I wore cut-off denim capri pants my first day of freshman orientation. My Big Fat Greek Wedding was my favorite movie. AOL Instant Messenger (AIM) was all the rage (remember "Away Messages"? Yikes.). Gas cost $1.65 a gallon.
Everything was new to me: new state, new people, and the overall new-ness of the "college experience." I had never heard of buckeyes or Skyline Chili (to this day I've never eaten Skyline Chili. I prefer my pasta sans meat...and sans cocoa powder).
And finally, I remember eating at a Chi-Chi's Restaurant for the first time. While my taste in food has changed significantly since then, at the time I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Fresh chips and salsa while you wait? Quesadillas the size of my torso? Men in sombreros singing "Happy Birthday?" Wide-eyed and somewhat sheltered, this was 18-year old Kylie's dream come true.
My favorite part of Chi-Chi's was the sweet little corn cake that came with every meal. I'm embarrassed to admit that it made such an impression on me. I loved those darn things. And despite the fact that I haven't eaten at a Chi-Chi's in 8 years, I got a craving for those darling corn cakes this week.
Thank you, Veganomicon. This brilliant cookbook provided a vegan version that's slightly more savory than sweet, but satisfied my craving.
Rock on, 2002. The soundtrack to this recipe is definitely a toss-up between Michelle Branch's "Everywhere" and Missy Elliot's "Work It." It's so 9 years ago.
What were you doing in 2002?
Vegan Corn Casserole
(adapted from Veganomicon cookbook)
- a dash of olive oil
- 3 cups frozen corn
- 1 red bell pepper, finely diced
- 1 yellow pepper, finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 cup light coconut milk
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 2 TBSP brown sugar
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 tsp. salt
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly coat an 8 x 8 inch pan with cooking spray.
2) Heat a dash of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the corn, bell peppers, and onion to the skillet and saute for about 10 minutes, until lightly browned.
3) Meanwhile, combine the coconut milk and cornstarch in a bowl; stir until cornstarch is dissolved.
4) When the corn mixture is ready, transfer 2 cups of it to a food processor. Process the corn mixture and coconut milk mixture. In a large bowl, combine the processed mixture, the remaining corn and bell pepper mixture, the cornmeal, brown sugar, cilantro, and salt. Stir until thoroughly combined. Pour into prepared baking pan and bake for 40 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.