Corn Cakes: The Real Way to Win Friends and Influence People

This goes without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: I am a huge nerd in the kitchen. Like, drastically nerdy. I am delighted by the most trivial of culinary things and experience big, swelling happiness over tiny details that (I’m guessing) most people don’t even notice. (Mason Jars, anyone?) I’m not your typical foodie, though. I don’t pore over glossy food magazines or experiment with complicated new recipes every week. Nah. I’d rather beam over a plate of simple steamed vegetables or marvel at ruby red grains of rice than I would hit up the trendiest new restaurant. Plus, I have a mile-long list of food sensitivities and a picky discerning palate, so it’s not very often that I can be wowed at a restaurant. I’m usually lucky if I can have one item (usually salad!) on any given menu, so Kitchen Nerdiness it is for me.

Exquisite!

Exquisite!

Anyway. Why am I telling you this? I just want to remind you what a dork I am before I go on to tell you that THESE CORN CAKES ARE EFFING AMAZING! Sure, I’m totally impressed by these corn cakes and feel like a bit of a celebrity chef every time I make them, but maybe you ought to take that with a grain of (Pink Himalayan) salt. I think they’re cool, and I’m pretty certain my mom thinks they’re cool, too, but maybe you’re the type of person who needs more than a geeky, glowing recommendation for a recipe, especially when corn is concerned. That’s fine. All I’m saying is this: if you want to win friends and influence people at your next potluck or cocktail party, make these corn cakes. You’ll impress the hors d’ouevre police, you’ll win the hearts of your vegan and gluten-sensitive friends, you’ll probably win the “Most Delicious Item” award of the evening, and you’ll do it all while being deceptivelyย delicious and healthy.ย Who knew corn could do all of this? I did. And now you do, too. Yer welcome.

It doesn't get any better than this. Mmm... corn cakes!

It doesn’t get any better than this. Mmm… corn cakes!

Corn Cakes For the Masses!

(Recipe adapted from Christina’s original version at Fruit of Adventure here)

You Will Need:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (or other high quality cooking oil)
  • 3/4 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup organic polenta (corn grits)
  • 1 medium leek, sliced into fine, short pieces
  • 1 cup frozen organic corn kernels, thawed
  • 2 heaping Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 generous Tbsp dried basil)

How to Make Them:

1. Melt 1 Tbsp of coconut oil in frying pan and saute leeks over low to medium heat, until tender (about 5 minutes).

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add salt, 1 Tbsp coconut oil, and millet when water is boiling.

3. Slowly add polenta to the pot, stirring gently and continuously to avoid clumping.

4. Simmer millet and polenta on medium low heat (uncovered) for about 25 minutes, or until water is absorbed and millet mixture is sticky. Remove from heat.

5. Preheat oven to 350F and line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

6. Add leeks, corn kernels, and basil leaves to millet mixture and stir well.

7. Use a measuring cup (1/4 cup to 1/3 cup) to form cakes with the millet mixture. (It helps to have a bowl of ice water at the ready to rinse measuring cup in between cakes. The cold temperature will help keep the mixture from sticking to the inside of the cup. Life-saving, really.)

8. Bake corn cakes for 25 minutes, or until they are slightly crisp/golden on the outside.

9. Serve with fresh guacamole* (and raw kraut, if you’re so inclined).

10. Prepare to amaze and astound your friends, dinner guests, work superiors, priest, etc. CORN WORKS WONDERS!

Corn cakes, pre-baking

Corn cakes, pre-baking

*****

*… and if you’re wondering how in sam heck to make fresh guacamole, I do it in three minutes like so:

OMGuacamole

You Will Need:

  • 1 medium to large ripe avocado, halved and flesh scooped out
  • sea salt to taste
  • red hot chili pepper flakes to taste
  • lemon juice, 1-2 Tbsp (or to taste)
  • handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed and chopped

How To Make It:

1. Add all ingredients to a small bowl and smash with a fork. Done.

That's it. And now you'll be so savvy in the kitchen! You'll wow EVERYONE!

That’s it. And now you’ll be so savvy in the kitchen! You’ll wow EVERYONE!

20 responses

  1. You are NEVER going to believe this–OK, you might–but I plan to make Christina’s corn cakes within the next few days! It’s been on my mental list and everything. So will have to perhaps try YOUR recipe, although would it be OK to substitute cilantro for basil? That’s what I was planning to do, seeing we have some cilantro. Have been fully amazed about Life’s synchronicities lately. P.S. Did you know Christina has had a baby?

    • Oh, I love synchronicity, Kathy. And I love that you were about to make these cakes! I had to modify Christina’s recipe a bit, because onions and garlic were giving me severe issues for a while. I find that subbing leeks for onion makes for a more delicate flavor, and I omitted the garlic altogether.

      Re: cilantro vs. basil. Go for it! I have a heart full of love for fresh basil, but I’m no stranger to cilantro either and think it would taste awesome as well. Maybe this post was cosmic validation for your mental note to make these cakes? Do it!

      PS: I knew Christina was pregnant and figured she had delivered by now, Boy or girl?

    • Confession time: I haven’t made my own almond milk in over a year now. It was delightful while it lasted, but now, I’m delighted to buy a carton of unsweetened vanilla almond milk from the store on sale. ๐Ÿ™‚

      And yes– these cakes are seriously awesome. I love how they look super professional but don’t take a whole lot of skill to make. If you can stir things in a pot and preheat your oven, you should be good to go!

    • Haha, I love using the royal ‘we’, too. I’m on a corn cake kick these days. I wish I could make them over and over again without Marty getting sick of them or giving me strange looks…

  2. I had to giggle about the Mason jars. I must have 3-4 dozen of them in various sizes. We drink from them, freeze in them, take smoothies to work and school in them. When I use all the almond butter and have a new “small trendy jar,” I get giddy. So glad to see I’m not the only one! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I will be trying this recipe for my birthday. Mmmmm polenta…

    • Birthday corn cakes– how perfect! (And happy birthday!)

      The mason jar thing is getting out of control here. I’ve had to start– gasp– recycling jars (!!) because we don’t have room for even one more thing in our cupboards. Marty has officially declared our apartment at “max capacity”. Quick– need to move somewhere with a bigger kitchen so I can keep feeding my mason jar habit!

  3. My mouth is literally watering here. Sometimes I wish I was a kitchen nerd, but I’m so not. One of the most extravagant things I do in the kitchen is toast bread. WAIT! I made cranberry sauce! Like from fresh cranberries. That was a highly extravagant day. Of course it only involved 3 ingredients, but whatever. But man, those corn cakes look good….

    • See? You are SO a kitchen nerd! I’ve never made cranberry sauce before– nor have I eaten it out of a can. I’m one of those peculiar people who, come to think of it, have never actually eaten cranberry sauce before. Ever! WTH?

      And, oh my goodness, corn cakes. Making these babies and eating them makes my whole being radiate with joy. They are THAT good. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. These look awesomely good. And then I saw millet in the recipe. Have I told you about my battle with millet? Just in case I didn’t… Once upon a time and long ago, before the celebrities of the world heard about gluten-free, I went gluten-free for a couple of months (more extreme than that — no wheat, no meat, no dairy). I found myself deeply craving a sandwich, any sandwich (what I really craved, of course, was the bread). I found some gluten-free bread at a natural foods store. It was heavy (could have used it as a brick in the new foundation we’re building here), and it was millet bread. The denseness of each slice was incredible, and even though the slices were thinner and smaller than an average slice of bread, it would take me an hour to eat a sandwich made with two slices of millet bread. I swear it took me a year to finish off that loaf of bread. Okay, maybe not, but it sure felt that way. It was as if it multiplied in the freezer where I kept it (no preservatives so that seemed the best way to store it). It was expensive for bread so I was determined to eat it all. After choking down the last slice, I found myself totally off of anything that tasted like corn or millet or cornbread. About a year or so ago, I did try millet again, and it was good. So I could totally make these corn cakes. ๐Ÿ™‚ And oh! oh! I found a trick to guacamole that keeps it from turning an ugly color (should it last long enough to turn an ugly color — unusual around here, but it’s happened). If nightshades aren’t a problem for you, a little salsa verde (made with tomatillos) added to the guac keeps it looking fresh longer. Not sure why. There’s probably a scientific explanation for it. Gives it some extra tang, too.

    • I have totally been there with the super-dense millet bread, Robin. It’s actually quite nasty, but I promise you that these cakes are delicious (and light!) I wouldn’t actually mind it if these cakes secretly multiplied in the freezer, and I think that says something, right? ๐Ÿ˜‰

      And cool trick with the guac! Nightshades seem to be okay for me, so I’ll give it a whirl. Thanks for the tip!

  5. This all looks yummy, Dana! Reminds me of something we used to say as kids, “Yummy, yummy in my tummy.” Silly.

    Hope you are doing well, my friend. I have been so busy and not able to keep up with blogging. I do have a new post scheduled for tomorrow, but SO little time to read blogs. I’m sorry to have taken so long to get to this post I tried something new in the creation of this piece, and it ate up way too much time–time as in days. Why do I do this to myself? LOL

    Hugs from Ecuador,
    Kathy

    • Hey, this is me we’re talking about, right? The same me who disappears off the face of the internet for half a year at a time? Ha! No need to apologize, Kathy. It’s lovely to see you whenever you happen to make it around these parts. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Looking forward to reading your post tomorrow (or at some point– no pressure, right?) Have a beautiful day in Ecuador!

  6. Ha, Dana, you’re talking to a Nebraska-born guy, who’s now back in Nebraska – after many years. It is THE CORNHUSKER state, you know! There’s corn everything, here. ๐Ÿ™‚

    And I love corn. They look delicious, and I may even pickier than you. I think I would even try them.

    If you ever get a chance, you MUST eat at a Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant. They’re all over the country: http://www.chevys.com/locations.aspx

    They have a corn cake that is too. die. for! Here’s what is an approximate recipe:
    http://allrecipes.com/recipe/sweet-corn-cake/

    • I don’t think I’ve ever heard of Chevy’s Fresh Mex restaurant before, not even in passing. (Which is odd, considering how most Canucks, myself included, know way more about American institutions than we really should.) Anyway. I will take your recommendation to heart, seeing as you are an official expert on corn.

      I grew up in Alberta (beef and wheat country). For some reason, corn was always a hush hush topic. I would never, ever have bragged to anyone about liking, or even EATING, corn growing up. WTH? (And yet I had no problem being openly vegetarian in Cow Town. Some things can’t be explained…)

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