• Spicy Corn Cakes with Ricotta

    July 18, 2015

    My kitchen is in boxes stuffed in a truck and headed across the country back to Oregon. I miss my stuff already. I will be a nomad for a while, attempting to embrace the lightness of my temporary lifestyle. We spent the last week making our goodbyes and tying up loose ends. Amidst the runaround, I made a last pilgrimage to the beach and breathed in the ocean air. I will truly miss that smell. When I was a kid, my parents brought me back a bottle of Cape Cod air from their beach vacation. I remember promptly uncorking it and realizing too late, it was gone.

    Now, I sit in an ubiquitous (even more so than when I left) coffee shop in Portland West attempting to beat the mid-90s heat. I am tracking down my favorite haunts – gluten-free bread at Cascadia, tacos at Por Que No?, loose tea at Townshends Tea, rice bowls at the Whole Bowl, and great coffee everywhere. In our two-year absence from the Rose City, this place has exploded with people, shops, restaurants, apartment buildings, etc. – lots of choices. It’s good to be back in a familiar, albeit changed, place.

    As we packed up the house, I managed a few last meals of substance. These corn cakes were one of them. Use fresh corn if you have it, yet frozen works fine.

    Spicy Corn Cakes

    Serves 4

    Ingredients

    1/4 cup chickpea flour
    3/4 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour
    1 cup fine cornmeal
    1 1/2 tsp sea salt
    1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    2 1/2 cups fresh corn (6 ears) or frozen niblets
    4 T butter
    1/2 tsp cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp fennel seeds
    1/2 tsp mustard seeds
    1 jalapeno, finely chopped
    1/2 cup scallions, sliced
    1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
    1 T grated ginger

    Canola oil for frying

    Toppers:
    Lime wedges
    Ricotta cheese
    Spicy pepper jelly

    1. Combine the flours, cornmeal, salt, baking powder and turmeric in a mixing bowl, and stir well.
    2. In a food processor, process corn kernels until they are roughly pureed. Transfer mixture to flour bowl and stir well to create a thick batter.
    3. Heat butter in a saute pan over medium-high heat. Add cumin, fennel and mustard seeds. When seeds begin to pop, take off the heat. Pour butter/seed mixture into the batter. Add the jalapeno, scallions, cilantro and ginger to the batter. Stir well.
    4. Pour vegetable oil into saute pan to about 1/2 inch depth, and heat to medium. Form corn cakes into patties and drop into warming oil. Let brown before flipping over – a few minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with accompaniments.

    Notes

    • I was gifted with a jar of lime-ginger jam, which went perfectly with these cakes. Try any hot pepper jelly or various chutneys. Top with ricotta and a squirt of lime juice.
    • The batter is more like a dough, so you will have to form the cakes with your hands.
    • The original recipe called for 1 inch of oil to deep fry the cakes. I would rather use less oil, and thus I cooked them a bit longer and kept turning them over.
    Lime-ginger jam and ricotta topped corn cakes

    Lime-ginger jam and ricotta topped corn cakes

    Fresh corn gets a new look

    Fresh corn gets a new look