Gluten-Free True-Blue Breakfast
Always on the lookout for new cookbooks, I was eager to crack open my newly arrived copy of "World Vegetarian Classics" by American-Brit cook Celia Brooks Brown. In addition to penning cookbooks, Brown appears on BBC's food channel and is a private chef, whose celeb client list includes Chrissie Hynde and Stella McCartney.
When shopping for a new veggie title, I was particularly drawn to Brown's assertion (stated on her Web site) that "Vegetarian food still has a boring, brown, 'socks and sandals' stigma" which she has endeavored to reverse.
If photos are an important ingredients in your cookbooks, this title will appeal; they are big and beautiful and dotted throughout the book.
Brown has compiled 220 recipes from around the world, neatly organized by continent. Although keen to try the Pacha Rice (Egypt) and the Akara with Pilipili (black eye pea cakes from Nigeria), I made a beeline for the North America chapter, curious to see what Brown had included. The seductive power of the photograph had me running to the store for blue cornmeal, the main ingredient in Brown's recipe for blueberry pancakes.
You can't get more (true blue) American than blue corn, which figures prominently in the diet of the Pueblo Indian tribes of the southwest. Representing the rising sun and beginning of life, blue corn is a symbol of spiritual significance and is used in ceremonies, including the naming of newborn babies.
Although more of a gray blue shade, blue cornmeal turns an intriguing shade of violet when mixed with liquid. You'll notice in the recipe below that there is no flour, which makes these pancakes gluten free and a breakfast of champions for the 2 million-plus Americans living with celiac disease.
Studded with blueberries, which are also native to North America, these pancakes are wholesomely sweet with a blue ka-pow that is a delightful surprise. I'm almost tempted to make them for dinner.
Blue Corn Blueberry Pancakes
From "World Vegetarian Classics" by Celia Brooks Brown
4 tablespoons butter
2 cups blue cornmeal
2 tablespoons superfine sugar (Note: granulated sugar is acceptable substitute)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4-1 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (this is my addition, which really sings with the blueberries)
1 1/2 cups blueberries
Preheat oven to 225 degrees. Heat skillet over low heat and add butter, allowing it to melt. Pour melted better into a bowl and leave to cool slightly.
Mix cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and salt in a bowl. In another bowl, mix milk, eggs and cooled butter. Add to dry ingredients and stir to combine. Don't worry about lumps and overmix the batter. Stir in blueberries.
Heat skillet over medium heat. Pour batter into a circle, no more than 3 inches in diameter. Allow pancake to get dry and bubbly on the top, about 3-4 minutes. Flip onto second side and cook until golden brown. Keep pancakes warm in oven while you cook the rest of the batter.
Serve with good quality maple syrup.
Makes four servings.
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