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Entries in pancakes (3)

Thursday
Nov202014

Pizza Class & A Come-to-Jamie (Oliver) Moment

I spent the past week and will spend the next one teaching classes on the book I wrote for Colavita, Top Your Pizza.

Yes, I teach people how to make pizza. We cover homemade dough, four different kinds of toppings and a salad for balance. I talk about how to caramelize onions and wax poetical about mozzarella cheese. People actually listen. They pay attention and ask questions. They even laugh at my jokes (sometimes). I'm finding the process rewarding, energizing, fun and definitely exhausting and challenging.

I am aware that my students are a self-selected population — they've signed up and have an interest in the subject matter — and that I'm not imparting life-saving information. This is pizza making...or is it??

Buy a man a pizza and he has a meal for that day. Teach a man to make a pizza and... 

...he has apps for every Super Bowl Sunday??

Along those lines, I touch on the topic of nutrition in class, as I believe pizza can be a healthy, balanced meal depending on your topping choice and application. Now, I'm not suggesting we can improve the health of the nation with pizza (or am I??), but during my trip, I had a come-to-Jamie moment when I stopped at a roadside IHOP restaurant.

To clarify, I meant Jamie Oliver.

I've been a fan of his since I first watched his TED talk and saw how passionate he seemed about food education, nutrition and helping people change their diets in order to change their lives.

That IS life-altering information, folks. As I watched Jamie show a few clips from his show Food Revolution, I thought, "Damn, that's gotta be HARD."

And I mean a serious challenge, as it's hard to change people's minds about anything, and that is no less true with their diets. Consider my efforts with The Box. Part of the problem, as Jaimie addresses, is that people just don't know. They're not education on the topic of nutrition, so you can't really blame them for making poor choices. That's fair.

So it becomes a two-fold problem:

1. Education

2. Changing people's taste

I'm here to suggest that the latter might be the more difficult of the two.

On my class tour on the road from Boca Raton to Jacksonville, my driver and I decided to stop at an IHOP nestled snuggly on the side of Route 95 for lunch. Also known as The International (which other nation?) House of Pancakes.

I assumed I could get something moderately healthy like a veggie omelette, and in fact IHOP has about two "Simple and Fit" entrees, one of them being a veggie omelette, which is made with egg substitute. How a chemical combination made to resemble the taste and texture of eggs is healthier than the real thing, I do not know.

All the "Simple and Fit" entrees were listed as under 600 calories, which lead me to believe that the other dishes on the menu were all well over that number, including Dulche de Leche Pancakes featuring what resembled large tubes of icing sandwiched between pancakes.

Time out. 

I like pancakes. In fact, at the end of this post, I'm going to list all the pancake recipes I've posted on this blog. However, I recognize that I'm what some would call, "a healthy eater." I like vegetables. Even kale. I'll go out of my way to eat them. I exercise. Maybe more than some. Definitely less than others. I watch my food intake, not by counting calories, but by trying to make good choices and recognizing when I'm full. 

But I'm not perfect. I've attacked a carton of ice cream with a spoon. I've eaten more than my share of pizza. I've come home late at night and ransacked the fridge like a racoon in the trash. This is life.

I also realize I'm lucky. I live in a city that has more food choices than most with access to farmers' markets, classes, independent food producers, locavore/organic restaurants and the like. I'm able to take advantage of these options. I'm very grateful for this, and I know this is not the case for many who are struggling to feed themselves and their families. This is a topic for another essay, and it's financial and access issue that I didn't list in my two-fold numeration above.

But I take issue with places like IHOP that are continuing to serve nutritionally negligent, over-portioned sugar delivery systems. Yes, there are "Simple and Fit" offerings on the menu, but like my pizza class attendees, only a self-selected group are going to look for them and then actually order them (and also try not to feel like a total ass when you say, "Yeah...I'd like the Simple and Fit Egg Substitute Omelette").

Additionally, the resulting egg substitute omelette looked so sad and watery in comparison to its fluffy, whipped and stacked neighbors, that who, indeed WOULD choose that option. It didn't look good. And, in fact, it was probably the worst omelette I've ever had. And IHOP isn't the only one. There are many more, as you know. John has a post coming up about Papa John's Frito Pizza that will alarm you.

This makes me sad. It makes me sad because I want to be able to convince people that healthy food is delicious. I cook for myself, my friends, and now complete strangers frequently, and manage to make delicious dishes that are nutritionally redeeming. And I know I'm not making a positive difference in the nutritional education system of this country, but I'd like to.

I want to think that the way to stop having items like this on restaurant menus is for people to stop ordering them. But that requires a change in taste. HOW do you change people's taste? How do you convince people that beets are tasty? Or that a quarter pound of sugar-laced lard has no place between pancakes?

I don't know. But I'd like to make an attempt with this blog post. With pancakes. Here are some recipes that I think are both nutritionally redeeming (in moderation, people) and delicious. I created them for Colavita and I'm reposting them here in the hopes that they might inspire you to think of pancakes, food and nutrition in a different light. And, uh...Jamie? If you're listening, I'd love to talk.

Pumpkin Pancakes

Recipe here and video below:

7 (ish) Grain Pancakess.

What You Need:

1/2 cup rolled oats (the real stuff)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked farro
4 tablespoons chia seeds
4 teaspoons ground flax seeds 
1 cup almond or soy milk (you can use regular milk if you like)
2 eggs, beaten
a few swirls of agave syrup for sweetening (you can also use honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt 

Butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray for you frying pan or griddle.

What To Do:

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (don't forget the salt and cinnamon!). You can even use a food processor if you like. 

Add in the milk, eggs, vanilla and agave syrup. 

Blend until well incorporated. If the mixture appears too dry or sticky, you can add more milk.

Heat up your frying pan or griddle and grease with oil, butter or spray.

Ladle the batter onto the griddle in 1/4 cup sized scoops. Keep in mind, you might like to make mini pancakes, or HUGE BIG AS YOUR FACE ones. Go nuts, I'm not gonna stop you.

Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on one side. Break out your spatula and give those suckers a flip. Let them toast up on the opposite side for about 2 minutes.

Flop them onto a plate and serve with cinnamon butter (I used Ronnybrook's) and more agave or maple syrup. You can also store these in the frigde for quite some time and use them as pre or post-workout energy pancakes.

Feel free to add fresh fruit and nuts!

Blueberry Oat and Polenta Pancakes

Recipe here.

Oat and Whole Wheat Waffles (<-- Loosely Related to Pancakes!) with Fruit and Nuts

What You Need:

A waffle maker (gifted by your boss or bought by your own self. Either works)
2 1/2 cups warm (about 100 degrees) almond milk
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup shredded coconut
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 egg whites
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/2 cup slivered almonds for garnish

What To Do:
Mix the almond milk, sugar and yeast in a medium bowl. Let it stand until it becomes foamy (this is the yeast working its magic) - about 10 minutes.

Mix both flours, oats, coconut, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl.

Add the yeast mixture and stir to blend it all together. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. You can also leave it to chill overnight so you will be ready for hungry brunchers in the morning.

Separate the eggs, setting aside two of the egg yolks. Mix these two yolks into the batter.

Put the three egg whites in large bowl and with a hand held mixer beat them until they are white and foamy and peaks form (ex: when you lift up the beaters the egg foam will stand up).

Fold the egg whites into the batter with a spatula.

Heat up your waffle iron and spray it with a non stick spray (you can also use butter). When it is hot enough, pour the batter into the iron. Cook until the waffle iron gives you the green light (literally). Your waffles should be golden brown.

Serve with extra blueberries, slivered almonds and maple syrup.

 

Monday
Jun252012

7 (ish) Grain Pancakes and an Explanation

I've had this recipe in the waiting list of blog posts for at least a month. Or two. Clearly, I need to get it together, people. Any takers and helping me do that? It requires a LOT of energy. And some schlepping....I'm hiring for a personal sherpa.

Fact is, I've been dialing down the amount of posts on this blog. You may have noticed? Don't worry, John and I aren't going anywhere. We love this blog! We love you, whoever you are, who read it (thanks, Mom). But sometimes in life we need to make choices. Choices about where to direct our energy and focus.

Recently, I have made such a choice. Last year, you may recall that I competed at the Age Group National Championships in Burlington, Vermont for Olympic distance triathlon. This year, I'm doing it again. This is a qualifying race for the Age Group Worlds that takes place in London. How does one qualify? You have to place in the top 18 of your age group at Nationals (see rules here). 

Placing in the top 18 is not an easy thing to do. Last year, I was 54th. 54th! Humbling. Anyway, I'm making a play for it, but it's going to take a lot of work, determination, support and healthy doses of the above pancakes (I swear the recipe is coming). 

I won't be ignoring you. I encounter so much good food through training and racing, that it would be unkind of me not to share it with you. Like....

These sparkly cookies from the Runcible Spoon in Nyack, NY. Swarming with bikers, this bakery keeps a healthy supply of protein bars and recovery drinks as well as enormous mouthwatering muffins and the above bedazzled cookies. Watch out for the bathroom line, it's long. 

And speaking of cookies....sometimes I just need one. And there's not a cutesy bakery in sight. OK, this is New York, so there are probably 20 cutesy bakeries in sight. But sometimes the corner bodega must suffice. These cookies from Alternative Baking Company are my current bodega-staple favorite. I downed one before the NYC Triathlon last year. 

Another new favorite, is Fat Tommy's Cookhouse in New Milford, CT. Their cornbread and biscuits are served with an addictive maple butter and the pulled pork sandwiches are stuffed with their house made slaw. They also have four levels of hot sauce.

At my recent Montauk race, I encountered this lovely sushi roll: spicy salmon wrapped delicately in mango and served with a dollop of mango sauce. I had been to Inlet Seafood for my very first Triathlon, and made it a point to revisit.

Sometimes I get lucky and get a post-ride home cooked meal, like this very fluffy and perfectly buttery crusted quiche, brought to you by my teammate Caitlin's mom. Maybe if we all ask her nicely she will give us the recipe?

Sometimes the post-activity food is not very glamorous...just a turkey club sandwich. But the bacon in the below sandwich from Johnny's Deli in Yorktown Heights, New York, gets points for glamour. So does mayo, and I'm not usually a fan of the 'naise.

Even McDonald's can be a welcome recovery stop. Try dipping your french fries directly into your soft serve vanilla cone. And don't forget the real fountain soda. 

You'll have to forgive me for the above meal. Generally, I keep it pretty healthy. I have to, or I'd end up like this: head down in a Thai restaurant.

Likewise, if I keep up a fury of posts while I training and working I might also end up like the above. Or worse. So, I gotta dial it back. For about two months – the big race is August 18th. Who's on Team Elana?

Anyway, to get you geared up, your energy high, here (FINALLY) is the recipe for 7 (ish) Grain Pancakess.

They're loaded with great stuff - tons of good for you grains. Some of these grains are even packed with protein (like the quinoa and the farro). If you want to make this recipe gluten free, just leave out the whole wheat flour and add more millet or rice flour.

What You Need:

1/2 cup rolled oats (the real stuff)
1/2 cup millet flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 cup cooked farro
4 tablespoons chia seeds
4 teaspoons ground flax seeds 
1 cup almond or soy milk (you can use regular milk if you like)
2 eggs, beaten
a few swirls of agave syrup for sweetening (you can also use honey)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon sea salt 

Butter, oil or non-stick cooking spray for you frying pan or griddle.

What To Do:

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl (don't forget the salt and cinnamon!). You can even use a food processor if you like. 

Add in the milk, eggs, vanilla and agave syrup. 

Blend until well incorporated. If the mixture appears too dry or sticky, you can add more milk.

Heat up your frying pan or griddle and grease with oil, butter or spray.

Ladle the batter onto the griddle in 1/4 cup sized scoops. Keep in mind, you might like to make mini pancakes, or HUGE BIG AS YOUR FACE ones. Go nuts, I'm not gonna stop you.

Cook for about 1 1/2 minutes on one side. Break out your spatula and give those suckers a flip. Let them toast up on the opposite side for about 2 minutes.

Flop them onto a plate and serve with cinnamon butter (I used Ronnybrook's) and more agave or maple syrup. You can also store these in the frigde for quite some time and use them as pre or post-workout energy pancakes.

Feel free to add fresh fruit and nuts! And also feel free to come out and cheer. I am not opposed to big sparkly signs, people. Just a suggestion...

Monday
Feb132012

C'Mon....Give me a Bacio (kiss)!

Sometimes worlds collide. When this can happen in a way that doesn't involve the alarming effects of gravity literally pulling me down to the ground (or into a wall) and causing me harm, I love it.

It's rare, let me tell you. But sometimes these worlds collide in a most wonderful and advantageous way, as in this case, on which I am about to elaborate.

Many of you know I'm a graphic designer by day (check the About Section, peeps!), and if you haven't figured out by this time that I love food, I will really need to check your pulse.

I work at a studio called Square Root Creative where I am the Creative Director/Graphic designer/Hungriest Person in the Room/Champion Gum Chewer. And at this studio, we had the opportunity to acquire a food client – an ITALIAN food client.

Our client is Perugina, an Italian chocolate producer originally hailing from the beautiful, mountainous Umbrian town of Perugia. Perugia's specialty is truffles and chocolate. I am currently on a one-way flight there.

No! I'm sitting in my apartment.

At Square Root Creative, we had the opportunity to completely redesign the United States Perugina website, featuring as the star, the famous "Baci".

Baci are a chocolate confection produced by Perugina. A truffle-like assembly of dark chocolate ganache coating an inner core of chopped hazelnuts and milk chocolate that is an Italian sweetness party in your mouth. It's like a nutty, chocolate mini-slider.

Eataly recently sponsored an event demonstrating how Baci are made:

The above hazelnuts are awaiting their position on beds of milk chocolate and chopped nuts featured below:

Finally the whole contraption is dipped into tempered dark chocolate:

According to legend Baci was created on Valentine's Day in 1922, and since then has been a traditional Valentine's gift in Italian households.

Since Valentine's Day is tomorrow, and the Perugina site is now live, I thought I would show it off to you all. I worked with a wonderful group of designers, managers and programmers who all contributed to this site. I was also responsible for all of the product photography. All the photos you see in the "Products" section are mine!

So we've got food, Italian food, design, and chocolate. Did you feel the earth shake right then, or was it only me?

Anyway! As an added bonus, the new site offers recipes featuring Perugina products. So for today's post I have recreated the Baci Pancakes (original recipe found here). However, I modified it a bit in my usual fashion. The result was an intensely fluffy, cookie-like pancake with tangy cherries and excellent chocolate hazel flavor. And it was ever-so-slightly healthier. A teeny bit...

What You Need:

1 egg
2/4 cup soy milk (you can use regular milk if you like)
1/2 all purpose cup flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 oats
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries
3 teaspoons sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 chopped Baci*
*Note: the Baci will be easier to chop if they are cold

What To Do:
Mix all the dry ingredients together until they are well combined.

Add in the egg and the soy milk (or regular milk) and mix until a thick batter forms.

Lightly coat a griddle or frying pan with oil or butter and heat until hot.

Drop generous 1/4 cup of batter onto grill per pancake. Brown on one side, then flip and brown other side.

Can be served with syrup, butter or just sprinkled with powered sugar.