Chilled Guacamole Soup and Cornmeal Crisps

I moved from a bustling city to a small  town, so thickly-painted with Mayberry charm, that I decided to stay a little while. Twenty one years later, this  laid-back  town is still one I enjoy exploring, even alone, day or night.  

My biggest worry?  Being mugged at needlepoint in a Walmart parking lot, while Andy Griffith lurks in the shadows, whistling a familiar tune.

You're probably asking yourself,  where is this pleasantly-strange  little town? 

Whereas my question is, what in the heck is sheriff Andy Griffith doing  hanging around Walmart?

If, like me, you  live in a town that atlas forgot, then you'll appreciate simple recipes, like the following. 

Only three ingredients make up these addictive Cornmeal Crisps, because  (unless you live in the Sahara desert) who counts water? 

Make. Eat. Share (as always, the latter is optional).

Cornmeal Crisps

1 cup stone-ground white cornmeal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons butter
1½ to 2 cups boiling water

Preheat oven to 375° F.

Whisk together cornmeal and salt in a mixing bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of butter cut into small pieces.

Slowly stir in enough boiling water until mixture resembles watery mashed potatoes. Continue to whisk until butter is melted and batter is smooth. Set aside.

Lightly grease two rimless baking sheets with nonstick vegetable spray, and wipe off  the excess, leaving a light coating on the pans. Drop batter by teaspoons onto baking sheets. Slam baking sheets onto the kitchen counter a few times to spread the batter very thin.

Bake crisps for 20 to 30 minutes until  golden around the edges. To get the crisps to curl up as shown, turn them over  during the last 5 minutes of baking. Makes about 50 cornmeal crisps. 
Adapted from  'The Gift of Southern Cooking,'  by Edna Lewis and Scott Peacock.

Please note: You might be tempted to use parchment paper, but I don't recommend it. Parchment paper will buckle, making it difficult to remove the crisps without breaking. 

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention  Edna Lewis' version  for a simple and  dramatic way to serve these. Instead of dropping the batter by teaspoons,  divide  batter among two baking sheets, tap, tap, tap,  and bake as directed. Once cooled, break them into shards.

Did you notice the grated lime zest in some of the crisps?  A nice touch.
There are times, however,  when the men-folk request a little heat, so adding a tiny pinch of cayenne to the batter  makes them happy. As for me, I like them plain.

But I urge you to plunge into it with blind faith, and  share your experiments with me.

Whether you decide to spice up your Cornmeal Crisps, or not,  try pairing them with this quick and refreshing Guacamole Soup, and enjoy. I always do.

 Chilled Guacamole Soup 

2 cups buttermilk
2 cups chicken broth
1 large avocado, peeled and roughly chopped
2 tablespoons freshly-squeezed  lime  juice
2 tablespoons salsa
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro*

Purée soup  ingredients in a blender or food processor. Salt & Pepper to taste. Cover and refrigerate for several hours before serving.
Garnish with crema fresca,  diced avocado, chopped tomato or chopped cilantro. Serves 4.

*I'm not a fan of cilantro, so I use  fresh mint.

 Did you miss that? Go back up.  And look at my 'new' antique kitchen scale. 

I went right into a schoolgirl rave when I laid eyes on this old scale, at an estate sale recently. 
This is not just another pretty copper  face, it's also pretty accurate. The kind of thing I'm incapable of walking away from. 

And this one kept calling my name. But I ignored the voices, and brought it home with me anyway. 

Another recent find was this humble marmalade crock.  Being in the antiques business with years of experience under my belt, I believe this fine piece could be traced back to the turn of the century. Or possibly  T.J. Maxx.  Not sure which.

I filled it with violets, because "they're the only flowers I cannot destroy," she said in a tremulous voice

Enjoy the rest of the week, ya hear?


  1. Great to see that you are back!

    Those crips are very original and must taste amazing! I love your soup too. So refreshing and flavorful.



  2. Do you really think I missed that beautiful scale and had to scroll back?
    I spotted it right away! It's a beautiful item..oh lala..
    I did miss the lime zest..see I cannot tell a lie..and went and looked..
    However I always look..look and look again at your photos..
    Even your banner..
    The crock is dear too and love the quote about the violets..Gosh those avos and the lone lime.. look like movie stars on the scale..
    I fear making those crisps..mine could never look like a perfect Pringle..Mine would be like the chips you find in the box of Pringles Walmart dropped 10 times before I finally bought them..which happens a lot and Opie wasn't even there!
    I live in a town much like yours..I have to drive to another town to get to Walmart..

    5000 people.5001 ..moi.And slowly I am becoming Aunt Bee..

  3. I would like to visit your town sometime, sounds interesting, like the one you read in novels. I'm enjoying the antique scale and clock.
    Your chilled soup looks perfect.
    Your cornmel crisp are just perfect.

  4. Hi there, dear Rosa!

    Mon ami, Monique, the crisps are sturdier than they appear. Besides, in your capable hands, I promise they'll turn out perfect. In regards to aunt Bee, every small town has one, and your town must hold you to the highest standards, as it should.

    Asha, this small town is similar to the ones in novels, camaraderie, gossip and all. :)

  5. Here too..after almost 30 yrs as a realtor..
    I sometimes heard too much.I am so grateful I can forget.. and pay no heed when I chose to!
    Remember the saying? When you point one finger 3 point back at you?:)
    Gold in them thar words...♥

    1. Truer words were never spoken.

      Monique, back when I was stylist (during the Mesozoic era), there were customers who would revel in disclosing personal information. I suppose they felt safe relating their private lives to me, a stranger, with no ties to their friends or family.
      I played a stylist and a therapist; maybe I should've asked for a raise :)

  6. For years I wanted to live in Mayberry but then the city girl got the best of me! Actually, our quaint little village is more like a Norman Rockwell town - which is what it's called as his statue sits as a welcome figure :) A short drive to the city so I have the best of both worlds.

    I am so excited to try these crisps! I'm sure I'll be adding some cayenne for my hubs too.

    What beautiful finds! You were very smart to bring them both home where they will be treasured and shared with us :)

  7. Always such a treat when you post. And like your other reader, I couldn't miss a thing in your photos- I look, and look again. Stunning, always. I'm not much of a soup person, but I am all for avocados- think this could convert me. And those cornmeal crisps with the lime zest- and yes, yes, a touch of cayenne- can only imagine.

  8. Marysol, you know I've always wanted to visit a town like that!! I really should give these crisps a try-I love the curve! :D And beautiful scales too! I saw a pair at a recent sale and they were so expensive that I had to let them go :(

  9. The crisps look perfect - thin, and crispy! Love your photos, so beautiful. I like the one with avocados on weighing scale, especially :)

  10. The crisps look perfect- thin and crispy! Love your photos, beautiful! I like that one with avocados on the weighing scale, especially!

  11. Gorgeous pics....gorgeous food! Perfect for these hot days we have been having. I love the scale...I have several myself...in fact one is packed away and I am tempted to get it out.
    I live somewhere between Mayberry and the big city...Mayberry sounds good to me right about now!

  12. Susan, Norman Rockwell? Lucky! I think Norman Rockwell beats Mayberry. I'd love to see your town featured on your blog!

    Jenny, I love avocados anyway I can get them. My favorite way to enjoy an avocado, is to cut it in half, drizzle w/ olive oil, S & P, and grab a spoon :)

    Lorraine, scales can be expensive. I got lucky with this one, but there are still bargains to be had. Don't give up the quest.

    Thank you Tigerfish! I hope you'll try them.

    Linda, I only have 3 antique scales and one vintage scale. But I like to rotate them and put them to use in the kitchen. Although, I need other, more interesting ways to display them. I'd love to see your collection!

  13. Ah Sol...good to see you back with a post! and y'all went Southern on me!!! I AM a cilantro lover so that soup would have it for me. Strangely enough, mint does not grow well in the many spots I've tried over the 20+ yrs in this house. Far from rampant growth, it struggles to give me a few paltry branches.

    I once had a gorgeous and accurate old scale in England. As with many things on many moves, it went on its own merry path somewhere along the way. Now just a memory and not even a photo. My digital scale isn't that charming but it is accurate.

  14. Lovely to see you posting again, and with such fabulous photos and recipes. Must try the cormeal crisp one, brilliant!

  15. Maureen, I'm sorry mint won't cooperate in your garden. I have clay soil (and while few things survive in my garden), mint has taken off like wildfire. I'd suggest growing mint in a pot and keeping it by a sunny window, but it sounds like you've already tried everything. This one has me baffled.
    Another thing that I find baffling, how did you not bring your old scale back with you from England?
    Aside from family and pets, that's the one thing I'd rescue from a house fire. And I'm not all that brave.

    Hi there Nic, it's really good to see you! Thank you for your kind words.

  16. What a lovely pairing for a summer meal! The cornmeal crisps sound fantastic. Can't wait to try them.