The Only Cornbread Recipe You'll Need: Dragonwagon's Skillet-Sizzled Corn Bread!

She, Crescent Dragonwagon, that is, came to understand, cornbread “not only is hot, just baked cornbread delicious, it evokes ~ powerfully ~ the heart, soul, and taste of home.”

Amen!  CORNBREAD, I love cornbread!

After making this cornbread, I know why it was the single most requested recipe at the Dairy Hollow House in Eureka Springs, Arkansas!

I’ve tried what seems like a ton of cornbread recipes and I’ve made more than one from this great cookbook by Crescent Dragonwagon.  I’m just trying to figure out what took me so darn long to make this one!

Crescent Dragonwagon is her real name ~ read here ~ or buy her great cookbook, if you want to know more about it.

Dragonwagon’s cookbook, The Cornbread Gospels, is a surprising eccentric read, filled with curious antidotes and tales along the cornbread trail from the Appalachians to the Rockies to the Green Mountains.  I was hooked from the beginning to the end ~ this is just not a recipe book to take up space on your kitchen counter, it’s at home in any room.

Here’s a sample of what Crescent Dragonwagon has to say about this cornbread:

"This is the cornbread I served when I owned and ran Dairy Hollow House; it was its single most requested recipe.  It is the first Southern food I ever learned to fix and the one that started me on my cornbread journey.  I learned how to make it in the Fort Greene section of Brooklyn, New York, in 1969, when I was very young and living in a brownstone with 7 other people.  Viola, the soft-spoken lady friend of a kind neighbor, taught it to me.  Viola was from Georgia, and it was she who initiated me into baking cornbread in an already-hot skillet.”

Cornbread batter over sizzling butter-oven ready!

To me, the secret of this recipe may just be the already-hot skillet that’s filled with melting butter that’s brought to a sizzle.  And stone-ground cornmeal only makes the bread even better.  If you’ve been around my blog a while, you know it’s stone-ground cornmeal and grits in my kitchen.

This cornbread truly surprised me, and Bill too.  It is simply delicious!

Thank you, Crescent Dragonwagon for the great recipe, great cookbook!

Dairy Hollow House Skillet-Sizzled Cornbread

This cornbread recipe, courtesy of Crescent Dragonwagon, is the best you will ever make! Use stone-ground cornmeal for a crispy crust, made in a sizzling iron skillet. It is my "go-to" cornbread recipe!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 35 mins


  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 cup unbleached white flour
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (I added ½ teaspoon)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1¼ cups buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup mild vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, or mild vegetable oil


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. Spray a 10-inch cast iron skillet with oil and set aside.
  3. Sift together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl.
  4. In a smaller bowl, stir baking soda into the buttermilk.
  5. Whisk in the sugar, egg and the ¼ cup oil.
  6. Put the prepared skillet over medium heat, add the butter, and heat until butter melts and is just starting to sizzle.
  7. Tilt the pan to coat sides and bottom.
  8. Pour wet ingredients into the dry and combine them quickly, using as few strokes as possible.
  9. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake the cornbread until it is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  10. Let cool for a few moments, and slice into wedges to serve.

This cornbread is the créme de la créme of cornbread! 


A Taste of the Islands, Cuban Mojo Pork Loin Roast

Here you go, 
if you’re craving a spicy taste 
of the islands…

Most Cuban’s make Cuban pork roast, Lechón Asado con Mojo, by roasting a whole pig that has been slow-coked in a pit or a Caja China over charcoal, with skin that is nice and crispy. 

For most of us, it is much easier to use a smaller cut of pork, such as the traditional pork shoulder or picnic cut and roast it in the oven.  

I went even further and swapped the fatty pork shoulder with a boneless pork loin roast to cut the large amount of fat and roasted it on a roasting pan rack in the oven.  

The flavor here comes from the mojo, the citrusy sauce, marinade…  

This mojo is a great combination of tangy and savory flavors.  It’s a mishmash of several different, similar recipes I saw while surfing the internet ~ basically citrus juices, spices and oil.  

It’s Cuban mojo pork loin roast with unbelievably tender meat and crisp, crackly skin!

Make Cuban sandwiches out of the leftovers!

Yield: 4-6 servings

Cuban Mojo Pork Loin Roast

Try this pork recipe for a taste of the islands.


  • 3 pounds boneless, pork loin roast
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground oregano
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon each, salt and pepper
  • 3 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 teaspoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup sherry


  1. Place pork roast in a zip top bag.
  2. In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, pour mixture over pork.
  3. Marinate in refrigerator for a couple of hours, or overnight.
  4. When ready to roast, place meat in roasting pan or rack, reserving marinade.
  5. Roast until completely cooked (145°), about 1½ hours, basting occasionally.
    Let roast rest for 10 minutes, then slice.
  6. Serve


Old-Fashioned Biscuits Just Like Grandma Used to Make

The mere suggestion of homemade biscuits, conjures pictures of sweet grandmas and fragrant aromas wafting from the oven.  People love everything about biscuits, a hot oven, a light touch, and lard…

Why should you bake biscuits with lard?  Because you’ll have the most delicious rich biscuits ~ soft on the inside, crusty on the outside ~ that you can imagine!  Lard is commonly used in many cuisines around the world as a cooking fat, or as a spread similar to butter in Europe and North America. 

Unfortunately, lard has gotten a bad rap for years --- it’s not as bad as you may think.  The Jungle, Upton Sinclair’s 1906 book, might’ve had a lot to do with it when, in a scene from the book, the workers at a meat-packing plant fall into boiling vats of rendering lard.  It played such a large part in turning people against lard, that an entire pro-lard ad campaign was launched to undo its damage.

Full-page ads ran in all the newspapers picturing healthy, smiling, happy people praising lard...  


Actually, while lard is anything but “healthy,” it contains less cholesterol and saturated fat than butter, and no trans fat, unlike most vegetable shorting.  

As Julia Child said, “Everything in moderation…including moderation,”  it truly does make the best pie crusts and biscuits.

On Grandma's farm in Ohio, she fried with lard and baked all of her pies, breads and biscuits with lard.  On our farm down the road, Mom was a Crisco and margarine sort of lady. I cook with a little butter or olive oil, rarely cook or bake with lard, except for when I make these biscuits…

Lard has very little pork flavor, it’s not bacon grease.  It makes crispy fried foods and tender flaky baked goods without leaving a trace of flavor behind.  

In my book, lard is a good source of cooking fat, but I draw the line at eating it smeared on a slice of bread, so I'll keep on making these little bites of goodness…

These biscuits are easy to make, and with a few simple steps the results are tender and delicious.

I’m not saying my biscuits are perfect, no way are they, but slathered with butter, they make me smack my lips and help myself to another one…

Yield: 8 to 10 biscuits

Old-Fashioned Biscuits Like Grandma's

These biscuits are definitely made the old-fashioned way - with lard.
prep time: 30 MINScook time: 12 MINStotal time: 42 mins


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup lard
  • 2/3 cups buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven 450° with the oven rack in the center.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Cut in lard until it resembles small peas.
  4. Add buttermilk, stirring gently with a fork, to make a soft dough.
  5. With floured hands, knead dough gently 4 times in the bowl.
  6. Put dough on lightly floured surface, and roll or pat the dough to about 1/4" to 1/2" thick.
  7. Cut with a floured 2" cutter.
  8. Place cut-out biscuits about 1" apart on ungreased baking sheet.
  9. Lightly brush with butter if desired.
  10. Bake for about 12 minutes, until biscuits are golden brown.
  11. Serve warm


Mellow Baked Tilapia with Seasoned Tomatoes and Onions

Spice up the tomatoes, 
pour over the fish,
bake, and

Tilapia and seasoned tomatoes with a side of spinach

Tilapia is probably the oldest farm-raised fish in the world.  Stories from biblical scholars proclaim it was the fish used by Jesus to feed the crowds at the Sea of Galilee; thus, aptly named “St. Peter’s Fish.”  

Per legend, the dark spots on the fish were caused by the fingerprints of the apostle.  

Sea of Galilee

A bas-relief discovered in a 4,500 year old Egyptian tomb, showing tilapias held in ponds, is one of the oldest examples of tilapia farming.  

These days, farm-raised tilapia is produced in over 80 nations, including the United States.  China leads the pack, accounting for over 50% of the world’s production.  

Tilapia is a well-liked fish because of its mild flavored, white-flesh, that is available year-round at a reasonable price.  It’s generally boneless and skinless, with its fillets weighing between 3 to 9 ounces. 

Eight-ounce fillets are perfect for this tilapia dish that's complemented with the tangy hints of garlic and onion, and smothered in well-seasoned diced tomatoes.

It’s simple, delicious and a breeze to make! 

Yield: 2 servings

Baked Tilapia with Seasoned Tomatoes and Onions

This tilapia is simple, delicious and a breeze to make!
prep time: 5 MINScook time: 20 MINStotal time: 25 mins


  • 2 (8-ounce) tilapia fillets
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned pepper
  • Cooking spray
  • Fresh basil for garnish


  1. Arrange fish in a 9” x 13” baking dish that has been coated with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Combine onion, garlic and tomatoes in a small bowl and pour over fish.
    Sprinkle herbs, salt and pepper over all.
  3. Bake until tilapia flakes easily with a fork, about 15-20 minutes.
  4. Serve


It's Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Italian Sausage!

You ask, “What could possibly make a cheesy grits and Italian pork sausage combo taste better?”  

Southern Living magazine has the answer:
It’s seasoned cheesy grits and Italian pork sausage, stuffing a tender bell pepper with mozzarella cheese sprinkled over all and baked!  

Deliciousness comes together in this flavorful and easy meal for your family and friends too, it's that good! 

Surprisingly, all bell peppers contain more Vitamin C than an orange, ranging from 95 mg in a green to a whopping 341 mg in a yellow.  They're also super low-cal, containing just 45 calories per cup, making them the the perfect snack.  Maybe we should be eating bell peppers instead of of reaching for a glass of sugary orange juice to ward off a cold!

And who doesn't like grits?

Here's the Ten Commandments of Grits:

1. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits.
2. Thou shalt not eat Cream of Wheat and call it Grits; for this is blasphemy.
3. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors Grits.
4. Thou shalt only use Salt, Butter and Cheese as toppings for thy Grits.
5. Thou shalt not eat Instant Grits.
6. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits.
7. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits.
8. Thou shalt not put syrup on thy Grits.
9. Thou shalt not put sugar on thy Grits either.
10. Thou shalt not put sugar or syrup on thy Grits.

Amen, right on!

There are 8 colors in the bell pepper family.  Besides the usual green, red and yellow, the family includes orange, black, brown, ivory and purple.

Any color bell pepper could be used in this slightly adapted Southern Living recipe, I opted for red peppers simply because red is my favorite color.  The important thing is to make sure the peppers are large enough to be stuffed with the cheese and grits filling, 3 of them should total about 20 ounces.

After stuffing the peppers with the savory filling, and baking them, whisk a simple vinaigrette, then toss in a few grape tomatoes to drizzle over the peppers before serving.

We all really liked this savory and satisfying version of stuffed peppers, so the recipe is a keeper!

Yield: 6 servings

Stuffed Peppers with Grits and Sausage

Cheesy grits and Italian sausage provide a savory and satisfying filling for bell peppers!
prep time: 15 MINScook time: 1 hourtotal time: 1 hours and 15 mins


  • 3 large red bell peppers (about 20 oz.)
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 3 hot Italian pork sausage links, casings removed
  • 1 cup chopped sweet onion
  • 1/2 cup stoneground grits (or regualr)
  • 11/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 3 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 1 cup), divided
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved


  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Microwave bell peppers on HIGH 2 minutes to soften slightly. Cut bell peppers in half through the stem. Remove seeds and white membranes using a serrated tomato corer or melon baller. Discard seeds and membranes.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high. Add sausage to skillet; cook 4 minutes, stirring to break into small pieces. Add onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, until sausage is cooked and onion is tender, about 3 minutes. Remove sausage mixture from pan.
  3. Add grits to skillet; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add broth, milk, and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt to skillet; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium, and cook, stirring occasionally, until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Stir in sausage mixture, and half of the cheese.
  4. Divide mixture evenly among bell pepper halves. Place side by side on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven until cheese is browned and peppers are tender, about 30 minutes.
  6. Whisk together olive oil, vinegar, black pepper, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. 
  7. Add tomatoes; toss to coat. Serve over peppers.


Our Prayers and Best Wishes to everyone in the path of the hurricanes!

And let's remember, honor and pay tribute to all those affected by the events of 9/11...

Peachy Keen Classic Cobbler

It was a warm summertime day, didn't matter!  I cranked up the oven because there were hungry mouths here salivating for a sweet treat!

It all started when Bill and I saw that the farmers’ market still had a plethora of peaches…

I got the peaches, tossed them with sugar and spice, spread them in a baking dish, dropped spoonfuls of dough over the top and baked it up.  Easy as pie!

Simply put, a cobbler is a casserole of baked, syrupy sweet fruit with some sort of pastry topping. 

To the peaches and sugar, I added a touch of cardamom for its distinctive sweet and savory taste.  You know the spice, it’s a longtime staple that  Swedish bakers use in a lot of confectionaires, like my Swedish MIL did.  

Next, I stirred in small amount cinnamon along with a splash of lemon juice to balance the sweetness of the mixture.

But ~ the secret to this great tasting cobbler is all about the orange zest in the biscuit topping.  It’s a surprising aromatic addition that will make everyone at your dinner table smile.

This cobbler delivers a crisp and tender crust with sweet jammy fruit underneath.  Serve it with a scoop of ice cream or dollop of whipped cream, or not, serve it warm or room temperature, whichever you like.

Drop-dead delicious, for sure ~ it’s probably the best reason to turn on the oven in the summer!


Yield:  8 servings

Peachy Keen Cobbler

This cobbler bakes up into a crisp and tender crust with sweet jammy fruit underneath.




For the filling:
  • 1/2 cup Splenda (or sugar)
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 8 cups sliced peaches, about 10-12 medium-sized peaches
For the topping:
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup Splenda (or sugar)
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 heaping teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teasppon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk


  1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  2. In a large bowl, mix sugar, cornstarch, cinnamon and cardamom.
  3. Add peaches and lemon juice, toss well to combine.
  4. Transfer to an 11x7-inches baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk the first six topping ingredients; cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.
  6. Add buttermilk, stir just until moistened.
  7. Drop dough by tablespoonfuls over peaches in baking dish.
  8. Bake 25-30 minutes or until topping is golden brown.
  9. Serve warm or room temperature.


Heavenly Mini Blueberry Splenda Pies ~ in Muffin Tins!

“You ought to have seen what I saw on my way
To the village, through Mortenson’s pasture to-day:
Blueberries as big as the end of your thumb,
Real sky-blue, and heavy, and ready to drum
In the cavernous pail of the first one to come!
And all ripe together, not some of them green
And some of them ripe! You ought to have seen!” 
Robert Frost 

When summertime rolls around, I’m thrilled ~ warm weather, sunshine and Blueberries!

The aroma of these little pies baking was mouthwatering!

I’m always on the lookout for blueberry recipes, and now can't remember where this one came from.

I mixed Splenda with the fruit instead of sugar, it measures the same as sugar.  I didn’t tell Bill it was made with Splenda until later; he didn’t notice a difference with Splenda, and neither did I.  

For the filling, I added a splash of lemon juice, and a couple of pinches of cinnamon.  

The pies are easy peasy to pull together, but to make them even easier, use Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust.  You’ll be eating dessert in a flash!

Baked in a muffin tin, the pies are a perfect-size yummy dessert or snack!  

These blueberry pies a great dessert for anyone who needs/likes a dessert with low sugar.  

It’s hard to eat just one!

Yield: 6 servings

Mini Blueberry Splenda Pies

These blueberry pies are a great dessert with less sugar!
prep time: 20 MINScook time: 25 MINStotal time: 45 mins


  • 1 recipe for double-crust pie or Pillsbury Refrigerated Pie Crust (2 crusts), at room temperature
  • 1½ cups fresh blueberries
  • ¼ cup Splenda Sugar Blend
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon water


  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
    Grease 6 cups of muffin tin.
  2. Dust counter top with flour, roll pie crust out.
    Cut six 3” circles of crust, press into the bottom and sides of muffin tin.
  3. Combine blueberries with Splenda, cinnamon and juice.
    Fill the cups with the pie filling.
  4. Cut another 6 circles of dough and press them on top of each pie, sealing the bottom and top layers of dough tightly with your fingers.
  5. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water to make an egg wash; brush over the top of each pie.
  6. Bake for about 25 minutes until crust is golden brown.
  7. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before carefully removing each pie from tin and onto a cooling rack to cool.

    Serve warm or cool.



“Mámá was fond of saying that nothing tastes as good as skinny feels—an aphorism I was pretty sure she'd cribbed from the thinspiration sites she subscribed to online—but I believed that anyone who said such things had never tasted chili-cheese fries with melted cheddar, fresh ground beef, and Tapatio sauce.”

~ Nenia Campbell


Jules-Alexandre Grun

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

ᴡᴏᴏ ʜᴏᴏ!!!

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