Sophisticated Savories

Sophisticated Savories

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

"Quinoa and Blueberry Pancakes... Got to."

Hey Family and Friends!

A few weeks ago, my friends and I ran the Dallas Trinity River 10K, located at the new Trinity Bridge (absolutely gorgeous architecture) in Dallas, Texas.  Y’all.  Upon completion of the race, my body noted its dire need to getting back into shape.  Not going to lie, it was a struggle since I had not run for a number of weeks… but I finished… success!  (Way to go Myrinda - you did awesome!!)  After our run, we had brunch at a wonderful restaurant in the Bishop Arts District.  Whilst the main feature of my brunch included scramble egg whites (yes, with ketchup), veggie sausage and fruit, I also ordered a whole wheat pancake.  While the majority of my nourriture was delicious, I was slightly disappointed with the pancake.  Said enormous pancake was not “bad,” by any means… simply bland.  And dumping Maple Syrup and smothering it in whipped cream seem to defeat the purpose of ordering a whole wheat pancake!  (I know, maybe layering it between Krispy Kreme doughnuts and What-a-Burger tater tots would have done it justice… all while washing it down with a Yoo-hoo… right Mark?)

But I digress… while working as a chef at True Food Kitchen in Phoenix, Arizona, I learned how to make Quinoa and Blueberry pancakes.  I know… Quin-what?  Quinoa is a gluten-free, easy to digest, seed.  Because it is grain-like, it resembles rice or wheat.  However, because it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, it is a pure protein source.  In order words, it has more protein (high, at 18%) than most wheat and oat derivatives.  For this reason, many vegetarians consume quinoa in order to have adequate protein levels in their diets.  So why not transform a not-so-healthy-food (pancake) into a more healthy, enjoyable creation (that doesn’t taste like “health food” or cardboard).  How about that, Jarid?

Quinoa Pancakes with Blueberries
1 c. Whole Wheat pastry flour – can substitute unbleached bread flour
1 c. Quinoa flour
1 t. Baking soda
1 t. Baking powder
¼ c. Evaporated Cane Juice Sugar (can substitute regular granulated if need be)
½ t. Salt
1 Egg (or 2 egg whites)
1 Tbsp. Melted Butter (or Earth Balance)
1 c. Kefirr – Vanilla (or plain) – Can also substitute milk/ almond milk/ buttermilk/ soymilk
½ Tbsp Vanilla Paste or Vanilla Extract
½ c. Cooked Quinoa

1)  Combine all of the dry ingredients into one bowl (WW pastry flour, Quinoa flour, Baking Soda, Baking Powder, Sugar and Salt).  Quinoa flour can be purchased at your local grocery store.  If you would like to have a more textured pancake, adding 1/2c. of Cooked Quinoa is an option at this stage… it allows the pancakes to have a more “crunchy” texture.

2)  After mixing all dry ingredients together, form a “well” in the center of the bowl by pushing the dry ingredients to the sides of the bowl (it will look like a donut).  Add the wet ingredients to the center of the well (Egg, Melted Butter, Kefir, Vanilla).  For the Vanilla… my favorite product is a Madagascar Vanilla Bean Paste over Vanilla Extract.  It is slightly more thicker and actually contains vanilla beans within the paste.  However, if you prefer the taste of Almonds, you can always flavor the batter with Almond extract (or lemon, orange, rum (yarrrrr!), etc.)  As the chef, you choose whatever tickles your fancy.  Um.  Yeah...

3)  Slowly wisk all ingredients together.  It is essential to incorporate all ingredients together slowly in order to prevent lumps in the batter.  If lumps exist in the batter, then when the pancakes cook, small clumps of uncooked flour/baking powder/soda will remain in the pancake.  Biting into raw flour/baking powder/soda is an awful taste.  Yes, I do speak from experience.  I remember when beginning to cook, I was rushing with the batter.  I figured that the lumps would simply “go away” with the cooking process… but they do not.  Take your time to create an even, smooth batter.  The extra love devoted towards the products truly reflects in the final outcome.

4)  Cooking pancakes is easy… it just takes practice.  Turn griddle on to medium heat (or use a non-stick sauté pan) and spray with butter spray (saves calories than using butter/oil to prevent “sticking”).  Ladle pancake batter onto the surface and sprinkle with fresh blueberries.  Allow pancake to cook… when it is ready to be flipped, small “bubbles” will appear on the top of said pancake.  Flipping pancakes takes experience, so practice makes perfect.  The best way to flip a pancake is in a fast, yet graceful manner.  One fell-swoop, if you will.  And hey, if you mess up, guess what… it is not the end of the world.  No crying over messed up pancakes.  Good grief, when I was first beginning, I was awful at flipping pancakes.  By no means am I perfect to this day, but after experience, it becomes easier and the outcome improves.  Just please do not forget to breath and pass out on me… honestly, it’s not life or death here.  It’s just a pancake, folks.

5)  After successfully flipping the jack, be sure not to press down with your spatula on the pancake.  Squishing the air from the fluffy round edible pillow defeats your hard work.  Wait for the pancake to finish cooking (when golden brown on both sides).  Patience is a virtue.  In more than one avenue of life.

6)  Remove pancake from heat when complete.  Stack pancakes atop one another when serving “family style.”  If plating the breakfast/brunch… be creative!  Use cookies cutters to cut shapes from the pancakes (I prefer more modern designs, so I used circular cutters.  However, pancakes can be cut into any shape or size (have the kids help with this!)

7)  White plates are my favorite color of plates, as they allow the focus to be centered on the food and vibrant colors resting atop the “blank slate.”  Blueberry pancakes can be served plain, or any type of topping can be added… Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, blueberry syrup (or any flavored syrup), butter, whipped cream, sprinkles, chocolate, nutella, almonds, etc.

My favorite aspect about this recipe is sharing a healthy recipe with you... and one that is actually bursting forth with delicious flavors!  Actually... honestly, my favorite aspect is adding gold-leaf at the end when serving said pancakes, but that is beside the point... the quinoa provides additional protein, whole wheat flour provides the grains, kiefer provides calcium and probiotics, fruit provides necessary nutrients.  Remember that a healthy diet consists of balance, moderation and variety.  Enjoy!

Love from DALLAS, y’all.

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