Tuesday, August 15, 2017


Hoecakes - made July 29, 2017 from Food Network
My niece gave me a cast iron griddle. She knew both my penchant for cast iron cookware and anything made in the USA so it was a perfect gift. I’ve never owned a griddle before. That might be surprising but I always made pancakes in a frying pan so I didn’t think I was missing out. But it was fun to play with my new griddle, placing it so it straddled two burners and I could use the span of my stove.
She and I had fun texting back and forth on the various things that could be made on a griddle: grilled cheese sandwiches, flatbread pizza, Monte Cristo sandwiches, quesadillas, hash browns, hush puppies, everything for breakfast (sausage, eggs, toast, etc). But one of the first things that came to mind was, of course, pancakes. I veered off the traditional path and decided for the maiden voyage of my cast iron griddle, I would do “hoecakes”.
As a kid, I just about memorized the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder and I remembered Ma Ingalls making hoecakes on a “spider” (a frying pan with legs set over a fire or coals). Laura always made those hoecakes sound so good. I found this recipe on Food Network, as contributed by Bobby Deen so I decided to give it a try. It had the added advantage of using self-rising cornmeal and self-rising flour. I normally wouldn’t have either ingredient on hand but some time ago, I had broken down and purchased White Lily flour on amazon. It was criminally expensive for flour but White Lily isn’t something I ever see in my part of the country (it’s predominantly available in the South, I’m told) so online was my only option.
Other side of the griddle
I ordered two 5-lb bags of the self-rising flour, thinking to make biscuits and cakes, having heard so much about the lightness of baked goods made with White Lily flour. Alas, the seller I bought the flour from sent me two 5-lb bags of self-rising cornmeal instead. I offered to send it back in exchange for the correct order but the seller apologized, told me to keep the cornmeal and promptly sent me the correct flour. I was sure I could use the White Lily flour eventually but I didn’t know what to do with 10 pounds of self-rising cornmeal (I’m not THAT much of a cornbread fan) so I donated one of the 5-lb bags to my local food bank and kept the other.
So I had what I needed to make hoecakes. Now, I’m not entirely sure what I expected hoecakes to be or taste like. They came out looking like pancakes. In fact, they ended up tasting like pancakes except for a slight grit from the cornmeal. They weren’t sweet, they were a little heavy-textured and they tasted fine with butter. I followed the recipe to a T so presumably they were hoecakes, at least according to Food Network and Bobby Deen. I’m not sure Laura or Ma Ingalls would agree though. On the plus side, I got to break in my new cast iron griddle. And I love it.
1 cup self-rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon water
2 eggs
  1. Heat cast iron griddle over low heat. 
  2. Whisk together cornmeal, flour and sugar. In a separate bowl, combine butter, oil, water and eggs. Add to dry ingredients and mix until just combined.
  3. When griddle is hot, grease with butter or oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter for each hoecake. Fry until golden brown, flip over and fry until golden brown. Serve warm with butter.

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