Spring has finally arrived here in Boston. After a slew of warm, sunny days, people shed their dark layers for bare legs and bright colors, and all my favorite fruits and vegetables are making a bountiful and vibrant appearance at local markets. The latter has left me cooking lighter meals mainly comprised of vegetables.
Despite reaching abnormally high temperatures as early as March, we have also had our fair share of rainy and cooler days (April showers bring…more May showers?). Recently, on one of these grayer days, I could feel myself reverting back to my winter habits. All day I just wanted to layer up and curl up on the couch with the cat. I was dreaming of a warm and hearty meal.
As the day lingered on in the same dreary fashion and the rain got louder I knew it was time for my favorite comfort food pairing: chili and corn bread. In order to keep it easy I decided to use Kenyon’s Corn Bread & Muffin Mix. And, as everyone knows, corn bread is only bettered by the addition of cheese and heat. With Mike’s Hot Honey on hand, I knew I could make it happen.
Both Kenyon’s and Mike’s are local businesses based out of Rhode Island and Greenpoint, respectively. Kenyon’s still turns its grains the old fashioned way: by a grist mill using the locally sourced granite millstone. This allows it to produce a higher quality and textured grain and to maintain more nutritional value than the newer method of steel cut oats and grains. And Maggie has known Mike for years. He works at Paulie Gee’s in Brooklyn and his honey is featured in our Just-for-Dad’s Gift Box for Father’s Day.
I kept half the batch of cornbread muffins plain to taste-test the flavor of the mix. Inspired by Shelby’s recent post on compound butter, I decided to make hot honey butter to slather on the plain muffins. A simple mixture of softened butter and hot honey was the perfect addition to the already tasty muffins. For the second batch, I mixed in 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese and a touch of the hot honey, to let the honey’s spicy sweetness bake right in to the muffin. Both versions hit the spot — I couldn’t even pick a favorite.
The muffins were extremely simple to make (a perk on a lazy, gray day) and they came together quickly while I waited on the chili. Plus, the basic mix means the add-in possibilities are endless! What’s your favorite way to enjoy corn bread?
All photos styled and taken by Michelle Martin.
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