03CornbreadChunksbfLOWe’re going to a pot luck picnic on Sunday and I’ve been wondering what to make. I don’t really know most of the people – it’s a get together for our friend Bob’s volley ball group – and it’s about an hour’s drive away in a park, so it needs to be user-friendly-generic and portable.

I do have a jar of marinated cherry peppers in the fridge (when don’t I?), but not enough for a crowd. I have loads of cheesy olive bombs in the freezer, but I don’t think they’ll travel all that well after I bring them out of the oven. Of course, I COULD decide to chance it – but like I said, I don’t KNOW most of these folks – and if I am going to crash and burn, I would much rather do it in the company of friends and family.

I’ve settled on a Southern Panzanella Salad – a Paula Deen recipe I found a few years ago when we were headed to a barbecue and we had corn bread left over from some of Rich’s mom’s white chili.

Not in possession of any of Rich’s mom’s most excellent corn bread – I went in search (on da Google, of course) for options, and came across this recipe, also by Paula Deen:

•6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the baking dish
•1 cup cornmeal
•3/4 cup all-purpose flour
•1 tbsp sugar
•1-1/2 tsp baking powder
•1/2 tsp baking soda
•1/4 tsp salt
•2 large eggs, lightly beaten
•1-1/2 cups buttermilk

01CornbreadBatterbfLOPreheat the oven to 425º and lightly grease an 8-inch baking dish.

In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, buttermilk, and butter.
02CornbreadBakedbfLOPour the buttermilk mixture into the cornmeal mixture and fold together until there are no dry spots (the batter will still be lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish.

Bake until the top is golden brown and tester inserted into the middle of the corn bread comes out clean, about 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the cornbread from the oven and let it cool for 10 minutes before serving.

I have some stashed in the bread box for Rich to sample when he gets home tomorrow; the rest is cubed and quietly getting well and truly stale before I toast it Saturday for the salad.

I used salted butter, made my substitute buttermilk and added a good sprinkling of dried chives. I think this cornbread, if eaten as is, needs a little sumpin’, sumpin’ – but it should work really well as the basis for my panzanella.

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