Author Notes: This twist on the old-time favorite is almost like a sandwich in a cornbread. As a result, when I was growing up, these colorful cornbreads often replaced sandwiches in our picnic basket and in my lunchbox. The speckles of bright foods inside always reminded me of little jewels, hence the name. I remember being completely enamored with their prettiness. I would poke into them endlessly during the long road trips, trying to pick the jewels out, leaving a mess in the back seat of our car. And I kept on doing it well into my teenage years, despite all the time-outs and disciplinary actions -- it was simply worth it... - QueenSashy
Makes 12 large (3x3 inch) or 48 small (1 ½ inch x 1 ½ inch) squares
- 2 cups stone ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 cups kefir or buttermilk
- 1 cup sunflower oil
- 4 eggs
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 8 ounces ham, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 8 ounces red-wax Gauda, cut into ¼-inch cubes (Chedars & Jacks, Swiss & Alpine, they all work well)
- 2 ounces cornichons, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- 3 ounces roasted red peppers, cut into ¼-inch cubes
- A pinch of salt and pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400F.
- In a mixer, beat the eggs well. Add the kefir and oil and mix until fully incorporated. Add the cornmeal, baking powder, flour, salt and pepper, and stir until blended into smooth batter. Add the ham, gauda, cornichons and red peppers to the batter, and mix well with spatula.
- Grease 9x13 inch baking pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let the cornbread cool and cut it into 1 ½ inch squares. Serve at room temperature.