Verdict: win

Cornbread is one of the many American foods I somehow missed out on during my childhood. I think I ate cornbread for the first time in high school, and it was love at first bite. I don't care much for breads, biscuits, or buns with meals, but I will never skip out on cornbread.

There's a lot of controversy over sweet vs savory cornbread, but I'm a fan of the sweeter, moist style. This recipe is pretty close to my ideal cornbread recipe. It's very simple and quick. I used Bob's Red Mill medium-grain cornmeal, which added more texture than typical cornbread (it was welcomed). I found that greasing the pan with canola/vegetable oil made the edges crispy (which was even more welcomed). I may consider scaling back the sugar by 20-25% (just a tad too sweet). This recipe is easily doubled and can be baked in a 9x13 pan for about 35 minutes.

Verdict: win

By far the best mug cake I've had. FTW.

Verdict: win

I was never impressed with cauliflower growing up. Then I discovered the beauty of roasting vegetables: roasting brings out sweetness that enhances the true flavor of the vegetable. This recipe transforms cauliflower into a naturally sweetened, salty, and spicy side. I also love the crispiness of roasted vegetables - there's something magical about those little charred ends.

Verdict: win

I love where I live in Columbus - I have access to the best food and drink this city has to offer within minutes of my home. Last week we stopped by Daily Growler and purchased a growler of Xocoveza Mocha Stout by Chris Banker/Stone/Insurgente. It is a fantastic, mexican hot chocolate-inspired stout that scored >93 points on Beer Advocate...I was won over.

Surprisingly we had a bit leftover that had gone flat, so I used the last few ounces to make beer brownies. I modified Joy the Baker's beer brownies recipe to highlight the chile-laced beer by adding a touch of ancho chile powder. Next time I'd add even more chile powder to amp up the spice, and maybe some cinnamon and/or nutmeg too. I almost ran out of all-purpose flour, so I QS'd with bread flour (which I think added some chewiness to the brownies). I used Scharffen Berger natural cocoa powder (instead of dutch-processed cocoa powder), which results in a lighter, caramel-y brownie color. For the chocolate, I used semi-sweet chocolate chips I had on hand, but it came out to sweet for my taste so next time I would use more of a bittersweet chocolate.

Still, DY thinks they're the best brownies I've ever made. The recipe did make a great cakey-yet-chewy brownie; it's probably a keeper.

Verdict: win

A few weeks ago my parents came to visit me. My dad loves fishing, so they brought me some whole fish from his most recent catch to freeze and use later. I finally had a chance to defrost the fish this week, and today I cooked it "hong shao" style with a lot of ginger and green onions. I used this easy and simple recipe from Saveur. It smelled like my mom's hong shao yu - deliciously aromatic - but next time I would use half dark and half light soy sauce. The Saveur recipe required all dark soy sauce, which made the dish too sweet and not salty enough. The original recipe is listed below.