Weather: 23 degrees, foggy
What I’m listening to: What Can I Say, Brandi Carlile
Cornmeal is a remarkable ingredient. It can be baked into savory applications, like my Cheddar Green Chile Cornbread. It’s also excellent for thickening soups and stews, like a pot of tortilla soup or beef chili. Let’s not forget cornmeal’s cousins, polenta and grits. Either of those simmered low and slow until creamy, with some butter and cream, and maybe even some cheese thrown in are absolute heaven underneath a pork ragu or a pile of garlicky shrimp. And there’s cornmeal’s other cousin, masa flour, used to make handmade corn tortillas, tamales, or pupusas.
I’ve long been a fan of cornmeal in sweet preparations as well. It’s a habit I picked up from my grandmother who loves to bake fresh blueberries into her buttery cornbread. I love a stack of corn griddlecakes with maple syrup and butter for breakfast alongside crisp bacon. I add cornmeal to my pumpkin bread in the fall to help it slice better and to give it just a slight hint of texture. And today, I’m offering you some delightfully moist cornmeal muffins with blood orange and rosemary. I’ve added freshly squeezed blood orange juice and blood orange zest to the batter along with finely chopped fresh rosemary. Then, I baked thin slices of orange right on top of the muffins and finished them with a blood orange glaze. The combination of rosemary with the cornmeal and the citrus might be one of my favorite cornmeal recipes yet.