Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Southern Hoe Cake
Jeff, my husband, works strange hours. Since he works in the lab at our local hospital, the shifts are not the typical 9-5 you see in office jobs - hospitals are open 24/7. Since he's a newbie there, he often gets the funny hours. Lately, that means he doesn't leave for work until noon, or even later, and gets back late at night.
What does all this have to do with food and recipes? Well, I used to focus a lot of my energies on making sure we had really yummy dinners. But with Jeff gone many evenings, the motivation drops. I know he'll eat when he gets home, but no matter how good the dinner was, it will just be "cold leftovers" by the time he gets to it.
(Speaking of dinner, it's after six already. Maybe I should try to come up with something to eat tonight once I'm done with this post...)
So I have been wanting to do more with breakfasts. He's usually home to enjoy breakfast with the family, so I want for there to be a delicious breakfast for him to enjoy. Therefore, today I decided to break out of the "cold cereal and milk" rut we've been stuck in (plus we were out of milk anyway. I had to get creative). So I made Hoe Cake, from one of my favorite blogs, Southern Plate. I'm sure that this bread is not traditionally served as a breakfast food, but culinary tradition rarely stops me when I set my mind to something.
Southern Hoe Cake
2 cups self-rising flour *See note*
1/2 cup shortening
1 cup milk (or equivalent in powdered milk and water)
Preheat oven to 425. Pour a thin layer of oil into an 8- or 9-inch cake pan (or you can get traditional and use a nice big cast iron skillet). Place pan into preheating oven so oil will be hot when you're ready to pour in the batter.
Measure flour into mixing bowl. Cut in shortening with pastry cutter or a fork until it's the consistency of crumbs. Stir in milk. It should be a nice wet biscuit-like batter. If it's too dry, add up to 1/4 cup more milk.
Remove pan from oven and pour batter in. According to Christy, it should sizzle because the oil is nice and hot. I didn't let my pan get hot enough for the oil to sizzle, but it turned out okay anyway. Spread the batter in evenly, and return to the oven. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the top is turning golden brown. Remove from oven.
Invert hoe cake onto a plate. The bottom (now the top) will be deliciously golden and crispy.
*Note* In the absence of self-rising flour, you can add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt for every cup of flour. Just measure the baking powder and the salt in the bottom of the measuring cup, and spoon flour over it until you get one cup.
I served this with homemade apricot jam and bacon. I had butter on the table too, but the hoe cake was so good on its own (because of all the shortening and oil) that the butter wasn't necessary. Next time I make this, I might try melting butter in the pan instead of using oil - I bet it would be great! We all absolutely loved this - it was light and fluffy like a biscuit, with a crispy bottom (top) and sides. It was fast and easy, and is definitely on my make-again-and-again list!!