by Francesca Patterson
All of these abundant summer vegetables leave me daydreaming at work about the savory dishes I can conjure up with them. Whenever I pass the bell peppers, I can smell that sweet and enticing flavor that just instantly gears up my appetite. Bell pepper is one of my favorite vegetables to eat raw, but it also adds an unmistakeable taste to a dish when it’s roasted or sautéed.
Another vegetable we are seeing by the dozens are zucchini. A great way to use up your zucchini is to make loaves of zucchini bread. I began pondering about how I could do the same thing but with red pepper as well. That is what provoked this weeks craving: Cornbread.
This is a great baked good because you can eat it as an appetizer with butter and honey, or as a classic accompaniment to whatever cookout meal you are having. When you add more flavors such as the peppers and zucchini, this bread becomes so hearty that you feel like you got your veggie servings for the day. However, it still comes out soft, sweet, and moist like the cornbread you know and love. This dish will also be an excellent way to get children and picky eaters to voluntarily eat those vegetables they say they don’t like. Adding in fresh sweet corn kernels that are coming from Poolesville just felt like an added luxury. I always say, there is nothing at all like the flavor of good local corn. Try it out with my recipe for cornbread or use your own tried and true method, and feel free to add whatever you like!
- 2 small zucchini (grated)
- 1 red bell pepper (Peeled and diced)
- Kernels from 2 ears of corn
- 1 cup stone-ground corn meal
- 1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup canola oil
- Place grated zucchini in a colander with a teaspoon of salt. Allow to drain for 20 minutes, and wring out excess water with a cloth.
- Over your stove top or a broiler, blacken all sides of the bell pepper for about 10 minutes. Then, put the bell pepper in a closed paper bag or container for 10 more minutes. The blackened outer layer of skin on the pepper will peel off, use a light stream of water to help.
- Add the butter to a pan and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 425.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine your corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda and mix well. Add zucchini, bell pepper, and corn. Mix this all together until evenly distributed.
- In another bowl, combine eggs, buttermilk, and oil. Pour this mixture over the cornmeal and veggie bowl, and mix until just combined. It will still be lumpy.
- Take the skillet out of the oven and swirl the butter so it covers the whole pan. Pour in the batter and smooth out the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a tester inserted comes out completely clean. Best served while still warm.