April 12th, 2013
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If there is one thing I know for certain, no one needs another pancake recipe. Without a doubt, we all stand true to the ones that work for us and think that we don’t need to branch out, try something different or find a new favorite.
And to that I say “Bosh.”
Come in to my kitchen…
March 16th, 2011
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Little that’s gone on lately has been ordinary, especially in other parts of the world. I’ve watched a few videos, scanned the headlines and saw a few photos, but for the most part, I’ve stayed far, far away from immersing myself in the news coverage of what’s gone on in Japan. I’m not posting on Facebook about it; I don’t tweet, or retweet about it. And quite frankly, if you want to call me insensitive, go ahead. That’s your right. Just remember that it’s my right too, to decide how I deal with it. And this is how I manage it, because the last time I was soaked in a tragedy, it ended up being stuck with me for the rest of my life.
Back when the world seemed a lot less harsh, I woke on a gorgeous September morning in Las Vegas, ready to spend my day at an International Baking Convention. I was the office manager for a large wholesale bakery in the Cities, and was there to check out new equipment, new software, and new procedures, and I never got the chance. Because that morning was the 11th, in 2001. And we all know what happened then. I watched the entire horror play out on television, right in front of me. I watched bodies plummet through the sky; I watched people on the streets, staring in terror. I watched those towers fall and I cried my eyes out. The country fell apart before my eyes, and I was stranded thousands of miles from home. Everywhere I went for the next six days until I returned home, it was like the tragedy was embedded in my skin, my ears, my eyes. It was all everyone talked about. It was on every television, in every podunk spot that the car stopped as I made my way home, across the gorgeous country amidst the worst times in recent memory. Yes, my boss and I drove home from Nevada; it took 2-1/2 days. We drove through the mountains of the West, through Utah and Colorado and were surrounded by stunning vistas while the sorrow poured out of the radio. A pall had settled on the nation and every gas station, every coffee shop, every tiny diner along the way were full of grim faces and tears. It’s been 10 years since that all happened and I still can see every detail; I can still feel my stomach sinking in agony, like it did that morning while I watched, unable to tear my eyes away. If I catch a glimpse of the clock, and it happens to read 9:11, I can’t get away from the image it leaves with me. And I can’t fill my head, again, with such sorrow.
I’m a sponge; I absorb my surroundings and it gets under my skin to stay with me. And it isn’t just events. It’s people, it’s daily situations, it’s the crabby strangers in passing, the nasty drivers on the road. Negativity can easily fill me up and just as easily take me down. I need to protect myself from drowning in it and so I simply turn away. It’s isn’t that I don’t care. The problem is that I care too much and me, this tiny individual, can’t offer much more than a solitary prayer of compassion. My repetitive tweets won’t do anyone any good; yet another posting on yet another heart-wrenching video won’t do anything. There are plenty of people to spread the news, and I just turn and walk away because to do otherwise would be more images seared in my brain that will stick with me forever. I can’t do that to myself. It’s bad enough that in the darkness I sometimes still see a burning skyscraper, and bodies falling through the smoke. After 10 years you’d think they would fade, but they haven’t. Even the few images of the destruction in Japan won’t replace the shocking pictures of that gorgeous September morning. In fact, they’ve joined them. And that’s not something I need.
So I made pancakes.
Because I needed to feel ordinary and plain, to have something of a constant come up during a time that is now written indelibly in the history books. And for me, it was Pancakes. And not just any Pancakes; these were Wheat Crumb Pancakes, made with fresh bread crumbs as the base. It was odd, to say the least, and maybe not exactly what I would reach for to try and raise some ordinary sense to my day, but it worked. Strangely enough.
The recipe came from Marion Cunningham’s The Breakfast Book. I picked this book up at a used book store many years ago, and it languished in my cookbook cupboard for a long time. I glanced at it once or twice, but never really absorbed it, and last year in a book purge, I almost added it to the boxes I was giving away. But something made me leave it on the shelf and I’m so glad I did because what exists in those pages is a treasure trove of simple, hearty, wholesome and flavorful breakfast recipes, and everyone I’ve tried has been delicious. These Wheat Crumb Pancakes were amazing; fluffy and light and so flavorful. I added some texture to them by tossing finely chopped honey-roasted peanuts into the batter, and replacing some of the liquid with pureed mango and peaches. They cook up thick and hearty, and beg for a dousing of maple syrup. A plate of them set my emotions and grounded me, just as I had hoped they would.
Wheat Crumb Pancakes
1-1/2 c. fresh wheat bread crumbs
1-1/2 c. buttermilk
2 T. butter
1/2 c. whole wheat flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
Place bread crumbs in a large bowl. Heat milk and butter in small saucepan until butter is melted and milk is hot. Pour over bread crumbs and let stand for 5-10 minutes, stirring to fully combine.
Add flour, eggs, baking powder and salt to bread crumb mix. Fold together until just mixed and let stand for a few minutes. Cook pancakes on stovetop, or an electric skillet. Top with maple syrup and butter, if desired, or toppings of choice.
From ‘The Breakfast Book’ by Marion Cunningham
NOTE: Fresh bread crumbs can be made from several slices of good quality whole wheat bread. Place them in a food processor and process until they’re the size of peas. Do not sub in dried bread crumbs, croutons or Panko. I like to keep a ziploc bag of fresh breads crumbs in the freezer. Any leftover bread gets processed and added to the bag. The crumbs are wonderful to have on hand for many uses in the kitchen.
More Pancake love from Kate’s Kitchen:
Whole Grain Pancakes
Pumpkin Pancakes with Winter Fruit Compote
Whole Wheat Banana Pancakes
Fresh Cherry Syrup
Fresh Blueberry Syrup
March 5th, 2010
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I hope that I never get to a point in my life where I think I’ve seen it all. Especially when it comes to pancakes.
If I had to pick a favorite breakfast option, pancakes might be fighting for top billing. While I do really enjoy pan roasted potatoes, especially with onion and pepper and topped with a soft egg, there is something so versatile and endlessly appealing about the simple pancake. With your standard batter, you can create an enormous palette of tastes and flavors- apple and spice, banana and pecan, chocolate-cherry, blueberry buckwheat, peach with almonds, mango and coconut….. I mean, wow. What can’t you put in a pancake? Or maybe more so, what wouldn’t you put in??
Oatmeal is the same blank breakfast slate. A simple bowl can be doctored in dozens of ways, and yes, many of them in the same manner as listed above. They all work, so why wouldn’t oatmeal and pancakes work together? I’m here to tell you, with much enthusiasm and horn-trumpeting that they absolutely do. It’s a happy breakfast marriage.
These oatmeal pancakes, courtesy of Molly, were the epitome of hearty and satisfying, and so easily zipped into what breakfast should be all about, with maybe the tiny exception that you have to plan just slightly ahead with this recipe. While you probably could use quick oats and get away with it, I strongly recommend using the thick cut version to get the best affect that these stick-to-your-ribs cakes can offer, such as a breakfast that lasts for a good long time. Really, there isn’t much point to eating in the morning if your tummy doesn’t remember it even a few short hours later.
And there’s no better idea on a chilly Saturday morning than to pull a bowl of soaked oats from the fridge and quickly mix them into a substantial batter that sizzles from your griddle, filling the house with the aroma of ‘Come and get it!’.
If you’ve ever had Baked Oatmeal, where you mix your oats with eggs, brown sugar and spices and bake them into a thick pudding, then the flavor of these pancakes will be familiar to your mouth. The oats, so soft and tender from their overnight soak in buttermilk, bake into a firm pancake that happily soaks up your maple syrup. I’m really not up for much on any given Friday night, and I owe all the remaining energy from the week to dinner prep and a bit of couch time with Netflix on Demand and my two favorite guys, but I somehow managed to stop myself from climbing the stairs to my bedroom, at 9:15 no doubt- and whoa does that make me sound OLD- and instead turning around to the kitchen to prep the oats for the next morning. I even washed and grated an apple into the mix, shredded in some lemon zest and then cleaned up my little mess. That’s motivation. It made the trip up the stairs to bed even better knowing that I was set for morning, because, you know there’s just something about Saturday morning that begs and whispers just the slightest bit for something special, something that clearly says “Oh yes. It’s the weekend.”
2 c. rolled or thick oats
2 c. buttermilk (or like I did, soy milk with lemon juice and zest mixed in- yum!)
3/4 c. AP flour (I subbed whole wheat)
2 T. sugar (I used turbinado, but brown I think would be best)
1 t. EACH baking powder and baking soda
1/2 t. sea salt
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. melted butter (equiv. to 1 stick. I only used 4 T., or half a stick and it was almost too much for my taste)
The night before, mix oats and buttermilk in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and chill overnight. In the morning, remove from the refrigerator and stir gently.
Blend the flour, sugar, powder and soda and salt together in a large measuring cup. Add the eggs and melted butter to the oat mixture and stir well. Then gently fold in the dry ingredients. Do not overmix.
Heat your griddle or skillet and add about 1/4 cup of the batter. Allow to cook until browned on one side, then carefully flip and cook until golden brown on the second size. Serve topped with maple syrup or fresh fruit.
KATE’S NOTE’S– There isn’t much that I think can improve these pancakes, but I do feel that a bit of cinnamon and fresh grated nutmeg would really be stellar. As I mentioned, I grated an apple into the oats the night before. It could also be done in the morning too.
February 11th, 2010
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When making something like Pumpkin Pancakes, after a long day in which I awoke at 5:15am and couldn’t get back to sleep, and a rough but magical, much needed visit to the chiropractor that left me limp and relieved, trying to explain these pancakes to a teenager with a selective hearing problem might result in necessary culinary shorthand. Like saying ‘Pumpcakes’. It felt a little like baby talk, but it made The Teen smile and giggle just a little and when you’re the mother of a big boy on the verge of 16, making him giggle, regardless of how it’s extracted, is pretty heart-warming. Especially when he sort of coos “Aww. That’s kinda cute.” Shhh. You didn’t hear that from me, ok?
And also, on the tail end of a two-day snowfall that blanketed us with about 10 more inches that had to be put somewhere- like on top of and over the 4-foot plus piles around our slowly disappearing house- these Pumpcakes were awfully darn heart-warming all on their own.
Anyone want to take bets on whether this pile will still exist in July?
Pumpkin pancakes have never crossed our griddle, although I’ve seen them all over the ‘net; perfect dark rusty rounds of batter, thick and substantial. I always thought they looked pretty good. I love pumpkin bread, and muffins and scones and just about any baked good made better with the flesh of a gourd, but pancakes? It was time for me to explore. Plus, I was thoroughly out of inspiration for anything else and the little hand on the clock was rapidly approaching the 5:00 hour. I punted, did a quick Google and came up with this recipe. Now, does it say something that this was the only recipe out of the first dozen or so that Google spit out to me that did NOT contain a base of Bisquick? Gah. I hope not. Scratch pancakes are pretty basic, requiring little else but flour, leavening, a bit of sugar and salt, liquid and egg. I had this recipe completed and sitting on the counter in about 5 minutes. It required only for me to climb on a chair to dig the container of baking soda out from where it had been pushed to the back of a top shelf.
The compote was total cowboy cooking. There was a leftover apple that I didn’t have room for after lunch and I quickly chopped it up, sauteing it in a small pat of butter before adding chopped pecans, a handful of currants and some leftover maple syrup blended with butter that we’d drizzled over roasted squash earlier in the week. It simmered while the pumpcakes cooked and in a few twists of a spatual, a hearty and aromatic dinner was on our plates. We could sit down with a sigh, the opalescent glow of fresh snow all around us and imbibe in these richly scented cakes with a sweet and crunchy topping and be warmed from both the food and the company. I do love days like that.
Now here’s my take on these Pumpcakes. They were good. No, scratch that; they were great. Really flavorful and hearty and thick. Lumberjack fare, if you know what I mean. Maybe it was the recipe but they took a rather long time to cook, and even when some of them were so robustly bronzed that I thought they’d be tough as shoe leather, they still seemed to me to be a little moist inside. Griffin even brought his to me and said “Are these done?” poking a fork suspiciously at the interior. I was expecting, like any pancake, that it would be fluffy, but given the added pumpkin, it would stand to reason that they’d be more dense. They tasted fine. Just plan on allowing them extra time on the griddle. The batter that resulted from this recipe was very thick. That should have been a clue to me. After a long day and with the added relief from my aches and pains, I can’t always sufficiently tie two strands of obvious together. On a side note, for some added nutrition I used WW flour in place of AP in the recipe, added 2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed and a 1/2 cup of cornmeal, and subbed unsweetened applesauce for the oil.
And that compote? Now that was a winner. I wish I had made more to have on hand for oatmeal, or to spread on toasted bread. It was stellar, a perfect winter treat and way open to personal experimentation.
Apple, Pecan and Currant Compote
1 medium tart apple, washed, cored and diced fine (I used one called ‘Jazz’- it was tart, but subtly sweet too)
1 c. chopped pecans
1/3 c. currants
1 T. butter
1/2 c. pure maple syrup
In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter and add the apple. Saute for a few minutes until the apple is soft, then stir in the pecans and cook, stirring regularly, until the nuts are slightly toasted and fragrant. Pour in the maple syrup and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally until the maple syrup has been absorbed. Stir in the currants and heat through. Serve warm over pancakes or waffles. Will keep refrigerated for several days. If you can resist. Reheat in the microwave if desired. This tastes amazing if sprinkled with a light dusting of sea salt prior to serving. Something about that salty sweet crunch…..
I love the idea of pears, almonds and figs for another version of this.
June 10th, 2009
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I almost thought to do this as a Wordless Wednesday post, but I simply can’t be quiet about fresh cherries and when I get passionate and excited about a food, my hyper-articulate and descriptive nature fully reveals itself and well, I just can’t stop. Either talking about them or eating them.
This time of year, I’m not even that picky about how much a bag of cherries will set me back. This is one fruit that I will splurge on when in season without even a blink of an eye. And it’s the easiest to consume too; just a wash under water, a bowl for the pits and stems and no white clothing. I’ve eaten them until I feel like one big round fat cherry myself, lips and fingertips stained purple. I rarely make anything with cherries; they just don’t last long enough for me to search for the perfect recipe, I have little patience for the mess and hassle of pitting them by hand and really, I struggle with feeling like I am wasting this precious summer treat by putting it in anything, making it into something other than what it is- a perfect, simple, nutritious and fabulous treat. You do a great deal of good for yourself to snack on fresh cherries- they are low in fat, cholesterol and sodium and contain high levels of antioxidants such as anthocyanins, quercetin and ellagic acid. They have high levels of vitamin C, fiber and anti-inflammatory properties. One cup has about 90 calories.
On or about the third bag of the dark and sweet red drupes that came into my kitchen, I started thinking about making something like cherry spoonfruit, or a cherry syrup to have on hand, then I began thinking about chocolate and cherries. Pretty soon, it was Chocolate Cherry Pancakes for dinner, with fresh and warm cherry syrup on the side.
It was like having dessert for dinner. The key to a good pancake– besides a good heft and height- is that they taste good all on their own. I’m no spartan when it comes to my cakes; they’ve got to be chock full of something good, something flavorful and tasty enough so that I can eat it all on it’s own. These certainly fit that need. Chunks of sweet cherries, a sprinkling of Guittard semi-sweets and a hot pan was all I needed. That and an appetite.
(weights are approximate; this was totally thrown together)
1-1/2# fresh pitted cherries
1 c. water
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 T. lemon juice
Cornstarch for thickening (the amount you use will vary with the juiciness of your fruit)
Combine all ingredients in a heavy pan and cook at a simmer until fruit breaks down and releases it’s juice. Mix about 2 T. of cornstarch with 1/4 c. cold water to make a pourable liquid. Slowly pour into hot fruit, whisking constantly until thickened to your liking. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 5 minutes more, or until liquid has darkened and becomes syrupy. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
This should keep in the fridge for a week or so, if it lasts that long. Enjoy on pancakes or waffles, ice cream, yogurt, cereal…..the possibilities are endless.
March 6th, 2009
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Or is it that I just like something delicious and easy for dinner when I’m really worn out and tired?
Those are my delicious Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes; they were thick moist and delicious, covered with a tart lemon curd that I mixed with cream cheese for a decadent topping. What is it about lemon for me lately? When I think about desserts, or sweets of any kind I just think about something with lemon.
I’m not a wimpy pancake kind of gal. My pancakes require heft. They need height. They won’t be some slim disc that falls apart once covered with a river of warm syrup or jam, not a chance. And they need flavor. Oh yeah, and they’ve got to be nutritious.
No small order for my stacks, is it??
The origin of this recipe was Mark Bittman’s Rich Buttermilk Waffle recipe and I’ve revamped and tweaked it repeatedly to get it from ‘pretty good’ to ‘WOWOMG, that’s SO amazing!!’. I swapped out some of the regular flour for whole wheat, and added ground flaxseed and wheat bran. You could easily make these with all wheat flour too, or some buckwheat or even rye flour. I also eliminated the half stick of melted butter. This variation is so tantalizing that I can make Griffin’s eyes roll back when he sees them, and if I can do that without serving him meat, then I know I have been successful.
And the nice thing about pancakes for dinner is that the next morning you’ve got breakfast without very much work.
Kate’s Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 1/2 c. AP flour
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
3 T. flaxseed, ground
3 T. wheat bran
½ teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
1 c. vanilla yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 bananas, mashed but with some larger pieces
Combine the dry ingredients and blend well. Whisk together the buttermilk, yogurt, eggs, banana and extract. Pour over dry ingredients, and with a rubber spatula, blend carefully, scraping bottom of bowl until combined.
Heat skillet or electric griddle. Drop batter by 1/4 cupfuls and cook until browned and fragrant. Serve with topping of choice. These freeze very well.
Lemon Curd Cream Cheese-
This was a total fly-by-night mixture of a partial container of spreadable cream cheese with about a half jar of prepared lemon curd. It was nowhere near as lemony as I like so I grated in zest from about half a lemon and squeezed in the juice. Then I had to stop myself from eating it all with a spoon.
Although the recipe calls for buttermilk, I use vanilla soy milk in mine due to dairy restrictions. Yogurt is not an issue with me- the friendly fauna in yogurt helps to prevent stomach upset from the dairy. Buttermilk adds superior flavor to pancakes and should be used if dairy is acceptable. I really love the texture that yogurt adds to pancakes as it helps a lot with the heft and moistness.
This recipe is endlessly versatile. Swap the fruit with mashed strawberries, grated apple or chopped mango; change up the yogurt or use applesauce instead, another favorite method of mine for additional moisture.
No buttermilk on hand? Use a teaspoon of either vinegar or lemon juice per cup of regular milk to create a decent substitute, or you can use all yogurt, or even sour cream thinned with a little water in place of milk.
September 20th, 2007
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Whole Grain Waffles (or Pancakes)
1 c. flour
1 c. oat flour
2 T. ground flaxseed
1/3 c. rye flour
4 T. cornmeal
4 t. baking powder
1 T. sugar
½ t. salt
2 c. fat free milk
2 T. canola oil
1 t. vanilla extract
Combine dry ingredients. Mix wet ingredients together and stir into dry until just combined. Bake on heated griddle, topping with chopped mango and almonds before turning over.
Notes: For oat flour, plain oatmeal can be ground in a spice or coffee grinder to the consistency of flour. As for the rye flour, I have subbed in buckwheat and whole wheat and gotten results that are just as delicious. I have used plain or vanilla yogurt in place of half the milk too with excellent results. Don’t skip the sugar.