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Welcome to The Flaming Pot Holder

Evolution of the Flaming Pot Holder:
I’m not a chef.  I simply love to cook. The Flaming Pot Holder is my attempt to record and share recipes with others. I adore cookbooks, even collect them, but I rarely use them. I don’t like being confined by a recipe, although I like the inspiration cookbooks provide. Friends sometime ask for recipes; however, I usually don’t have anything to give them. With this blog, I will attempt to write my recipes, take a few photos, and share both good and bad results.

This first post has been the most difficult. My husband, Matt, set up my blog site weeks ago. But I’ve been overcome with writer’s block.  So I haven’t posted anything for fear that it might not be good enough. Then I realized this is an evolving project and “perfection is not attainable” (thank you Vince Lombardi and Tin Cup – probably the only sports references you will ever see on this blog).  Best case, I finally record my recipes, folks enjoy the recipes, and I meet some fellow cooks along the way. Worst case, well, there really is no worst case.

This blog is called the Flaming Pot Holder because of my penchant for setting things on fire. Even “flame retardant” pot holders! Part of this is because I cook with wild abandon (messy) and part of it is that I am accident-prone (klutzy). Not a good combination.

Eventually I would like to branch out and include other things in the blog, like restaurant reviews, product recommendations, and healthy tips.  But for now, it will be enough to record my recipes so I can make them again or share them with others.

My Parents – Where it All Started:
My parents gave me the greatest gift when they plopped me on a chair in the kitchen when I was four.  The first thing I remember “cooking” was a salad. I got to tear the lettuce. Hey, I was four, it was a big deal!  I’m sure it was iceberg because I remember the sound the lettuce made when I tore it into pieces (plus, that’s typically what you ate back then in Alabama). It took me a few years to learn knife and oven skills. But by the time I was six, there was no stopping me. I caught the cooking bug!

Much of my cooking knowledge comes from my dad. He was a wonderful cook and rarely used a recipe. His gift was his ability to taste something, analyze it, and then replicate it. We had loads of fun doing this. It sounds kind of dorky, but looking back, this was a great bonding experience for us.

My mom was also a great cook, although she didn’t understand the allure of the “food detective” stuff.  She was more of a recipe-follower. The exception was when she cooked comfort food. When she made cornbread, Parker House rolls, purple hull peas, fried green tomatoes, stuffed grape leaves(!), creamed corns, and country fried steak she just mixed things together, and it typically worked. Long before those celebrity Southern chefs popularized it, Mom’s philosophy was, “If you add enough butter, most anything tastes better.”

I asked Mom for recipes, but she didn’t have many recorded. When I was younger, Mom told me to watch her cook and I’d figure out her “recipes.”  I watched for years, but never learned to make her cornbread. Mom died rather suddenly in December 2009 so I was never able to document her exact cornbread recipe.  Since she died, I have tried several times to replicate it, and this week came darned close. It seems fitting that this is my first blog post, on my 45th birthday, in honor of my mom.

My First Recipe – Mom’s Southern Cornbread:
1/4 cup butter (Mom would’ve used a whole stick, but that’s just not healthy!)
1 large egg
1 to 1-1/2 cups buttermilk
2 cups Martha White® Self-Rising White Corn Meal Mix (with Hot Rize®)*

1. Preheat the oven to 450º F.  Melt butter in a 7-9” ovenproof pan (preferably a well-seasoned and well-loved cast iron skillet). It takes about 5 to 8 minutes for the butter to melt and for the pan to heat (that’s how you get the nice crust).

2. Beat the egg in a medium bowl. Stir in about 1 cup of the buttermilk. Stir in the corn meal mix. Gently swirl the butter around to grease the sides of the pan. Then carefully pour the melted butter into the mixture. Stir to combine. Batter should be smooth and pourable. If it is too thick, gradually add some more buttermilk and pour into the prepared skillet or pan. Don’t overbeat or the cornbread will be tough.

3. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.

*I specify a brand name because this is part of Mom’s recipe that I remember and she was adamant about it.  I tried some other brands of cornmeal/cornbread mixes, and they were NOT the same.

Typical Disclaimer Stuff:
This blog is for my personal enjoyment. I am not an expert. I am just starting out with writing a blog. Typos might happen. This is bad because in another life, I am a Technical Writer. If you notice a mistake, please let me know so I can correct it.

As is evident by the name, cooking can be dangerous. Please use common sense when cooking with flames, fuel, and hot stuff (Even cold stuff, for that matter…who knows, you might drop a frozen turkey on your foot. Not that I would ever do anything that clumsy.).  The writer is not responsible for damages of any kind, including loss of life, limb, or happiness if something doesn’t turn out like expected. Blah. Blah. Blah. Think this is enough “legalese” to cover myself (I hope).

  1. July 30, 2011 at 12:37 pm

    Welcome and good luck with your blog. I like your cornbread recipe for two reasons…you included buttermilk and you didn’t add sugar. Just like what my mother makes.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:46 pm

      Thank you, Karen. So far it’s been fun. Working on more posts. I enjoyed reading your blog. You have beautiful gardens! We have the same issue with chipmunks. But they are so darned cute :)

  2. July 30, 2011 at 1:08 pm

    OMG! I am so excited!!! A blog by Katie, a COOKING BLOG! I have asked you for advice or recipes quite a few times, and now I can do it in an official capacity. Can’t wait to see more!

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:47 pm

      Thanks Shelli! I’ll post some recipes that you requested in the past.

  3. July 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

    I totally agree about Martha White, but if she is not available White Lilly is a close second. Love the blog!

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:49 pm

      White Lily is the next best. Thanks Mel!

  4. Kaye Salikof
    July 31, 2011 at 9:23 am

    Have been trying to make good cornbread for 20 years! Thjanks for the recipe.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:50 pm

      Hope it works for you Auntie. It’s not as good as Mom’s because she used the entire stick of butter. But this is better for us and won’t leave a huge grease stain!

  5. C Coker
    July 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    My family has a cornbread history and a specific way to make too – but since 3 generations back they were sharecroppers, an egg, buttermilk, and butter was too precious (I guess) to make it into the cornbread. So our’s was simpler, plainer, and crunchy with the crust made with shortening instead of butter. Not bread-y (flour) or sweet. I’ll have to try your’s to see what the otherside lived like. :-)

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:51 pm

      That’s closer to the kind I used to make when I was experimenting. It’s great for making into cornbread dressing. Another debate: southern dressing vs. yankee stuffing.

  6. Janet Burrell
    July 31, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    Katie, I think this is wonderful! can’t wait to see what you post next. I too have a cookbook collection that I seldom ‘use’ but love to look through. Also compiled a lot of family recipes back many years ago into a book, but still love collecting new ideas.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:52 pm

      Thanks, Janet! We should compare cookbooks!

  7. Erin Braley
    August 1, 2011 at 8:22 am

    LOVE THIS, Katie!!!

  8. Fred
    August 1, 2011 at 8:38 am

    Finally! It is about time that you begin to share your cooking secrets or perhaps even some misadventures. Best of luck. Cornbread is truly one the best southern traditions and a great place to start.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:54 pm

      Thanks Fred. Your “nudge” helped get me over my writer’s block.

  9. putt
    August 2, 2011 at 11:39 am

    hey kate, good job on starting a blog! i have only used my grand mother’s sweet milk recipe or her sister’s buttermilk recipe for cornbread. being the luddite i am i have so far refused to use self rising anything. if you are willing to put forth the effort of keeping a blog the least i can do is run down to star and give this new fangled cornbread a go. thanks and happy birthday.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:55 pm

      Thanks Putt. I was the same way with using separate ingredients, until I remembered THAT was Mom’s secret. It’s easy.

  10. putt
    August 2, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    the butter browned while the skillet heated. the batter sank beneath the browned bits and sizzled. as the cornbread baked and rose the browned butter became part of the top crust. this is truly a good thing.

    • August 3, 2011 at 2:56 pm

      This made my day, Putt. Glad you tried it and liked the crust.

  11. August 3, 2011 at 9:56 pm

    I make mine kinda like this, but I use canola oil instead of butter. I put the skillet with the oil in it in the cold oven and let the oven skillet on oil pre-heat together. When the temp comes us to 450 I take my skillet out pour into the batter and then pour the batter back into skillet and place back in the oven.
    My question is, if I use butter, will the butter burn at 450 deg.?

    • August 4, 2011 at 2:02 pm

      Thanks for your question Becky. Butter can easily burn at high temperatures. So I probably should revise the recipe. Something like this:

      1. Preheat the oven to 450º F. Melt butter in a 7-9” ovenproof pan (preferably a well-seasoned and well-loved cast iron skillet) in the oven while it is preheating. It takes about 5 to 8 minutes for the butter to melt and for the pan to heat (that’s how you get the nice crust). After the butter has melted, remove the skillet from the oven. The skillet should retain enough of the heat for the nice crust.

      What do you think? Less confusing? If y’all like the changes, then I’ll update the recipe. Thanks again for your feedback and question.

  12. August 4, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks! I’ll try this

  13. Patti Zafke
    August 10, 2011 at 9:15 am

    Love the blog Katie. I’m so excited for you! I can’t help but think of you every time I watch Master Chef…..seriously….you need to look into it! :)
    Best of luck in your new adventure. You will be great!

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