Friday, February 9, 2018

The Fourth Caribbean Reduction

This cornbread contained 1/2 a coconut and all it's milk, but had no visible coconut.   Before opening, the coconut got a good sanding to keep it from dropping so much dust in the bowl. When struck repeatedly around its equator with the back of a heavy knife, it gave up about 6 oz coconut milk.

 This time the coconut didn't let go of the shell worth a darn, so removing the dark outer layer was not as easy as last time. After bumping a knuckle on the grater a couple of times and wasting a few more min. on the Parmesan grater, I cut the coconut into pieces about 1/2 an inch wide and sliced off the brown layer (badabing). The heck with grating. The 1/2 coconut, the coconut milk, and 2 cups of no-fat buttermilk went into the blender and became pureed.   

A measured cup went in the pot to get the first mark for the tape (on the butter knife). The rest of the puree was then added and measured to make the dots on the tape (so I could tell where I started). I started hot (6 on the stove eye). By the time it got to 1 1/2 cups, it looked like grits and was spitting painfully out of the pot. Close enough.

 We hit it hard at dinner and shared some with a neighbor. It was so good that it was almost gone before I thought to grab a picture for the article. 

2 1/4 cups self-rising cornmeal
  1/2 med onion (grated)
 1 cup corn oil
 3 eggs
 15 oz can cream style corn
 the 1 1/2 cups reduced puree
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos
3 chipotle peppers in adobo
4 oz extra sharp cheddar
28 min at 425 degrees F

Caribbean Reduction # 3

Kentucky Cornbread PI Deep Cover, brings back the cream style corn and grated onion, and squeezes in 2 cups fresh coconut, 1/2 cup pineapple, and 6 oz pineapple juice as well. I have a friend who likes coconut flavors but isn't fond of the texture. This one should be right up his alley. 

I got no-fat buttermilk by mistake, so I used the chance provided by the missing milk-fat to squeeze in more fresh coconut.
2 cups grated fresh coconut
6 oz pineapple juice,  2 slices pineapple 
2 cups of no fat buttermilk
 made up the puree. Of this mixture 2 cups were reduced to one cup for the batter. The remaining 12 oz of puree were frozen for later.

 This batch made one pan of mini-loaves, one cast iron pan of corn looking sticks and the rest went into this 8 1/2 inch skillet. The reduction went faster this time 30 min, was all it took.
1 cup of coconut/pineapple reduction  
2 eggs
15 oz can of white cream style corn
1 1/2 cup self-rising cornmeal mix
3/4 cup corn oil
1/2 medium sized onion (grated)
4 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup pickled nacho slices 
1 can chipotles in adobo sauce (I used about 2 peppers)
28 min @ 425 degrees F
 This Kentucky cornbread has numerous hidden virtues. The reduced buttermilk-coconut-pineapple puree disappears like the cream style corn, while the cheese, peppers, and adobo sauce all sink in during baking.         

Kentucky Cornbread P I

No I haven't taken up private investigating (except its cornbread aspects). We are, however, going undercover, pineapple incognito. 

Fiber's good OK, but the coconut I got for this second run at the Caribbean Reduction (02) is positively hairy, so sanding was first. The canned coconut milk was interesting but had way too many ingredients. No dried sweetened coconut flakes this time either. 

If you haven't opened a coconut before (hope you got a juicy one) hold it over a bowl, rap it sharply with the backside of a heavy knife at its equator, rotate and repeat. I had to go around 4 or five times before it finally cracked. Up till it cracks keep clearing dust from the bowl. 
    After grating off the dark brown outside of the coconut meat, I grated about a cup for the batter. The coconut milk (about 7 oz) was added to the juice from a 20 oz can of crushed pineapple (about 6 oz) and reduced by 3/4. The tape marks the depth of the un-reduced juice.


The recombined juices, pineapple, and grated coconut were tweaked to add up to 15 oz. The 3/4 cup of corn oil was shared out to the pans and the remainder was poured into the wet ingredients along with 1 cup buttermilk and 2 eggs. After mixing the wet ingredients well, 1 3/4 cups self-rising cornmeal was measured up and set aside. While the pans were heating the corn meal mix was stirred into the batter.

The finished cornbread showed no coconut or pineapple. I'm looking forward to my next P I cornbread test, where similar amounts of crushed pineapple and fresh coconut are to be combined with onion, peppers and cheese  (minus the reduction).

Caribbean Reduction # 1

The question last time was, "How much pineapple can one batch of cornbread hold?" The "Caribbean Reduction" started with 20 oz of crushed pineapple, 13.5 oz of coconut milk, and about 1/2 cup fresh pineapple. 

 Mashed in a colander the 20 oz crushed pineapple gave up 6 oz juice. This was added to the 13.5 oz of coconut milk and boiled while whisking to keep it from foaming. This was slow as I was a reduction rookie (45 min) but the smell was amazing. 
I figured it would be tough to tell just how much reduction had
occurred, so at the beginning I stuck a butter knife in the mix to get a start point to mark with tape.

The reduction continued till the level had fallen by 2/3. I then dumped the pineapple back in and poured it in a measuring cup. The new combined volume was 16 oz. The "Kentucky Cornbread 2.0" recipe I'm working from normally got 15 oz of cream style corn. 

 The oil this time was all corn 3/4 cup was all
the oil used. First all the pans got a little oil in each cell then the rest was added to the batter along with two eggs and 7 oz of buttermilk (instead of the usual 8). Before heating the pans the wet ingredients were mixed well and the 1 1/2 cups self-rising cornmeal mix was measured and put aside. While the pans were preheating the corn meal mix was stirred in. The last minute add-ins included flaked sweetened coconut, about 1/2 cup pineapple (half-a-pinky sized) pieces, and some pepper-jack for a few.

  After 28 minutes (in my oven) at 425 degrees f they were ready. WooHoo.


As Dr Zoidburg would put it "It was me, I'm tha hero!"
If only I were that excited, for all the time and flavor intensifying steps, this cornbread was still pretty mild. I liked all the pineapple fiber hidden away in it, still, most of the pineapple taste seemed to be coming from the add-in chunks. The concentrated coconut milk also remained pretty low key. But what about all that hidden fiber (slightly more than a pound) hmm? What if the pineapple were actually hiding out? See "Kentucky Cornbread P I" (pineapple incognito).

The Quest For Coconut Cornbread

This isn't my first attempt at a coconut cornbread, just the first edible one(s). My first attempt was several years ago. I tried coconut milk, yogurt, and olive oil, hmm.  It did teach me not to change too many things in a recipe at the same time, or you can't tell what's working and what's not.  

I took baby steps this time, kinda. All the oil in this first Kentucky cornbread half-batch was replaced with coconut oil. It sat kinda weird on my stomach, not surprising since it seems most people supplementing their diet with coconut oil for its various benefits stop at about one teaspoon a day. 
   On the next batch and a half, I backed down a smidge on the coconut oil. Only the oil for the pans was coconut while the batter got corn oil. This lowered the amount (of coconut oil) per serving (piece) to about half a teaspoon. It tasted better (corn oil has a mild flavor) and sat better on my stomach, especially in quantity. This time it was all three, cheesy, cheesy with pickled jalapenos, and cheesy with adobo sauce and chipotle peppers. The three butter knives allow air flow for cooling and drying of the skillet slab.

Time to double down again. First two oils were used instead of one. Then, 1/4 cup of grated onion was replaced by 1/2 cup of crushed pineapple in the batter. Once the batter was loaded into the pre-oiled pre-heated pans tidbits of pineapple, sweetened flaked coconut, and in this case Swiss cheese were added.

 Woo hoo! Ok, one more mystery. How much pineapple can this mix support? I'm wanting to drain a can of pineapple tidbits and replace half the 15 fl oz of creme-style corn normally called for. Maybe even add some of the reduced pineapple juice (drained from the tidbits) into a few mini loaves or muffins to see how well that works. It's gonna have to wait a while though, I've got a lot of cornbread on hand right now (even some frozen).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Black n Blue Thanksgiving Hawaiian

Even with a shortage of good pictures, this post with it's Spam vindication message needed doing.  I wanted to be thorough this time. For one thing, Spam had to be better than it turned out last time, so this time I gave it a running start. Both the pan fried (some finished off with a splash of black coffee for the red eye gravy glaze) and the oven browned Spam were pretty good. Both were a whole lot better than the cool pink, straight from the can style used in the first Blue Hawaiian experiment.

This test batch recipe included both bacon (also very compatible with pineapple) as well as Spam. The black n blue comes from the smashed black beans and the blue stains that appear around the grated purple cabbage pieces. Sauerkraut cut short, Swiss cheese, and pineapple wedges were the last of the toppings. Butter knives to support the cooling pone helped dry the disk without flipping it a couple of times. Standing on edge worked OK for the mini loaves, with the cob shaped sticks balanced on top.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


 I was thinking about the Russian style cornbread (red cabbage, red onion, black beans) and wondered, "What else might go well with the red cabbage taste, and weird blue dots and rings?" Of course corned beef came to mind, and bacon, and maybe some Swiss cheese. I knew I was on a roll. While gathering ingredients for a Lake-House Black Iron Reuben experiment, I saw the Spam. Ta-Da, a star is born.

 From the beginning the Blue Hawaiian would not be denied. It called to me from the edge of sleep. Heck, it's not like I could sleep with the rowdy cornbread dancing around in my head. Besides, no way I was letting this one get away. After I got up and outlined the recipe, I managed to get to sleep for almost three hours. Then too excited to sleep, I went on to the grocery store for cornbread ammunition.

 There is one baby picture (ingredients), but even though I've made it twice now, I still have no pone portraits to share. The somewhat involved process yielded Blue Hawaiian cornbread in a bunch of styles, German, East German, Russian, and Swiss cheesy (second time around).

Trying out so many different accessory sets made the set-up slow. The basic Blue Hawaiian cornbread included pineapple and spam, red onion, red cabbage, and optional Swiss cheese. In preparation I grated the purple cabbage and the red onion, which I added to the buttermilk to soak and purplize (a technical term). The Swiss cheese and Spam were sliced into 1/4 in square (or smaller) 2 inch long strips. The sliced pineapple was cut small as well, 1/2 inch at it's widest. This is where I should've browned the Spam, but no. I've made the Blue Hawaiian variety twice now and I've only found any Spam in the finished pone once, in the skillet version where I laid the strips on top with the cheese.

  Versions, varieties, styles, the technical lingo of the cornbread science frontier is still quite young. Who knew cornbread could rate such a pedigree? We spun the Blue Hawaiian cornbread a number of different directions. An early favorite was the German, with it's squeezed, short-chopped sauerkraut, and bacon. Personally I liked the Russian variation with it's smaller than a cranberry globs of smashed black beans. Still, I did enjoy the East German treatment, sporting the black beans of the Russian style and unadorned sauerkraut. All these were presented in the Blue Hawaiian style, with spam and pineapple.

  If this seems like a lot of ingredients to stuff into a black iron, corn shaped, pone mold at once, yer right it is. So far I don't think any of them got as done as they could. Don't get me wrong. They're brown top and bottom, but I think if I let them have 5 min. more than the standard 25 min @ 425 f, they'd be better. Still, most of them were gone as soon as they cooled enough to touch.

 The small skillets have yielded some excellent results except when, trying to use up the last of the batter, I put in more than slightly less than an inch of batter. I suspect the cake like tendency was a result of too much  onion juice, nearly 1/4 cup, from my 1/2 of a grated, racket-ball sized, dark red onion. It did seem to take unusually long to cook, but this could just be an oven variation since I was making it at a friend's house. It smelled amazing and looked blueberry. If I'd managed to keep any, I'm sure it would've made great left-over pone.

 Good pictures will have to wait for the sauteed Spam test batch, but I'm afraid that may be Spam's last stand. The kids have shown no love for the Spam and I found it only an "official seeming Hawaiian" pineapple compliment. Actually I doubt the fried Spam test batch will hold a candle to the baconized (Spam free) version.
We'll see, aloha y'all.