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Posts tagged ‘blueberries’

Corn Meal Pancakes & New Lunch Time Classes

My husband referred to our four-year-old as the breakfast tyrant this morning. And it’s true. I’m not sure how and when it started but the first thing he says when he wakes up now is: “Can we have crepes for breakfast?” and without waiting for my reply he usually adds: “We have enough milk, don’t we? And eggs?!”  If I say no (to the crepes) he turns to pancakes or waffles or biscuits. . . I love to cook. I cook several times a day every day and making crepes in a blender is practically as fast as cutting up some fruit for him and adding it to his muesli and granola which is the everyday breakfast around here. But on weekday mornings, the answer is often no. But not on weekends.

Another good thing about these pancakes is that they cook in a flash.

On Saturday we had crepes but on Sunday we had my favorite–corn meal pancakes. He loves them too and so it didn’t take much convincing. I’ve been making these–an adaptation from an old Joy of Cooking recipe–for many, many years. And each time I make them I wonder why I would ever make any other kind. They are light and lacy around the edges if don’t skimp on the oil in the pan. They have a little crunch and wonderful fragrance thanks to the lemon zest. I often add blueberries straight from the freezer to the batter. They are wonderful served with jam, with syrup, with a fruit compote or with greek yogurt and chives and I’m sure with most things you might think of.

Blueberries and lemon zest are a wonderful combination. I neglected the blueberries in this weekend's version but I'll have another opportunity soon thanks to the breakfast tyrant.

They are a bit thinner than regular pancakes and they are best with a medium to coarse grind of corn meal and even better if the corn meal is fairly fresh. We happen to be fortunate enough to have a local farm (several now actually) who sell freshly milled grains. Bob’s Red Mill medium grind corn meal or polenta work well too as do most commercially available kinds. The corn meal is mixed with boiling water and gets to sit for 10 minutes which softens the crunch.

One of the corn meals I buy is called Roy's Calais and has beautiful reddish flecks in it.

Corn Meal Pancakes

–adapted from The Joy of Cooking

1 cup medium or coarse white or yellow corn meal

1 teaspoon salt

1 – 2 tablespoons honey, syrup or sugar

1 cup boiling water

1 egg

1/2 cup milk (preferably whole milk)

2 tablespoons melted butter

the zest of one lemon, finely grated

1/2 cup whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

oil for frying

Whisk the salt and sugar into the cornmeal in a medium bowl. Carefully whisk in the boiling water and syrup or honey (if using that instead of sugar) since the hot water will prevent it from clumping. Cover bowl with a plate or lid and let stand for 10 minutes.  Meanwhile whisk the egg with the milk and melted better. Mix the flour and baking powder in a third bowl. Add the egg and milk mixture to the cornmeal; add the lemon zest and flour mixture. Combine quickly. Add blueberries here if you’re using them.

Fry the pancakes in a hot, oiled pan. They only take about 90 seconds per side. Flip when the edges appear golden and the bubbles begin popping on the surface.

Makes about 12 4-inch pancakes.

P.S. you can also make fancy pancakes for the young or young-at-heart at your table–see below!

Cowboy boot pancake--hard to flip but very fun.

P.P.S. I’m launching my new Lunch Time classes next week. So depending on your locale (I’m in Portland, OR) and lunch routine, the classes I’ve scheduled over the next couple of months might be appealing. You won’t have to pack a lunch or buy one (elsewhere!) and you’ll get to learn a couple of new one-dish meals that make for excellent leftover lunches and enjoy a delicious meal! And knowing my love of desserts, I’ll spare you that mid-afternoon cookie run by sending you off with a sweet treat of some kind.

So check out the lunch-time classes here and sign up! I’m in inner SE Portland, very close to downtown, in case that’s where you find yourself during the day. . . .Classes are from noon – 1:30pm, February 24, Mar 17, and April 14.

Weekday Breakfast and Memories of Summer

We u-picked a lot of berries last summer–strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and marionberries. For the first time, my son was old enough to toddle among the rows, eat berries and amuse himself (for the most part – I did have to cut one trip short because he was “harassing” another little boy). And I took full advantage! We picked 25 lbs of gorgeous and perfectly ripe strawberries one day. I hadn’t really thought through how I was going to process them all and didn’t have time for much. I rinsed them, hulled them and packed them in 1 quart yogurt containers and tossed them in the freezer. I thought I’d make jam or ice cream or sauce when I had more time. Well I did the same with the blueberries and the raspberries. I never made any of those other things except for a few batches of jam. So my generous stash of frozen berries has lasted me this long. I opened my last quart of blueberries and strawberries this morning for one of our favorite breakfasts.

Throughout the late fall and winter I’ve cooked a pot of steel-cut oats (I soak the oats over night which makes cooking them in the morning a quick affair) and topped them with frozen berries and maple syrup. It is perfect in so many ways. The berries thaw and soften in the steaming cereal and cool the oats down to a perfect temperature. The berries literally taste like they were just picked. As corny as it sounds, every bite is a vivid flashback to summer–the smells, the warmth, the dirt and berry juice under your fingernails.. .. it is lovely, warm, and nourishing. And a wonderful way to start the day.

This is also an incredibly inexpensive breakfast. You can’t beat the price and quality of fresh (frozen) u-picked fruit and steel-cut oats in bulk cost next to nothing. And then you can splurge on good maple syrup. All of this to say, if you have the chance to u-pick berries this summer and have a freezer, pick lots and lots and don’t feel badly about not processing them. You will enjoy the fruits of your labor (pun intended!) all winter long. I will remind you of this come June and we’re in the swing of berry season.

Steel Cut Oats with Berries

2 cups steel-cut oats

1/2 tsp of salt

water

Fresh or frozen berries

maple syrup (or brown sugar or honey)

The night before you’re planning on making this, put the oats in a bowl and cover with a couple inches of water. By morning the oats will have absorbed most if not all of it. Transfer the oats to medium-sized saucepan, add the salt and another 2 cups of water, cover, bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer. Cook for about 10 minutes. If you forget to soak them you’ll just have to cook them for about 30 -40 minutes with much more water in the morning.

Top with the fruit and maple syrup, stir well and eat!