15 February 2013

Hotcakes, griddle cakes & flapjacks, oh my!

Around this time last year, my dear husband decided to try something new.  He didn't pick up a new instrument, and he didn't sign up for the gym or start a new career.  He decided to do away with pancakes.  This was epic news, coming from someone for whom pancakes are a breakfast and brunch staple.  

The pancakes were replaced by crêpes, which offered a new level of fun and creativity.  You'd have a hard time talking me into drizzling balsamic vinegar on a pancake.  Yet, somehow it seems perfectly reasonable coupled with micro greens, cheddar cheese, and bacon, all rolled up in a warm crêpe.  A year later, we oscillate between the two, but judging by this Wikipedia entry, we could take an international pancake-based culinary tour and not run out of ideas for quite some time.

Mere days after the crêpe discovery, we were scolded by some French friends - we had celebrated "Pancake Day" too early.  Evidently, Pancake Day has been around at least as long as have Lent and Mardi gras traditions.  

This year, I resolved to mark the occasion, which falls on the Tuesday before Lent begins.  For centuries, the day before Lent has been known as Shrove Tuesday.  It is also called Fat Tuesday (Mardi gras), a last opportunity to indulge in decadent foods for six weeks.  For a similar reason, the day has also long been referred to as “Pancake Day.”  It is said that pancakes are a fine means of using up foodstuffs not acceptable during Lent. This year, it was February 12.

As luck would have it, I wound up early again.  Last Saturday (February 9), I stood in line with a lot of other chilly folks, in the middle of Vieux-Québec.  We were taking advantage of one of the highlights of our annual winter carnival - the flapjack breakfast hosted by the Calgary-Quebec Exchange (click to read QCT article).

I had a great time chatting with the old cowboys and JCs who started the event nearly 60 years ago.  The local Hilton Hotel hosts the Calgary contingent every year, and the Executive Chef cooperates with the pancake crew, ensuring they have everything ready.  The chef, Mario Gagnon, is on the left in the left photo (below).

In case you're in the mood for a tasty brunch, here's Jerod's standard pancake recipe (as published in this week's QCT). If you observe Lent, just tuck away the following recipe for next year. If your traditions are more flexible, make a pancake breakfast this month, and be sure you use all those tempting ingredients - eggs, dairy, fat and sugar.  


Auntie K said...

I have copied your pancake recipe and am going to try to adapt it to my glutten/egg/dairy free diet. Haven't eaten pancakes for years. Here's hoping they turn out edible.
Love & God bless,
Aunt Kathleen

Bethann said...

I have read that GF pancakes can be really complicated.  However, I've also heard there are some great alternatives to flour-based batters.  Here are a few recipes which I found online that seem fairly simple, and have lots of positive reviews accompanying them.  If you try them, I'd love to hear what you think.

-http://www.fruitrootleaf.com/2012/01/what-happened-to-pancakes.html - how we make crepes, but it uses wheat flour
-http://www.bobsredmill.com/gluten-free-pancake-mix.htmlkarina's gluten-free pancakes recipeSince going gluten-free in 2001, I've tried all most of the gluten-free pancake mixes out there. And I found them less than inspiring. So I tried making my own g-free flour blends. And most attempts were good. But not blog-worthy. The one exception was my fall centric Pumpkin Pancakes. They were lovely.

But today I wanted a wanted a pancake that didn't taste like pumpkin. A pancake recipe suitable for Sundays year round. A pancake reminiscent of my pre-celiac days. Light and flavorful, not too heavy. Not too thick. Just. You know. Perfect.And this combo worked. Like a charm. Magic happens.Dry ingredients:1 3/4 cups sorghum flour1/4 cup buckwheat flour1/4 cup almond flour1/4 cup potato starch (not flour) or tapioca starch1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder3/4 teaspoon fine sea salt3/4 teaspoon xanthan gumWet ingredients:1 cup soy milk (or milk of choice)1 cup water2 organic free-range eggs, beaten4 tablespoons organic coconut oil1 tablespoon honey or raw agave nectar 1 teaspoon bourbon vanilla extract1 teaspoon almond extractInstructions: Heat a griddle on medium-high heat. If your griddle requires greasing, do that now.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. Make a well in the center and add in the wet ingredients. Beat well to incorporate. Your batter should be silky and smooth. Not too thick.

Test the griddle by shaking a drop of water on it. If it pops and sizzles, your griddle is hot enough.

Using a ladle, pour a scoop of pancake batter on to the heated griddle. Repeat for as many pancakes as you can fit at one go.

When tiny bubbles have formed in the batter, carefully flip the pancakes with a thin flexible spatula. Cook a minute or two until firm- but don't over cook. Overcooking pancakes makes them tough.

To keep warm- or eat immediately?

The truth is- gluten-free pancakes are best eaten straight off the griddle- while hot and tender. If you keep these warm in the oven they may toughen a bit.

If the batter thickens as it stands, add a little more liquid to thin it.

Serve with vegan butter and warm maple syrup.Serves 4.Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
All images & content are copyright protected, all rights reserved. Please do not use our images or content without prior permission. Thank you. Karina's Notes:
I prefer sorghum flour in my recipes. I'm now using way less brown rice and brown rice flour, and eating fewer rice cakes, etc.  I used organic raw coconut oil in these pancakes and it added a delicate sweetness that was faintly coconutty- but not too much. Try it before you decide you'd rather use another oil.
The almond extract was my secret ingredient today- it rounded out the vanilla so perfectly. Heaven.I've tried various gluten-free flour combos for pancakes, and this is by far the best yet. So I hesitate to offer substitution advice. If you must change ingredients, use the basic recipe as a guide and experiment, as I did.Read more: http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/2011/08/karinas-gluten-free-pancakes.html#ixzz2Kz00XPnI

Jennie said...

Fun, fun, fun.  I am seriously thinking about coming in Sept. AND next year so I can see the festival.  It has fascinated me since your first year there.

Bethann said...

Oh, please do!  I highly recommend it! :)

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