MCT NEWS —
There’s a reason for that phrase “selling like hot cakes.”
On a lazy Sunday morning, the fragrant flapjack makes a perfect vehicle for maple syrup, fruit compotes, yogurt, sliced berries or a simple dusting of powdered sugar.
But why not up your game? The new wave pancakes envisioned by award-winning food writers Heidi Swanson and Betty Rosbottom mix things up with multi-grains, lemon-ricotta fillings, homemade syrups and fabulous riffs on a classic.
It’s enough to make you get up early.
“Pancakes,” Rosbottom says, simply, “are a universal favorite.”
The Krusteaz and Bisquick crowd may think those mixes are easier routes to pancake heaven, but the reality is making flapjacks from scratch takes barely more time than a mix — and it gives you the freedom to tweak flavors to your heart’s content.
For Swanson, a Los Gatos, Calif., native whose “Super Natural Every Day” (Ten Speed Press, $23, 250 pages) cookbook won a James Beard award last month, it’s a matter of making that carb load more healthful by using a mixture of oat flour, rye flour and whole wheat pastry flour instead of the generic white stuff. (You’ll find those flours in the bulk bins at Whole Foods and other markets.)
“Oat flour is incredibly fragrant,” she says. “Rye flour brings a bit of spicy depth, and whole wheat pastry flour is perfect for pancakes, muffins and quick breads.”
Whole wheat pastry flour makes for a tender, light crumb, she says. As for the convenience of a mix, Swanson has an answer for that, too.
“If you premix the dry ingredients — a day before, a week before —and keep it in a jar,” the food blogger says, “you’re just a couple wet ingredients and a few minutes away from a great homemade pancake batter — weekdays, weekends, either way.”
And while we’ve all added chocolate chips or blueberries to our pancakes, Swanson suggests trying more creative ways to enhance flavor and texture by stirring in lemon zest and poppy seeds, for example, or a splash of vanilla and chopped strawberries. Rosbottom adds a Thanksgiving pie’s worth of spices to hers.
Creativity can even be found in the concept. At St. Michael’s Alley in Palo Alto, Calif., for example, they mix both bananas and blueberries into the batter and call the delectable result Blue Monkey Pancakes.
Homemade toppings and syrups are wonderful ways to add seasonal twists. At this time of year, Swanson tops her hot cakes with a deeply purple, blackberry-maple compote, or roasts strawberries with maple syrup, olive oil and a splash of port wine for a topping that’s “outrageously delicious.”
Rosbottom tops her spiced pancakes with maple-butter in the fall, and her perfect-for-spring lemon-ricotta hot cakes with homemade blueberry syrup or poached apricots and Greek yogurt.
If Rosbottom’s name looks familiar, it’s probably because the Massachusetts-based writer has penned so many food stories for Bon Appetit magazine over the years. Her newest cookbook, the irresistible “Sunday Brunch” (Chronicle Books, $19.95, 120 pages), touts the idea that brunch can go in many culinary directions, from baked sweets to savory treats.
But Rosbottom is the first to admit to a soft spot for pancakes, perhaps because she’s made them with her grandchildren since they were old enough to clamber on a kitchen stool and don an apron. But it’s not just her grandchildren who are crazy about the lemon-ricotta pancakes. Rosbottom sent advance copies of the new book to friends, family and her small army of recipe testers, as a thank you. Without fail, the one recipe everyone singles out is that one.
The beauty of pancake recipes, she says, is that they’re templates. So consider the savory possibilities of Rosbottom’s spiced pancakes, too.
“It’s easy to change up a pancake,” she says. “The pattern - the amount of butter and flour and liquid is pretty set. Take out the spices and add some corn and chili powder. Make them more savory with avocados and tomatoes.”
And don’t forget that pancakes make perfect little appetizers, too.
“The week before last was graduation at Amherst, and I did a brunch,” she says. “I made blini with different toppings - smoked salmon, creme fraiche, lemon zest, capers. People were just wolfing them down.”
And that’s a grand way to start the day.
Makes 24-26 silver-dollar pancakes
Note: This batter, which keeps for days, works well in a waffle iron too.
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup oat flour
1/2 cup rye flour
1 1/2 tablespoons natural cane sugar (or brown sugar)
1 tablespoon baking powder
Scant 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
2 cups buttermilk
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled a bit, plus more for the skillet
Combine the flours, sugar, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Whisk buttermilk and eggs together, add butter and whisk again.
Heat a griddle until medium-hot, and brush with a bit of butter. If a drop of water dances across the surface, you’re in the ballpark. Pour wet ingredients over dry, and stir until just combined.
For silver-dollar pancakes, pour the batter 2 tablespoons at a time into small puddles on the griddle. For larger pancakes, pour 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time onto the griddle. Cook until the bottoms are deep golden and the tops have set a bit, then use a spatula to flip the pancakes. Cook the other side until golden and cooked through. Repeat with remaining batter.
Serve warm, topped with butter and Blackberry-Maple Compote.
— Heidi Swanson, “Super Natural Every Day” (Ten Speed Press, $23, 250 pages)
Makes 1 1/2 cups
Note: Make fresh ginger juice by pressing freshly grated ginger through a fine strainer. Muscovado is a very dark brown sugar.
2 cups blackberries, coarsely chopped, divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons maple sugar, natural cane or muscovado sugar
1 teaspoon fresh ginger juice, plus more if needed
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, plus more if needed
Tiny pinch of fine-grain sea salt
Combine a third of the berries with the maple syrup and sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Gently simmer 3 minutes.
Drain syrup through a strainer into a bowl, pressing on the solids to extract the juice. Combine the syrup with remaining berries, ginger and lemon juice and salt. Taste and adjust with more lemon or ginger juice, as needed.
The compote will keep 1 week in the refrigerator. Serve over pancakes, crepes, oatmeal, gelato or even goat cheese-slathered crackers.
— Swanson, “Super Natural Every Day”
LEMON-RICOTTA PANCAKES WITH BLUEBERRY SAUCE
1 cup cold water
1/2 cup sugar
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cornstarch
2 cups blueberries
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
2/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, separated
1 cup whole milk ricotta
1/2 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
Blueberry sauce: Blend the water, sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Cook, stirring, until cornstarch dissolves. Add berries and raise heat to medium. Cook, stirring, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 5 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes.
Puree the sauce until smooth. Strain through a fine-meshed sieve back into the saucepan. Return to medium heat and simmer until reduced to 1 cup, about 30 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon. (Sauce can be refrigerated up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat to serve.)
For pancakes, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk egg yolks, ricotta, milk, sugar and lemon zest until well blended. Gradually whisk in the dry ingredients.
With an electric mixer on medium-high, beat the egg whites until just firm. Gently stir a third into the batter to lighten it, then gently fold in remaining egg whites.
Heat a griddle over medium heat until hot, then brush with just enough oil to coat the surface. Working in batches, pour a generous 1/4 cup of batter onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on top, and pancakes are golden brown on the bottom, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat, adding more oil as necessary. Serve with blueberry sauce.
— Betty Rosbottom, “Sunday Brunch” (Chronicle Books, $19.95, 120 pages)
SPICED PANCAKES WITH WARM MAPLE-BUTTER SYRUP
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
6 tablespoons maple syrup
1 1/2 cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup whole milk
3 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for the griddle
Powdered sugar, to garnish
For the syrup, heat the butter and maple syrup in a small saucepan, until the butter has melted and blended with the syrup, 1-2 minutes. (Can be done up to 2 hours ahead. Leave at room temperature and reheat, stirring over medium heat.)
For the pancakes, whisk together the dry ingredients. In another bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs and melted butter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ones, and whisk to combine.
Heat a griddle or large, heavy skillet over medium heat until hot. Brush with just enough butter to coat the surface. Pour generous 1/4 cup measures of batter onto the griddle. Cook until bubbles appear on top and the pancakes are golden brown on the bottom, 1-2 minutes. Flip and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes. Remove to a warm platter and cover loosely with foil. Repeat, adding more butter as needed. Serve with warm syrup and a dusting of powdered sugar.
— Rosbottom, “Sunday Brunch”
MCT NEWS —
There’s a reason for that phrase “selling like hot cakes.”
Annual gingerbread house contest
Spread holiday cheer by making a gingerbread house this year. The Edmond Historical Society & Museum invites residents to enter into the fifth annual Gingerbread House Contest at 2 p.m. Dec. 14. Ages 5 and older are welcome to participate.
Gingerbread House Contest Rules:
• Ages 5-11, Ages 12-17, 18 and older
• Must be made out of edible materials
• Placed on 18-inch by 18-inch or smaller board
• No gingerbread kits (but you may use graham crackers)
• Participation is free, pre-registration is required
• Bring gingerbread house to the Edmond Historical Society & Museum between the dates of Dec. 10-13.
Judges will present first, second and third place awards in each age category. Judges will be looking for:
Edmond reminds residents of proper disposal of ‘FOG’
The City of Edmond’s FOG program helps homeowners learn to properly dispose of fats, oils and grease.
“These few simple tips will help you avoid a sewer back-up in your home. Not only is a sewer back-up unpleasant and unsanitary, the clean-up can cost thousands of dollars and your homeowner’s insurance may not cover the cost” said Casey Moore, public information officer.
Fats, oils and grease eventually become solid rather than liquid and the grease will stick to the sides of sewer pipes and clog them. This can cause a back-up and an overflow in your home, or into the streets and streams.
Kermit Lynch’s journey of wine discovery
“When I wrote the book,” explained wine merchant Kermit Lynch, “I thought the oenologists were going to take over.”
We were chatting about Adventures on the Wine Route, Lynch’s seminal tour of France that can be found on every wine enthusiast’s bookshelf. When the book was released in 1988, Lynch feared that “old-style wines” — artisanal projects that expressed a sense of place — were on their way out, so he launched a crusade to educate his “clients to the diversity and virtue of those wines.”
Enjoy season-long holiday flavor
After waiting so long to taste the distinctive flavors that make the holiday season so special, McCormick, a global leader in flavor, is here to make sure each moment is filled with them – every day leading up to Thanksgiving and every day after. With simple tips from the McCormick Kitchens on enjoying the season’s top seven flavors — pumpkin spice, ginger, vanilla, peppermint, sage, cinnamon and nutmeg — everything from breakfast to dessert can have the best holiday taste.
Sweeten the season with delicious holiday desserts
Show your friends and family just how much you care with delicious homemade holiday desserts. The combination of seasonal flavors and time-honored traditions are sure to give holiday party guests a sweet memory to savor long after gatherings and get-togethers are over.
Wondering what to drink? Ask a winemaker
Imagine if BMW’s design chief admitted that Ford produces some of his favorite cars. Or if the CEO of Coca-Cola confessed that every now and then, he craves a Pepsi.
A new take on traditional foods for Day of the Dead
Food will no doubt be a focal point for families celebrating the Mexican holiday Day of the Dead this November 1 and 2. What has become one of the most popular holidays in Mexico — and is becoming more common in the U.S.— is the custom of honoring and remembering deceased loved ones. Gathering with friends and family over delicious traditional dishes is sure to be a highlight of celebrations.
Preparing pumpkins for fall cooking
Most of us have a good eye for a pumpkin that might make a good-looking jack-o-lantern. But when it comes to pumpkins for cooking, the same rules simply don’t apply.
“When you’re choosing a pie pumpkin,” advises Amanda Horn, Family and Consumer Science Educator at Oklahoma County OSU Extension Service and registered dietitian, “you need a sweeter pumpkin usually the smaller they are the sweeter and the less watery.”
Also, it is important to look for pie pumpkins with a 1- to 2-inch stem. If the stem is cut down too low, the pumpkin will decay quickly and already may have started to decay when you buy it. Pumpkins that are going to be used for cooking also need to be free of blemishes and soft spots, but shape is unimportant.
Make baby’s first birthday a smash with playful pint-sized cakes
More than 374,000 babies are born in September and 367,000 in October every year, according to the Center for Disease Control and National Center for Health Statistics 2010. That’s a lot of cake. According to a recent Betty Crocker survey of moms conducted by KRC Research, the cake is one of the most important elements of a first birthday. In fact, 58 percent of moms shared that watching their one-year-olds explore, taste, smash, smear and dive in to their first birthday cake is the most memorable moment of the party, far exceeding opening gifts and singing “Happy Birthday” to their little one.
OSU Cooperative Extension offers ‘Soup Up Your Fall’ class
As we enter into the fall season and the weather begins to cool off many of us turn to those hearty comfort foods we grew up loving to keep us warm and full. One staple meal during the cool season is soup.
“Soups are fairly easy to make and if properly prepared they can be healthy and save you money” said Amanda Horn, a registered dietitian and family and consumer sciences educator for the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension. “In this class we discuss how homemade soups can be healthier than canned, how to prepare them in advance to save you time, and discover some fun and fresh ingredients you can use to add a little pizzazz to your bowl.”
“Soup Up Your Fall” is scheduled for 10 a.m. to noon, Wednesday, Oct. 16, at the Northeast Regional Health & Wellness Campus located at 2600 N.E. 63rd St. Oklahoma City. This will be an interactive cooking class with many demonstrations of soup dishes. The participants will have the opportunity to sample all the foods prepared during the workshop and take home a “Soup Up Your Fall” cookbook with some great soup recipes.
Cost of the workshop is $10 and pre-registration is required before Oct.14. For more information, contact the Oklahoma County OSU Cooperative Extension Service located at 930 N. Portland at 713-1125 or access the Extension website at http://oces.okstate.edu/oklahoma.
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- Annual gingerbread house contest