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.
MCT NEWS —
There’s a reason for that phrase “selling like hot cakes.”
Easy on the coconut oil
These days, it seems like coconut oil is soaking up credit for its positive affect on a wide range of health conditions. But, still developing science around the popular oil tells a little different story.
“We know all saturated fats are not created equally, but there’s no evidence that coconut oil is better or healthier than other vegetable oils,” said Janice Hermann, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension nutrition specialist.
Food Network show visits Guthrie for ’89er Days
Guthrie’s annual ’89er Days Celebration provides a variety of activities for people to enjoy including a carnival, rodeo, parade and lots of food vendors.
This year, visitors at the 84th annual event, which runs Tuesday through Saturday, will notice an added bonus when a film crew from the new television series “Carnival Eats” will be in town filming for its inaugural episode.
Spring is for salads, but make healthy choices of ingredients
Whether you want to enjoy a salad at your favorite restaurant, breeze through a salad bar for a quick and nutritious lunch, or stock your fridge and pantry so you can make a bountiful salad at home, one thing is for sure: Now is the time to do it.
While much of the U.S. is at least a few weeks away from harvesting local lettuce, our appetites — oh, really, our very souls — are ready to put the long cold winter behind us and put the stock pot in a dark closet.
The hottest Easter egg shades and styles with food color
This season’s Easter eggs are getting a makeover with a wide variety of must-have spring colors and designs. McCormick is offering new color palettes and dyeing techniques, including a painting method that achieves a watercolor effect. These Easter eggs will look too good to hide in baskets — so put them front-and-center in your seasonal décor.
“With our new colors and design tips, it’s easy to make fashionable Easter eggs. Plus, it’s fun to experiment with different color combinations you can’t get from a kit — like our take on Radiant Orchid, the Pantone® color of the year,” said Mary Beth Harrington of the McCormick Kitchens.
Get a taste of George Washington’s Peach Brandy
Everything is just peachy at the George Washington Distillery in Mount Vernon, Va.
The historic distillery and museum, open from April until October each year, will offer peach brandy for sale beginning April 1, with the recipe straight from the 18th century records and distilling methods of Washington himself.
Magnetic board a nifty new way to keep knives
The magnetic board is not a new idea, but there’s a new version on the market that’s worth a look.
Trading a desk job for one in the vineyards
Finding Shane Finley was easy.
Via email, we planned to meet for lunch at Bourbon Steak in Washington, D.C., a restaurant that’s housed at the Four Seasons. While the steakhouse is known for having one of the best wine lists in the city, it’s typically filled with tee-totaling lobbyists and power brokers during the day. So when I spotted a redheaded 30-something with unkempt hair wearing jeans and an untucked flannel, I figured it was Shane.
I was right.
Delectable dessert indulgences
Dessert is an indulgence, and when you delight in the taste, texture and aroma of a decadent sweet treat, you savor every bite. It is easy to get lost in the flavor and fragrance of rich chocolate or creamy caramel.
Simple weeknight suppers with pears
“Hectic family schedules don’t have to get in the way of serving up tasty and healthy weeknight dinners,” explains leading nutrition expert, cookbook author and television star Ellie Krieger, author of “Weeknight Wonders: Delicious, Healthy Dinners in 30 Minutes or Less.”
Edmond’s ‘Biggest Loser’ moves to final round
Edmond’s David Brown has reached one more plateau in his quest to lose weight. Tuesday the announcement was made that he had made it to the final three in The Biggest Loser contest.
The season’s three finalists who will weigh-in for the $250,000 grand prize and the title of “The Biggest Loser” during next week’s live finale broadcast include: Brown, a 43-year-old construction company project manager and phone company social commerce leader, Bobby Saleem, a 28-year-old attorney from Chicago, Ill.; and Rachel Frederickon, a 24-year-old voice-over artist from Los Angeles, Calif.
In the end, Rachel finished in first place with a time of one hour and 32 minutes in the Triathlon. She was immune from elimination at the upcoming weigh-in. Brown finished second.
Brown said the most nerve wracking part was the weigh-in because he always weighed in last.
Brown said the hardest work he did was emotional. “From week to week I was having to confront and overcome different fears,” Brown said. “I was pushing myself every day to the utmost limits. When you are at the end of your rope physically you have to deal with your emotions. I was journaling and praying a lot.”
- More Food Headlines
- Easy on the coconut oil