Breakfast Pancakes

I wouldn’t consider myself a pancake person… but Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe from The New York Times made me change my mind.  They’re a bit heartier with whole wheat flour and cooked quinoa, but still lets you think you’re having a dessert for breakfast with the fruit and maple syrup.  This recipe yields 12-15 pancakes, and they freeze extremely well.

Pancakes and a puzzle

Pancakes and a puzzle

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole-wheat flour
  • ½ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar (optional)
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Wet Ingredients

  • 2 large organic eggs
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 Tablespoons of canola oil
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • Plus, whatever fresh fruit you want to add.  I opt for blueberries and bananas.

Quinoa (pronounced “Keen-wah”) is one of those grains that you actually do need to rinse as instructed before cooking.

Quinoa.  photo credit:

The plant grows at high altitudes and in true “nature is smarter than humans” fashion, it creates its own sunblock called saponin.  If not washed off, it will make your quinoa taste like soap.  What I like to do, is measure out the quinoa I need, then put it in a bowl, and cover with water.  Let it soak for 5-10 minutes, then gently rub the quinoa with your (clean) hands.  Pour into a mesh sieve, and give the little grain another rinse.  Now you are ready to cook the quinoa.

General rule of thumb is to use 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa.  Bring quinoa and water to a boil, then cover and lower to simmer for 10 minutes or until quinoa is cooked (not crunchy, not mushy).

Combine dry ingredients in one bowl, and whisk the wet in another slightly larger bowl.  Add the dry to the wet and combine until you’ve got your gooey batter.  Gently fold in the quinoa.  Prepare your fruit and keep in a separate bowl.  Warm up your non-stick griddle, or pan and grease with a little ghee.  Add about ¼ cup of batter, then place your choice of fruit on the top of the batter.  Cook for a couple minutes on each side until golden.  Serve with butter and Grade B maple syrup (the real stuff).

Wrap any remaining pancakes in parchment paper and place in a freezer-worthy zip lock.

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Cheesy Avocado Toast


A few weeks back, I was listening to Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me!, the NPR program that uses stories from the news to create quiz games for comedian panelists and listeners who are calling in.  This particular week, they were drawing attention to the fact that toast has become a “thing” that people are paying up to $4 to eat (  However, the comedians didn’t really make fun of this story, but instead all started talking about what makes toast amazing.  I mean, it is a type of cross-generational comfort food… how was this not a “thing” before now.

Given all possible combinations when you consider variables like allergies, dietary restrictions, and one’s personal taste, toast can become a complicated thing.  Well, I have a simple combination for you to try.  Toast a piece of your favorite bread, top it with a ripe avocado sliced into bite-sized pieces, add grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and sprinkle with a coarse salt.  I used to put actual slices of a soft cheese (like provolone) on the bread underneath the avocado, but I noticed this wasn’t a combo my stomach liked.

I’ll eat this toast and topping choice for breakfast, or sometimes as a midday snack.  It’s become a sort of comfort food to me, and I like having another way to eat avocado that doesn’t involve chips or complicated counterparts that overpower its creamy texture.  Knowing that avocados are a superfood that will help prevent heart problems, arthritis and cancer among other things, I have no problem eating this toast whenever I feel like it.

Last summer, I stumbled across one of these places selling fancy toast in San Francisco (shocker).  It’s called The Mill and if you were to walk inside, you would see a crowd of people sitting and savoring their thick pieces of Josey Baker Bread and jam as if it were their last meal.  I remember seeing a guy who was wearing a shirt that said, “you weren’t given a dream unless you were given the ability to make it.”  I’m so happy that toast made it into a dream once upon a time.


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