Eye catching confetti cornbread is a healthy barbecue side with bursts of sweet corn and spicy jalapeños. Soft and springy cornbread with easy low-fat swaps.
Thursday I am going to board a plane destined for Austin Texas and the annual Blogher Food conference. You can imagine how excited I am to be jetting off for four days. It is not often I am able to combine travel, education, meeting friends, & sleeping in a bed all by myself. The trip means I will be missing this week’s Cooking Matters class. There will be a substitute chef but it was a little strange to get the hang of things and then say, “see you in two weeks.”
The first week was a little scattered. I attempted to follow the course outline, teach the recipes, and share nuggets of my own experience with the participants. Teaching, listening, cooking, and delegating tasks, proved a bigger challenge than I expected. We did finish the recipes but the cooking cut into the other educational components and we had to shuffle a few things around. Thankfully the task of leading a class is managed by a team of three volunteers. The nutritionist and kitchen assistant had the benefit of past experience with the program and helped me get up to speed gracefully. After abandoning most of my initial intentions, I focused only on moving the class forward and attempting to look like I knew what I was doing.
Having just met everyone, I wasn’t sure how to read all the reactions to the activities. Some participants spoke up at every opportunity while others faded into their seats. Just when I was feeling like things were about to completely fall apart I heard one of the participants chuckle and say, to no one in particular, “this is really fun.” Thank God for the small things. Her delight helped me take a breath and remember to enjoy the remaining steps of our recipes.
Aside from the participant’s comment, the highlight of week 1 came when everyone dug into the meal we had prepared together. We talked about alternate ingredients to vary the flavors of our dishes and generally got to know each other a little better. This reminded me of why I was drawn to the program in the first place. When a group of people share an experience it binds them, hopefully in a positive way. Food is a powerful tool to promote positive growth. I appreciate the way Cooking Matters empowers communities to become healthy together through increasing nutrition awareness and sharing healthy meals.
Confetti cornbread was one of our week 1 recipes. Even with my harried approach, it came out moist and fluffy. I was delighted by the little bursts of sweet corn and spicy jalapeños. By the time everyone was finished not a crumb was left behind. I enjoyed the recipe so much I made it at home a few days later. Mr. Second Helpings confessed that he is not a lover of cornbread but was impressed by this version. I knew it was a keeper when The Little Helping dug right in to his serving rather than first taking it apart to inspect all the colorful bits.
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1∕3 cup sugar
- 2½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup low-fat buttermilk
- 1∕3 cup nonfat plain yogurt
- 2 red or green chili peppers, like jalapeño or serrano
- ½ cup diced red bell pepper
- ½ cup corn kernels
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Lightly spray a 9x9 baking dish with non-stick spray or wipe the inside with a little oil, set aside.
- Prepare the chilies. Remove the stems then slice from top to bottom. Use a small sharp knife to remove the white membrane and seeds. Finely dice the chilies, the pieces should be approximately the size of grains of rice. For a little more heat in your cornbread leave some of the seeds. The diced chilies should equal between 2 tablespoons and ¼ of a cup. Discard stems, seeds, and membranes then wash hands immediately with warm soapy water. Set prepared chillies aside with the diced bell pepper and corn kernels.
- In a medium bowl, use a fork to combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
- In a large bowl, gently lightly beat the egg before adding the buttermilk and yogurt. Whisk wet liquid until it is uniform in color and texture. Mix the chilies, bell pepper, and corn into the liquid.
- Add the dry ingredients to the liquid in two batches, mix just enough to combine the wet and dry ingredients. The batter will be thick. Pour the batter into your prepared baking dish.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 25 -30 minutes until the top is golden and the edges are slightly brown. Check the center of the cornbread for doneness by inserting a toothpick straight in the middle, it should come out clean.
- Allow the cornbread to cool and rest in the pan for 10 minutes prior to serving.