Grilled Corn Cast Iron Skillet Corn Bread
Some mornings I’m lucky enough to wake up to a golden glow blanketing my room. The early morning sun, as it begins to pierce through the trees of neighbors’ yards, dances on my wall and seduces my eager, tired eyes. Not unlike the smell of bacon, the yellows, oranges and reds peaking through the blinds call to me. My feet drag along the soft, cool carpet as I look for a shirt and some shorts. My eyes struggle with the light, each taking turns open as the golds, greens and light browns of my iris work to shield my pupil from the offensive light.
Like a factory coming to life–conveyors churning, gears clanking, people moving about, lights dancing, steam rising and sounds bubbling–my mind begins to wake to the perfect, idyllic sight of a quiet morning. I make it to my backyard before I remember why I woke up three hours early; I dart back inside for my camera. I decide on a lens nearly ten years older than I am, endowed to me from my mother, a relic of her own foray into photography before I was even a consideration. Wide open, the lens is delightfully soft and flawed, imperfect in the most perfect of ways for this perfect morning.
I trek through the weed-like grass of my backyard, pry open the rusted-shut gate and emerge at a small creek. Rays of golden light shine through a collection of saplings. They summon me away from my yard and into the grassy clearing. As if guided by the fantastical timing of a slow waltz, I dance from flower to flower, my eyes pulling me from one sight to the next. The meadow is empty. It belongs to me and my thoughts.
My feet hop and skip over burgeoning ant piles, trails of insects on their daily commute, and emerging flowers. I get lost in the quietness of the morning. As the earth continues its leisurely spin and the sun begins to gain altitude, runners, bikers and small children on walks with their parents slowly contribute a small mummer to the otherwise silent morning air. Their scatted cameos add a pleasant distraction across the gullied landscape. Soon lawnmowers can be heard roaring to life. I am greeted by more and more “good morning!”s, nods and smiles as neighbors join me in the peaceful, sun-lit greenbelt.
The sun travels ever higher, the light losing it’s golden allure. Content with the pictures I made, I find my way back to the gate to my yard. Only one thing is on my mind now, breakfast. I notice a clock inside and smile; I still have a couple hours before I would normally wake. Before my eyes land on the eggs or slab of bacon sitting in my fridge, I catch a glance of a few golden kernels of corn peaking through the protective green husk. Like the golden light beckoning me to enjoy the morning, the thought of a golden slab of cornbread entices my hungry stomach.
I light my grill, throw the corn on still in their husks and let them char to a beautifully-scented dark brown. With just a large glass bowl and a fork I begin to mix together the ingredients. I find my favorite cast iron skillet and toss it into the preheating oven. Sweet smells of bread and corn soon fill my house. Before I know it I am enjoying a slice of fresh from the oven corn bread covered in melting butter and warm honey.
- 7.5 ounces (1½ cups) corn meal
- 2.5 ounces (1/2 cups) graham or whole wheat flour
- 5 ounces (1 cup) bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 3 eggs
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks) butter, melted
- 1½ cup milk
- 1 cup corn kernels (about 1 corn cob)
- Soak a corn cob, husk and all, in water for 1 hour.
- Heat your grill over high heat. Also, preheat an oven to 400°F and place a 10" cast iron skillet in the oven while it preheats.
- Place the corn on the grill and cook for 20 to 25 minutes over high heat, rotating every few minutes. Cook with the cover down.
- While the corn cools, mix together the remaining ingredients in a bowl (that's right, this is a one-stage mixing method bread--everything goes into the bowl at once). Using a fork or spoon, mix until themixture just comes together.
- Cut the corn from the cob and add it to the mixture. Mix in the corn until it is evenly dispersed.
- Remove the cast iron skillet from the oven (be sure the oven is closed while you pour the batter so no heat escapes). Pour the mixture into the cast iron skillet and place the skillet back in the oven.
- Bake the corn bread for 22 to 27 minutes until the top is golden brown. The top will crack and if you insert a tooth pick it should come out just barely clean.