When people ask me where I learned to cook (or bake), I always say, “Ina taught me.” (The Ina referring to Ina Garten – The Barefoot Contessa.) Now of course, this is only partially true; I’ve never really met Ina – although I was lucky enough to see her in person in A Conversation with Ina this past spring for her newest book launch. But I know Ina. I’ve watched The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network for over 15 years; memorized all her tricks and studied her techniques. And I’ve recreated enough of her recipes to really understand her philosophy on cooking.
Like me, she’s a home cook. She taught herself everything she knows, and in sharing her knowledge on TV, she taught me a lot of what I know. Of course, there have been other cooking influences in my life. I was young and single and experimenting in my very own kitchen when Food Network Canada first launched, and immediately became drawn to the likes of Jamie Oliver, Michael Smith, Rachael Ray, Tyler Florence, and of course, Ina.
My nine-year-old daughter has become hooked on Ina too. Partially through osmosis (Ina is always on TV when I’m home), and partially because she has a real interest and curiosity about cooking – and baking in particular, and is becoming quite independent in the kitchen. And she’s quickly learning that almost anything Ina can make, we can make vegan. (She stresses about the fact that almost all of Ina’s recipes involve copious amounts of butter and milk, which I keep reminding her are really easy to veganize.)
A few weeks ago, we were watching Ina make corn pancakes, using farm-fresh corn on the cob, and the recipe peaked Audrey’s interest. Normally she won’t eat corn in any way except on the cob, but she really seemed into this recipe and wanted to try it, so I jumped at the chance to get her to eat a vegetable. Using Ina’s recipe as a guide, I created these vegan Summer Corn and Onion Fritters – and got Audrey in the kitchen to help make them. We tried two versions: regular and gluten-free. While both were deliciously flavored, the gluten-free ones definitely need more testing to help keep them together. I’ll work on that later. But for now, head out to your local farm and grab some fresh picked corn, because these fritters are summer on a plate!
Summer Corn and Onion Fritters
1 ¾ cups soy milk
2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 cups cornmeal
½ cup all purpose flour
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
6 tbsp vegan butter, melted
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Tabasco sauce to taste
3 cups fresh corn, shaved off the cob (about 4 ears)
3 tablespoons diced green onion, whites and greens
2 tbsp grapeseed or light olive oil
2 tbsp vegan butter
- In a 2 cup measuring glass, make vegan buttermilk by combining soy milk and lemon juice and let stand for 5 min or until slightly curdled
- In a large bowl, combine cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together buttermilk, melted butter, vegetable oil and hot sauce. Add corn and diced green onion and stir to combine.
- Add corn mixture to dry ingredients and mix together. Be careful not to overmix or your fritters will become tough when cooked.
- In a skillet pan on medium heat, combine grapeseed/olive oil and butter and warm until sizzling. Add corn fritter batter in ¼ cup amounts and press down ever so slightly. Cook for 2 minutes, then flip and cook an additional 2 minutes, until both sides are golden brown and the centre of the fritter is firm. Repeat until all batter is used