TENDING the TABLE

Corn and Shiso Fritters

Summer went by way too quickly. We were gone most weekends, but somehow didn’t manage to check off any of the camping or hiking trips we had planned. To make up for it, we’re headed to Italy in a few weeks for a yoga workshop and some travel. I’m pretty giddy with excitement and looking forward to a little vacation. Before we leave though, I’m packing in a bunch of work and enjoying the rain and cooler weather. I’ve been lighting candles every morning, sipping tea on the couch with my pups and making soup and baking cookies. Fall is my favorite season for sure. As much as I love fall, I’m not quite ready to let go of the summer produce so I’ve got the recipe for these Corn and Shiso Fritters  for you. Continue reading for the recipe…

A few weeks ago I was fortunate to be able to attend an event hosted by Ecotrust down in Portland. Ecotrust is one of my favorite non-profits to support. They do great work in a variety of areas, but I’m particularly excited about their Food and Farms program. They always think outside the box and innovate to change the food system to better serve people and the planet. One thing they’ve been focusing on recently is what they call the Ag of the Middle. The idea is to support and promote mid-size producers who are farming and ranching sustainably in order to get their products to wholesale markets like schools, hospitals and grocery stores. They’re doing this through their new food hub and distribution center, through classes for farmers, and by supporting regenerative agriculture. This approach has the potential to reach a much larger population that small farms can do through farmer’s markets and CSAs. It’s a bold idea, and it’s inspiring to think that maybe our broken food system can change for the better.

The event I attended was a tour of farms in the Willamette Valley run by Farmland LP. We toured several areas and learned about how crop rotation, diversified pasture plantings, and intentional livestock grazing can promote healthy soil and carbon sequestration. The cows and sheep on the pasture are not only living a  humane, happy life, but are also serving to improve and maintain the quality of the land through fertilization and aeration. There are some great books about this type of farming here and here, that I’m looking forward to reading soon. I left at the end of the day feeling inspired to learn more about how our food system works and how to have a greater positive impact.

As much as I love this work, I sometimes feel like I’m not doing enough to have a concrete and measurable impact. I’m constantly reevaluating what I do and what I can do differently. I truly believe that it’s never too late. Lately I’ve been thinking about how I can learn more about sustainable agriculture and how I might shift my career more towards work that directly creates change. Maybe graduate school is on the horizon…who knows. Anyways, this is all to say, never stop exploring or striving to do better.

XO

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Corn and Shiso Fritters

Makes 6-8

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE FRITTERS

3 tablespoons full-fat coconut milk

1 pasture raised egg

3 tablespoons chickpea flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup corn kernals (see note)

6 shiso leaves, chopped

1-2 tablespoons avocado oil for frying

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 tablespoon rice vinegar

1 teaspoon coconut sugar

PROCEDURE

FOR THE FRITTERS

In a medium bowl whisk together the coconut milk and egg until combined. Add the chickpea flour and salt and whisk again until smooth. Add the corn and shiso and stir to combine.

Heat the avocado oil in a non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Add heaping spoonfuls of the batter to the hot pan and fry until golden brown on both sides, about 5-6 minutes.

FOR THE DIPPING SAUCE

Combine the dipping sauce ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until the coconut sugar has dissolved.

Serve the fritters hot with the dipping sauce.

*You can use fresh or frozen corn here, but I recommend fresh and charred. To char the corn, cut it from the cob and cook on high in a cast iron skillet stirring occasionally until blackened in spots. This adds a nice smoky flavor to the fritters.