Category Archives: Blog

Old-Fashioned Cornbread

Old-Fashioned Cornbread

 
Makes 8 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Bake: 25 to 30 minutes
Ingredients:
1 large egg
2 cups buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus 2 tablespoons for the skillet
Directions:
  1. Place a rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Place the cornmeal in a large bowl, and stir in the egg, buttermilk, and 1/4 cup oil until just combined.
  3. Pour 2 tablespoons of the oil in a 10-inch cast iron skillet and place over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, pour the batter into the skillet, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the top is firm to the touch and the sides are well browned, 25 to 30 minutes. Turn out onto a board and slice into wedges. Serve warm.
For a 12-inch skillet – bake 20 to 25 minutes
Note:
For True Southern Cornbread (without an egg), use 2 cups The Old Mill Self-Rising White Cornmeal, 1 3/4 cups buttermilk, and 1/4 cup vegetable oil. Bake at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.

Jalapeno Cornbread Squares with Festive Toppings

Cornbread has been the backbone of the Smoky Mountain foodways for a long time. It was the bread that extended the everyday meal, making simple provisions more filling and interesting. But cornbread can be transported to the modern-day kitchen, too, where it is the perfect foil for festive holiday toppings of black eyed pea relish, pimento cheese, and sweet-hot pepper jelly. These country-style canapés are vegetarian-friendly and an easy do-ahead appetizer for busy holiday entertaining. They are the perfect accompaniment to ham, smoked turkey, even bowls of chili.

Jalapeno Cornbread Squares with Festive Toppings

Makes about 12 servings (about 54 squares)
Prep time: 20 to 25 minutes
Bake time: 15 to 20 minutes
Ingredients:
Cornbread:
2 large eggs
1 cup cream-style corn (frozen or canned)
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup chopped green onions
1 cup shredded Cheddar or a Monterey Jack and Cheddar blend
Optional: 1 teaspoon diced jalapeno pepper and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Toppings:
1 cup prepared pimento cheese
1/4 cup pepper jelly, if desired
Thinly sliced ham and fresh figs
Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Mist a 13- by 9-inch metal baking pan with vegetable oil spray, and set the pan aside.
2. Place the cornbread mix, eggs, cream-style corn, buttermilk, and oil in a large mixing bowl and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula to just combine, 1 minute. Do not over-mix. Fold in the green onions and cheese, and the jalapeno pepper and black pepper if you like it spicier. Turn the batter into the prepared pan.
3. Place the pan in the oven, and bake until the cornbread is golden brown and springs back in the center when lightly pressed, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, and let the cornbread cool completely in the pan, 1 hour.
4. When ready to assemble, cut the cornbread into about 54 squares. Remove the squares to a large tray or sheet pan. Top some of the squares with a teaspoon of black eyed pea relish and the others with a teaspoon of pimento cheese. Top the pimento cheese-covered squares with a dab of pepper jelly, if desired, or candied pepper slices. Top the rest with thinly sliced ham or prosciutto rolled up into a little rose alongside a thin slice of fig. Arrange on a platter and serve at room temperature.

One-Bowl Pumpkin Squares with Cream Cheese Icing

Every fall kitchen needs a good pumpkin square recipe, and this cake does not disappoint. Pumpkins were originally cultivated by Native Americans and are a great source of vitamins A and C, as well as fiber. Bake these squares in a 13-by 9-inch pan, and freeze them unfrosted if you like to bake ahead. And if you like less icing and more of a glaze, cut the icing recipe in half and spread it over the warm cake.
Makes about 24 to 32 squares
Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 25 to 30 minutes      Note: If baking in a Pigeon River Pottery dish, add approx. 10 minutes to baking time.
Ingredients for the Cake:
Vegetable oil spray for misting the pan
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin
4 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
Ingredients for the Cream Cheese Icing:
4 ounces (half an 8-inch block) cream cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Directions:
1. Place a rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Mist a 13- by 9-inch pan with vegetable oil spray, and set the pan aside.
2. Place the pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and oil in a large mixing bowl, and mix with a wooden spoon until the eggs are incorporated and the mixture has thickened slightly and is smooth, about 100 strokes. Place the flour, pumpkin pie spice, baking soda and salt on top of the pumpkin mixture, and with a fork, toss the dry ingredients together to combine lightly. Using the wooden spoon, fold the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and stir until smooth, about 50 strokes.
3. Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and place the pan in the oven. Bake until the cake springs back when lightly pressed and has turned lightly browned around the edges, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven to cool.
4. Meanwhile, prepare the icing. Place the soft cream cheese and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Blend with a hand-mixer on low speed, or with a wooden spoon, until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla, and blend until smooth, 1 minute.
5. When the pumpkin cake has cooled to the touch, spread the icing over the top of the cake, and let the cake rest for 1 hour before slicing into squares or bars.

The Old Mill Restaurant celebrates 25 years!

A new restaurant began construction in late 1992 along the banks of the Little Pigeon River. A few families got together and formed a partnership to enter into this new venture. That was Al & Mary Nell Blanton, Ben & Patsy Frizzell, and Cotton & Sarah Berrier. They wanted to bring families together in a comfortable and welcoming atmosphere, feed them well and invite them to return. A great place for local families to work was also very important and over the years there have been as many as 4 generations of the same families working here. They also wanted the restaurant to mean something, have a connection, and that is when they came up with The Cornflour Restaurant. The name came from the largest source of inspiration; the grist mill next door. The Old Mill, of course, dates back to 1830 and has been grinding corn since the first turn of the water-powered stones. Cornflour is a sub-product of making grits. Grits are sifted, after being ground, to remove the larger parts of the hull. During this process, the dust that falls to the bottom of the grits machine is called corn flour. The restaurant opened its doors in the fall of 1993.

It was in 1995 when the Stout/Simmons family, who had owned and operated the grist mill and adjoining general store for about 67 years, decided to sell. They wanted us to be the ones to carry on the legacy that they and the other 5 previous owners had built. We were honored to do so and that’s when the name of the restaurant was changed to The Old Mill Restaurant. The mill has always been privately owned and operated. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Tennessee Civil War Trail. The Old Mill itself had many names over its 150 preceding years, and many other industries were house inside the building as well, but more about that in another post. It was in the mid-1950’s that tourism began to really take hold in Pigeon Forge and the name was changed to The Old Mill. Its name and image became synonymous with the town. It’s a name that will stay forever.

For the past 25 years, the very same owners, and many employees who have been with us from the very beginning, and are very much a part of our larger family, have welcomed visitors from all over the world. On our busiest days, we take care of more than 3,000 guests from breakfast to dinner. In the beginning, corn was part of every course of the meal by using the corn flour, grits, cornmeal, and corn. Our customers told us what they loved best about the menu and today every lunch and dinner begins with a bowl of fresh Corn Chowder and a basket of Corn Fritters with maple butter. And, for dessert, we serve over 1200 slices of Pecan Pie a day, along with a fresh baked seasonal cobbler, banana pudding, and chocolate cake.

Over the next few months, we will share some of our quarter of a century history and let you get to know more about some of the fine folks you have probably met when you visited. And, we want to see your memories as well. We invite you to send pictures of your family enjoying some time with us. Please send them to customerservice@old-mill.com. Some of your pictures may be included in an upcoming blog post, on social, or maybe even in print. So, if you send us something, it is with the understanding that you have given us permission to use it.

While we can’t share an anniversary cake with all of you, we can share a recipe so you can make one and your whole family can enjoy it! You may have seen it in the last post. We’ve decided we wanted to celebrate with a cake as synonymous with the Appalachian region as The Old Mill, so we are making the prettiest Apple Stack Cake we’ve ever seen! Be sure and keep your inbox open for us, for that and many other recipes.

Old Mill Historian and 20-year employee, Jimmy Proffitt, can be reached at jimmy@old-mill.com if you have any questions or would like to share any family history connection you may have with The Old Mill.