Peter Reinhart’s Sprouted Whole Wheat Pancakes

Peter Reinhart’s Bread Revolution tackles baking with even more “weird flours” with a special emphasis on sprouted grains and heirloom grains (though there is also some recipe for a bread made from ground up grape seeds).  Many of these recipes are only for the die-hard (and I do not include myself in this group, so draw what conclusions you will about the recipes), but many are quite accessible.

What I really love are the sprouted whole wheat pancakes.  If you’ve ever made pancakes with whole wheat flour you’ll know that while healthy, they really aren’t as good as pancakes with white flour.  The sprouted wheat pancakes don’t present this problem–they are tender, light, 100% whole wheat and still 100% delicious.  Apparently sprouted whole wheat is even BETTER for you than whole wheat so, eat up!

(Click here to find the book on amazon)

Sprouted Whole Wheat Pancakes

  • 1 cup + 1 T sprouted whole wheat flour (4.5 oz/128g)
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 1/2 t baking soda
  • 1t sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (12 ounces/340g)
  • 1 egg (1.75oz/50g)
  • 2T melted butter (1 oz/28.5g), plus more for the griddle.

Mix the dry ingredients together, then mix the wet ingredients together, then stir the wet mix into the dry until just combined.  Note:  The batter is fairly thin.  Make pancakes!  (I like to add blueberries).

Advertisements

Blackberry Farm Griddle Cakes (Gluten-Free Pancakes)

I fortunately don’t have to worry about gluten-free cooking, but I do often find myself looking with interest at gluten-free recipes.  I have quite a collection of flours going and am always curious to find new ways to use them.  But for the dabbler stocking all the ingredients necessary for a gluten-free pantry can seem a bit much.  If you’re going to use it all the time, a home-made mix that requires you to stock up on ingredients ranging from arrowroot powder to sorghum makes perfect sense (and is hopefully more economical than some of the store-bought varieties though I understand that extra expense is par for the course when things must be free of gluten).  But for me, it seems like a lot to buy.

Blackberry Farm Gluten-Free Pancakes (1 of 5)

May 2013’s Bon Appetit cover showcases a beautiful stack of pancakes from the famous Blackberry Farm restaurant.  I was immediately curious, and only when I read through did I realize the recipe was for gluten-free pancakes.  Even better, it “only” required four other varieties–buckwheat (which I have on hand for pancakes anyway); cornmeal (polenta); brown rice flour (which I use for bread proofing) and oat flour (which I bought for the occasion, but which you can make easily from regular oatmeal in the food processor).

Blackberry Farm Gluten-Free Pancakes (3 of 5)

With that, this iteration of Sunday morning pancakes.  I had actually been wanting to try buckwheat pancakes for a while but was a bit nervous about what my picky eaters would say.  So this mix seemed like a good test run, as I knew the oat flour–the largest component–would mellow the buckwheat flavor. A quarter cup of maple syrup didn’t hurt either.  The lack of gluten ensured these pancakes were tender and light (an unprompted observation from my husband).  And happily they puffed up beautifully as they cooked quickly–a virtue when I’m griddling up as fast as I can for 3 hungry boys.

Blackberry Farm Gluten-Free Pancakes (2 of 5)

A few comments.  As I mentioned I used polenta which maybe was a bit too coarse a grind for the purpose–my husband liked the slight crunchy texture they provided, but next time I think a finer grind would work better.  While the recipe doens’t so require, I found that the batter got thicker after the first batch as it absorbed more liquid, so I’d suggest a five minute rest after the initial mixing.

Blackberry Farm Gluten-Free Pancakes (4 of 5)

And one more.  I made yet another change from the original recipe–I didn’t add the quarter cup of melted butter.  For no reason other than that I misread the recipe.  I liked my accidental low-fat version well enough, but as it was not a considered change to the recipe, I also thought it was only right to let you know!

Blackberry Farm Griddle Cakes
Make your own oat flour by whirring up rolled oats in your food processor. You can make this into a “mix”: Triple the dry ingredients and store them in a jar. Use 2 1/4 cups of “mix”; all the other measurements stay the same.
Ingredients
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 cup gluten-free oat flour
  • 2/3 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/3 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Butter (for skillet)
Instructions
  1. Whisk egg, buttermilk, and maple syrup in a small bowl. Whisk oat flour, cornmeal, rice flour, buckwheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Whisk buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients, then allow the batter to sit for five minutes.
  3. Heat a large nonstick or cast-iron skillet over medium heat; lightly brush with butter. Working in batches, pour batter by 1/4-cupfuls into skillet. Cook until bottoms are browned and bubbles form on top of griddle cakes, about 3 minutes. Flip and cook until griddle cakes are cooked through, about 2 minutes longer.

 Blackberry Farm Gluten-Free Pancakes (5 of 5)

Baked Eggs on Wilted Spinach

As Marie explained a little while back, egg based dishes are really the ticket to a quick, protein-rich, satisfying meal.  And such dishes are even better being as they are, welcome any time of day–a relaxed dinner, an elegant brunch platter, an easy lunch.

Though while I often think of egg-based dishes making for light meals, there are plenty of ways that they do not.  Quiche, I’m looking at you.  Even in your “healthier” spinach quiche guise, you still have loads of cream and butter and cheese.  Might as well just eat the quiche with bacon.

Eggs Baked over Wilted Spinach (6 of 6)

This recipe, however, both claims to be, and really is, a light meal.  The eggs are gently baked in the oven over a bed of flavors–earthy spinach infused with the robust aroma of aleppo pepper, playing off against the sweetness of gently sautéed onions.  It’s particularly nice right now as the weather gets warmer and will easily round out all those “casual” brunch parties we’ll be throwing all summer on our perfectly manicured backyards, with fizzy mimosas made from fresh squeezed oranges decorating our perfectly manicured hands as we toss our heads back with effortless laughter.  Or, it is equally appropriate for more slapdash brunches–the only ones we manage to have, usually starting at the ungodly brunch hour of 9am on a Sunday since everyone we know has young kids so we’ve all been up several hours by then anyway.

Eggs Baked over Wilted Spinach (4 of 6)

I once read that baking eggs in the oven was used as a true test of a cook’s skill at the great French culinary academies (in fact it’s probably a cliché), and when you make this dish you can see why.  It’s hard to tell just by looking if the eggs have set.  Although  the whites are fairly straightforward–they’re either white or they are not–the yolks remain surprisingly (and confoundingly) vibrant yellow and almost glossy.   Of course, the upside of this is that your yolks set into that slightly creamy, yet firm consistency that is the hallmark of a well-cooked hard-boiled egg.  I ended up relying on the very scientific “poke the yolk with your finger” test.

Eggs Baked over Wilted Spinach (5 of 6)

Before I scare anyone off however, I fully admit to overcooking my eggs and this dish still turns out wonderfully.  And to assuage any further fears, I overdo things intentionally, because I worry about things like giving my kids salmonella.  I needn’t have worried:  The last time we brought this to a brunch, they wouldn’t touch it once they saw that blog-famous amazing pull-apart bread our hostess had made.

Baked Eggs on Wilted Spinach

Notes:  Stemming spinach goes remarkably fast (especially as compared to other greens), no knife needed.  Simply fold in half along the stem and zip the leaves off.   I use two bunches of spinach, and my kitchen scale malfunctioned when I tried to weigh the stemmed leaves, but assuming your bunches are 12 ounces each you’ll probably end up with 8 ounces of leaves.  It’s not a make or break proposition so no worries.  Make sure to wash your spinach well–it traps dirt remarkably well.  The first time I made this there was an unwelcome grittiness to the meal, so I learned my lesson.

I like to preheat the baking dish in the oven while I make the spinach mixture, and then add a light coating of oil, on the theory that this will make the eggs will be less liable to stick and therefore the dish easier to clean off.

  • 3T olive oil
  • 1 red onion, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2t aleppo pepper (or more, or substitute some other dried pepper)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 large bunches of spinach, stemmed
  • 4 eggs
  • Optional:  Greek yogurt to garnish

Preheat the oven to 310F.

Heat the olive oil over medium low in a large skillet.   Add the onion and sautee until soft, about 10 minutes.  Add the garlic, aleppo pepper, and spinach and continue to cook until the spinach is wilted.  Adjust for salt and pepper.  Transfer to a baking dish (or use your skillet if it can be transferred to the oven; unless you are using a lot of spinach an 8 inch skillet is probably the best size).

Crack each egg into a separate cup (or crack two eggs gently into two cups if you are more daring).  Make wells in the spinach mixture and gently pour an egg into each indentation.

Bake for about 25 minutes at 310–though allow extra time as I’ve had it take even 10 minutes more at times.  (I’m guessing depending on the temperature of the eggs).

Serve with greek yogurt, if desired.

Eggs Baked over Wilted Spinach (2 of 6)

Blueberry Muscovado Coffee Cake

So, the title I’ve bestowed upon this cake is a bit of a mouthful.  (I’m also not going to try to turn that into a food pun, just in case you were worried.  You can keep reading without trepidation).

Mark, one of my good friends from law school, his wife Anna, and sons were up from New York over Labor Day weekend and we planned for them to come over that Monday morning.  We went to law school together and somehow kept ending up in all the same classes–from first year criminal law and civil procedure, to both landing summer internships in Sarajevo (yes, really!) to bankruptcy 3L year (the last few weeks of which saw Mark dashing out more than once at a text from Anna, who was due to go into labor with their first any day).   Nowadays, we even work at the same law firm, albeit in different offices.

Sometimes you just keep running into the same people, and in cases like this, it’s a good thing.

But we hadn’t seen each others’ respective broods for some time, if we’ve met the little ones at all.  Now that firstborn who attended our wedding as a crawler is in second grade, and Mark and Anna’s second boy is 2 1/2, just between my preschooler and toddler.

Of course, this immediately sent me planning out the morning table.  Brunch is one of my favorites–plenty of excuses to bake!  We fried up our CSA bacon (which I made in our new griddle, which turned out to be way to shallow for fatty heritage breed pork), brewed up coffee (four young boys between us all–need I say more?) and I made this:  I had a few things in mind when I went thinking about what to make.  I wanted a recipe using yogurt:  I always have plenty of glass jars in the fridge gleaming white with my most recent homemade batch, and yogurt results in a tender crumb.  I wanted something a bit unique, and so I got on my toes and pulled the muscovado sugar off the top shelf– that ultra dark, ultra flavorful, ultra special cousin of ordinary brown sugar — you may remember seeing it here on Valentine’s day.  And blueberries, because, well, aren’t blueberries just sort of required for breakfast baking?

One of the best things in the world is friends who, no matter how long its been, you can pick up with wherever you left off (especially as the intervening birthdays pile up).   Though hopefully, it won’t be too long until that next time we get together.

Brown Sugar Blueberry Yogurt Coffee Cake (recipe adapted from the Washington Post and 101 Cookbooks)

Cake

  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch nutmeg
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 teaspoon muscovado brown sugar or dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg plus 2 large egg whites (I think you could also simply use two eggs).
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups blueberries (I used frozen blueberries)

Crumb topping

  • 3/4 c whole wheat or whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 c rolled oats
  • 1/2 c muscovado or dark brown sugar
  • scant 1/2 t salt
  • 1/3 c unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a springform pan.

For the crumble, stir together the flour, sugar, oats, and salt.  Stir in the melted butter.  Put in the refrigerator.

For the cake, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl, whisking to mix well.

In a separate medium bowl, stir together the yogurt, canola oil, the brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract.

Stir the yogurt mixture into the dry ingredients, only until just combined (lumps are OK).  With a spatula, gently fold in the blueberries.  Pour into the prepared springform pan and sprinkle the crumble on top to cover.

Because I used frozen blueberries (not defrosted and straight from the freezer!) my cake took about 50 minutes to bake, but if using fresh blueberries bank on 25-35 minutes.   Either way, a tester should come out clean when done, and the cake should be well risen (see the before and after shots below).  If the crumble topping starts to brown too quickly, cover with aluminum foil until the cake is done.

Serve warm, tastes best when accompanied by conversation with good friends.

Dried Apricot Scones

This post was originally published on Honest Cooking

Like I imagine most of us, I have to plot and plan a bit to  make sure I use up perishables before they go bad.  It’s always good to have a few “go to” recipes for these cases, as often enough the clock is ticking!  Take sour cream, for example.  I often buy it, with the knowledge that “it’s good for baking, and it keeps a while”–but soon enough, I find that the generous-sounding three weeks I had to use it have flown by.   I also buy a lot of cream without really thinking it through, and when I inevitably haven’t used it, I make crème fraîche, a French cultured cream that is very similar to sour cream (though preferred by many chefs).  I just add a  little buttermilk to my cream (about a tablespoon per pint) and let it sit out until it thickens (up  to 24 hours).  Rather surprisingly, this actually extends the life another week or even more, leaving me with something rich and lovely to either cook with or dress up berries.  But soon enough, that extra time I’ve bought myself has evaporated, and I’m scrambling to put that creme fraiche to good use.

Enter these scones.  Although scones are traditionally made with lots of thick, rich cream, there’s no reason you can’t make scones with creme fraiche or sour cream–it’s the same basic item, after all.  In contrast to cream, however, these ingredients are slightly acidic, so you use both baking powder and baking soda (in contrast to just baking powder for a sweet cream scone).  Baking soda needs an acid to react with in order to create rise and lift in dough.  Remember the school science project where you make a volcano erupt with the help of vinegar and baking soda?  Kind of like that, but not so dramatic.  Well, unless your measuring is way off.

This same acidity creates tenderness and tempers the sweetness of the resulting scone.  But thanks to the sprinkling of brown sugar on top and the bursts of intense apricot flavor studding each bite, these are unmistakabely a morning treat (or brunch, or afternoon, or…you get the picture).  These are delicious served with lots of sweet butter, but I didn’t have to tell you that.

This recipe is easy to retro-fit to sweet cream if you’d prefer–use a tablespoon of baking powder instead of the baking powder/baking soda combination.  

Dried Apricot Scones with Crème Fraîche or Sour Cream, adapted from Bon Appetit (via epicurious)

  • 2 cups (240g) all purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 5 tablespoons (71g) cold unsalted butter, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup (160mL) sour cream or creme fraiche
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (85g) chopped dried apricots
  • 1 egg, beaten (for glaze)
  • Additional brown sugar for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Mix dry ingredients.  Add butter and rub it into the flour mixture (or use a pastry blender) until it resembles cornmeal. (Alternatively, pulse until desired consistency in a food processor).  Stir sour cream and vanilla together, then quickly stir into the dry mixture to form a rough dough. Turn out onto lightly floured surface and sprinkle with chopped apricots. Knead dough just until apricots are incorporated. Flatten dough into 8-inch round and cut into 8 wedges. Transfer wedges to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg. Sprinkle with brown sugar.  Bake until golden, about 20 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

To make dried apricots easier to chop, either chill them in the fridge first, or lightly oil your knife. Try to work butter into the flour as quickly as possible: keeping the dough cold is the key to light and flaky scones.

These scones are a good fallback because nearly all the ingredients can be kept in the pantry. You won’t be put in the slightly absurd situation of buying more food in order to use up food you already have, and you can substitute in other kinds of dried fruit or nuts to use what you already have.

Marcella Hazan’s “Turta” (Spinach and Rice Torta)

Isn’t it fascinating how just like languages and cultures, the same basic culinary idea gets a new accent and a new perspective on life when it border-hops?  Take ravioli:  Little packets of dough bursting with any variety of fillings.  Travel eastward, they become pierogi or pelmeni.  Further on, along the silk road one encounters tiny Turkish manti, and onward to China, they take up residence in the guise of wontons.  And all are seeking to answer, with imagination, a very universal kitchen question:  making a little bit of meat, of fish, of something scarce, go further.

Another familiar combination?  Egg + a vegetable or meat + maybe a starch to fill things out.  This “turta” is similarly yet another riff on that basic formula.  (Think quiche or omelet).    Playing around a bit with proportions, though, yields something new: the egg modestly keeps its head down, quietly binding the components together into a cake with a varied, almost chewy texture.  

The rice is boiled like pasta until al dente, and the greens are quickly blanched, just to soften them up a bit, and then sautéed with onions.  (You can also just use defrosted frozen spinach to cut out a step–it worked beautifully!)  A bit of nutmeg, one of spinach’s closest friends,  and some obligatory handfuls of grated parmesan (our little turta hails from Italy, after all) rounds out the flavor for a light but substantial and satisfying dish, burnished by golden crunchy bread crumbs.

“Turta” di Spinaci e Riso (Spinach and Rice Torta) adapted from Marcella’s Italian Kitchen

  • 2lb fresh spinach or chard, or 3 10-ounce packages of frozen spinach, thawed, or a mixture.
  • Salt
  • 1 generous cup of long-grain rice
  • 4T butter
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1/2c chopped onion or shallot
  • 1/2c grated parmesan
  • 1/8t ground nutmeg
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/4c bread crumbs

Note:  While this recipe has many (easy) components, it is easy to split it up into multiple steps–I made the rice and greens the night before, and then baked it up the next day, for example.  You might also just have leftover greens, or leftover rice, and this is a great way to use that up.

If using fresh greens, wash well and drain.  Put the clean greens in a pot with only the water clinging to the leaves and cook over medium heat until tender and wilted. Drain, allow to cool, and coarsely chop.   (If using frozen greens, you can skip this step, but make sure to squeeze out as much liquid as possible).  In another pot, bring water to a boil and add the rice, cooking until al dente.  (In other words, cook the rice as if you were cooking pasta).  Drain and set aside.  (Note:  you can stop here and continue the next day).

Preheat the oven to 450F.  Put 2T of the butter, the olive oil, and the chopped onion in a skillet and saute until tender.  Add the cooked greens and the rice.  Cook, stirring frequently, for 3-4 minutes, put into a bowl, and allow to cool.  (Note:  you can also stop here and continue the next day).   Then add half the parmesan, the nutmeg, salt and pepper, and the eggs.  Butter a springform pan and sprinkle with half the bread crumbs.  Pour in the rice and green mixture.  Mix the remaining cheese and crumbs and sprinkle on top.  Bake for 15 minutes or until the crumbs brown on top.  Allow to cool until lukewarm before serving.