The story of my Italian holiday will have to wait because of a happy intersection between my Saturday breakfast and Blogger Secret Ingredient. This week's host, Johnstone's Vin Blanc, chose oats as the ingredient of the week. Now, I love oats. I have oatmeal frequently, make my own granola, and have a not so secret addiction to granola bars. Really: they are that good.
But this week, I wanted a classic breakfast of a big stack of pancakes. When I want pancakes, my go-to book is The Pancake Handbook from Bette's Oceanview Diner in Berkeley. They are great recipes, though of course they taste better when Bette's kitchen is cooking them for me. Alas, being based in London, I can't have my pancakes and eat them too...
The recipe I chose was the oatmeal-raisin pancake recipe. This batter makes moist, nutty pancakes that -- due to the oats and whole wheat -- we can smugly feel are good for us. My changes to the recipe are to increase the proportion of oats and add a grating of fresh nutmeg, and also to ditch the raisins. The brown sugar gives these a natural sweetness and the addition of nuts is just gilding the lily.
I served the pancakes with some of my favorite cranberry sauce, which I make by the stockpot-ful and squirrel away to have on toast, oatmeal, or pancakes. Or, of course, with roast turkey. It's a sweet, tart, spicy sauce that goes with just about everything and begs you to eat it by the spoonful.
Oatmeal pancakes adapted from The Pancake Handbook
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. quick-cooking oats
3 T. brown sugar
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1 1/2 C. milk (also good with buttermilk)
2 T. melted butter
1/4 C. chopped walnuts or pecans
In a small bowl, combine the oats with 1 C. milk and let soak for 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, salt, and nuts. In another bowl, lightly beat the eggs, then pour them into the oat and milk mixture along with the remaining 1/2 C. milk and the melted butter, then fold the wet into the dry ingredients in the larger bowl. Let sit for 5-10 minutes.
Heat a pat of butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drop batter onto skillet, about 1/4 C. per pancake. Cook until small bubbles cover surface of the pancake, about 3 minutes, then flip and cook for another 2 minutes until golden brown.
Makes about 16 4" pancakes.
Cranberry relish (adapted from Sunset Magazine)
1 (12-ounce) bag cranberries, rinsed and drained
1 large Granny Smith apple, cored, seeded, and chopped
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly slivered, or minced finely
1 cup orange juice
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a 3 1/2-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 3 minutes or until some cranberries begin to pop and all sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and allow to cool. Store, refrigerated, in an airtight container until ready to use. If using slivered ginger, remove before serving or avoid eating the pieces!
Makes 3 1/2 C.