Corn and Zucchini Fritters

Fritters close 2

I had a fridge full of ears of corn and wanted to try something different with them. The word FRITTER just kind of appeared in my mind, which is weird because I had literally never made any kind of fritter before. I did a bit of reading online to get a sense of what to do (though I was really surprised at the variation in recipes; some with flour, some without, some with liquid, some without….). Then I just kind of went for it and was so pleasantly surprised at how well these turned out. I whipped up a quick avocado dipping cream to go with them. I think these delicious and very easy fritters will become a regular menu item!

I’m sure these would lend themselves to lots of variations, especially with different fresh herbs or seasonings. I used chickpea flour mainly because I’ve been wanting to try working with it, but I think almost any flour would work pretty well (Note: depending on which flour you use, they might not be gluten-free anymore).

roasted corn

To roast corn on the cob, remove the outer husks so that a few leaves remain covering the corn and cook in oven at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes or until done.

Yield: about 10 fritters

  • Kernels removed from two cobs of roasted corn (see above), or use 1.5 cups canned or frozen
  • 1 medium zucchini, grated
  • 1 handful chives, chopped
  • 1 cup chickpea flour (would probably work with other flours too!)
  • ½ cup water
  • Tabasco to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Coconut oil for frying

Add corn, grated zucchini, chives, and flour to a mixing bowl and combine well. Add a few dashes (or more!) of Tabasco, then start adding the water gradually while stirring the mixture. You may need a little more or less than half a cup; just aim for everything to be moistened into a batter that will at least sort of stick together when you scoop some up with a spoon.

Fritter batter

Heat about a teaspoon of coconut oil over medium heat (about 6) in a nonstick frying pan. Drop large spoonfuls of the corn mixture into the pan, using the back of the spoon or a spatula to flatten them out a bit. Cook until golden on one side, about 4 minutes, then flip and continue to fry until cooked through. Add another teaspoon of coconut oil to the pan for each new batch. Place finished fritters on a paper towel until ready to serve.

Fritters cooking

Serve with the avocado cream or with hot sauce, chutney, or vegan sour cream.

For the avocado cream:

  • 1 avocado
  • Juice of one lime
  • ¼ cup of nondairy milk (just enough milk to get it all to purée to your desired consistency).
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Small handful of chopped cilantro

Add all ingredients except chopped cilantro to a high-speed blender. Blend, then fold in chopped cilantro.

Mushroom Risotto

Image

Before I had ever tried making risotto, I had an idea that it was very challenging and only for experienced cooks.  I don’t know where I got that idea, but it was wrong.  Making rich, flavourful risotto is actually very easy; all it takes is some patience and a willingness to babysit the pan for a while.  It’s a great dish to prepare while working on something on the counter, like making a big salad.  You stir the risotto, you chop some veggies, stir, chop, stir, chop, etc.

If you haven’t made risotto before, try this recipe.  It’s easy and so delicious, you’ll be hooked.  I can practically guarantee you’ll start making it (and trying variations) regularly.

Important:  You need to get Arborio rice in order to make risotto.  Don’t bother trying it with any other type of rice; it’ll end in heartache!

Yield: About 4-5 cups of risotto; 4-6 servings

  • 4 cups vegetable stock (you’ll end up using between 3 and 4 cups)
  • 5 large portobello mushrooms, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1.5 cups finely chopped onion
  • 1 cup Arborio rice (it won’t work with other types of rice!)
  • ½ cup red wine (or you can use white)
  • 1 tablespoon vegan parmesan (optional)

Heat some oil in a large skillet over medium heat and add mushrooms.  While the mushrooms are cooking, put the vegetable stock in a pot over high heat.  Just before it boils, turn off the heat but leave the pot on the hot burner to keep the stock very warm.  Cook the mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until they are done: tender and juicy.  Remove from pan and set aside.

Add a bit more oil to the pan if necessary and then add the onions.  Stir and cook until they are translucent.  Reduce heat to just below medium and add the dry rice.  Brown the rice a bit, being sure to keep scraping the pan to prevent it from sticking.  Add the wine, and stir the rice until the wine is absorbed (this will happen pretty quickly).

Begin adding the warm broth to the rice, one ladle at a time.  Stir frequently, and as soon as the rice starts to stick, add another ladle of broth.  Continue this process until the rice is cooked al dente.  (Probably between 15 and 25 minutes).

Add the mushrooms to the rice and mix well to incorporate.  If you have any vegan parmesan on hand, add some of that too.  Serve warm with a salad for a hearty and delicious dinner.

Note: You could substitute lots of other veggies for the mushrooms.  Try asparagus! Gently steam it until just done, and add it back to the risotto at the end.

Wheatberry Salad with Cranberries and Parsley

Image

This is my go-to salad to bring to potlucks and barbeques.  It always gets the same response from people, gradually moving from “What is this?” to “This is so weird….” to “I love it!”

This salad is really intended to be a vehicle to showcase wheatberries, which are my current grain obsession.  All of the listed quantities are suggestions and can vary a lot depending on your preference.

If you aren’t familiar with wheatberries, beyond whatever google says, they are kinda like extra-chewy bulgar. At No Frills they are inexplicably located in the baking aisle, in bags, labeled ‘soft wheat.’ I cook them like pasta – boil them in lots of salted water for about 15 mins, then start checking until the texture is firm and chewy but without a hard centre.  No need to pre-soak!

Image

Makes about 3-4 cups

  • 1 cup (uncooked measure) soft wheatberries – cooked and cooled
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries (variation: dried currants)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (or whatever seeds)
  • 3-5 green onions, sliced
  • A large handful of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Juice of 1 lemon (maybe one and a half)
  • Olive oil – a big glug
  • Salt and pepper

Mix it all up and add more of whatever.  This salad keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge.

Variation: Sometimes I add diced English cucumber if I know the whole salad will be eaten at once; it won’t keep as long in fridge if you include the cucumber.

Image

Best-Ever Vegan Caesar Salad

Image

My stepfather is known for making amazing from-scratch caesar salad dressing, and despite his omnivorous diet, he’s very open to trying vegan recipes and vegan alternatives to his own recipes.  He and I brainstormed a veganized caesar dressing a while back that used vegan mayo.  I’ve been adjusting it since then to get it down to more whole-food ingredients.  This dressing has a pinky-eggplant colour due to the kalamatas.

Image

When I have it on hand, I like to add some vegan parmesan to this dressing.  Galaxy brand makes a soy-based parmesan that smells and tastes amazingly like the real thing and is a nice addition to the dressing, or you can sprinkle it over the plated salad.  However!  This dressing is fantastic and complete without the parmesan, so don’t worry if you don’t have any around.

Image

Yields 6-8 servings (or 2-4 if you LOVE caesar salad!)

  • 1 large head romaine lettuce, washed and torn into large pieces
  • 1 large ciabatta roll (or focaccia, ficelle, part of a baguette, etc)
  • 1 teaspoon rosemary
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Caesar Dressing:
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 4-5 cloves garlic (more if they’re small)
  • 1/2 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 8-10 kalamata olives, pitted
  • Optional – 1-2 teaspoons of vegan parmesan

Preheat oven to 300.  Cut ciabatta into large cubes (about 1.5 inch). Place in large mixing bowl and sprinkle with rosemary, salt, and pepper, then drizzle with olive oil and toss to coat. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake at about 300 for about 5 minutes until toasted – keep an eye on them.

Blend all dressing ingredients together (I prefer using an immersion blender and blender cup but a food processor works too).  Taste and adjust to your liking: add lemon to make it brighter and more zesty, olives or dijon to add richness, or olive oil to tone the whole thing down a bit.

Place the lettuce in a large bowl, pour dressing over, and toss well to coat.  Add croutons and give it a couple more tosses to combine.  Serve immediately.

Note:  If you’re not sure you’ll eat the whole salad right away, I suggest only combining a portion of the ingredients.  That way, you can keep the prepped lettuce, croutons, and dressing separate in the fridge and have a fresh perfect caesar again the next day!

Image