Scott, my husband, is a very good short-order cook. I have been talking up his terrific diner pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and raspberry sorbet ever since he first impressed me with these specialties back in the day. Scott also happens to be a very good writer, so who better to present one of his recipes than himself? Though it will be the rare occasion that Scott will guest blog on The Well-Seasoned Cook, I am delighted to defer to and enjoy his skills on both fronts.
I’m very fond of those old 1950s-era science fiction movies, where they used to blame runaway scientific curiosity, of all things, for the world’s problems. After the giant ants or man-eating plants or invaders from Venus were defeated, someone would always shake his head wearily and say “there are some doors man was not meant to open.” I’m sure some people would say the same thing about the quest for a healthier pancake. They’re supposed to be easy. They’re supposed to be kid-friendly. But they’re not supposed to be healthy.
But I’m the sort of person who experiments with food. I get interested in a dish and keep refining it and refining it, making it in different ways until I think I’ve got something special. I’ve embarked on the “Winter of the Omelet,” followed by the “Spring of Chicken” and the "Fiscal Year of Pasta.” Obviously, I didn’t eat these dishes exclusively, but they were a recurring theme on my weekends or slow nights during the week at the height of my bachelor days. And a few years ago I got interested in pancakes. The ingredients are usually very simple, but remarkably elastic – the trick is more in your technique than the recipe. Many of my early attempts tasted all right, but were shaped like the maps of certain southern continents or island nations. That changed with practice. But along the way I stumbled upon a recipe that’s not only light and tasty, as pancakes should be, but actually has some nutritional value. This also happened to coincide with my courting of Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook. And while I think Susan had lots of good reasons to marry me, the pancakes were certainly an argument in my favor.
And that just goes to show that if we go around letting science fiction movies scare us, we’d never get anywhere in life.
Healthy Diner-Style Pancakes - Adapted from the Mark Bittman recipe
¾ cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup oat bran
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups milk
Preheat your skillet or griddle over low heat (non-stick works best) while you’re mixing the dry ingredients.
Use vegetable cooking spray to avoid heavily greasing the cooking surface.
Mix the dry ingredients together in a bowl, then beat the egg in the milk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and beat with a wire whisk until the mixture is completely wet but also distinctly lumpy. Lumps are good – if you mix until it’s smooth, the pancakes will end up tough (akin to the muffin philosophy.) Pour batter into the heated skillet and flip when bubbles cover the raw upper surface and the edges look dry. They cook fast – don’t turn your back. Brown the underside approximately 1-2 minutes, then remove to plate. Best, of course, served immediately. Serves 2 generously. --
Fresh Blueberry Syrup - Susan's Recipe
Ingredients3 cups fresh blueberries, washed and sorted to remove any wrinkled fruit
2 cups water
1/4 - 1/2 cup brown or white sugar (optional)
In a large saucepan, combine all ingredients, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer the berries until they break open and are completely soft (about 10 minutes). The berries will turn a dark reddish violet. Pour the berries into a large metal strainer positioned above a large bowl. With a large, sturdy spoon, rub the berry solids through the strainer. There will be very little waste. The skins thicken the syrup and provide the maximum amount of antioxidant benefits blueberries are known for. Serve warm or chilled. Makes 2 cups. --
This post is being submitted to Suganya of Tasty Palettes, hosting Weekend Breakfast Blogging - Healthy Eats, for Nandita of Saffron Trail, the creator of Weekend Breakfast Blogging.