We’re so happy to host Jodi Rath, author of the Cast Iron Skillet Mysteries, for the first time. And she’s sharing a tasty recipe…
Spicy Plots and Twists
Book one of The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series was a bit sweet. How could it not be with a title like Pineapple Upside Down Murder! For book two, coming June 21, 2019, I wanted to spice it up a bit. Plus, I ADORE spicy food. One of the things I love the most about writing a culinary cozy mystery series is that I get to incorporate recipes into each book.
I also do a Mystery A Month (just a short 2-minute mystery) for my newsletter subscribers where we play with recipes and share there as well. One part of my job is to try out new recipes, research recipes, mix and match recipes to come up with new and improved cast iron cooking. It’s a tough job, but someone has to do it y’all!
Spicing it up meant I was on the hunt for recipes that would burn my tongue. I was thrilled to try out some jalapeño cheddar cornbread recipes. I messed around with four of them to be exact. Then, I began experimenting and adding or subtracting ingredients to get the right amount of cheese to peppery tang. I believe I mastered it. Thus, the title, Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread Murder was born. And a recipe was, too!
Recipe for Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread
• 2 jalapeño peppers, seeds* removed and diced
• 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
• 1 cup fine cornmeal
• 1 tbsp baking powder
• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt (1 tsp. if using fine salt)
• 4 large eggs
• 1 cup cooked corn kernels plus enough cream, milk, or buttermilk** to equal 1 1/2 cups
• 1 cup grated cheddar cheese*** plus bit more for top before baking
• 3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
• 2/3 cup sugar
1. Place diced jalapeños in skillet, then place in a 10-inch top diameter cast iron skillet in cold oven on middle rack. Preheat oven to 400°F and leave skillet with jalapeños in oven as it preheats. Check periodically to make sure they aren’t burning and to give them a quick stir. Remove when they are lightly browned and allow to cool. Return skillet immediately to oven.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
3. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
4. In a large bowl, mix butter and sugar with a wooden spoon,**** just until butter absorbs the sugar. Add the egg mixture and mix until just combined. Stir in the cooled jalapeños. Mix in the dry ingredients just until barely incorporated.
5. Remove skillet from oven and lightly coat with nonstick spray. Spoon batter into hot pan and quickly top with a bit more grated cheddar cheese. Bake cornbread until top is golden brown and springs back when gently pressed, 25-28 minutes when baked in a 10-inch skillet (may be longer if your skillet is smaller). Let cool 10 minutes before serving.
*If you like your food extra spicy, then leave the seeds in the jalapeños.
**This means you add the corn kernels to a measuring cup first, then pour in the milk until the milk rises to the 1 1/2 cup level. (I was not able to find buttermilk at my local store. If you have the same problem, then you can add one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar for every one cup of milk.)
***I’m a cheese lover—I added an extra half cup of cheese!
****I tried the recipe mixing with a wooden spoon and again using my Kitchenette mixer. Call me crazy, but I truly believe it tasted better when using the wooden spoon to stir ingredients.
This recipe was adapted from seasonsandsuppas.ca and foodiecrush.com.
Readers, have you ever tried a recipe from a cozy mystery? How did it go?
BIO: Moving into her second decade working in education, Jodi Rath has decided to begin a life of crime in her The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series. Her passion for both mysteries and education led her to combine the two to create her business MYS ED, where she splits her time between working as an adjunct for Ohio teachers and creating mischief in her fictional writing. She currently resides in a small, cozy village in Ohio with her husband and her nine cats.
Welcome to Leavensport, Ohio where DEATH takes a delicious turn!
Financial fraud of elderly villagers in Leavensport, an urban sprawl threat to the community, disastrous dates, cross-sell marketing gone wrong, and another murder? Jolie Tucker is ready to try dating again. Well, she has no choice—since her family auctioned her off to the highest bidder. Her best friend, Ava, has agreed to a double date, but both friends find out hidden secrets about their partners as well as deception by one of the village’s own, who will soon be found dead. This plot is sure to be spicy!