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.”
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.”
Game day party tips for football fans
Entertaining this football season? To make your gatherings memorable, you’ll need to do more than just turn on the game and hope for the best. With the right party plays, you can treat your guests to a spirited game day and a memorable football feast.
Try incorporating these game changing ideas into your regular party playbook:
Celebrating balance in Pinot Noir
“If a Pinot Noir is overwhelmed with fruit — or, indeed, by any element, like oak, fruit extraction, fruit ripeness, or alcohol — you’re going to lessen the possibility that the wine can express essential place. And for me, Pinot Noir is all about essential place.”
If any grape demands contemplation, it’s Pinot Noir. The great ones translate time and place, clearly expressing the characteristics of their vintage and the soils and climate in which they’re grown.
How to make hearty winter dishes without meat
Want to add interesting taste, texture and depth to your cooking? Think mushrooms. Most varieties are available year-round.
Resolve to give your cooking a bold makeover in the new year
Bored with your everyday cooking? This New Year, resolve to give your meals an exuberant makeover. You won’t even need to look across an ocean for bold flavor inspiration from other cuisines. You can start at home, say experts.
“American cuisine has been crafted from the stupendous ingredients, flavors and dishes derived from all people who have stepped upon its shore — east to west, northern tip to southern gulf. All of it has merged into a single fabulous, kaleidoscopic menu,” said Susanna Hoffman, anthropologist and food writer and co-author of the new book, “Bold: A Cookbook of Big Flavors.”
McCormick announces top flavors and food trends for 2014 and beyond
Marking its 125th year as a food industry innovator, McCormick & Company, Incorporated kicked off a yearlong celebration of the tastes that bring us together with the unveiling of its McCormick® Flavor Forecast® 2014: 125th Anniversary Edition.
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.
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- Delectable dessert indulgences