Thursday, July 29, 2010


I don’t know which is more surprising: the fact that I’m actually posting this in the same week I cooked it (I’ve been lagging behind for what feels like all month), or the fact that it’s a pancake recipe. I don’t have anything against pancakes (heck, I named one of my cats Jimmy Pancake), but I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve made them in the past five years. They just don’t really have a niche in my life. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a diehard breakfast-cereal eater (mainly granola, baked oatmeal, or storebought shredded wheat), and that’s all I really ever want before about 11 a.m. Then for lunch there are usually leftovers of some kind hanging around, and although I’ve extolled the glories of breakfast for dinner, when it comes down to it I feel that dinner should include some vegetables, and pancakes with a side salad just seems too weird. So whither the pancake in my eating schedule? Afternoon snack? Not to mention that pancakes always take longer to make than I expect (sure, the batter is easy to mix up, but that cooking-one-or-two-at-a-time thing always seems to keep me standing over the stove more than I’d like) and most recipes make way more than two people can hope to eat in one sitting. And, with all that white flour and butter and sugar and buttermilk and whatnot, they don’t feel like such a healthy meal, either. So I go merrily along without them.

Except that there is nothing so cozy-looking as a stack of pancakes. Every now and then I see a delicious-looking photo on a food blog and I get a craving. Usually it passes unheeded; occasionally I ponder making pancakes but don’t find the time (I’m too busy six mornings out of the week and too lazy on the other). But this time it stuck. I spotted this recipe from Country Gourmet restaurant in the L.A. Times Food section (print media, how quaint), thought that it sounded both tasty and wholesome, and bought the buttermilk so there could be no turning back. And on Sunday afternoon, for lunch, I made us some pancakes. They were easy and they were delicious. I liked how nonsweet they were, almost savory, with a slight crunch from the cornmeal and a nuttiness from the wheat, but not heavy or dense. (Mine didn’t fluff up as high as those in the Times photo, but I may have overstirred the batter.) I slathered them with blueberry-lime jam, and as I expected, it was the best way to eat jam I’ve found so far. And, taking a tip from the food blogs, I froze the leftovers (this had never occurred to me before), so we can have them again next weekend.

Even if I were to become a habitual pancake maker, which is doubtful (at least once the blueberry jam is gone), I don’t see this being my go-to recipe, but only because it uses so many egg whites (I hate wasting the yolks) and buttermilk (which, although it does delicious things to baked goods, I just don’t have in my fridge on a regular basis). However, it is definitely a good one, and might have been my gateway drug. Next up, maybe oatmeal pancakes!?

1 cup (4.25 ounces) all-purpose flour
1 cup (4.5 ounces) whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
2 tablespoons cornmeal
¾ teaspoon salt
1¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ cup egg whites (about 4 egg whites)
3 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla
2¼ cups buttermilk
¼ cup (½ stick) butter, melted

1. In a large bowl, sift together the all-purpose flour, wheat flour, cornmeal, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda.

2. In a blender, purée the egg whites, honey, vanilla, buttermilk, and melted butter until thoroughly combined, about 30 seconds.

3. Gently whisk the dry and liquid ingredients together to form a batter.

4. Heat a griddle or large skillet over medium-low heat. Grease the surface (I used butter), then ladle half-cups of the batter to form each pancake. Cook until puffed and golden brown, about 1½ to 2 minutes on each side. You should have 8–10 pancakes.

Serves: 4–5 (2 pancakes each)
Time: 1 hour
Leftover potential: TBD


Pope Door Productions said...

Re: Buttermilk on hand...

An easy substitution for buttermilk is just adding lemon juice to milk. While it is not as thick as buttermilk (especially if you use skim or 1% milk), it will achieve a "similar" enough taste in a pinch.

J said...

Yep, that's handy! I do use this substitution from time to time, but I find I always get better results with the real stuff--especially in recipes that call for buttermilk in large quantities, like this one.