Red Lentil Pancakes
I like how virtuous and healthy I feel when purchasing something like lentils. Until now, every package of lentils I have bought has sat in my pantry until I threw it away — not healthy and certainly not virtuous! I came across this really simple recipe for red lentil pancakes from Wendy Van Wagner and finally decided to give dried lentils a try. You soak the lentils overnight and then buzz them in the food processor with a few other ingredients before pan-frying. They were really tasty with the turmeric and cilantro, but a bit dry, so take her advice to use them for dunking — I served mine with plain greek yogurt and a big salad…perfect.
Red Lentil Pancakes (Adapted from Wendy Van Wagner):
1 cup red lentils
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1/2 tsp ground pepper
2 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro, or to taste (I used twice this amount)
2 tbsp coconut oil for frying
Rinse the lentils well and place in a large bowl. Cover with 2 cups warm water and soak for least 8 hours, or overnight.
Drain the water and place lentils in food processor. Blend until smooth, adding 1 tbsp of water at a time to make a smooth batter (I used 3 tbsp in total). Blend the salt, turmeric, pepper, and cilantro into the batter.
Heat a large frying pan over medium heat, and add 1 tbsp oil. Drop spoonfuls of batter to make 4 pancakes, about 3-4 inches wide and 1 inch thick. Cook about 2 minutes, until set. Drizzle a little oil over the top and sides before flipping (I struggled with this and just sprayed a bit of olive oil spray before flipping) and cook another minute or 2 or the other side. Repeat with 2nd batch of pancakes, adding more oil as needed.
Serve warm with a big helping of greek yogurt, sour cream, guacamole, applesauce, chutney, or creme fraiche. Makes about 8 pancakes.
Pumpkin Pie Pancakes
In addition to it being Fat Tuesday, apparently today is also National Pancake Day. As if I needed a second excuse. When I was looking for the perfect pancake recipe for our Valentine’s dinner last week, I came across these “Pimped-Out Pumpkin Pie Pancakes” from my Looneyspoons Collection Cookbook, courtesy of Janet & Greta Podleski. It seems that everything I have made from this cookbook has me delving into the pumpkin pie spice, but there are certainly no complaints about that. This recipe uses half whole-wheat flour (I always use whole-wheat pastry flour as it seems to result in a fluffier texture) and half all-purpose flour, plus a cup of pumpkin — so a pretty healthy and hearty pancake. I did cut back on the pumpkin pie spice a bit as my kids found it to be strong in the granola bars we made recently. As expected, the kids were thrilled with another “pancake breakfast for dinner” night. And this recipe made a ton of pancakes — we’ll be eating the rest for breakfast for sure.
Pimped-Out Pumpkin Pie Pancakes (adapted from Janet and Greta Podleski’s “The Looneyspoons Collection” cookbook):
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 to 1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp each salt and baking soda
1 can (14 oz) 2% evaporated milk (note, I used a 12 oz can plus 2 oz of milk)
1 cup canned pure pumpkin
1/4 cup brown sugar (not packed)
2 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat griddle to medium heat. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl — flours through baking soda. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium bowl, whisking well. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients, and stir until just combined. Spoon batter by 1/3-cupfuls onto preheated griddle that has been lighted coated with cooking spray. Gently spread batter to about a 4-inch diameter. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, until cooked through (this batter is pretty thick, but be careful not to burn them). The recipe suggests serving with vanilla yogurt and pure maple syrup (we skipped the yogurt, although that sounds good too).
Mini Heart Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
My kids have been pretty good guinea pigs through all this recent cooking of mine, and so it felt great to cook up their favorite for dinner on Valentines Day: pancakes. With NO vegetables. Plain, buttermilk pancakes made with healthy whole wheat pastry flour, and nothing hidden inside. They were thrilled. I was inspired by the fun Nordic Ware pancake pan I found at Target, which makes 7 mini heart-shaped pancakes. On the side I made a delicious strawberry dipping sauce, which tasted more like a smoothie (and it might as well have been a smoothie, as the kids ended up drinking it with straws…). Both recipes are from Ellie Krieger.
My girls loved the mini hearts. I don’t consider myself to be the most coordinated person, and I wasn’t sure how I would flip those little guys back into their exact spots in the pan. So I flipped them into a second skillet, which also allowed me to have twice as many pancakes on the go. Ellie’s advice to keep the first pancakes warming at 200F while you cook the rest was perfect.
The strawberry sauce was amazing, and so fitting for Valentines Day. I’ll admit that 2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup to a whole pound of strawberries wasn’t going to do it for our taste, so I probably used about 1/4 cup to make it sweeter. I could eat this sauce with just about anything — fruit, toast, maybe an old sneaker. And while this was the perfect and much needed change from routine, it will be back to vegetables tomorrow!