July 19th, 2013
Outside of my dairy-free video diary entries, I haven’t spoken much here about our dairy-free adventures. I’m not sure what our (temporary?) dairy-free diet means for us, never mind what it could mean for this space. For now, all I know is that when I make or find a good recipe, I share it with you. It doesn’t matter if they are free of dairy or any other allergen. All that matters is that they are healthy and work well for family cooks who work hard to satisfy a bunch of people at a bunch of ages with a bunch of tastes.
Wholesome, delicious and easy, these family-friendly griddled corn cakes fit the bill. They just happen to be dairy and gluten free.
I started our dairy free adventure with some trepidation and fear, but also great enthusiasm. Going dairy-free for a while would be a challenge and I would master it. As the weeks went on, though, I found my excitement buckling under the pressure of busy family life. This wasn’t a one-off assignment that I could recipe test over and over, in a short period of time, until I got it right. This was life. As in every day. Constant.
Some days—the ones when I have energy, time, and inspiration—are easy. Fun, even. Other days—when I have to figure it out on the fly without the safety net of my go-to ingredients—are frustrating. Sad, even. It’s the way I imagine many of you who aren’t natural cooks feel about getting three healthy meals on the table day after day.
I’m sure I’ll eventually develop dairy-free reflexes and a repertoire of go-to recipes. Until then, though, when inspiration fails me, I’ll keep turning to Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten & Dairy Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals, a book by Silvana Nardone that I have loved since before these dairy-free days. (I mentioned how completely awesome this book is for any family in my 2010 gift guide.) These griddle cakes are very slightly adapted from that book.
Silvana was the founding Editor-in-Chief of Every Day with Rachael Ray magazine and before that did many things in the food world including running her own Italian bakery. Yes: a former baker (and serious dessert lover!) wrote a dairy- and gluten-free book. Needless to say, she has high standards and a love of butter, dairy and carbs: that’s why this book is so good.
These corn cakes make a lovely way to start the day. Silvana says that these can be served plain with dinner, too. If you aren’t gluten free and don’t have gluten free flour, just substitute regular flour. If there’s no issue with dairy, you can use plain cow’s milk in place of rice milk. Either way, these will turn out delicious.
Griddled Corn Cakes with Strawberry Syrup
Slightly adapted from Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten & Dairy Free Recipes for Easy, Delicious Meals by Silvana Nardone
(Can be shared with kids 8+ mos)*
Makes 20 3″ pancakes
1 1/4 cups rice milk (you can substitute cow’s milk)
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 cup gluten-free flour blend (you can substitute all purpose flour)
1 cup cornmeal, preferably medium grind
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, room temperature, slightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil, plus more for greasing
1 cup strawberry jelly
1/4 cup water
1. Make corn cakes: In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the milk mixture, eggs and oil; stir until just combined.
3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Using a paper towel, lightly grease with oil. Pour the batter about 1/4 cup at a time into the pan and cook until the pancakes are golden and set, about 2 minutes on each side.
4. Meanwhile, to make the syrup, in a small saucepan, cook the jelly and water over low heat, stirring occasionally, until syrupy. Serve with the corn cakes.**
*Note from OHM: These soft pancakes are a great early finger food for any child 8+ months already managing finger foods. Just cut them up into age appropriate bite sizes and serve. Consider leaving the syrup off of the pancakes for wee ones; they won’t miss the extra sugar!
**Note from OHM: Add fresh strawberries on top, too! Or, if you have other fresh berries, use them. You can even substitute a matching berry jam for the strawberry jam to make the syrup.