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
12 large (3x3 inch) or 48 small (1 ½ inch x 1 ½ inch) squares
stone ground yellow cornmeal
all purpose flour
kefir or buttermilk
ham, cut into ¼-inch cubes
red-wax Gauda, cut into ¼-inch cubes (Chedars & Jacks, Swiss & Alpine, they all work well)
cornichons, cut into ¼-inch cubes
roasted red peppers, cut into ¼-inch cubes
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.
Aleksandra aka QueenSashy is a scientist by day, and cook, photographer and doodler by night. When she is not writing code and formulas, she blogs about food, life and everything in between on her blog, Three Little Halves. Three Little Halves was nominated for 2015 James Beard Awards and the finalist for 2014 Saveur Best Food Blog Awards. Aleksandra lives in New York City with her other two halves, Miss Pain and Dr. V.