Monday, November 22, 2010
Random Thoughts Before Breakfast
Sometimes my brain goes on sabbatical. Instead of focusing on the tasks at hand, it wanders far afield, contemplating the origins of the word "obfuscate", pondering what Pride and Prejudice would be like if it were set in Miami, and internally debating the merits of combining gingerbread with lemon vs. white chocolate (watch for the fruit of this debate in a future post).
One of my frequent random thought rabbit trails is "why are things the way they are?" Why, for instance, is it the norm in the United States to plant a front yard full of grass? Why not an herb garden that needs less maintenance and yields something useful?
Why is light red the only color group that gets its own name? We have light blue and light green and pink. Maybe we should have blunk and greenk as well.
Why do waiters at swanky restaurants wield pepper grinders that could double as renaissance weapons? Do they fear an uprising of the patrons when the bills arrive?
And why is our entire food culture based on wheat? There are a bunch of other grains out there, many of them higher in nutrition than wheat. So why is wheat the normal flour, rye is borderline normal, and all others are funky, weirdo hippie grains?
Whatever the reason, the rebel inside me likes to occasionally buck the trend and bake with different flours.
These were fun, easy pancakes to make. The spelt gave them a sweeter flavor than regular wheat pancakes, and they texture was nice and light, not the brickishness usually associated with whole grains.
Simple Spelt Pancakes
- adapted from King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking
2 cups ( 7 oz) whole spelt flour
2 Tbsp (7/8 oz) sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 cup (14 oz) milk
2 Tbsp (1 oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla (optional)
1- In a medium bowl, whisk together the spelt flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, combine the milk, melted butter, and vanilla, if you're using it.
2- Form a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir the batter just until the dry ingredients are thoroughly moistened; it will seem very thin and soupy. Let the batter sit for 15 minutes; the spelt will absorb the excess liquid and the batter will be much thicker.
3- Heat a nonstick griddle or heavy cast-iron skillet. Brush lightly with vegetable oil (or my new favorite, coconut oil). When the surface is hot enough to make a drop of water skip and hiss in the pan, spoon the batter onto the pan, 1/4-cupful at a time.
4- Cook until bubbles begin to form around the edges of the pancakes, 2 to 3 minutes. When they are just beginning to set, flip them and cook the second side about a minute more.
Depending on the how the first round of pancakes turned out, you might need to adjust your heat up or down.
Serve with good butter and your favorite syrup. Be prepared to be adored by those you share these with!
* One last question - milk comes from mammals, so how to you make milk from a grain? Does one have teeny tiny hands to milk the rice grains? Probably not. Can you make milk from spelt? If so, I'm sure there's no use crying over it.