17 Sep 2012
Under the moniker Gluten Free Girl, most people have heard of Shauna James Ahern. She and her husband, Dan, the chef write and develop recipes for her eponymous website. We were excited to work with them for the first time as they developed a recipe for our new Erewhon Buckwheat & Hemp cereal. Her story is one that is uplifting and encourages mindfulness.
I eat much better now that I am gluten-free.
When you’re first diagnosed with celiac or told that you cannot eat gluten, you probably cannot fathom making that statement. I couldn’t. Sick as a dog and worried I was dying, I felt great relief at finding out that all I had to do was avoid a certain food. But then my mind rushed with a thousand images of all the foods I would never eat again: a baguette in Paris, sandwiches at a picnic, warm cookies out of the oven with my best friend. For a few days, I mourned, dazzled and confused.
Luckily, I started looking at the foods I was missing. Quickly, I realized that each of the foods I was missing was really about an emotional connection. Paris! So exciting. Of course I had to eat a baguette. I could eat a buckwheat crepe instead. Or ripe fruit from one of the markets. Or pork rillettes. (Besides, now there’s an entirely gluten-free bakery in Paris. That’s where I’m going the next time I visit.) Sandwiches at a picnic? How about potato salad with green beans and an anchovy vinaigrette? Fresh blackberries? Dark chocolate with sea salt and almonds? How about I learn to bake cookies without gluten to share with my friends?
That’s when I realized the secret to my food happiness: focus on what I CAN eat instead of what I CANNOT eat. (I think this is the secret to all happiness, actually.)
I started eating foods I had never tried before. Many of them became new favorites. (I now sprinkle smoked paprika into nearly everything.) And I realized that the more foods I ate, the more I wanted to cook. The more I wanted to cook, the more I wanted to cook from scratch. The more I wanted to cook from scratch, the more I wanted to eat in the seasons when the produce tasted like something.
Right now, in our kitchen, are a batch of roasted tomatoes out of the oven, 2 giant jars of homemade tomato sauce, peaches mingling with sugar to make jam tomorrow, and a batch of oatmeal-pistachio-dried cherry cookies.
What you won’t find in our kitchen is this stack of corn fritters. Those disappeared fast.
Now, when I think about the way I ate before I was diagnosed with celiac? I feel a little sad. I didn’t know my food then. I didn’t choose ingredients based on freshness and flavor. I ate mindlessly.
And I certainly never ate anything as good as these corn fritters that came out of our kitchen.
Gluten Free Corn Fritters
3 ears corn, husks removed
1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
kosher salt and cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons all-purpose gluten-free flour mix
1/2 cup Erewhon organic corn flakes, crushed
2 tablespoons canola oil
Slice the corn kernels off the cobs into a bowl. Add the milk, egg, baking powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Sprinkle the flour and crushed cornflakes over the mixture. Stir until combined. Let the batter sit for 10 minutes to fully absorb the flour and cornflakes.
Set a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the pan is hot, pour in the oil. Drop the fritters in heaping tablespoons into the hot oil .
Cook the fritters until they have set a bit and are ready to flip, about 2 minutes. Cook on the other side until the fritters are browned and puffed up a bit.
~Makes 1 dozen fritters, perhaps more.
About Shauna James Ahern
Shauna James Ahern loves the crazy way her love for food has led her to this life. Her popular website, Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef (glutenfreegirl.com) was named one of the best food sites in the world by Gourmet.com, Bon Appetit.com, and The London Times. The website is much beloved by a loyal audience, with approximately 20,000 views a day.
Her first book, Gluten-Free Girl: How I Found the Food That Loves Me Back and How You Can Too (Wiley and Sons) is still selling strong after 6 years of being in print. Her cookbook Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef: A Love Story in 100 Tempting Recipes, written with her husband Daniel, was named one of the best cookbooks of 2010 by The New York Times. She is currently finishing the manuscript for her third book, Gluten-Free Girl: Cooking Everyday, which will be published in the spring of 2013.
She lives on an island off Seattle with her husband, Daniel Ahern, a professional chef, and their young daughter, Lucy. They are happy, sleep-deprived, and probably cooking as you read this.