Weird winter has given way to silly spring in my small kitchen garden. By last weekend I was about three weeks ahead of my usual pace preparing the soil and planting. However, I’ve been busy with other things, and am impatient to commit seedlings and seeds to the garden bed.
An abundance of applesauce and red pepper relish in my larder led me to create applesauce and red pepper relish cornbread for dinner tonight. It’s very satisfying to find ingredients from my garden to use in my cooking.
I’ve turned and raked nearly half the main bed, and it’s ready for three rows of pea seeds, a row of cauliflower and broccoli seedlings, and a row of lettuce and spinach seeds. I also need to find a spot for a bunch of romaine lettuce seedlings. Usually, I leave all these cold weather crops till April, but with daytime temperatures consistently in the sixties and seventies this March, I’m afraid I’ll miss spring veggies if I don’t plant immediately.
No Fresh Produce to Report
On this Post Produce day, I can almost claim to have fresh herbs. Last season’s cilantro plants have perked up, and spring onions I left in planters last fall are green and appealing. As well, young shoots are emerging from the roots of my tarragon plants… but I’m not harvesting any of these for another week or two.
Normally, our homemade red pepper relish ends up with cream cheese on crackers. I once posted about how to make red pepper relish. I plan my small kitchen garden to produce enough ripe peppers to make several batches of red pepper relish each year, though I’m branching out to other colors. Last season I made orange pepper relish, and this season I’m hoping for white pepper relish, purple pepper relish, and yellow pepper relish as well.
To celebrate Post Produce, I turned once again to my larder. With a pot roast in the slow cooker, I realized I hadn’t mixed yeast dough in time for dinner, so I decided to make cornbread.
Applesauce and Red Pepper Relish Cornbread
There’s a lot of applesauce in my larder, and we aren’t going through it as quickly as we used to. I like to use surplus applesauce in baked goods, so I promoted a jar from larder to kitchen. Then, it occurred to me that cornbread might be tasty if it had red pepper relish mixed through the batter. So, I pulled a 4 oz jar of last fall’s relish off the shelf.
Here’s the recipe I created using these two ingredients that began last year as produce from my small kitchen garden:
1 cup corn meal
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
¼ cup packed brown sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup smooth applesauce
½ cup milk
4 oz red pepper relish
4 oz grated cheddar cheese
Set your oven to 375F degrees. Combine the cornmeal, flour, baking powder, brown sugar, and salt in a mixing bowl. Thoroughly mix the applesauce, milk, egg, and relish in a separate bowl. Beat the wet ingredients into the dry, agitating them just enough to make batter.
You can see flakes of red peppers in the cornbread, and darkened cheddar cheese melted into the top. I baked mine a tad hot and suggested a lower temperature in the recipe. Even though my cornbread looked sketchy coming out of the pan, my family admitted it was good. (Got lucky this time.)
Pour the batter into a greased 9” by 9” baking dish, or a 10” diameter round baking dish. Then distribute the grated cheese evenly over the batter. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes—a tooth pick should come out clean if you stab through the top crust.
There’s a lot of sugar and pectin in this cornbread, so it may darken quickly. The surface, sides, and bottom may form an elastic crust that traps in moisture and results in a slightly doughy bread. If you find yours a bit tough to cut, yet soft and bordering on gooey inside (but you like the flavor enough to try again), decrease the cooking temperature and increase the cooking time.
Post Produce is ON!
By this date in April, I’m confident my Post Produce post won’t be about food from my larder. There should at least be herbs, and quite likely lettuce to harvest. I look forward to the possibilities and hope to see many more participants in the monthly Post Produce celebration.
Please share what you’re eating from your garden. Once you’ve posted on your blog, return here and enter the link in the grid below. Other readers will find their way to your blog, and maybe you’ll meet more food-growing enthusiasts. I’ll certainly have a look… even at posts from warmer climes; they’ve been making me feel a bit envious through these inappropriately warm months of winter.