Blue Plate Extravaganza

If you’re a professional chef, coming up with an entire dinner of blue food in three hours is probably a snap. If you’re not, here’s where you need to start:

Blueberry Martini

1 heaping T pureed fresh or frozen wild blueberries
1 ½ – 2 t fresh squeezed (as if I have to say it) lemon juice
1 very large jigger gin (Bombay Sapphire, of course)
¼ very large jigger triple sec
Pour over ice into martini shaker. Shake and strain into martini glass.

A normal person probably would have been happy with just a Blue Velvet Cake recipe for the Amateur Gourmet’s Blue Food Contest. But, as was established during the creation of Sunday’s lurid Greenish-Purple Velvet Cake, that would not be me.

Instead, discovering the contest only on Sunday and having to travel all day Monday, I set out to make ENTIRE DINNER of blue food on Tuesday. After work, starting at 7. With no food coloring involved.

The menu was in my head: blue cornbread, buffalo steak salad with bleu cheese, and, of course, the Blue Velvet Cake. Ingredients were purchased. (The Blueberry Martini was merely a last-minute, desperate effort that resulted from a lack of wine.) All I had to do was invent–and, for once, write down–the recipes.

For the blue cornbread, I turned to Southern Cornbread in Cook’s Illustrated’s The Best Recipe. Why I turned to a cookbook written by Yankees to make Southern cornbread I don’t know. But at least it was blue:

That is, until you cooked it:

It WAS blue on the inside, but I was too ashamed of how flat it was to take a picture. (I hope my mother doesn’t read this. Also, please don’t tell her I really like that sugary Yankee cornbread.)

Below is the recipe for blue cornbread that I WOULD make if I had time and didn’t have a full-time job. Please feel free to try it and let me know if it works.

Blue Cornbread

Preheat oven to 450. Chop 1 medium onion and saute in about 1/4 c. melted bacon fat in iron skillet.

Mix together:
1 1/2 cups blue cornmeal
1/2 c flour
2 tsps. sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsps. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 finely chopped dried chipotle or poblano pepper

Stir in 2 lightly beaten eggs. Add 1 – 1 1/2 cups buttermilk. Add sauteed onions. Don’t overmix–stir just until all ingredients are moistened. Pour mix back into iron skillet and bake for 25-30 minutes until brown.

And now I have to go to work. More later.

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