Norma Schafer’s Red Tail Grains Cornbread–Dairy + Gluten Free

We are confined to a smaller lifestyle. There are limitations to what we can do, where we can go, who we can see. Many of us are suffering loss of income, family contact, financial well-being. Some of us don’t know if we can keep our homes or make the next rent payment.

I yearn for Oaxaca. I yearn to take small groups of travelers into indigenous villages in pursuit of understanding and to explore the textile traditions. I perfected a cornbread recipe in Oaxaca where I went to my local mill down the street to buy organic meal. They grind the finest cornmeal and I could not find it here — until now!

redtailgrains@gmail.com or www.redtailgrains.com

For now, I’m stuck in Durham, North Carolina until it is safe to travel again. Many of us are stuck somewhere, physically or metaphorically. (There are worse places to be stuck!) For solace, I turn to cooking — that great leveler of creative output. This falls into the category of comfort food.

At the Durham Farmer’s Market (I go early when it is safe and there are fewer people), I discovered Red Tail Grains from Mebane, NC. I’ve been using their fine stone ground corn meal for several months. It makes the finest cornbread, perfect for my lactose-free and gluten-free diet. It yields a cake-like texture with a fine crumb. I season it up like a spice cake but add Hatch Chili powder for a Mexico-style kick. Great with morning coffee, too!

Ingredients/Recipe:

  • 1 C. Red Tail Cateto Orange Heirloom Flint Corn
  • 1-1/2 C. Gluten-Free Flour (almond flour or King Arthur brand)
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Hatch chili powder
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 T. ground turmeric
  • 2 T. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1-1/2 C. almond milk or other plant-based milk
  • 1 tsp. white vinegar
  • 7 T. unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 eggs, large
  • 1/2 C. sugar

Note: To make this VEGAN, use butter and egg substitutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Combine all dry ingredients and grated ginger in a mixing bowl. Make a well. Combine milk and vinegar and let it sit to clabber for at least five minutes. Beat together eggs and sugar. Add all liquid ingredients to the well and mix until thoroughly combined into a cake-like batter — the consistency of pancake mix.

Prepare a baking pan. I use a 10″ cast iron skillet, well-seasoned, lined with parchment paper. You can also use an 8″ x 8″ square glass baking dish, greased. I would also recommend lining same with parchment paper.

Pour batter into baking pan. Put onto middle rack of preheated oven. Bake 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

Let cool. Cut into squares. Will keep refrigerated for one week or you can freeze successfully.

Enjoy!

Fresh from the oven! Can you smell it?

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