Try homecooked bread to top off your next dinner party

Entertaining family and friends often entails sitting down to a good meal. Hosts can have the meal catered, but many prefer to whip up a favorite recipe or try something new.

While the entree often gets the bulk of the attention, hosts who want to go the extra mile can spend some extra time supplementing the meal with some homecooked side dishes. Bread makes a perfect side dish or appetizer for many meals, and those who want to try their hand at baking their own bread should consider the following recipe for “Southwest Cornbread” from Linda Collister’s “Quick Breads” (Ryland, Peters & Small).

 

Southwest Cornbread

Makes 1 medium bread

 

2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen

2/3 cup fine yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted

1 rounded teaspoon chopped fresh sage leaves

1 scallion, sliced

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

1/4 cup corn oil

2 extra-large eggs

1 cup buttermilk

1 pat of butter

1 9-inch cast iron, ovenproof skillet or an 8-inch square cake pan

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Put the corn kernels, cornmeal, baking powder, salt, pine nuts, sage, scallion, and flour in a large bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, beat the oil with the eggs and buttermilk, then stir into the dry ingredients to make a thick batter.

If you are using the skillet, heat the pan with the pat of butter in the oven until foaming — about 3 minutes. If you are using a cake pan, then grease it well.

Pour the batter into the hot skillet or the prepared pan and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes until firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Serve while still warm, either straight from the skillet or turned out of the pan onto a cutting board and cut into large squares.

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