Friday, August 13, 2010

Nana's hoe cake cooked in cast iron skillet

There is nothing better than a pot of collard or mustard greens with a chunk of Nana's hoe cake. Um Um good! (For those of you who don't know, hoe cake is a very flat cornbread) I told you in an earlier blog that Nana had many wonderful recipes but there were also many things that she prepared with NO recipe. She was an incredible southern cook! Sorry Paula and Rachel but you girls would be h-i-s-t-o-r-y, ( you have to say that in three syllables) if my Nana had her own cooking show. Seriously, she was truly blessed with a God given talent and everyone in her hometown knew it. She prepared more food for friends, neighbors, funerals, weddings and illness' then you can "shake a stick at". She didn't even need an occasion to take food to someone.
She was also hilarious and had a wonderful sense of humor. Maybe that's what kept her alive until the ripe old age of 93. She was a great seamstress (that's a blog in itself), she would plant a garden and can or freeze the vegetables. She made really yummy bread and butter pickles and homemade jellies. Suppertime was always served with homemade biscuits or her hoe cake. The hoe cake is one of my favorites and I think I have come pretty close to duplicating it.

Before giving you the recipe, I need to tell you that this hoe cake MUST be prepared in a "seasoned" cast iron skillet. It is not only inexpensive but the best possible cookware you can use if you maintain it properly. If this is done, nothing you prepare in it will stick and your food will brown beautifully. When you purchase a cast iron pan, you must wash with warm water and a small amount of dish detergent but do not let it soak in the water. Dry it out quickly and with paper towels or soft towel, rub with a small amount of oil. Store covered with paper towels or cloth, so dust does not stick to the oil in the pan. (I store mine in the oven without covering it)
When you prepare the hoe cake, put about one teaspoon of oil into the pan and rub around to cover the bottom with a paper towel. Turn the stove on medium heat and when the pan is heated, pour your batter in. Cook thoroughly on that side and begin lifting edges all the way around before flipping it to the other side. Now the top should be nice and brown. Continue to cook for approximately 5 or 6 more minutes to brown the other side. You may need to turn down to medium low heat. Serve with butter and enjoy!

3/4 cup self rising corn meal
1/2 cup all purpose flour
dash of salt
milk or buttermilk
finely chopped onions, optional

Stir together the first three ingredients and slowly add the milk while stirring. When it is soupy, you have the right amount of milk . Nana never added onions but my family likes it that way.

Remember, never put your cast iron in the dishwasher. Wash it out quickly with a little warm soapy water, dry, add a little oil, cover and store. Cast iron last for years and years. If you have inherited a skillet or dutch oven, clean out the rust with fine steel wool or a little mixture of salt and oil rubbed on the buildup. Cooking in cast iron can add significant amounts of iron to your food and into your body...if you eat it. I love my cast iron skillet and dutch oven and could not cook without them!
Happy baking and I'll be back ter-reck-ly,

1 comment:

  1. I would love to see Nana hosting her own show on the Food Network, maybe something called "What Would Nana Do-WWND" or "In The Kitchen With Nana" or maybe "Nana's Down Home Cookin'!"