fall harvest cornbread cake

This dish is inspired by a Southwest camping trip through Arizona where corn is packed into every dish and cumin is king.  I was camping there and the idea of adding vegetables to cornbread struck me, I'll admit, mainly out of necessity to combine the very few ingredients we had in our possession.  

You’ll be surprised by how satisfied you are before you even take a bite

Now, fast forward to a Portland fall farmers markets. After an August of intense traveling coming back to a slow Saturday morning roaming the market is a dream. I love the mini eggplants each little bite adds so much color and texture, mix it with fresh sweet corn, cherry tomatoes, and crunchy cornbread and you've got yourself hit. 

Mindful Eating Notes

The main suggestion I have for eating this dish mindfully is use your sense of smell! With the amount of rosemary and basil I recommend for this dish, the baking process will absolutely fill up your kitchen with so many lovely and enticing smells. Enjoy the whole cooking process by really noticing and enjoying the smell, let it fill you up and satisfy you  as well. Take in three deep breathes every couple of minutes including right before you sit down . You'll be surprised by how satisfied you are before you even take a bite! 

Cornbread Base
1 cup milk
2 eggs
1⁄4 cup butter (melted) 
1 1⁄2 cups yellow cornmeal
3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup white sugar + 2 tablespoons of raw sugar for texture
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

Veggie Topping
2 cups cherry tomatoes, 
2 cups mushrooms,
1 carton of mini eggplants (about 10)
2 ears of fresh sweet corn
3/4 cup of sharp cheddar cheese (optional)
2-3 large springs of rosemary
1/2 cup of basil
cumin
olive or coconut oil / salt /pepper

*optional: 1/2 cup of cheddar or parmesean cheese 

The first thing to do here is preheat the oven to 350 and cut up the eggplant to small pieces, toss with coconut or olive oil and cumin, and start those puppies roasting in the oven on a baking sheet or pie dish. Roast those for about 30-40mins total until very soft, while you are doing this throw in your ears or corn for 5 mins, enough to soften just a little  so you can cut the kernels off the ear. 

While the eggplant is roasting, cut all your other veggies (your tomatoes and mushrooms, and corn) into small pieces and saute lightly with salt. This is mainly to drain excess water, add a generous helping of cumin to this mix as well. 

Next, make the cornbread base by mixing the milk, eggs, butter together, then adding the dry ingredients. Add the mixture to a buttered pie pan (or muffin tins)  then  add the veggie mixture on top. Bake for about 10 min then add the cheese and rosemary, bake for another 10 min and add the fresh basil at the very end. Tip: cut basil with scissors! (I wish someone told me that a long time ago, just try it)