Friday, May 13, 2011

Joes, Cornbread and an Old Friend

When I went to the store over the weekend to buy a small container of buttermilk for the crème fraîche I was making, I discovered that all they had on hand were the large containers (Hmm… what does that work out to volume-wise? A quart?). So typical.

Anyway, I obviously ended up with way more buttermilk than I needed, but I figured I’d find a way to make use of it. And since I was also trying to clean the fridge out in preparation for another Dinner o’ the Month with Carley, I came up with a jalapeno and cheese cornbread. My search also yielded a bag of hash browns, which I fried with some onions and fresh spinach. And although chili sounded really good, I decided to go for a quicker sloppy Joes kind of a thing.

And while I can’t remember having a similar menu combo growing up, the meal did bring back memories of childhood, growing up on the farm (no one that knows me now would ever believe I lived on an actual farm). And as fate is often such a tricky thing, lo and behold, sometime after eating this meal and reminiscing over my time in Arkansas, I was contacted by my college roommate, who I had kind of lost track of.

So, while I feel like I should have polished the silverware and made a better showing, meal-wise, here’s to you, Mary.

Mary, by the way, was the one that got me interested in theater, mostly by yanking me by the feet kicking and screaming into the auditorium of the theater at our little college. Got hooked from there and have been ever since.

Thus the name of the blog.

Someone pointed out to me that they haven’t really found the ‘Shakespeare’ in ‘Measuring Spoons and Shakespeare’, and I guess my response is that ‘Measuring Spoons and Various Playwrights from Different Eras Being Represented by Different Theaters During Various Seasons’ just sounded, well… STUPID.

My plan for the blog was to combine two of my loves... cooking and theater.  Unfortunately, life has a way of intervening, and I haven't been able to do a whole lot, theater-wise, for a while.  Hopefully that will change.

I had also thought to post all of the local theater happenings, but until there are more than 5 people who regularly read this, it seems like an awful lot of extra effort for naught.

Anyway, back to the Joes…

Sloppy Joes

1 lb ground beef
1 - 2 Tbs olive oil
½ onion (preferably sweet), diced
1 green pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 Tbs apple cider vinegar
3 Tbs brown sugar
3 Tbs ketchup
1 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
3 Tbs Hickory Smoked BBQ sauce
1 heaping Tbs mustard
1 tsp dried thyme
½ tsp ground cloves
½ tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the diced peppers and onion and sauté until onions begin to color, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another minute or two. Crumble the ground beef over the cooked onion mixture and allow to brown, breaking up any large pieces.

Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low and allow to cook for about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.

Cheddar Jalapeno Cornbread

1 stick butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Heat oven to 375º and grease an 8” square baking pan. Combine the melted butter, sugar, eggs and buttermilk in a large mixing bowl. Whisk thoroughly to combine. Add the cornmeal, flour baking soda and salt and mix together until the dry ingredients are just combined. Stir in jalapeno and cheese.

Pour mixture into prepared baking pan. Bake in the center of the oven until the cornbread is brown on top and a knife inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 - 35 minutes.

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