Yes, it's summertime in the northern hemisphere... and where I live the temperatures have been over 108F for the past week. Some may think it inappropriate to make cornbread this time of year - but it's not! If nothing else, bookmark this post because come the fall/winter holiday season someone's gonna ask "do you have a good recipe for homemade corn bread" and you can reply "why yes... yes I do"...

One of my favorite side dishes with Thanksgiving Dinner is cornbread dressing. In our family, I'm the one who has been trusted with our "secret family recipe" for it and I'm expected to bring it every year. Not a problem since I love, love, LOVE to not only EAT cornbread dressing, but I love the process of making it too!! In order to make a really good cornbread dressing... well... ya gotta start off with a really good cornbread itself.

Now, this isn't the high, fluffy, uber-sweet stuff. Don't get me wrong, I love that kind of cornbread - especially when I'm just eating it by itself or alongside a bowl of chili or with a meal of bbq ribs/chicken/tri-tip. But for cornbread dressing I prefer something that's more rustic... and holds together well without getting sogged-down when all the liquid ingredients and butter are added.

In the hot summer months, the last thing we're thinking about making is cornbread dressing. I understand that, trust me... I do! LOL. But it's a good time to test drive this recipe as a side dish for a BBQ or cookout. Then you can decide if it'll make a great base for YOUR secret family recipe for cornbread dressing. What? You don't have a secret family recipe? Never fear - I'll post a good one for you when we get closer to the Holiday season :) But for now... try the cornbread ;-)

HomeMade Rustic Cornbread

3/4 cups cornmeal
1 1/4 cups milk
1 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1 egg
1/4 cup vegetable oil

In a bowl, combine cornmeal and milk - let stand for 20 minutes. --- THIS IS IMPORTANT... you really REALLY have to let this mixture stand for AT LEAST 20 minutes to soften the cornmeal. As it is, cornmeal is very grainy - if you don't let it soften up for AT LEAST 20 minutes your cornbread will be pretty much inedible. Let it sit for 30 minutes if ya got the time :)

Spray a cast iron skillet -OR- cast iron scone/cornbread pan with baking spray
Preheat oven to 400F degrees

In a separate bowl, whisk together by hand the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients with the cornmeal/milk mixture, eggs, oil and honey... and mix on a medium speed until smooth. Once smooth, continue mixing at a medium-high speed for another 5 minutes.

Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake 30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Makes 8 servings

Have a delicious day!