Thanksgiving Recipe- Gluten Free Corn Sticks


Corn Sticks
The best cornmeal for this recipe is medium grind stone ground. It will give you a combination of floury particles and larger ones with a bit of crunch. If you can’t find it use regular yellow corn meal. This recipe will also bake in a 9” cast iron skillet or baking dish. When baking the gluten free version in a pan or skillet I recommend a thin layer of batter. The corn stick molds are charming and this is a good excuse to use them. Use actual oil to grease the molds, I once tried non-stick spray and the batter stuck like glue. This recipe fills two molds making 14 corn sticks. My husband, Keane, likes to add a finely chopped, deseeded Jalapeno or Serrano pepper.

The original recipe below calls for 1/4th cup of flour. After some experimentation for a gluten intolerant friend I learned it makes excellent cornsticks by making the following changes. Delete the 1/4th cup of flour and add 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed. Next reduce buttermilk by one tablespoon. If gluten is an issue make these corrections.

1 cup yellow cornmeal
¼ cup flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons oil
½ cup cooked corn

Set oven rack in middle of oven and preheat to 425 degrees F. Oil and preheat seasoned corn stick pans for ten minutes.
Take a medium mixing bowl and add in cornmeal. Add sifted flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir to combine dry ingredients. Lightly beat eggs and combine with buttermilk, oil and corn.
Remove corn stick pans from oven and using a brush lightly oil the molds. If excess oil gathers in the bottom use a paper towel to wick it away. Quickly fill molds with 2 to 3 tablespoons batter and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for 2-3 minutes before removing from pan. Use a small sharp knife blade to gently loosen edges These are at their best served fresh from the oven. If you are preparing ahead, cool on a wire rack and freeze well wrapped sticks. Reheat on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees. Lightly oil skillet or baking dish if not using molds.

Speaking at Tilth Conference

Saturday, November 18, I’ll be speaking on container gardening using edible plants at the annual Oregon Tilth Conference. Celebrating their 32nd anniversary, the  conference takes place over two days in Salem, Oregon. This non profit organization provides a strong outreach education program on sustainable agriculture and is one of the leading providers of organic certification.

Thanksgiving – Zesty Chocolate Pecan Pie


Zesty Chocolate Pecan Pie – a Thanksgiving favorite

This rich and decadent pie combines some of the great flavors of the Southern US and Central America. Pecans are the state trees of Texas and native to the US, chocolate and vanilla come from Mexico. We use the classic Karo corn syrup which is not high fructose. A hint of hot pepper adds warmth and depth of flavor for a delicious ending to a festive meal. Serves 10-12.

For the crust: use one frozen or refrigerated pie crust or your favorite recipe. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a 9” or 10” pie plate with crust. Partially bake crust for 7 minutes. Remove and set aside, if any areas have bubbled up gently press down with the back of a fork. Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Filling ingredients:
2 cups fresh pecans lightly toasted
1 cup semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
2 tablespoons flour
½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
4 tablespoons butter (1/2 cube)
3 tablespoons milk
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup light or dark corn syrup
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

When pecans have cooled, break them into small pieces. If you are working with pecan halves, set 12 perfect ones aside for garnishing. Place pecan pieces in a large bowl add chocolate chips and flour and toss until chips and nuts are coated.

Use your mixer or food processor to mix filling ingredients. Place butter and brown sugar in container and cream until light and fluffy. Add milk and then add eggs, one at a time so that each is completely incorporated before adding the next. Add vanilla, corn syrup, salt and cayenne and beat until evenly mixed. Pour this egg syrup mixture into bowl with the nuts and chocolate. Stir well until combined. Pour mixture into the partially baked crust. Place reserved pecan halves on top of filling evenly spacing.
Set pie on rack set at second level from the bottom. Bake 55 to 60 minutes or until a knife inserted 2 inches from the edge comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack before slicing. This pie can be made ahead and frozen.