Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Happy Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday!

Yay! Today is Pancake Day and no matter what your diet of the week is, there’s a pancake for you! In fact, there are as many versions of pancakes as there are people eating them. Gluten-free is probably the most common specialized diet situation these days, right? But there is one thing - although I think whatever food journey anyone is on is great, I do have a slight beef with the whole gluten-free movement.

Obviously, if you have a medical condition that requires you to eliminate certain foods, you’ve got to do that. But for the other (vast majority) of gluten-free eaters, the thing that bothers me the most is the thought that JUST BECAUSE SOMETHING IS GLUTEN-FREE means it’s good for you. That’s so not true.

I hate that as long as a package says gluten-free, no matter how processed it is, people think it’s okay. The fact that you’re buying something in a package is the first hint that something might be wrong. Some who would never buy a cake mix, for example, suddenly think that a gluten-free cake mix is fine, that it’s healthy and maybe even good for you. Arrgghh!

People should eat and buy whatever they want, but I just don’t like that a (somewhat garbage-y) food labelled gluten-free is considered somehow holier than other just regular garbage-y foods.

If I had to pick my favorite weirdo diet at the moment, it would be the Paleo one. It’s actually far more restrictive than a gluten-free plan. It’s basically meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, but I like the emphasis on fresh food. Of course, a lot of these “diet plans” are aspirational, whether Paleo, gluten-free or whatever. They’re not something that’s easy to live with 100% of the time. The main thing to me is to eat real food…most of the time.

Soooo to come back to Shrove Tuesday, here is a recipe for some super-duper Paleo Pancakes, which gluten-free folks will love as well as just regular people who don’t need lists or books to decide what to eat.

One caveat to these pancakes – they are a pain to turn. You need a super skinny spatula (as in pancake turner, not a rubber scraper) and patience. Oh, and the longer and slower you can cook them, the easier they are to turn over. BUT these WILL be a hit, including for those whose eating habits are slightly annoying.

I serve them with a sensational and sensationally easy blueberry sauce. (I always freeze blueberries in the summer, so this is made with fresh or fresh/frozen blueberries. The ones in the bag will do, but these are better…)

Note: Don’t skip toasting the almonds. There are so few ingredients here that they add an important punch of flavor. Do a big batch at one time and keep the extras in a tightly sealed jar. 

Paleo Pancakes (makes 10 pancakes)

10 toasted almonds 
1 banana
1 egg
½ tsp. cinnamon 
Blueberry Sauce 
1 cup fresh and/or frozen blueberries
1 tsp. cinnamon
optional: if you feel like it, add a nice slice of lemon peel before cooking

Place almonds in food processor and process until fine. Add remaining ingredients. Process until smooth.

Spray a large nonstick pan with Pam. Heat on medium. Using a large serving spoon, spoon 5 pancakes into pan.  


Cook on medium low heat for 5 minutes. After checking to see if the bottoms are browned, flip them very carefully. (It isn’t easy. And I usually flip them in the order I placed them in the pan.) Cook for another 5 minutes on medium low.

Turn on toaster oven to 200°F. Cover toaster oven pan with new piece of foil. Place cooked pancakes on pan and keep them warm while cooking the second batch.

Spoon remaining batter in nonstick pan. Cook as above. 

For blueberry sauce, while the first batch of pancakes is cooking, place blueberries and cinnamon in 2 cup Pyrex jug or 2 cup microwavable bowl. 

Cook on high for one minute. Stir well. Cover with paper towel or wax paper. Cook for another minute. Stir well. Remove from microwave and set aside. (If you have a very powerful microwave, do the last minute in 30 second intervals.) Pour on top of pancakes just before serving. 

More notes: If I want to continue to cook the pancakes just a bit, I move them to one side of the pan, while I cook the new batch. 

The first pancakes usually come out like this:

 The second batch like this:

Both are good.


The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

I have aimed for a slightly paleo-esque eating plan in the past. I just like the emphasis on fresh food. I still do, but I eat beans and grains now and then anyway. Life is too short to eliminate foods from your diet!

Of course I'm not sure if the gluten-free thing is what SPP needs or not. If he messes up and eats what products for a day or two, he claims his stomach is upset,but he just can't commit to full-time gluten free. The sweets are usually what does him in.

I admit my mardi gras pancakes were not gluten free.

Sue said...

It's true. Leaving out entire groups of food is probably the surest way to binge on something else, but we all need something to strife for.

I bet your pancakes were really good, although mine were pretty darn good for gluten free.

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but I think there are plenty of people who say they don't want to eat gluten because they think that's more socially acceptable than saying they don't want to eat bread or pasta, especially if they're invited to dinner. As Adam Gopnik said in a recent interview, half the people in line waiting for Cronuts claimed to be gluten intolerant. Certainly, no one should eat something that makes him or her ill. And if people don't want to eat certain things, that's fine too. But call it what it is!

Sue said...

Hi Tom!
I was trying the Paleo thingie mostly to get off sugar, which evil-sayers (otherwise known as level-headed medical professionals) claim is the really bad thing these days. BUT I would make Cronuts the exception for any kind of weird diet. Unahppily, I have yet to try one, but I'd really like to. And, yes, gluten-free is definitely the hot trend at the moment. I guess we can find political correctness in all aspects of life. What will be next? Ban all white food? (which probably isn't such a bad idea...)

Anonymous said...

Funny you should say that. Cy went for acupuncture 10+ years ago and the doctor told him to avoid white foods.

I haven't tried a cronut yet either, but I finally managed to get to Milk Bar for the Crack Pie. Definitely worth the calories!

Sue said...

That is such a brilliant name for a pie. It HAS to be awesome!

I'm guessing Cy hasn't followed the non-white diet for all these years. Other folks say don't eat nightshades for arthritis and other stuff. And those are definitely NONWHITE foods. Arghh!