Welcome to my Friday bonus feature called Karen’s Killer Fixin’s **Author Special**!! Today, in lieu of one of my own recipes, I’m going to introduce you to a new author who will share one of her favorite recipes. Not only will you and I occasionally learn how to make something new and delicious, but we’ll get a chance to check out some wonderful authors. Introducing author, JODI RATH, and her favorite recipe for JALAPENO CHEDDAR CORNBREAD!!
JALAPENO CHEDDAR CORNBREAD MURDER
The Cast Iron Skillet Mystery Series Book 2
BY JODI RATH
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!
My love life has been a full-on roller coaster ride this past year. I prefer not to think about it, let alone talk about it. Summer is here, and I’m ready to chillax poolside; I love living in a state where I get to enjoy each season. It makes me feel like I get a fresh start. Unfortunately, Ava won’t let my love-life rest.
“I still can’t believe the shape your love life is in girl. How do you manage it?” Ava asked while popping a jalapeno into her mouth.
“It’s a gift; those are HOT!” I exclaimed as her once beautiful mocha skin turned into bright red blotches and her eyes bulged out of her head.
“Wa . . . WAT . . . WATER!!!” She finally managed to spit out fleeing for the sink.
“No, here, drink this milk instead; it will do more to ease the heat,” I said while pouring a glass.
Ava took two big gulps of the eight-ounce glass of milk and began moving her head around in a panic.
“More?” I asked.
She shook her head affirmatively. I wasn’t even able to pour a full glass this time when she took the carton of milk from me and began chugging it.
“Slow down; you’re going to make yourself sick.”
“Why is that deathly hot? I love spicy food, but that is ridiculous!” Ava said.
“I’m trying something new in the jalapeno cheddar cornbread recipe.”
“Are you trying to kill people by heat index? Good lord, Jolie, did you bother to taste that before using it?” Ava seemed very angry right now.
“Calm down; I’m testing it out. I’m not eating them from the jar like a . . .” I thought better to finish that statement based on the glare I was getting from Ava. “I’m just saying that I plan to start out using a bit of the juice from the jar and dicing a little up and tasting it in the bread for heat.”
“Well, you need to have a death label on those things to warn us, spicy lovers . . .” Ava stopped mid-sentence, her blotchy, red skin was beginning to go pale, and she began dry heaving while holding a hand up in a panic.
Ava ran through the kitchen swing doors to the front of the restaurant where the men’s and women’s bathrooms were. She grabbed the knob to the women’s and pushed to no avail, and her body ran smack into the door hard. It looked like it was occupied. At this point, Ava looked like a chipmunk with cheeks extended and eyes wide, she looked desperately at the men’s room and didn’t hesitate to run into it.
Magda, our new part-time waitress, looked at me shocked. She wasn’t used to Ava’s antics yet. We had to replace Roxi after last September’s tragedy. Grandma Opal was still grieving over her best friend, Ellie Siler’s, loss. Ava and I were also fortunate enough to be able to add two other new staff members: Mirabelle, a twenty-four-year-old hostess with the mostess is what Aunt Fern loved to call her and her sidekick, Spy. Spy was Mirabelle’s seeing-eye dog. Mirabelle has Down’s syndrome, and she has sight issues. These two were a super-duo who greeted each customer that entered and left the restaurant. Mirabelle and Spy have been here a bit longer than Magda, so I saw Mirabelle grinning as Spy shifted his seated position and the golden retriever looked like he had a grin on his face too.
“I don’t understand what I ever saw in you,” Bradley said walking slowly out of the bathroom with some of Ava’s barf on him.
She came stomping out after him, “I didn’t know you were in there washing your hands. Why didn’t you lock the door?” She demanded.
“Because I just walked in here and was planning to be in here for no more than a minute to wash my hands; there aren’t many people in here, and none are men. I thought I was safe for a quick minute. I should have known better with you working here though.”
“Work here?” Ava scowled.
Oh boy, Bradley just did himself in. He knew it too. He put his hands up in defense giving in. “I know, you co-own the place—sorry!” He exclaimed.
“Let’s take this situation outside please,” I said glancing around at the few customers trying to eat the meals I prepared them. As Ava and Bradley moved toward the door, I told the patrons I’d be happy to box their meals, and the meals were on the house for the disgusting scene they just witnessed.
After some serious groveling and comping the bills, Magda and I worked to clean up the mess as quickly as possible, temporarily closing the business while we did so.
“Miss Jolie, can Spy and I help?” Mirabelle asked as I turned the sign and locked the door for a bit.
A lot of people treated Mirabelle differently. They gawked or felt sorry for her and treated her like she was less in some way. I’m not even sure anyone meant to do it; they didn’t seem to understand how to best communicate with her. I know I used to be the same way until Ava and I took sometime over the summer months of high school to coach Special Olympics in our village. We learned how exceptional Mirabelle is at all things.
“Sure thing, let’s see, Magda is cleaning up the men’s bathroom and I’m going to do a run through of the front of the store to make sure everything is clean. I’d like to sweep the floors and wipe down the tables. Which would you like to do?”
“We’ll clean tables,” Mirabelle exclaimed, and I say exclaimed because every time Mirabelle was given a task, she was fully excited to conquer it. She had energy and a zest for life that I wish I could mimic. Spy did a soft woof in agreement as he always seemed to talk to Mirabelle.
We both jumped as we heard a hard knock on our front door.
I saw Bradley’s boss, Lou, standing outside the door. I unlocked and opened the door briefly, “Sorry Lou; we had an unfortunate incident a few moments ago. I had to close briefly to clean up. I’ll open up soon.”
“Where is Bradley? He wanted me to meet him here, and here I am. Why we can’t talk at the workplace is beyond me. This is ridiculous. He could at least be outside regardless of what “incident” you’ve had,” he said making air quotes with his fingers.
“Bradley was part of the incident. He probably ran to change his clothes. I would assume he’ll be back soon,” I said.
“Figures, I’ll call him,” he said grabbing his phone and storming off.
I went to close and lock up again when Mr. and Mrs. Seevers came storming up to Lou.
“You no good son of a gun; I oughta take that phone and shove it up your . . .”
“Earl!” Mrs. Seevers exclaimed. “No need for that kind of talk ever, regardless of how much of a creep this guy is.”
“What are you two talking about?” Lou demanded.
“We know what you did, and you won’t get away with it!” Mr. Seevers seethed.
“You two old bats need to mind your own business; I’m out of here,” Lou protested stomping off with his phone to his ear probably calling poor Bradley to chew him out.
“Rude,” Mirabelle stated as I closed and locked the door again.
“Agreed,” I said wondering what was going on with the Seevers, a typically nice retired couple, and Lou.
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.
Links to Jodi’s website, blog, books, etc.
All other e-platforms: https://books2read.com/u/bOAYyK
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I hope you enjoy the recipe Jodi is sharing today on Karen’s Killer Fixin’s. Happy Eating!
P.S. We’re at 426 recipes and counting with this posting. Hope you find some recipes you like. If this is your first visit, please check out past blogs for more Killer Fixin’s. In the right-hand column menu, you can even look up past recipes by type. i.e. Desserts, Breads, Beef, Chicken, Soups, Author Specials, etc.
JALAPENO 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
- 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.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Whisk in corn/cream mixture and cheddar cheese. Set aside.
- 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.
- 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.
Thanks, Jodi, for sharing your book with us!
Don’t miss the chance to read this book!