Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Spiced Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

These were so good my husband said they didn't need butter or maple syrup, but we used both anyway!

Spiced Cornmeal Blueberry Pancakes

(Makes about 16 pancakes)
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal (I prefer coarse but any consistency is fine)
1 heaping Tablespoon sugar in the raw or brown sugar (preferably organic)
1 Tablespoon aluminum free baking powder
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Spices optional but recommended:
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
2 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled slightly
1 large egg
2 cups skim milk (any fat content is fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (don't bother to thaw)
Optional: Dried and/or fresh fruit, toasted nuts, chocolate chips, marshmallows etc...

Preheat your oven to 200°F.

Whisk together dry ingredients to incorporate and then set aside. Combine the wet ingredients separately, then add them to the dry ingredients. If the batter is too thick, add milk in small additions until you get a fluffy/molasses like viscosity. Add the melted butter quickly while stirring vigorously so it won't cook the eggs. Don't worry if there are a few lumps. Allow the batter to sit and rest for 20 minutes. Fold in the blueberries just before cooking.

Heat the griddle until water sputters when dashed on the surface. Add a pat of butter, let it bubble up and spread it over the griddle's surface. Ladle the pancake batter for the size pancake you desire. Cook until bubbles begin to appear on the uncooked side (there will only be a few because this batter is fairly thick). Flip and cook for another three minutes or so until golden. Place on a plate in a warm oven and proceed with the rest of the batter.

Easy Pork Bánh mì (Vietnamese Sandwiches)

In the US, we use the term to refer to the ridiculously delicious, traditional Vietnamese submarine sandwich, however, Bánh mì is actually just the Vietnamese term for bread or baguette. They exemplify umami flavor at it's best. I would eat three a day if I could.

Quick Caramelized Pork Banh Mi 
(Makes approximately two large subs or four sandwiches)

Slaw Topping 
1/2 cup julienned carrots
1/2 cup julienned daikon radish or kohlrabi
2 Tablespoons seasoned rice wine vinegar

Seasoned Pork (Vegetarians may substitute firm tofu, seitan or scrambled eggs)
8 oz. Pork (cut of your choice) thinly sliced
1 garlic clove minced finely, almost to paste
1 scallion thinly sliced
1 Tablespoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon fish sauce
1 Tablespoon soy sauce­
2 Tablespoons honey
½ teaspoon Chinese five-spice powder (optional)
½ teaspoon (or more) Sriracha or hot chili sauce/oil

cucumber sliced into thin rounds
cilantro leaves
thinly sliced scallion
thinly sliced jalapeños (fresh or pickled)

Crusty Baguette or bread of your choice that can hold up to heavy ingredients.

Mayonnaise (optional but recommended)

Preheat your oven to 400°F.

To make your slaw, combine all three ingredients and set aside to marinate. Use the julienne setting on a mandolin slicer for a quick, easy julienne.

Slice the pork thinly and set aside. Heat a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil, fish sauce, soy sauce, garlic and honey to the hot pan or wok. Add Chinese five-spice powder and Sriracha or chili sauce if using. Wisk the sauce together and increase the heat to high. Once the pan is very hot and your sauce is bubbling, but not smoking, add the pork. It will sear up quickly and soak up most of the sauce. Remove to a plate.

Slice the baguette lengthwise and spread with a mayonnaise (if using). Bake for about 5 minutes until toasty and crusty.

Assemble sandwiches with cucumbers, pork, some pan sauce, slaw, and garnish with cilantro and optional ingredients as you wish!

Thai Inspired Slaw w/ Ginger Scallion Peanut Noodles

Savory, filling, and healthy, this noodle dish is quick and satisfying. Sometimes I toss the whole thing together for a delicious and hearty salad.

Ginger Scallion Noodles with Thai Slaw
(Serves 4-6 people)

Thai Cabbage Slaw

1 medium head red cabbage, thinly sliced
two carrots, shredded, diced, or sliced into thin rounds
two celery stalks, thinly sliced on the diagonal
any other vegetable you like, really
2-3 scallions, thinly sliced
Tofu cubes optional (marinated in some of the dressing is ideal)

Slaw Dressing (approximate)
1/4 cup (scant) lime juice
2 Tablespoons soy sauce

2 Tablespoons fish sauce
1 Tablespoon minced ginger
1 teaspoon Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce, optional

Taste the dressing and adjust before adding to your slaw. It will tenderize the cabbage and liquid will be released from the slaw as it marinates, so mix thoroughly. 

Ginger Scallion Sauce
4-5 scallions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil 

1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
1 inch nub ginger, 
1 clove garlic, minced
2 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 Tablespoon fish sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar (cider or red wine with a teaspoon of sugar is fine too)
Optional: Crushed roasted peanuts, cilantro, toasted sesame seeds

1 lb. soba or other noodle, cooked al dente

Bring the water to a boil and add your noodles. While they cook, mix up your sauce adding a tablespoon or so of the hot cooking water to emulsify it if needed. Drain the noodles, reserving a little of the cooking liquid in case you need to thin the sauce further. Toss the drained noodles in the sauce and add a little of the cooking liquid if it's too dry. Remember to add liquids slowly so you don't end up with soup (I've done this and it's sad, hence the warning). If it's not salty enough, add a little more soy sauce. Enjoy!