VEGAN CHRISTMAS CORNBREAD
Whenever I'm not out on the town stuffing myself with foie gras, I try to restrict myself to brown rice and beans, or variations thereof. A couple of years back I went macrobiotic for a week - everyone was doing it, even Madonna - and I learned that they make up about 70 per cent of the diet. It seems that nutrient-rich whole grains and legumes aid slow digestion and help energize the body do what it's supposed to do. Beat that, Red Bull.
Since I recently had a couple of days off the NOW feed-bag, I figured I'd bake a big batch of salt-free Tex Mex-style veggie chili. Hmm, but what else? Why, cornbread of course! But the thought of all that mad-cow and chicken flu bi-product involved in baking - eggs, milk - puts me off at first. Brainwave: Why not go vegan?
I consulted a number of cookbooks and websites and this is the best synthesis I found with a few of my own tweaks. I was a bit suspicious when I combined the ingredients at first - it looked far too runny - but the results were perfect, falling out of the pan with a golden crust. Martha Stewart would be proud!
In the photo, you'll note I used sweet red bell pepper rings to decorate the top. For that full Christmas effect, try alternating them with green pepper strips in a circular pattern. And if you make this fab cornbread a couple of days in advance, you can even use the cornbread to stuff your tofurkey!
2/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 cup plain soymilk
1 finely diced jalapeno pepper, seeds removed
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea-salt
1 small sweet red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into 1/4-inch strips
Pre-heat oven to 350F. Combine the syrup, oil, soymilk and jalapeno in one bowl and the flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt in another, mixing with a whisk. Mix the two together and pour into an oiled oven-proof cast-iron skillet. Place red pepper strips on top of batter in a circular pattern. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes.