For the second installment of our series on cooking with farmers, farm stand workers, farm hands and anyone else regularly heading home with piles of fantastic produce, we bring you a recipe for a great cornbread -- made with stone-ground polenta. We (literally) bumped into it last week in the back of Windrose Farm's truck at the Wednesday Santa Monica farmers market.
Stand employee Amanda Broder, who also happens to be a pastry chef, brought the brunch-worthy bread as a refueling snack for the stand's employees. (Sorry, Broder's rotating snacks are not available for public nibbling due to health code regulations and free-sample sanity issues.) All the more reason to bake it yourself and bring Broder a thank-you slice. Get more on Broder -- and her recipe -- after the jump.
"Broder in the Austrian dialect means baker," Broder says with a giant smile. Her cornbread is more like a breakfast bread, here laced with maple syrup and speckled with fresh corn her nephew picked at Underwood Family Farms the day before -- pretty perfect with the copious amounts of coffee required after farm owner Barbara Spencer's midnight drive to the market.
On this particular day, Broder also brought two homemade jams (berry, cherry) and a whole wheat sourdough boule. Riding shotgun with Spencer was a loaf of sourdough that her husband, Bill, had made the day before. Now you know the real reason so many chefs and wholesale buyers congregate around the farm's truck under the guise of chatting about shishito peppers.
If you trace her family's Austrian lineage down to its apfelstrudel core, Broder is a seventh-generation professional baker. More recently, the family's California lifestyle led to a skipped bread generation or two as they pursued more aquatic occupations (Her father, Alan Broder, is an underwater photographer and owns local camera shop A B Sea Photo). "I'm definitely more the baker," she says.
Broder was the opening pastry chef at Food , where she still works part-time, and formerly was an assistant pastry chef at Grace and several other L.A. restaurants. Working for Windrose has allowed her to cut back on her professional baking hours. "Getting up at 4 a.m. wasn't really my thing," she says.
Lucky for Windrose's market employees, baking on Tuesday nights still is.
Maple Syrup Cornbread
From: Amanda Broder of Windrose Farm
Note: Instead of corn, "fresh raspberries are a nice replacement," says Broder (omit the sautéing step). "So are a little bacon and/or good aged Cheddar."
Makes: About 8 servings
3 ears corn, kernels cut off and cob scraped clean
2 ounces butter
¾ cup heavy cream
½ cup maple syrup
1 cup stone-ground polenta
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Sauté the corn in the butter over medium-high heat until golden brown. Set aside to cool.
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2. In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, maple syrup and eggs. Add the cooled corn. In another bowl, combine the polenta, flours, baking powder and salt and add to the wet ingredients, mixing well. Pour into a lightly greased 8 x 8 inch metal baking pan or a 9-inch cast iron skillet and bake until set in the center, about 25 to 30 minutes.
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