We also had both collard greens and mustard greens in the freezer. These are greens that we grew in the garden last year, cooked, and packed into empty crème fraiche containers for the freezer. I thawed out a container of mustard greens and added some duck fat and black pepper to season them. I cooked them for an hour or more, because the last time we ate some I didn't think they were cooked enough.
Then there was the question of bread. Now that we only get bread delivered four times a week instead of five — the Monday delivery has been canceled — we have to plan more carefully. On Saturday we get bread but no more until Tuesday, unless we fire up the Peugeot and go to the boulangerie.
One "survival" strategy is to buy extra bread on Saturday when the bread lady comes by and put some in the freezer for Sunday and Monday. We often do that. Another strategy is to make bread ourselves on Sunday and Monday. That bread can be pizza, for example. Walt makes his own crust.
Or it can be cornbread. We have pounds and pounds of cornmeal in our freezer, because whenever I see it at a good price I buy some. I usually get it at Paris Store, the Asian supermarket in Blois.
Saturday morning, when we were preparing the meal of pulled pork and mustard greens, I thought about making Southern-style hushpuppies. That requires deep-frying little quenelles or logs of corn batter, and means using up a lot of vegetable oil.
Then I remembered pan-fried cornbread. My mother used to make it all the time when I was growing up. You make a batter with cornmeal and leavening (baking soda or powder) and you fry it like pancakes in hot oil or butter. Or even bacon or duck fat. You need only a thin layer of oil — almost none at all if you use a non-stick pan.
So I went to the Internet for ideas. Here's the recipe I came up with. It's based on one I found, but modified. I wanted a recipe that used only cornmeal ("corn flour" if you're not American) and no wheat flour. The corn meal needs to be finely ground.
Without the pepper, these would make delicious pancakes for breakfast, with butter and syrup or jam. With the pepper, they make a great side dish for a meal of meat and green vegetables. They taste as good as they look, believe me.Pan-fried cornbread1 cup cornmeal
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
several grinds of black pepper
½ tsp. sugar
½ cup plain yogurt
½ cup milk
Mix ingredients and fry in a skillet as you would pancakes. You can make them large or small as you like. Turn them only once — when brown on one side then flip to the other side.
I use a mixture of yogurt and milk to make cornbread here in France. If you can get buttermilk, use that instead. Sour or "soured" milk — add a tablespoon of white vinegar to a cup of milk — work well too.
As for the frying, a non-stick pan needs only to be lightly wiped with oil or melted butter. And if you make the batter with non-fat yogurt and non-fat milk as I do, there's hardly any fat at all — just the egg yolk.