A few months ago, I bought some navy beans, partly for a change from the pintos I usually buy, and partly for an excuse to use the extra corn meal I had bought on my previous visit to one of those stores where you open a slide and fill a plastic bag. When I got home, I put my various bulk purchases in the containers I have set apart for each grain, and there was just a little too much corn meal, so I left it in a plastic bag.
But I also have way too many navy beans on hand, because that slide stayed open too long also. I was buying the beans because last January at our family reunion at the condo, we cooked a family recipe of navy beans and ham. Those beans are usually used for baked bean recipes that come out with so much molasses and brown sugar that they are more like a dessert than a main course. But we like ours plain, and I like mine just as well seasoned with a few strips of bacon instead of ham.
I soaked the beans last night and cooked them this morning. At around noon, I began to mix the cornbread. I don’t have a real oven, only a toaster oven, but I have found that cornbread bakes just as well in an iron skillet on a burner on my hot plate. I use an 8-inch skillet and half the regular recipe I have on a recipe card. My counter space is quite limited, but if I keep my head straight, I can work with it all right.
The beans had boiled over at one point, but that was a minor clean-up job. Now the skillet was on the burner, the pot of beans was over on the table, and the small mixing bowl was ready. Things were going smoothly until I began measuring the ½ cup of milk. I decided to use part yogurt…and that involved getting the yogurt out of the refrigerator as well as the quart jar of milk.
The refrigerator is just to the right of the crowded counter top. I can’t remember why what happened happened, but that is why I am writing this. I thought maybe that by retracing the steps I might refresh my memory. I think I set the jar of milk on the edge of the measuring cup, but, whatever, there was an immediate milk-and-yogurt mixture fall on the counter and floor. It seemed like much more than half cup spread out that way.
To my credit (I am taking a bow) I felt no emotion of anger or frustration over the incident. This positive trait I developed many years ago while raising a large family in which such things happen often. But my brain must have been slightly addled because after carefully cleaning up the mess, I then forgot to put in the tablespoon of salad oil. That was not a serious error. I quite often forget an ingredient, or forget to halve another one, and the result almost always turns out to be quite acceptable, as it did today.
The milk mixture completely soaked the recipe card, so I did something I had been intending to do for a long time. I made a new card. I made two cards, one with the half-recipe, just as I make it…also with my quick one-bowl- method instructions:
Mix dry ingredients; In same bowl, add egg, milk and oil
Stir until just moistened
Bake in 8 inch iron skillet, medium low heat for 20 minutes