Almost Friday, veg-heads! I have to tell you, your comments on yesterday’s post absolutely made my day. Thanks for all the encouragement. Just over six weeks left until the big day!
In case yesterday was running-overload for some of you, today’s all about food! Erin and I started the day with mango-jalapeno smoothies, hands down our favorite from Thrive. Quick, healthy energy, and the best replacement for coffee I’ve found.
Key word: “best,” not “perfect.” I couldn’t resist this morning, so I busted out my Moka pot afterward and brewed up a few potent shots of my favorite vice (Starbucks Gazebo blend), which I’m drinking now! Sweet black nectar, if drinking you is wrong, I don’t want to be right. Well, I kind of do, just not today.
By the way, does anyone know how to use one of these correctly? How fine to grind the beans, to tamp or not to tamp, etc.?
Corn Cakes (Yee-Haw!)
For dinner yesterday, I pulled out my trusty Williams-Sonoma Vegetarian cookbook, the steal I got off the Barnes and Noble discount rack that has yet to produce a bad meal. I had been eying up these corn cakes with black beans for a while, and this kind-of-related post at Fake Food Free finally inspired me to make them.
So I did, but I had no idea how pancake-like they would be! I guess I was expecting something more like cornbread? Nonetheless, they turned out really well. Plus it made dinner really fun since, after all, we were eating frickin’ pancakes! Sweet!
Now, I must warn you, the prep work (mise en place, for you real chefs) was extremely complicated. If you don’t have a culinary school degree, you may want to go grab one before you attempt this. To make it more accessible, I’ve broken it down into photo-steps. Watch me for the changes, and try to keep up (movie name, anyone?).
Seriously, that’s it. No more prep, for the entire meal. So easy. To spice it up a bit, I made a fresh salsa with an heirloom tomato from the garden, half an onion, some cilantro, and lime juice, but even that required only minimal work, since I did it in a food processor.
One quick thing before I give you the recipe. It calls for buttermilk. I didn’t have buttermilk; I mistakenly bought 2% when I was trying to remember what I needed at the store. But then I found this simple substitution, which just involves mixing a tablespoon of lemon juice with about a cup of milk. (As an aside, milk was something that we stopped drinking when we went vegetarian. Not for ethical reasons, but because I’m convinced that the milk we have access to in stores does NOT do a body good. I drink almond milk now, but I’m ok with a little bit of the real stuff for cooking.)
Ok, here’s my slightly-adapted version of the Williams-Sonoma recipe. I think a touch of sugar would be really nice in the corn cakes, but I have no idea how much to add so I’ve left that out.
Corn Cakes with Black Beans
Ingredients (for 2 large or 3 small servings):
- 1 15-oz can of black beans, drained
- 1 tsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 2 tsp Mexican-style chili powder
- 2/3 cup cornmeal
- 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 3 Tbsp salted butter, melted
- 1 cup buttermilk or substitute
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup frozen corn, thawed
- 1 or 2 Tbsp canola oil
- salt and pepper
- toppings, like salsa, cilantro, sour cream (or plain yogurt)
For the beans: Over medium heat, combine the beans, oregano, and 1 tsp chili powder. Heat through, cover, and set aside.
For the corn cakes: In a large bowl, mix together the cornmeal, baking soda, flour, 1 tsp chili powder, 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/8 tsp pepper. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, melted butter and egg with a whisk. Pour the wet ingredients in with the dry and whisk for a few seconds until mostly combined into a lumpy batter. Add the corn.
Heat a large pan (you’ll need to be able to flip the pancakes) over medium-high heat. Brush the pan with the oil to lightly coat it, then pour in some of the batter to make whatever size pancakes you want. Cook for 3-4 minutes, flipping once. Repeat by wiping the pan and brushing more oil between batches. Keep the cooked pancakes warm under foil while you are doing the others.
Top the corn cakes with black beans, and whatever toppings you choose. Pretend you’re a cowboy!
Alright kiddies, that’s all for today. I’ll leave you with Exhibit A, which was found next to our dog Linus by the garden yesterday. We can’t keep him out of there. First the jalapeno plant, now this. He even eats serrano peppers! I have no idea how, because I tried once and nearly burned off my taste buds. Somebody better shape up if he doesn’t want to be returned to the pound…. (Kidding, dog lovers.)
See you tomorrow for Sweet-Tooth Friday with another healthy dessert from my sister Christine!