A Coffee Break with Kick! Lee Bailey’s Sour Cream Corn Bread with Onions, Cheddar and Optional Hot Peppers…

Lee Bailey’s Sour Cream and Cheddar Corn Bread with Onions – Photo © 2010 Michaela at TGE

Oochie, Owie, Yowie. Those are my  biceps, triceps and trapezoids speaking. They have been getting quite the workout. Gardening can be physically intense, and I work up a serious appetite raking, dragging debris and edging my client’s gardens. I also have very little free time to cook these days, (this post should have gone up yesterday, but I ran into a bit of a sanfu entering information into TurboTax on Sunday, and well, Uncle Sam must come first). On the weekends, when I’m not working, I try to make a few hearty things in the kitchen to carry me through the week.

I am a big fan of all Southern cooking -OK, who isn’t?- and I am especially fond of Lee Bailey’s country-style recipes. Cornbread has always been one of my favorite comfort foods, but although I think it’s fabulous drizzled with honey, I don’t like for the bread itself to be sweet! I prefer to to taste the flavor of real corn -very forward in this recipe- and I am picky about a moist, springy texture. One of the things that makes cornbread special is its versatility. Sure, you can make it plain and simple -without the onions or peppers I mention here- but you can also really jazz it up with fresh things from the garden. Depending upon my main course, I might add chives, sweet onions, garlic, sweet or hot peppers, and just about anything else that strikes my fancy. Sweet onions -such a rewarding crop to grow- are one of my favorite additions. It will be sometime before I have ripe, hot peppers in my garden, but they also add a special kick to this recipe – especially if you are cooking Cajun or Tex-Mex. I will be talking more about gourmet peppers, and other potager-delights in the coming weeks.

The recipe below is taken from Lee Bailey’s Country Weekends. If the gorgeous photographs of al-fresco meals in various outdoor settings don’t inspire you, the recipes and menus surely will. Although Lee’s beautiful book has gone out of print, I believe it can still be found online, both new and used. I received my copy as graduation/first-housewarming gift in the 90’s, (from a fabulous foodie-friend), and I still think it’s a wonderful book worth seeking out.


Lee Bailey’s Sour Cream Corn Bread with Onions and Cheddar Cheese


2/3 c       Safflower oil

2             Eggs, gently beaten

8oz         Greek style Sour Cream (low fat is OK, full fat is heaven)

16oz       Creamed corn, (homemade is best, but canned will work)

1 1/2 c    Yellow cornmeal

2tsp        Baking powder

1tsp         Salt

1c            Extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1              Medium size sweet onion, grated

2              Finely chopped hot peppers, such as jalapeños, (optional, and awesome)


Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an 8 or 9″ pan. Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the oil, eggs, sour cream and creamed corn. Mix the grated onion, (and optional jalapeno), into the wet ingredients. Quickly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. The batter will be a little lumpy and clumpy – that is good. Pour half the batter into the pan and sprinkle 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese on top. Then pour in the remaining batter. Top with the leftover 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Bake 45 minutes and cool for 10 minutes before cutting into wedges. This is best served hot, and don’t refrigerate it or it will ruin the texture…

And Hooo Wee. Try it with hot peppers, such as Jalapeños or Heirloom Hungarians, for an incredible kick !

Last year’s hot peppers, (including heirloom Hungarians), on my terrace in August

2009 Onion Harvest


Words and Pictures copyright 2010 Michaela at The Gardener’s Eden. All Rights Reserved.

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9 Replies to “A Coffee Break with Kick! Lee Bailey’s Sour Cream Corn Bread with Onions, Cheddar and Optional Hot Peppers…”

  1. Carina

    That sounds delicious. It will go wonderfully with the shrimp gumbo I’m making for dinner. Your posting was just in time.

    I’m looking forward to your posts on onions. I have no problem planting them, I just don’t know how to harvest. I ended up letting them spend the winter in the soil because I didn’t know what to do. I just cut the greens to use in a salad. Now I’m wondering if last years bulbs are still edible?

  2. Michaela

    Hi Carina ! There is a link in this blog post, (where I mention sweet onions in the text, the type is darker), click on that and it will take you back to last year’s post on harvesting onions. I’ll write more, but generally, you want to harvest when the green tops flop over. Usually the bulbs grow soft in the soil. You want to harvest them and then ‘cure’ in the hot sun.
    Here’s the onion link again: https://www.thegardenerseden.com/?p=2284
    Read that and see if anything sounds new/helpful… and let me know what you think :)
    xo Michaela

  3. Michaela

    * PS Shrimp Gumbo sounds great… yum. You are making me want to crash your dinner party – but if you are Carina H… it would take me 3 or 4 days by car!

  4. Victoria

    Yes, yes, yes.

    I agree with Carina. This would go well with shrimp. And I KNOW you make shrimp creole – as I do. How yum that would be.

    Right now.

    But what about with fried chicken, and barbecued brisket, and creamed lima beans?

    Oh, this is making me soooooooo hungry – not a good thing as I sit at my desk with a container of no-fat Greek yogurt and an apple waiting in the refrigerator as my lunch.

    Oh, well. At least I don’t have tickets for the Yankees opener and have to sit outside on a nasty April day.

  5. Michaela

    I am just sitting down with my own Greek yogurt and granola for my very, very late lunch, (OK mine has LOTS of fat)! We must be on the same wavelength, (taste-bud length?)! Now I want shrimp creole. Sigh. OK. That will be the weekend menu.
    Fried Chicken. I think it’s also time for your fabulous fried chicken Virginia.
    Nice to hear from you :) I always love seeing your comments. I imagine it must be lovely in the city today.
    xo M

  6. Victoria

    Michaela, it’s not lovely in the City today. The weather is gray and rather damp but not raining – yet. Although we do need rain in the spring, don’t we? And lots of trees, shrubs, and flowers are in full bloom.

    I am going to Amsterdam on Saturday and hope to see the fields of tulips, plus lots and lots of art, and eat some Dutch licorice so I am very excited.

    But it does mean I would be upstate for a few weeks so I am looking at your photos longingly.

  7. Michaela

    Oh! I’m sorry to hear that. It is cool here today, but bright and beautiful. Yes, we do need spring rain. I rather like gardening in light, misty weather.
    Amsterdam? Oh that sounds wonderful. I hope you have a lovely trip Victoria. I haven’t been to Amsterdam since 1998. Last time, I visited the art museums and went to several markets. One evening, I had the most amazing risotto, with spring vegetables, in a tiny restaurant on the water. The weather was gloomy, but lovely all the same.
    I will be picturing you in a field, surrounded by brightly painted tulips. Be safe and bring us back stories and pictures :)
    xo M

  8. Amy

    I made my very first cornbread a couple of days ago, with a crisp bacon studded bottom, and pickled jalapenos on top. Delish it was. Yours looks super yummy too

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