recipe sweets vegetarian

On Saturday Morning … (+ Megan’s Pancakes)

13 January 2014

Of all the delicious-looking recipes in Megan Gordon’s new cookbook Whole-Grain Mornings I find it ironic that the first one we tried was for pancakes — not because they weren’t wonderful (they were) but because as I’ve previously documented, my penchant in the morning is for oatmeal, peanut butter toast, something with yogurt or fruit, or even something as delightfully savory as leftover brown rice fried in olive oil with a bit of cheddar cheese and a fried egg on top. Still it’s true that in recent months — really, since the advent of Sierra — I’ve indulged in a sweet morning treat after the rather predictable bowl of oats or cereal with soy milk. So pancakes felt like a great way to meet in the middle; that they incorporated whole grains meant they would wholly satisfy, too.

Plus when the book arrived — amazon actually coming through and delivering it within about 10 days rather than the five weeks it took for my faux Christmas tree to arrive (yes, it did arrive after the holiday and I summarily stowed it in the garage still in its box) — DW offered straight away to make the pancakes featured on the cover for breakfast. How could I say no?

Saturday morning I (we) woke up around 5:30 for someone‘s early brekkie and I just could not get back to sleep. So downstairs I came to have a cup of tea and peruse W-G Mornings in the pre-dawn quiet dark of Casablanca while the other two slumbered peacefully upstairs. Despite my lingering fatigue I cannot say I minded: there is something indescribably special about being the only one awake in your house before the sun breaks through the fog with only birds for company. I read a little of the New York Times online. I thought about what we might do that afternoon. Then I put together the whole-grain pancake mix.

Full disclosure: I did not have all the flours called for on hand so I had to improvise. No doubt these pancakes would be even better had I been able to create the recipe as written but even so they were fantastic. We used up the last of the buttermilk and the rest of the coffee and while the girl had her morning nap we sat in the sunny kitchen with the window open and doused our ‘flapjacks’ with maple syrup from Trader Joe’s (and I will stretch that stuff out as long as I possibly can) and listened to KFOG. It was a pretty stellar morning.

I’m not sure how I came to Megan’s blog A Sweet Spoonful — I think it was after we participated in the 2011 LitCrawl –, but we have a lot in common: 1. the native Californian thing; 2. mutual fans of the whole grains; 3. baking is a near-constant past-time. I love her blog for her straightforward approach to food but also for her words, which always make me stop and think (I described her food and recipe writing to DW as ‘meticulous’). I’ve been excited about this book for a long time and am so glad it’s finally in my kitchen. Recipes I’ve bookmarked for ‘very soon’ include the oven-baked asparagus/pea/farro frittata, the peanut butter crispy brown rice bars, the quinoa crunch, and the fried halloumi with sun-dried tomato and roasted red pepper couscous.

Writing a cookbook is no easy trick, and as I looked through Megan’s I was struck by the diversity and breadth of the recipes (she even snuck one in her for deliciously addictive granola, though frankly I prefer to order directly from the source). As I worked on my own book I also tried to keep things as interesting as possible but, you know, that’s hard, man. You can produce so many iterations of chocolate cake or oatmeal but to make that variation your own is an art (side note: tomorrow morning I plan to make Megan’s version of oatmeal and I’m looking forward to it already). I exchanged not a few emails with Megan re the whole cookbook-writing process and I was so grateful to have a friend with whom to commiserate along the way even from afar. When we finally got to sit down to coffee at the Mill last spring with our friend Anne it was so wonderful to be able to enter into all sorts of writing and food chat with no worry that anyone would tire of it. I sorely need more of that these days!

In the meanwhile, I have a lot of whole grain flours to accumulate (thanks to the power of the Internet, I just received an enormous bag of brown sugar and another of whole wheat pastry flour so I am making progress) and new recipes to explore. Breakfast, as Megan writes, does truly usher us into the day and it’s important to make it count. This beautiful cookbook certainly goes a long way toward helping us to do just that.

  • Marlene Dotterer 13 January 2014 at 10:53 am

    I love whole grain pancakes. Just seeing a pasty-white version turns my appetite off.

    Can I share my own pancake mix? It starts with my whole grain flour mix:

    1 cup WW flour (pastry or not)
    2 cups oat flour
    2 cups brown rice flour
    1 cup buckwheat flour
    1 cup amaranth flour
    2 cups ground flaxseeds

    For pancake mix:
    5 cups flour mix
    1/2 cup brown sugar
    4 tblsp baking powder
    2.5 tsp baking soda
    1 tsp salt
    Tons of cinnamon (love the stuff!)
    Ground cloves and nutmeg

    To one cup mix, we add 1 egg, 1 tbsp oil, and 1 cup buttermilk. Also pumpkin or butternut squash in the winter. In spring/summer, we do blueberries, and I replace the warm spices with lavender from my bushes, or some lemon zest.

    It’s always for Sunday morning breakfast!

  • Helen spiridakis 13 January 2014 at 9:38 am

    Wow! These look great! Thanks for sharing!

  • Megan Gordon 13 January 2014 at 8:17 am

    Oh now I’m craving pancakes! These looks so great, N, and I’m so happy you guys are enjoying the book. It’s Moroccan debut! Have a great week!