I had my friends Paula and Jenny over for dinner a few weeks ago and Jenny brought a bag of food items she thought I would like. Jenny is a relatively new friend and I was touched that she did that in the first place. Along with Paula, we bonded over our shared love of Taiwanese noodle soup. Both Paula and Jenny are from Taiwan like me, but they were lucky enough to grow up there and were exposed to so much more good food than I ever was. All I had in Virginia were Chinese restaurants that served very Americanized dishes, like General Tso's Chicken. But I can get pretty good Taiwanese food in Flushing, Queens. So whenever my parents come to visit me in New York, we make a trip out there to get our Taiwanese food fix.
Anyway, in my bag of goodies from Jenny there was walnut oil, rose sparkling wine, coffee frozen yogurt and a package of organic cornbread mix. I love cornbread and hadn't made it in years. Partly because I think it becomes very dry and hard after a day. So I wanted to try and come up with something that's more moist and healthy too.
What I came up with was more like a savory cake than a bread. Instead of oil and butter, I used a little olive oil and low-fat plain yogurt. A little thyme added a lemony, minty hint of flavor that provided a nice balance to the cornmeal. Here's how I made it.
1 pound cornbread mix, I used one from Nitty Gritty Grain Company of Vermont
6 ounces of fat-free plain organic yogurt, like Stonyfield
2 tablespoons of olive oil
3/4 cup of water
1 large egg
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees and rub a little olive oil throughout a non-stick loaf pan. Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and pour it into the pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, using a toothpick inserted in the center. When it comes out clean, the cake is done.
After letting it cool, remove the cake from the pan and cut into slices. I like to serve it along side a small scoop of vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt.