Here in Eugene, OR, we've got our very own famous vegan restaurant, the Cornbread Cafe, which has the distinction of being the very first vegan restaurant to be featured on The Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives! I've been a fan of Cornbread Cafe's down-home, delectable vegan comfort food since it first opened as a food cart downtown on Oak Street.
It wasn't very long before Cornbread Cafe evolved from its humble beginnings as a food cart to a colorful, full-service restaurant complete with comfy diner-style booths and lunch counter. When friends visit from out of town, I can't wait to take them to Cornbread Cafe to experience the decadently delicious Eugenewich. Take a peek at my very own personal Cornbread Cafe photo gallery. Look closely—you may even see someone you know!
To put it mildly, I'm cuckoo for Cornbread Cafe's signature cornbread. So when I flipped through the pages of The HappyCow Cookbook and found the recipe for Skillet Cornbread along with recipes for the cafe's crispy-good Chicken Fried Tempeh and impossibly thin and delicious Tofu Omelet Sheets, I just about flipped! (I also just about kicked myself in the pants for recently getting rid of my cast-iron skillet.) But I made the cornbread in a muffin pan instead of a skillet, and it came out gorgeously golden and tasted every bit as delicious as the cornbread I've enjoyed so many times at the restaurant. With just a schmear of strawberry jam on my cornbread muffin...WOW! What a treat!
Following is the recipe for Cornbread Cafe's Skillet Cornbread reprinted with the kind permission of BenBella Books. A couple of notes: I avoid products containing palm oil, so I used vegetable oil instead of EB to grease the pan. And because I used a muffin pan instead of a cast-iron skillet, the cornbread was fully baked in only 17 minutes. (Be sure to use a toothpick to test your batch.)
Cornbread Cafe Skillet Cornbread
1 to 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter substitute (I used vegetable oil)
1 cup cornmeal (medium ground)
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup soy or rice milk
1⁄3 cup oil
Egg replacer for 2 eggs (follow directions on box)
For the topping (optional):
Earth Balance butter substitute (I opted for strawberry jam)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Put 1 or 2 tablespoons Earth Balance butter substitute (or other vegan margarine) into a 9" cast-iron skillet and put in the heated oven for about 10 minutes.
Add together the dry ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl and whisk together, combining thoroughly.
Set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together all the wet ingredients (soy or rice milk through egg
replacer). Add wet ingredients to dry and mix well, just until all of the dry mixture is incorporated with the wet. Some small lumps are okay.
Remove skillet from oven and coat bottom and sides with the melted Earth Balance. Pour (or scrape)
batter into skillet, spreading evenly with rubber spatula. Bake for approximately 20 to 25 minutes in
the middle of the center rack. Test the center of corn bread with a toothpick after 20 minutes. When the toothpick comes out clean without crumbs sticking to it, the corn bread is done. Let it cool for a few minutes and, if desired, serve with Earth Balance and agave syrup.
If you'd like to take your taste buds on a tasty trip around the world, get yourself a copy of The HappyCow Cookbook. You'll soon be enjoying dishes like the Pistachio-Crusted Eggplant Napoleons from Millenium in San Francisco and Red Curry Tempeh Tempura from Veggies on Fire in the Netherlands. And now you can win a copy of The HappyCow Cookbook just by leaving a comment below and following the prompt in the Rafflecopter box! (This step is required for entry.) After you leave a comment, you can earn additional entries by following any or all of the other Rafflecopter options. I'll be selecting one lucky winner at random.* Good luck!
*Giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.
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