Yosemite holds a certain kind of magic. Though we spent just 48 hours there last week that time served as a balm to our dust-spattered hearts. I took a few early morning runs along the Valley’s meadow and watched as the sun sent its first rays over the bulk of Half Dome. I saw a velvety-antlered deer and felt the cool air along the Merced wash over my bare arms. On our one full day in the par we hiked into Mirror Lake which is not so much a lake after all but a seasonal stream, and in this deep drought year there was not too much remaining of that. Still, there was enough water for Sierra to get thoroughly wet, throw rocks, and chase tiny fish. We’re plotting our return to backpacking for our next visit.
We ate granola and yogurt for breakfast – my traveling-with-small-child survival breakfast that’s just fine once ensconced at home, too – but if I’d had a kitchen or a campfire I’d have made these very good whole grain pancakes. I cooked a batch during our trip to Sea Ranch and made them again this morning in Sebastopol. Thus I was able to tweak the recipe a bit more, incorporating cornmeal, coconut oil, and maple syrup to riff on my favorite spelt flour pancake recipe. These are nearly as hearty, with a slight (very slight) crunch from the cornmeal, and gluten-free.
As I mentioned, this has been a summer of particular staples, and in the midst of waxing on fruit desserts and iced coffees I neglected to report on the pancake-making that has been a weekly routine these past three months. Pancakes, of course, are good at time of the year, but I particularly like them in summer and early fall. Blackberries are coming in now, as are huckleberries, or you may like to pile your short stack high with sliced, juicy peaches or plums.
Also! Speaking of huckleberries, an article I wrote about Bay Area huckleberries was published yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle’s Food section (with a delectable recipe for cream scones) if you are interested.
Pancakes don’t need much sugar, especially if you’re like me and prefer to douse them liberally in maple syrup once they reach your plate. So I slipped a little maple syrup into this recipe, but you might be able to get away with omitting it altogether if you like your cakes on the less-sweet side.
Makes 12 medium-large pancakes.
1 cup (gluten-free) oat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup finely ground cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Preheat a griddle.
Sift together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In another bowl, whisk the eggs, then add the buttermilk and whisk together. Whisk in the coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla extract.
Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly whisk together. Do not over-beat. Lightly stir in the blueberries.
Drop batter by half ladlefuls (three to four tablespoons) onto the hot griddle. Cook until bubbles begin to break through, two to three minutes. Flip and cook for about 30 seconds on the other side, until nicely browned. Remove from heat and continue until all of the batter is used up.
Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup.