Thanksgiving is universally understood as revolving around two main events: expressing gratitude and overeating. The latter, though, is relegated to the second half of the day, which leaves the morning without structure and rife with potential for mistake-making. Many people stand firmly in the camp of saving one’s appetite to the furthest extent: starving themselves until they can begin snacking on scraps off edges of platters, quickly advancing to candied nut scarfing and cured meat and cheese sneaking, until the real events ensue. By that point the most ravenous will throw themselves heartily into the meal, surely stuffing their gullets like the big birds themselves and rapidly falling into a food coma beside the table (known in some regions as “the itis”), blaming the notorious tryptophan for their nap. However, the prize few who have planned accordingly will be able to come back for seconds, maybe even thirds, as the waistband on their pants tightens at a far more reasonable rate.
This is why the day ought to generally be focused on how to most aptly consume copious amounts of food without making oneself sick come 4 or 5 o’clock. The answer: breakfast. A widely undervalued event on Thanksgiving, the first meal is secretly the key to a thorough enjoyment of the feast. Like stretching before the big game, use this occasion to warm up the belly and make certain you won’t hurt yourself later on.
This goji berry cornbread will give you a little hint of what’s to come, but help you make it there without the hanger. Throwing an egg on top will tether it firmly within the camp of a morning routine. Godspeed.
Goji Berry Cornbread
Yield: 2 loaves (16 servings)
- I highly recommend weighing ingredients for accuracy.
- This can be made in a more shallow vessel and baked for about ⅔ of the suggested time.
- If you don’t have a crowd to feed, save one loaf to cube and use for stuffing.
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup (150g) oil
- 5 Tbsp (75g) butter, melted and slightly cooled
- ⅔ cup (180g) runny honey
- ¾ cup (200g) sugar
- 2 ¼ cup (575g) buttermilk
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 2 ½ cup (365g) all-purpose flour
- 1 ⅓ cup (200g) cornmeal
- 1 Tbsp + ½ tsp baking powder
- ¾ tsp baking soda
- 2 ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup goji berries
- Raw sugar and coarse salt to top
- Set oven to 325F and grease two smaller loaf pans (6” x 4”) or one larger one.
- In a small bowl, cover the dried goji berries with boiling water and set aside.
- Whisk eggs in a large bowl.
- Emulsify oil and melted butter into the eggs. Add honey and sugar and whisk until smooth.
- Gently stir in buttermilk and vanilla and whisk further.
- Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add into the wet in two batches, whisking in between. Mix thoroughly until just smooth.
- Drain excess water from goji berries and stir the plumped berries into the batter.
- Pour into prepared loaf pans and top generously with raw sugar and coarse salt.
- Bake for 60-70 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean. If using a smaller loaf pan or baking dish, check after thirty minutes.
- Serve each slices with plenty of butter, honey and a runny poached or fried egg.
Illustrations: Lexie Smith for NeueJournal