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Recipe for family meals :


Chef James EhlerThis recipe is from Chef James Ehler of Key West, Florida.

James is a webmaster, cook, chef, writer and (like me) a self-confessed computer nerd. He is the former executive chef of Martha's Steak & Seafood Restaurant and the former Reach Hotel (both in Key West), the Hilton Hotel in Fayetteville, Arkansas, and the New Bern Golf and Country Club, North Carolina.

He is now webmaster and cook at the Blue Heaven Restaurant in Key West while he works on his Food Encyclopedia (five years so far). It is well worth paying a visit to James' food reference website which is a useful resource well worth Bookmarking - to visit either website just click on their title:

The Food Reference Website
The Blue Heaven Restaurant, Key West, Florida


1 1/4 pounds self rising white cornbread mix
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon double acting baking powder*
1 teaspoon salt

6 large eggs
1/2 cup canola oil
1 quart milk
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1/2 cup sour cream

  • Combine the dry ingredients.
  • Beat the eggs, then add the remaining liquid ingredients
  • Combine the wet and dry mixtures and mix.
  • Mix thoroughly, but do not over-mix
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour. (This allows one part of the double acting baking powder* to work)
  • Preheat oven to 400ºF.
  • Spray a 10 to 12 inch cast iron skillet thoroughly with 'pan spray' (aerosol can of oil).
  • Heat the skillet in the oven for 5 minutes.
  • Remove skillet from oven and pour in batter to fill skillet about 1/2 to 2/3 full.
  • Return pan to the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until top is a medium dark golden brown.

*Double acting baking powder produces carbon dioxide gas to 'rise' the batter in two different ways. The first component works when it gets wet, the second when heat is applied.

The sour cream is for flavor and texture (so it is not as 'oily'), but it makes the batter 'heavier', so the extra baking powder is needed. The vinegar is for both flavor and to make the mixture slightly more acid, so the baking powder works better. The salt also for the same reasons.

Use this information to play with your own recipe:

Try it with yellow corn bread mix, following the package directions, and use the explanations above to change the recipe slightly.

Try it with 1/2 white and 1/2 yellow cornbread mix.

Try slightly different proportions of oil and sour cream, sugar and vinegar to experiment with different flavors and textures.

Use slightly more extra baking powder for a lighter texture.

Experiment to get 'your' ideal cornbread.

Makes 1

© James T. Ehler, 2001
All rights reserved