Friday, May 22, 2009

Whole Grain Discovery with Blender Batter Pancakes or Waffles

This is not just a recipe, but an explained recipe, and it reminds me of those "choose your own adventure" books in elementary I always loved. I've included all the variations in this recipe, but once you know your favorite way(s) to prepare this, you can condense it to a 3x5 card with no problems. It's really not as daunting as it looks... ok, maybe the first time it is. Learning something new is always a bit confusing and harder, but hang in there. It's all worth it in taste, and before you know it, making these pancakes / waffles will take less time than other more "classic" recipes.

This is a Sue Gregg Recipe, not my own, but I did throw my own twists and explanations into it. This recipe also calls for "soaking the grains". This may sound foreign, but whole grains are excellent for us to eat, as long as we know a few things about preparing them properly. Soaking is part of that preparation, and a breeze with these pancakes/waffles, and an open mindedness to doing things a little differently than we are used to in the kitchen.

Check out Sue's link for more information on soaking which she refers to as the "Two Stage Process:

This recipe makes for a delicious breakfast that will start your day off right. I really do believe breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and that cereal along with other processed on- the-go food should be more an exception than the rule for our health's sake. Cereal is highly processed! and nutritionally inferior to something like eggs, cooked whole oats, some fruit, yogurt, these pancakes... I know people love their cereal, they are actually passionate about cereal, my husband was one of them! I'm just saying it would be in our health's interest to start trying other things in the morning too. To eat in the morning is good. To eat less processed food in the morning is even better:-) Our health and energy through the day will always thank us for a wholesome breakfast, but it seems to be the meal most of us give the least consideration.

I've been discovering the land of whole grain goodness the last half year, and it has been so fun, not to mention both nutritious and frugal too. I never knew there were so many grains available to us other than wheat, and rice. Until a year ago, I only knew grains in their refined and processed form of flour, and I wasn't even sure what a wheat berry looked like! Or, exactly what it was? "Is it a grain or a fruit?" I was asking myself. Just like any food group like cheese, or vegetables, each individual grain has it's own unique qualities, characteristics, tastes, and textures. Your favorite grains, may be different than mine, or you may prefer one over the other depending on the recipe. I found this breakfast recipe is one of the easiest ways to jump into the land of grain discovery. Start tasting the goodness if you haven't already!

Blender Batter Pancakes/Waffles

AMOUNT: 3 - 4 Servings ( 8- 6" pancakes or 3 to 4- 7" waffles )

1. Place in blender; blend at highest speed 3 minutes (less in a Vita-Mix or Bosch blender), while adding enough liquid to maintain a vortex:

For pancakes: 1 cup, or for waffles: 1 ¼ cup: buttermilk or yogurt thinned with water to same consistency, or kefir (non-dairy allergy alternatives: rice, coconut, or almond milk, apple sauce + 1 Tbsp. vinegar)

1 tablespoon olive, grape seed, or coconut oil (grape seed, and coconut are more stable oils for high heat cooking later)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional for flavor, omit with buckwheat)

½ tablespoon flax seeds (optional for added nutrition)

1 cup total of a variation of raw, whole, uncooked grains (not flour!). This could be ½ cup each of two different grains, or 1/3 cup each of three different grains. Just make sure how ever many grains you combine, it equals 1 cup.

Some grains to experiment with: rolled, steel cut, or whole oats (not quick oats), millet, hulled (not pearled) barley, spelt, kamut, hard or soft wheat, buckwheat, brown rice… The grains you choose will vary the taste and texture. For those who are gluten intolerant try gluten free grains: brown rice, corn, and millet.

Some combination ideas:
½ cup oats & ½ cup buckwheat
½ cup brown rice & ½ cup barley
1/3 cup barley, 1/3 cup oats & 1/3 cup spelt (my personal favorite so far)
1/3 cup soft winter wheat, 1/3 cup brown rice, 1/3 cup oats

Or just try whatever you can come up with in your current pantry stock, and experiment. Eventually you will find your favorite too ☺ Just to let you know, though, I’ve never tried a combo I didn’t like. Kamut I thought was a bit heavy, but still good. It’s heaviness could be balanced out by combining it with the lightness of millet perhaps? I haven’t tried millet yet.

2. Soak the grain mixture by covering the blender and letting it stand at room temperature overnight. Soaking helps breakdown phytic acid, enzyme inhibitors, and gluten in the grains, making the nutrients more available, and much easier to digest. I personally think it makes the end result batter more fluffy and delicate too. It’s yummy!

3. Preheat griddle on medium-high (until water drops sizzle on surface), or waffle iron at highest temperature.

4. Just before baking, add and re-blend for 1 to 3 or more minutes until smooth:

1 egg (or alternative)

Additional liquid as needed to keep batter churning (I use water or milk if needed, but not too much)

5. Blend in thoroughly, but briefly, "sifting" these through a small strainer (assist with rubber spatula, if needed):

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder (optional: with the soaking process, the baking powder can be omitted and the baking soda increased to 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed).

Technique tip: If you can successfully drop the soda & salt into the spinning blades at the bottom of the vortex, you can omit sifting.

6. Bake on hot griddle, or in waffle iron that is lightly coated with high tempature resistent oil, or “real” quality butter for 3-5 minutes.

7. Now enjoy with the fixings you like! I must say to put syrup with corn syrup listed as an ingredient on these incredibly nutritious pancakes, just doesn’t seem quite right. Just a little formaldehyde-free maple syrup, or even honey, goes a long way for great taste and much better nutrition! Better yet mix your “sweet” choice together with some warmed berries and put it on top. Bananas or thinly sliced apples are great too, as well as nuts. Joel and I really like some macadamia nuts on top! This has a way of making you feel like you're waking up on a vacation in Hawaii! Turn on Jack Johnson, and you'll really be feeling like your on vacation:-)! I also think putting anything but pure, full fat, quality butter (kerrygold is good, raw is even better) will make this nutritious breakfast a little, well… less nutritious. I won’t get going on the dangers of margarine and most butter spreads!!!! This is long enough :-)

Left over pancakes make a quick grab, yummy snack for later. If you try a combo of grains or toppings you and your family really like, I’d love to hear about it. Feel free to share!