Tuesday, November 30, 2010

camping while vegan: corn cakes

We like to camp! By car, foot or canoe, in a tent or a hammock, in cold weather and in the thick of a Texas summer - it doesn't matter. I love drinking wine by a fire and reading books all day; Nathan loves practicing his apocalypse survival skills by building fires and filtering water. Over the years, we've camped in a number of places, and one thing has always remained constant. The food. Mostly, it sucked.

I know what you're thinking - what kind of aspiring foodie makes due with crappy camping food? And yet it's easy to get lazy when you're on the trail. Dehydrated dinners, packets of oatmeal and tofu jerky are simple and quick, even if they aren't exactly delicious. But when we decided to go camping for Thanksgiving, I realized that there was no reason to resign myself to instant dinners and packaged snacks. Therefore, I've decided to start up a new, occasional series on the blog. In case you haven't already figured it out, it's called Camping While Vegan. And we're going to kick it off with my first recipe, which I mostly invented. Fireside Corn Cakes in a Cast Iron Skillet.

Recipes in this series will be simple, and will require some pre-camping prep work. Even if you're car camping, you don't want to be lugging around bags of flour and canisters of salt. Simple is good, and there's no reason simple can't also be delicious! I pieced together this recipe using a few different recipes for corn cakes, corn fitters, and corn bread that I found on the Internet. I was going for something in between pancake and muffin, and I think I found a happy medium. I hope you agree!

Fireside Corn Cakes in a Cast Iron Skillet

You Will Need: 
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
salt, to taste (I like a lot of salt!) 

1 15 oz can of corn
1 cup water
2 Tbsp canola oil + extra for frying

Before You Leave: 
Sift together the cornmeal, flour, baking powder and salt. Pour into a plastic container (a Tupperware or a Ziplock bag will do nicely.) 

At The Campsite: 
Place your cast iron pan as close to the fire as you can and let it heat thoroughly. Meanwhile, pour the flour mixture into a bowl and add the corn, oil and water. Mix until combined (you may need to add more water - a cup is an estimate. Basically, you want a thick, moist batter.) Once your skillet is hot, pour a small amount of oil into the pan and make sure it coats the bottom. Plop a pancake-sized serving of batter into the skillet and cook for about ten minutes, until the cake is crispy and brown on one side. Flip and repeat on the second side.

To keep the finished corn cakes warm while you cook the rest, wrap in  aluminum foil and place on the edge of the fire.