Inspired by Heidi Swanson's Quinoa Cornbread recipe and the garden stands across Eastern North Carolina, this cornbread is more like a dessert than a side, though I’m sure it would be great paired with a fresh, fruit filled salad. It’s sweet, fruity, and creamy with a slight crunch from the quinoa. —Mary Catherine Tee
Preheat the oven to 350 F and place a rack in the top third. Butter a 10-inch oven-proof skillet or equivalent baking dish. Once the oven has preheated, place buttered skillet on oven rack and heat for about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and fresh basil.
In a separate bowl, beat the eggs, quinoa, and melted butter until well-mixed. Add the sugar, salt, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla and stir again. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until the batter comes together. It will be very thin. No need to fear.
Take skillet from oven and layer sliced strawberries in the bottom. You’ll want to work quickly so the skillet will stay hot when it’s time for the batter to be poured in.
Next, pour the batter over the strawberries.
In a spouted measuring cup, mix cream and vanilla. Pour the heavy cream into the center of the batter. Do not stir. Carefully (you don’t want to spill because the batter's really loose) place skillet in the oven and check after 45 minutes.
The skillet bread is done when the top becomes lightly browned and the center just set. If it’s not set after 45 minutes, cook for 5-10 minutes more, checking occasionally.
I’m an old soul. My favorite Saturday morning activity is watching birds on the feeder while drinking strong, black coffee out of my favorite hand-thrown mug. My favorite place to kill time is in antique stores. The less organized the better. I like full-bodied red wines and bitter IPAs. I live for feeling the warmth of sunshine and hearing the stillness of freshly fallen snow. I can thank my stint in Alaska for that. I have salt water in my veins, having grown up in Eastern NC, and (shhh…don’t tell any of my Mainer friends this about me) I prefer blue crab over lobster.