16 March, 2013

Spiced Buckwheat Cornmeal Pancakes (Vegan and Gluten-free)

Here, a recipe for lacy, tasty buckwheat, cornmeal, and brown rice pancakes with a Raspberry-Blueberry topping just in time for a lazy Sunday St. Patrick's Day breakfast.

These have a nice crisp edge to them but are a bit fragile, so carefully lift them out of the pan, onto your plate, and into your mouth just as fast as you dare.

I used Speerville Mills (a local brand) organic coarsely ground cornmeal and brown rice flour and a generic darkish buckwhat flour, but use what you can get.  No eggs in this and they taste just fine!

Top o' the morning to you!

Spiced Buckwheat and Cornmeal Pancakes


1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp guar gum (optional)
good dash of ground cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg
1/8 cup sultana raisins
1/8 cup currants
egg replacer to replace 2 eggs (my formula was 2 TB egg replacer and 8 Tb water, mixed)
1-3 Tb vegetable oil (I used 1)
1 and 1/2 cups almond milk (adjust to make a batter which is not too thick or thin)
extra vegetable oil for the pan

Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, the oil and wet ingredients in another and then pour the wet into the dry and mix with a fork until well blended. Add more almond milk to get a nice fluid but not runny batter.

Fry in a small amount of vegetable oil, turning when you see bubbles. Cook just a few moments on the second side. Try to make these no larger than 3-5 inches in diameter to make them easier to turn.

Put onto a plate and top with the Raspberry-Blueberry Sauce.

Raspberry-Blueberry Sauce

500 grams frozen (organic) raspberries (just over 16 oz,the size of an average package)
1/4 cup sugar (or to taste)
1 cup water
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1 Tb cornstarch dissolved in a few Tb of water 

Put the frozen raspberries in a saucepan with the water and sugar and cook, stirring until it becomes a thin sauce. Add the tablespoon of cornstarch dissolved in a few tablespoons of water and cook for a few minutes, stirring until thickened. If you need to, at any time adjust the amount of water to get the thickness you like. Add the blueberries, still frozen, and stir them into the sauce. Cover the pan, remove it from the heat and allow the blueberries to thaw through and heat, but not break down. You will have a delicious little explosion of flavour  in your mouth when you bite into them. This sauce is not too sweet; it has a slightly tart flavour, so if you like you could add a few more spoons of sugar.

13 March, 2013

DIY Chaga Whiskey, Anyone?

Chaga (Inonotus Obliquus)
photo by Tomas Čekanavičius at Wikipedia

Any fungi gatherers or would-be fungi geeks might like this wonderful video by sylvi of pineaway about gathering chaga (Inonotus Obliquus) and using it to make a flavoured whisky.

I haven't tried foraging chaga or any mushroom yet but I plan to get a book and maybe some local expert to help me start.  Sylvi just looks so darn beatific in her video that I'm inspired.

And then there was that episode of Pitchin' In with chef Lynn Crawford hanging off the side of a cliff in Oregon with a hippie mushroom guru and the two of them slurping lobster mushrooms they had cooked right out of old beer cans.

I'm not really much of a believer in new-age concoctions and you won't find me buying all those pricy nutriceuticals at the health food store, but I like to think I have an open mind when I come across something that works. Last spring I did some volunteer cooking for the Permaculture course held at the Blockhouse School and one day after sweating over the stove and serving for many hours I felt particularly tired and a bit sick.  I was given a cup of mushroom drink by one of the young participants and within five minutes I felt well and my energy had returned. There was no sugar or alcohol in it so I concluded that it might be the mushrooms.  This sparked my interest to find out more about them.

Fungi are fascinating not just because of their delicious taste and healthful properties but for their ability to interact with trees and other plants in underground networks that exchange nutrients and make our forests and gardens healthy.

This year I want to start growing some mushrooms. The thought of homegrown shitake in miso soups, ragouts and pilafs makes me feel a bit faint with excitement. Discovering some local morels would be like finding Shangri-la.  And if I could grow cremini or chestnut mushrooms for Lazy Pakoras and Carrot Mushroom Veggie Burgers (recipe coming soon), well!  Yes, I am just that food geeky.

Thanks, Sylvi, for this great how-to done with charm and style.