The Southern Vegetarian: Corn Cakes, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, and Greens

cornplt.jpgThe other week, I bought a book by James McNair on Corn at the local used bookshop. It had occurred to me that although I am always experimenting with potatoes, I’ve been neglecting another traditional “American” gluten free starch- Corn! Poor corn gets a bad rap in baking. corncakewhl.jpgI am just not that crazy about corn flour in breads (although corn starch adds nice texture), and usually we enjoy it either in tortillas or polenta, and that’s about it. But here was a whole book, not unlike his lovely book on potatoes, with nothing but creative ways to use corn as the center of your meal. I just couldn’t resist. Although James McNair’s Cornis now out of print, you can get a used copy from Amazon starting from $3.24- What a bargain, right? So the other day I finally pulled out my cookbook, thumbed through the pages and selected an enticing recipe for upside down corn cake. As is typical with these recipes, it was a bit heavy on the oil and needed to be adapted to be gluten free, but it was a small matter to adjust it. I also added more ingredients, thinking it probably needed a bit of spicing up. For side dishes, I made Gluten Free by the (no longer SF) Bay’s delicious recipe for Roasted Brussel sprouts that has become a staple at our house, and combined several recipes to make a tasty Kale recipe with sauteed GF bread crumbs and a light mustard vinaigrette. I enjoyed the whole meal. DH doesn’t like kale (I’m thinking next to try a cream sauce in my continuing attempts to convert him to this nutritional powerhouse), and so it received lukewarm reviews from him. I also think it might need a bit of tweaking to reach perfection, but I liked it. The brussel sprouts were divine, as always. The funny thing is, DH loves the soft creamy interior of the brussel sprout, but I love the papery caramelized outer leaves- due to my fondness for “dried fall leaves” as he calls it. :P Luckily we’re both satisfied with this recipe, although DH often removes the outer leaves of the sprouts for his own satisfaction. I currently have a book on Amazon on my wish list for “Southern Vegetarian” cooking- stay tuned for further experiments when I finally get the book. Obviously it isn’t gluten free, although I do have a gluten free southern cookbook from years ago if I was so inclined… (I have to admit, I haven’t used it much, but maybe it’s time to spend some more time with it. The recipes seem to have received very positive reviews. My only hesitation would be that gluten free baking has come a long ways in the last ten years or so, but still, gotta love the idea of a gluten free cajun and southern cookbook.) Anyway, just goes to show, you can indeed have a gluten free, southern, vegetarian meal. This one was really tasty, and would be perfect for Summer when fresh corn is in season.

corncake.jpg corncakepln.jpg cornbrusselduo.jpg

Skillet Corn Cake
Ingredients
2 or 3 tbsp high quality oil (up to 1/4 of a cup)
8 medium ears of fresh corn or 4 cups thawed frozen corn kernels
1-2 tbsp minced chili (Anaheim or spicy)
4 tbsp Bette Hagman’s GF flour blend (white rice, tapioca, cornstarch)
1 tbsp Sorghum flour (or other “nutritious” flour)
3 tbsp minced onion
2 tbsp minced red pepper (optional)
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper

Salsa, Avocado cubes for serving, as desired

Directions
Preheat oven to 425 F. Pour oil in cast iron skillet and place in oven until really hot (25 min or so).

For fresh corn, cut the corn off the cob to make 4 cups of corn kernels. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Put mixture in hot skillet, smoothing top to make it a flat “cake”- don’t stir it once it is in the pan. Press it down to make it more compact. Bake until bottom is golden brown, about 30 minutes.

Remove from pan by placing a plate over the skillet and turning over the skillet carefully. If desired, remove corn cake to skillet so other side gets crispy OR serve as is, cutting into wedges to serve at table.

Notes
Very tasty recipe. I think fresh corn would be better than the frozen corn I used for texture.

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