This weekend is the “Comfort Food Festival” in Downtown Toms River from Noon to 6pm. Jimmy Steal and the Rat Pack will be onsite to enjoy all the great food, merchandise vendors, handcrafters, kids activities, live entertainment and a beer & wine garden provided by Toms River Volunteer Fire Co. #1. Local businesses, restaurants, brewery and distillery open on the street. Free Admission & Free Parking in downtown during the event.
If you’ve been a fan of WRAT for more than a couple of decades, than you know I love to cook and bake. Fall and Winter are the seasons I really dig in and get busy. I think about creating a variety of soups, stews, breads, cakes, and other comforting dishes.
Back in the day, I used to do something called “Ratsgiving.” I would create a menu and then take up a collection from my co-workers and go food shopping a week or 2 before Thanksgiving. Then I’d spend 3 days cooking and baking my tail off.
A sample menu would be: Roast turkey, Homemade turkey gravy, Grandma Rose’s pot roast, baked ham, mashed potatoes, sausage stuffing, my famous cranberry-blueberry relish, homemade green bean casserole (no condensed soup used in this recipe), brussels sprouts with caramelized onions and bacon, pecan pie, pumpkin pie, French apple pie, and one of my monstrous cake creations.
Radio people love to eat, especially if someone else is doing the cooking. The RAT crew has been talking about bringing” Ratsgiving” back this year. I’m going to have to mentally prepare. I’ll try to keep you posted.
In the meantime I’m getting ready to head back into the kitchen this weekend to create a welcome home meal for Bruce. He’s away on business and probably missing my home cooking. I’m thinking maybe some pork dish, perhaps pulled pork or a garlic pork roast, a pot of collard greens, and a beautiful loaf of jalapeno cheddar bread.
The jalapeno cheddar bread is fantastic, especially if it’s super moist and served warm with lots of creamy unsalted butter. I have a great recipe to share with you. I’ve made plenty of cornbread in my time either using a cast iron skillet, a large loaf pan, or a 9×13 Pyrex dish. This time out, I’m going with the Pyrex.
Rocker’s Jalapeno Cheddar Bread
2 and a ½ Cups of white flour
1 and a ½ Cups yellow cornmeal
½ cup of regular white sugar
2 teaspoons of granulated garlic ( I like the Badia brand with parsley, but use what you have on hand)
2 tablespoons of baking powder
2 teaspoons of salt
1 and 3/4 cups of buttermilk
½ cup of sour cream
1 cup of unsalted melted butter
4 ears of corn with the kernels cut off the cob (you can use a 10 ounce bag of frozen corn if fresh corn is unavailable)
12 oz of shredded sharp cheddar ( it’s best to buy a block and shred it yourself because the pre-shredded stuff has added cellulose)
3 jalapenos (seeded and diced fine) Unless you like a lot of heat you can leave some seeds in
Preheat the oven to 350
Butter your 9x 13 dish or feel free to use non-stick spray
Dice the jalapenos
Shred the cheese
In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and add the buttermilk, sour cream, melted butter and mix well with a whisk
In another large mixing bowl , add the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and granulated garlic. Mix well, and then add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and whisk until the batter is smooth.
Add the corn , 8 ounces of the cheddar cheese, and diced jalapeno and lightly fold into the batter. Don’t over mix or the cornbread will be rubbery.
Pour batter into greased baking dish and top with remaining 4 oz of shredded cheese. Bake for 42 -52 minutes, make sure to check after 42 minutes because oven temperatures vary by manufacturer. If you’re oven runs really hot, check after 40 minutes. The bread is done when you stick a toothpick in the middle and it comes out clean.
Enjoy and look forward to more comforting recipes. -Robyn