 

Stir in:

1 cup buttermilk, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

-or- plain milk and no soda

The buttermilk gives a nice flavor, but it’s not necessary.  Either way, you can add a dash more milk for a very moist cornbread.

 

Pile on top of the liquids in the bowl:

1 cup blue cornmeal (or yellow if you can’t find blue.)

1 cup whole wheat flour (you can use white or a mix if you prefer)

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder (at sea level, at 7000′ I use 1  1/4 tsp)

Stir just until blended.

 

Optional: remove the stems, centers, and seeds from 3 roasted green chiles.  Cut into thin strips, and stir in just before baking.  This adds a delicious bit of spiciness, but leave out if you are serving the cornbread along with other hot foods, which it goes really well with! Chile time is coming again soon!

 

Scrape into a heavy baking pan.  Any size 9 x 9″ or bigger will work, the cornbread will just be a little thicker or thinner.  Bake at 350˚ F for about 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  It should be a little bit brown around the edges and golden on top, although with the blue corn it can be harder to see.   Enjoy!

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Body and Earth, Home Territory

 

I’m pleased to report we’re home at last!  At last – without a crazy amount to do, with all my beautiful supplies and tools right in front of me, in my studio, in the kitchen!  Bliss.  We got back late Wednesday night (the same day I took these pictures), and the last thing I did before falling asleep was read the last chapter of a really interesting book I’ve been working my way through, Body and Earth by Andrea Olsen.  It was the textbook to a class one of my cousins took at Middlebury College.  My aunt read it too, she kept talking about how much she liked it, and finally they let me borrow a copy.

To be honest, it starts off a little bit, umm, out in left field for me – talking about our evolutionary history and how that relates to the way our bodies move.  But, it moves on pretty quickly into more concrete territory, talking about body processes, earth systems, and ways we can affect both, in a really integrative way that I loved.  I have been working on posture and healthy ways to work with my body a lot lately, and there are a lot of exercises and ideas in this book that I found really interesting and helpful.  But as far as just things to think about, the end of the book may be the best part.  There are a few chapters about connections between earth, body and society, again talking about how everything is related rather than each part on its own.  There are a couple of quotes in this part that speak to what I’m trying to say here.

 

 

Our culture breeds dissatisfaction in order to sell products . . .  As we realize that we are sensual beings, living as part of a world that delights the senses, we can distance ourselves from the cultural baggage of dissatisfaction.  We need less, not more, to experience a full life.

 

 

As we commodify art and creativity, we see art as other and creativity as foreign, rather than familiar.  In the process, we risk losing access to our deepest visions and our intuitive resources.   Conversely, as we reclaim creativity, we engage the unknown on a daily basis and listen for truth.

 

 

We have grown accustomed to high-end art: perfect recordings, museum paintings, and multimillion-dollar films.  But creativity is personal.  As we participate in the process, we recognize that it is not just about observing, not just about buying and consuming, alienating ourselves from our own creativity.  It is about participating in the creative universe we live in.

 

 

It seemed fitting somehow that as I finished this book, we came back into the landscape of my childhood, the places I feel the most connected to.  When we started into the plains and mountains of southwest Colorado, I felt such a tug on my heart, it’s not just that this place is beautiful (spectacular this time of year as the leaves change), it’s that I love it and I feel rooted here.  The desert, so close and yet so different, I love it too, even though I hated it driving across it as a kid, it seemed so empty.  It still seems stark, but so open, so subtle, so much a part of my home.

 

 

Just the clouds are amazing.  I’ll be back soon with more on participating in our creative universe!