Gilding the Raw Brownie Lily

Whoah, mama, stop the car!!!  Feast your eyes on these beautiful hybrid specimens of raw and not-so-raw:

Gloriously organic, raw, brownies, are slathered with a raw ganache, ten gilded with not-so-raw, but molti deliziosi Italian candied oranges. Take a deep breath....then inhale a brownie or two or four. Hm, wonder if that could be called a chocoprana :)

I happened to have flavored this batch with some chipotle (ok, so that also is not raw), and thought the orange would be a scrumptious flavor and texture contrast -- and I was right on the money. That sweet pop of chewy, syrupy, crystal-crunchy orange is perfect.

Try this flavor combo with your favorite brownie recipe, raw or not-so-raw, and enjoy with the beverage of your choice.  And just to mix it up really good, listen to some "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele or "What Doesn't Kill You" by Kelly Clarkson....or go for it and whip out the Stones' "Brown Sugar."

Love & Cornbread

Look closely at the photo.  See that little kernel of corn, right there in the middle, center-stage of that pan of cornbread?  Well, that's the role that pan of cornbread played in my dinner yesterday.  I'd made a lovely pot of potato leek soup and was craving some kind of bread to go with it.  No crackers, nothing toasted or reheated.   Fresh bread.  Just fresh bread.  How hard is that??
Actually, what I was really craving was a fresh, crispy, chewy sourdough baguette, but at 5 in the evening it wasn't real likely that I was going to get that wish granted.
Hm, so what could I do about fresh bread?!?  Throwing in the gluten-free and egg-free wrench, and my wish was even more unlikely to become my command. 
Then it hit me. By George, I've got it: Cornbread.  It's hot, it's fresh, it's delicious.  Cornbread?? Does that even go with potato leek soup??  You bet it does!!
"I think this is the best cornbread I've ever eaten," is what J had to say about it.  And that about sums it up.  And to prove it, we ate up nearly the whole pan.  It was that good :)
Wanna know how I made it?  Read on....

The "best-ever" gluten-free cornbread

Put a 2 T chunk of butter into a 9" cast iron skillet and place it into the center of your cold oven.
Start heating your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit, and allow the butter to melt in the skillet.  You may want to check occasionally that the butter doesn't get brown -- it should stay golden.  If the butter is browning, remove the skillet from the oven and set aside till the batter is mixed.
In a small bowl, stir 1 heaping T of ground flax seeds into 3 T of water.
In another small bowl, pour 1T of lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) into 3/4 c of coconut milk (or milk of your choice).
In a large mixing bowl, stir together 1 cup stoneground cornmeal, 1/2 c Pamela's baking mix, 1 T baking powder, 1 t himmy, and 2 T of coconut sugar (or sugar of your choice).
Now, stir 2T of olive oil into the flax mixture and mix it really well with a fork, till it's good & frothy.  Then add it to the cornmeal mixture along with the coconut milk mixture.  Stir until all the ingredients are well-incorporated.  Add a good 1/2 c of corn kernels, give it another stir.  If you want, you can even stir in some cheese (real or vegan).
Take the hot hot hot skillet out of the oven ~ the butter should have melted ~ and pour the batter carefully over the butter.  Return the pan to the oven and bake about 22 minutes.


Now cut you a big slice, butter it up if you want to, and let me know if that's not some good cornbread.  Uh huh, yeah, I thought so  :)
Ok, so it's probably real close to how you make your cornbread, right?  Confession time:  I'm not about reinventing the wheel.  Is there really anything new under the sun, anyway??  But I am about making things I used to love to eat edible for me.  That means it's got be transformed to gluten-free, egg-free, and for the most part dairy-free.....although I do love the "je ne sais quoi" taste that a good lump of good butter or piece of cheese, especially goat or sheep, lends to certain foods.
Anyway, the most important thing with food isn't the physical ingredients that go into it.  And it isn't whether it's vegetarian or vegan, raw or organic or local or ethically raised or served in 5-star style or whatever.  How enjoyable is any food when it's served to you along with a plate of guerilla foodism & a side of guilt-trips?!?!

The most important thing is the secret ingredient we all have at the tip of our fingers..........c'est l'amour.  Don't just sprinkle it extravagant & generous.