buttermilk

This is my first time ever cooking rhubarb. I have eaten it before of course. Steven made a beautiful rhubarb streusel cake last year. His recipe used rhubarb with very red stalks. At the time I didn’t think much of it. The stalks are always red, no?

rhubarb and buttermilk quick bread

rhubarb and buttermilk quick bread

We inherited a rhubarb plant in our new garden plot. The leaves are enormous and so are the stalks. We waited and waited for them to turn red but they never did. They only sort of reddened at the base of the stalk. I thought that they looked ready but what’s up with that color?

Last week I decided to harvest some of the stalks still ‘green’ just to give them a try. Since everyone knows that rhubarb can be poisonous, I read up on it. Turns out that there are several types and that the green ones with red at the base of the stalks is a traditional variety and are fully mature and ready for harvest. Hooray!

my picked over rhubarb plant

my picked over rhubarb plant

rhubarb from my community garden plot

rhubarb from my community garden plot

Sadly, that same informative site recommends refraining from harvesting after the end of Spring to give the plant time to recover. So this is it for this year. Those jams and chutneys will have to wait till 2013.

This recipe comes from rhubarb-info. It is a very informative site. Some more interesting facts about Rhubarb can be read here. I’ve changed the flour types, oil, nuts and the amount of rhubarb.

I love the combo sweet and sour rhubarb flavor. It goes perfectly with a good cup of coffee.

rhubarb and buttermilk quick bread

~ 2-3 cups ripe rhubarb stalks, cut into chunks
1½ cups brown sugar
2/3 cup almond oil (or other neutral oil such as canola)
1 large egg
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla
1½ cups flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ cup of mixed broken almonds and walnuts
1½ tbsp butter at room temperature
¼ cup coarse sugar

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 13”x9” Pyrex glass dish.

Whisk together brown sugar, egg and oil. Add salt, buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and flours. Continue mixing to incorporate. Fold rhubarb and nuts into batter. Transfer batter to baking dish and spread evenly.

Mix sugar and semi-soft butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until bread passes the toothpick test.

Cool and serve.

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batter fried apple rings

by Stevie on October 24, 2011

This is not something that I’ve ever tried before: deep frying apple rings in a corn flour batter. I read about it in the New York Times Magazine recently. The article had a dozen recipes for apples. Of course, I was only drawn to the deep-fried section 😉 Aside from this one, they recommended a way of making tempura-style apple rings, which sounded great but looked more complex; plus the more widely-known apple fritter.

batter fried apple rings

batter fried apple rings

This dish calls for corn meal, but I didn’t have that, so I used corn flour instead. I made this for breakie, though I think that it could be a fun sweet-treat, especially served à la mode with vanilla ice-cream. If you’re feeling particularly frisky, then add hot fudge or caramel sauce and some whipped cream. Now that sounds good!

batter fried apple rings

2 medium apples—I used Granny Smith
½ cup flour
½ cup corn meal or flour
1 cup buttermilk
1/8 tsp cayenne
Canola oil to fry with

Peel and core apples. Cut into about quarter inch thick rings. Soak in the buttermilk.

Mix dry ingredients together. Toss apples into flour mixture. Fry in hot oil until golden brown. Let drain on paper towels. Serve warm.

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Steven has been making this buttermilk pancake recipe for as long as we’ve known each other. I like it so much that at the beginning I would insist that he make double batches! It was our weekend ritual. He cooked the pancakes and I would set up the table, brew the coffee and make fresh orange juice. Then we would sit, eat and be happy! Now, of course, with the problems inherent in getting older, elevated cholesterol and weight control, they’re reserved more for special treats, like when we have out-of-town guests.

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

Last week was one of these special occasions. Steven prepared a double batch for our niece, Juliana, and our friend, Chris. Juliana was here visiting from Northern Virginia and Chris slept over after we stayed up really late playing Hearts and chatting over glasses of red wine. (See what I mean? Two batches easily fed four people!)

I suggested a twist to the basic pancake recipe this time. Why not add the extra ripe bananas that are lying around with some walnuts? Banana nut pancakes remind me of our friend, Lúcia. She served us something similar once when we visited her and her family while they lived in an enormous house on Long Island.

The bananas are simply peeled and sliced without mashing. You put them in the pancake after your pour the batter into the skillet. When you flip, the exposed banana develops a lovely caramelized flavor and browns a bit. You should try them one day soon as they’re divine!

buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts

1 cup flour
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1½ cups low fat buttermilk
1 tbs. vegetable oil with some extra to grease the pans
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp. vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced
~½ walnut halves

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside (not bananas and walnuts). In another bowl beat the egg then mix in the wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry ingredients and beat by hand until just mixed and smooth. The batter will have some lumps. That’s ok. If it’s too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. I like it somewhere in the middle between very thick and runny. That way it spreads easily but doesn’t get too thin, like a crepe.

I use two or three non-stick frying pans to make the cooking faster. Grease your pans at the start of cooking with some vegetable oil or butter. Heat pans on high. When heated, add a ladle of batter and lower temperature to medium. Place two banana slices and two walnut halves into cooking pancake. Cook on one side for one to two minutes until bubbles begin to rise to surface of batter and you can maneuver a spatula under cake. Gently flip and cook other side for about the same. Flipping is a little tricky with the heavy fillings, so don’t be distressed if you make a mess. You’ll have to experiment with the cooking times and temperatures as you go. The pancakes should be a golden brown color and cooked through without burning.

Eat right away! You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, but they’re not the same.

enjoying buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts with black coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and lots of butter

enjoying buttermilk pancakes with caramelized banana and walnuts with black coffee, freshly squeezed orange juice, maple syrup and lots of butter

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I was completely psyched when I came across this recipe for oatmeal buttermilk pancakes at this fun food blog, Cooking the Books. I love buttermilk pancakes but usually stick to my favorite, based upon one published in Eating Light magazine in 1992. Though ever since we went to Mabel’s Just for You Bakery and Café and tried their divine oatmeal pancakes, I’ve been looking to upgrade my tried-and-true.

Cooking the Books-style vanilla oatmeal buttermilk pancakes

Cooking the Books-style vanilla oatmeal buttermilk pancakes

Cooking the Books comes closest to Mabel’s that I’ve made so far. I tried a few earlier recipes but was sort of disappointed, either because the great oatmeal texture wasn’t right (one recipe called for blending the batter before cooking, or more commonly, the texture was too dry and undercooked) or the flavor wasn’t especially exciting.

This version is intensely sour, I have to believe due to the prolonged soak that the oats undergo in the buttermilk (up to overnight!) That is not how they serve them at Mabel’s. Nevertheless, they’re rather thrilling for it.

I measured things in volume after weighing them to approximate the C-the-B version. I like vanilla so put some in here. Also, I didn’t recognize some of the things in the original recipe (e.g. “kitchen roll” to grease the skillet: is that porkfat?) so I improvised with butter and vegetable oil. I was surprised that the recipe didn’t call for the addition of any oil. Mine stuck a little, so next time I’ll add a tablespoon or so.

Cooking the Books-style vanilla oatmeal buttermilk pancakes

2 cups rolled oats
2 cups plus buttermilk
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs
½ tbsp sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
1½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
butter and vegetable oil for cooking

Mix oats with buttermilk. Let soak in refrigerator for an hour or two, up to overnight.

Mix dry ingredients together. Beat eggs. Fold eggs and flour mixture into soaked oats. Add more buttermilk if needed to get a consistency somewhere between runny and thick.

Heat skillet (I use two at a time to make things faster). Grease with butter and/or vegetable oil. Lower heat to medium to medium high. Pour a ladle of batter into center of pan. Allow to cook and bubble (a minute or two) then carefully flip to cook reverse for a few minutes more. Cooking pancakes is truly an art so don’t be discouraged if they turn out irregularly shaped, splatter or are over- or underdone. Just keep at it. Mine are always funny looking.

Serve with butter and maple syrup.

Thanks so much Cooking the Books for this fine recipe!

{ 6 comments }

vanilla buttermilk pancakes

by Stevie on November 9, 2009

I’ve been making these pancakes for over a decade from a recipe that I’ve slightly adapted from Eating Light. They did a series on pancakes in 1992. We tried most of them but somehow only stuck with this one. These are light and moist with a delightful almost chewy texture.

vanilla buttermilk pancakes

vanilla buttermilk pancakes

Pancakes are easy to make, though there is a little finesse involved with the cooking. I’ve been making them for a long time, so have figured out the temperature and when to flip them. When I first started out, I burned a lot or served them underdone and pasty tasting. Not good. But if you practice a bit, then it should be no problem.

We served these with Canadian maple syrup and Earth Balance “buttery spread;” coffee and freshly squeezed orange juice. The recipe makes about seven to ten pancakes depending on the size you pour them out. We had eight today and each ate four, leaving us stuffed. When I’ve had house guests, I just double the recipe which easily serves four or five people.

Vanilla Buttermilk Pancakes

1 cup flour
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ cups low fat buttermilk
1 tbs. vegetable oil with some extra to grease the pans
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together and set aside. In another bowl beat the egg then mix in the wet ingredients. Pour wet into dry ingredients and beat by hand until just mixed and smooth. The batter will have some lumps. That’s ok. If it’s too thick, add a bit more buttermilk. I like it somewhere in the middle between very thick and runny. That way it spreads easily but doesn’t get too thin like a crepe.

frying the pancakes is an art that you can easily learn

frying the pancakes is an art that you can easily learn

I use two or three non-stick frying pans to make the cooking faster. Grease your pans at the start of cooking with some vegetable oil. Heat pans on high. When heated, add a ladle of batter and lower temperature to medium. Cook on one side for one to two minutes until bubbles begin to rise to surface of batter and you can maneuver a spatula under cake. Gently flip and cook other side for about the same. You’ll have to experiment with the cooking times and temperatures as you go. The pancakes should be a golden brown color and cooked through without burning.

Eat right away! You can freeze leftovers, if you have any, but they’re not the same.

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