Every summer I get together with my old Bakersfield High School buddies for the Hoot in the Hills, a four day camping, eating, fishing, shooting and adult beverage extravaganza in the High Sierras. This past summer was the 10th Annual Hoot, with one of the guys flying in from Florida for it. We take turns cooking dinners, and it has turned into a bit of a competition, as each tries to outdo the other. Because while we are in “dispersed camping” areas with no facilities other than what we bring ourselves, we definitely are not roughing it. This is especially true when it comes to our meals, where the standards are very high. After all, “this ain’t no weenie roast!” One member of our group is still ridiculed for having brought a meal that was mostly prepared in advance back home for having served us “leftovers.”
The exception to the “no leftovers” rule has been the first night meal. Because that is the day we arrive and set up camp, we’ve generally tried to avoid a big complicated meal, but our standards are no less high. Jeff Mosley developed a solution to our first night issues, by bringing ham hocks and beans, with jalapeno cornbread. He starts cooking the ham hocks and beans the night before, stewing them overnight, and then basically just reheats them at camp. While they are excellent, we have always secretly suspected it is his wife that does all the work, and he just brings them in the pot ready to reheat. But since they’re really good and it means nobody has to do any real work for dinner the first night, we’ve let it slide.
We’ve actually seen him make the jalapeno cornbread, though, and it is really good and quite simple. And the “jalapeno” part of the recipe is mild enough for all but the most sensitive eaters, and just provides a pleasant spice and flavor to the cornbread. I recently got him to share his “secret Mosley family recipe” for the cornbread so I could make it to accompany Colleen’s smoked ham and 16 bean soup. And like some sort of prison stool pigeon, I’m going to blab the “secret” recipe on-line here. It’s great with chili bean soup, ham, or just about anything else you would pair cornbread muffins with. And while he does it in cast iron molds on the grill, I did it in the oven with standard muffin cups and tins. It makes 12 muffins, so you can either do it for a large family dinner, or freeze the extras to eat with the leftovers.
2010 Post Script: Mosley also gave me his ham and bean soup recipe at the same time. I made it, and it just didn’t turn out like I remembered it tasting. I assumed that was just because everything tastes better in the great outdoors, but this year Mosley told me he realized that he’d left out a couple of key steps when he gave me his recipe, but after seeing this post, refused to give me the corrected instructions! Oh, and he used a bad word or two…
- 2 Boxes Jiffy Cornbread Muffin Mix
- 1 Can Cream Corn
- 2 Jalapeno peppers (I used 5 smaller green peppers instead of two large ones, because that’s what I had)
- 2 Eggs
- Preheat Oven to 400 degrees.
- Pour mix into large bowl.
- Add two eggs.
- Add can of creamed corn.
- Dice jalapenos and add to mixture.
- Stir mixture (a few lumps are okay, don’t over-stir), let rest for 3-5 minutes.
- Fill 12 muffin cups ¾ full in muffin pan (there may be a bit leftover).
- Place in oven for approximately 20 minutes, or until golden brown.