to make pancake or not to make pancakes...

I was out of town for new year's, so I couldn't make a big New Year's Day Brunch like my family always does at home. When I came back to boston, I invited over a couple friends and made a belated new year's meal for my "boston family": scrambled tofu, sweet potato hash browns, fruit salad, gluten free coffee cake (I cheated on this one: used the Cravings Place's mix. It's super easy and delicious, though not nearly as good as my mom's homemade. Must get that recipe...).

I have no pictures of said meal because 1.) I still can't quite get over being embarassed about taking pictures of my food before I eat it and 2.) we ate EVERYTHING. But making so much breakfast food made me think about pancakes.

While I like eating pancakes, I HATE MAKING THEM. They are always so much more needy and complicated than I expect: there's the whole "getting the right consistency" thing with the batter; having the pan hot enough; adding enough oil but not too much; waiting long enough for the pancake to brown but not to burn; flipping it without making a mess; not burning the second side either. And then even if you get a perfect 2-3 pancakes, you have to KEEP GOING because that is only enough for one person... so you then repeat the process over again. Inevitably I lose patience and turn up the heat, which means I burn everything. And in the end all you get is a pancake.

But pancakes can be so delicious! Especially with fruit in or on them. I made breakfast-for-dinner with a friend of mine last month and we (well, he, as I refused to take part in the pancakes and instead worked on scrambled tofu) made the blueberry corn pancakes from Veganomicon. Yum! And watching another person over- and undercook pancakes and flip them messily, I realized that no one expects pancakes to be perfect. Just tasty.

So when I found a recipe for Rice Pancakes a little while back, I decided to try it.

Rice Pancakes
(serves 2-3, doubles well)

1 cup soymilk
1 tsp vinegar
3/4 cup rice (I used brown)
1 cup flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tbsp flax seed meal (or just flax seeds if you don't have a blender/food processor/super cool spice grinder like mine to turn them into meal)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Stir together soymilk and vinegar. Let sit at least 5 minutes so it curdles. This is vegan buttermilk, for the record.

While it's curdling, mash the rice as well as you can with a fork (or potato masher for larger amounts). You can add a TINY bit of water to get it good and mushy, to a mashed potatoes texture. Add flour, flax, salt, and baking soda, then stir in the "buttermilk." If it's too thick, add a little soymilk or water.

Pancake warning (ie, what I tend to do wrong): Don't overstir! Lumpy batter's better than killing the effects of baking soda.

Heat a small amount of oil (enough to coat the bottom) in a skillet. When it's hot (you can test this by spraying a drop or two water on it - it's ready if it sizzles and pops), ladle smallish amounts (1/4 cup-ish) onto the skillet. Turn when brown, or smoking, as in my case.

This was the most beautiful set of pancakes I have ever made:
Unfortunately it's out of focus. You'll just have to take my word for it.

These pancakes are like normal pancakes: serve with fruit and/or maple syrup... OR, in my case, I threw some cumin seeds into the end of the batch and made a festive tex-mex meal!
Cumin-Rice Pancakes with Guacamole, Corn, and Carrots!

Sorry about the lame pictures. I was more fixated on eating than on focusing, apparently. All that standing around waiting to flip the pancake makes me hungry.

My FAVORITE thing about making pancakes is when I make extra and then freeze them, because then on mornings when I'm running late I can just pop them into the toaster!

moral of the story: I'm now okay with pancakes.

2nd moral of the story: I really like ending with morals of the story.


Vegan_Noodle said... Best Blogger Tips

Pancakes, while a bit of trouble at times, are sooo worth it! You should invest in a double griddle if you really like making them, then you can make lots more at a time! Oh, and I love freezing mine too, then toasting them and top em with peanut butter. Rice pancakes sound cool!
Oh, and sweet potato hashbrowns sound divine... I would've eaten them up before remembering to photograph too!

Ashasarala said... Best Blogger Tips

Cooking pancakes is really an art of its own. Let's not forget when either side is cooked but the middle is still doughy and to cook it any longer would mean burnage!

But you're right- be it sloppy, messy, goopy, tiny, flat or fat- pancakes are still worth the effort. As long as they aren't too burnt! ;)

Liz² said... Best Blogger Tips

mmm... pancakes in any form are so good. Is it weird that I think I like making them more than eating them, though? I'm actually serious... I love watching for the bubbles, and making them up in big stacks for people. (however, if they were topped with cumin and avocado I'd DEFINITELY let someone else work the griddle and chow down)

VeggieGirl said... Best Blogger Tips

Wow, the brunch for your "Boston Family" sounds like it was a success - I'm envisioning the meal :0)

I've never made pancakes, but I can understand how frustrating it would be to make them - kudos to you for taking on the challenge!!

Rural Vegan said... Best Blogger Tips

Rice pancakes sound really interesting! Perhaps interesting enough to force me into making pancakes! Otherwise I only make pancakes about once a year; I just don't have the patience for them.

jess (of Get Sconed!) said... Best Blogger Tips

Oh, neat! I've never had rice pancakes before and they sound intriguing.

ChocolateCoveredVegan said... Best Blogger Tips

I hate making pancakes because I'm lazy in the mornings and I like instant gratification :o/

But so many bloggers are blogging about pancakes lately that I may have to get over my laziness!

shaun.marie said... Best Blogger Tips

this made me laugh - i love pancakes, but if anyone suggests having them for breakfast, i usually groan and try to wiggle out of it. i picture myself smelling like overcooked oil and in front of a pile of blackened-on-the-outside, liquid-on-the-inside pancakes.

that usually isn't the case though, and they're so super delicious, it's worth it. i'll have to try out your recipe sometime!