non-recipe: pumpkin pancakes

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I find it amusing that one of the first and only recipes I bring to you on this non-recipe food blog is a pumpkin recipe.  At the risk of passing unnecessary judgment to utilize the term “basic”, I’ll just point out that this might be “standard” blog fare for the season.  It goes without saying that for every person in line at a conglomerate coffee emporium waiting for the seasonal PSL, there’s another person who cannot, for the life of them, bring themselves to click on Making a Murder on Netflix, which the entire media world seemed to be talking about at one point.  I love zealotry.  When people are enthusiastic and passionate, it reminds me what life is all about.  Some people get excited about things and then  r u n  w i t h  t h e m.  Some people get excited about changing it up every day.  I fall into the latter category.  I don’t think it’s all that bad for a lot of people to get excited about the same thing; I just cannot relate.

For the most part, I’m quiet about my dissent.  I just slip quietly out the backdoor of the party while everyone is hovering around over something.  It’s generally not that big of a deal.  Where I do feel the need to step in is when it’s a big pile of hubaloo.  Avocado toast, however outdated as it may now be, is not necessarily the villain.  Pumpkin spice lattes and autumnal baking is another story.  I crave warming spices as much as the next person this time of year, and pumpkin flesh is delicious when paired with them.  Where the whole ordeal makes less and less sense is when we wait all year for these delicacies, and when the time finally rolls around we accept that pumpkins come from cans and PSLs from pump jars laced with chemicals that have no business infiltrating our precious bodies.  We grow up, most of us Westerners, knowing pumpkins come into our lives around Halloween, and we eat them at Thanksgiving and Christmas.  Even I didn’t associate what it takes to get pumpkin flesh until I started shopping on my own and mostly at farmers markets, where you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.  Eating locally and ethically is important to me for reasons you can read about here.  I’m shocked (and, as a foodie, a little hurt) when cherished bloggers and food creators of the farm-to-table, slow food movement, settle for canned goods as the way to introduce vegetables to readers/homemakers.  I’m the human form of the “smh” tagline.

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Welcome to the Bad Kid Kitchen, where you get an unsolicited dose of reality with your amateur food photos!  Let’s get on to the dandiest part of the piece, since we all came here to eat.  Since I love what I love, and seasonal activities hold a special place in my heart, as they do with many privileged individuals the world over, we went pumpkin patching.  My menus of late have been laden with meal assignments for the Academy, so when the pumpkins stared patiently and concentrated at me from the kitchen table, I allowed myself to start dreaming up their destinies.  This morning: pancakes.

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Pumpkin Pancakes
recipe adapted from Martha Stewart

1 1/4 cup gluten-free flour*
1/2 rounded tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp salt
1 flax egg* or real egg
1 cup water or milk
1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp vanilla
6 tbsp pumpkin puree*
2 tbsp ghee, melted (+ more for frying)

Toppings:
chopped walnuts
vanilla maple apple butter (recipe follows)
coconut cream (recipe follows)

  • Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix together wet ingredients and stir into dry.
  • Heat cast-iron skillet with a few tablespoons of ghee.
  • Scoop 1/4 cup batter (or less or more depending upon space in your pan/how big you want them) into skillet and cook until small bubbles have formed all the way around each cake.  You should also be able to see a bit of definition in the edges, the underside getting darker in color.  Flip each cake at this point and fry another minute until base is cooked.
  • Plate, add more oil to the pan and continue on with the rest of your batter.
  • Top with apple butter, coconut cream, and chopped walnuts

*Notes:

  • Gluten-free flour: choose a blend without additives or make your own.  I don’t bake enough to know the results of different types of flours, so when I’m modifying an existing recipe, I just go for an easy, store-bought blend.  I’ve found most of the store blends are brown rice based, just FYI.
  • Flax egg: 1 tbsp ground flaxseed mixed with 3 tbsp warm water and allowed to set for a few minutes.
  • Pumpkin puree: To make your own, it’s so simple!  Use a pie pumpkin for standard results.  Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cut pumpkin in half and scrape out the seeds (save and make this recipe).  Turn pumpkin halves upside down in a pan and roast for about 40 minutes, until the tops start to darken in color.  You can check the pumpkin by flipping if over and scraping with a fork.  If it’s all mushy, it’s done!  Let cool and peel off skin.  Transfer to a blender or food processor just to get it even smoother, but you can skip this step if you’d like.  Refrigerate and use in recipes all week!

 

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Vanilla Maple Apple Butter

5 pounds peeled and chopped apples
1/2 – 1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1 vanilla bean pod (slice it lengthwise and run a knife along the insides to scrape out the seeds)

  • Add apples to a slow-cooker or heavy-bottomed pot on stovetop (over low heat).
  • Stir together maple syrup, coconut sugar, vanilla bean, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour over apples.
  • Cook low and slow until apples are all mushy and the whole pot is aromatic.  Stir and taste occasionally.  Apples will turn dark brown.  Taste and add extra sweetener if necessary.
  • Transfer to a blender to smooth it out a bit.

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Coconut cream

One of my favorite oatmeal toppings ever is stirring maple syrup into coconut milk.  It’s just delectable.  If you want to go more robust, switch it for molasses, or do a half-and-half thing.

1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (the thick, creamy part; not the water)
2 – 3 tbsp molasses or maple syrup

  • Stir it together and you’re done!

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