Category Archives: Brunch

Christmas Morning Blueberry Pancakes Recipe

As I mentioned in my last post, my husband Jeff does not spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen. Grilling? yes- he’s excellent. Mixing up cocktails? yes-superb!

Whipping up a stir-fry, or pan searing fish? Not so much.

But when it comes to making beef jerky, or  pancakes, Jeff has become a master of them both. Why beef jerky and blueberry pancakes? I guess because early on in our marriage Jeff wanted to establish a few food related holiday traditions that could be all his own, to be shared year after year with our family.

So every year on Christmas morning Jeff makes his blueberry pancakes and serves them on our red Christmas plates with a side of bacon. It’s a tradition that has stayed with us for a while now,  and  a treat  we all look forward to each year.

Jeff’s pancakes are light, golden,  and fluffy, with just the right amount of tang from the buttermilk. A bit of orange zest is added to the blueberry mixture, which really brightens up the flavor.

I asked Jeff to share a few pancake making tips to ensure you too will have light golden flapjacks, and here’s what he came up with:

Get Fresh – Use the freshest ingredients you can get your hands on.

Don’t Batter the Batter – Over-mixing results in tough, flabby pancakes. Pancake batter should be mixed just until the wet and dry ingredients are combined. Don’t worry about lumps. You want them. They’ll cook out on the griddle.

Get a Griddle – Cast iron or electric griddles make great pancakes because they heat evenly and give you plenty of room to work. Electric griddles let you regulate the temperature; 375°F is ideal for cooking most pancakes.

Go Easy on the Greasy – A light coating of oil or non-stick spray at the start is all you need for most pancakes.

Ladle with Care – Using a quarter-cup ladle held very close to the griddle, pour the batter gently so that it spreads in even circles.

Keep it Neat – Don’t let pancakes merge into each other, and avoid moving them while the first side is cooking – they’ll brown more evenly if you leave them alone.

Flip with Finesse – Pancakes are ready to flip when their surface is covered with bubbles, their edges look dry and a peek at their undersides reveals a golden brown color. Turn them gently, barely lifting them off the griddle.

Know When to Hold ‘Em – Keep pancakes warm by placing them on a cookie sheet. They’ll hold in the oven at 170F for up to 10 minutes. This is helpful when you’re cooking a big batch. Keep putting the pancakes in the oven as you go, then, as soon as the last batch is cooked, serve it immediately on a warm platter.

…some pretty good tips, right?

I also know that Jeff likes to mix the dry ingredients together a day ahead of time, so that when Christmas morning arrives, he can  whisk everything together quickly.

Well now you know what we will be having on Christmas morning…what about you?

Do you have traditional  foods you like to enjoy on December 25th?

Buttermilk Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients. In another bowl, lightly beat the liquid ingredients. Add the liquid ingredients to the dry all at once, stirring just to blend. The batter should be slightly lumpy.

Heat a lightly oiled griddle or heavy skillet over medium-high heat. Portion 1/4-cup measures of the batter onto the hot griddle, spacing them apart generously. When bubbles cover the surface of the pancakes and their undersides are lightly browned, turn them over and cook about two minutes more, until the other sides are browned. Makes about 24 four-inch pancakes.

variations:

Blueberry pancakes: to the batter, add one cup fresh or frozen blueberries and 1/2 teaspoon orange zest. *If using fresh blueberries, dust them lightly with flour to keep them suspended in the batter and prevent their color from running.

Butter pecan pancakes: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a heavy skillet. Add 1/2 cup chopped pecans, two tablespoons sugar,  and a few drops of lemon juice. Cook, stirring, for about 2 minutes, until the pecans are lightly toasted and the sugar is just beginning to caramelize. Cool slightly and stir the mixture into the batter.

Bacon breakfast cakes: Cook four slices of bacon until crisp. Drain, crumble, and add to batter. Serve pancakes in stacks of two, topping each stack with a fried egg.

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Mother’s Day Oven Baked French Toast: A Recipe Your Kids Can Make

When Virigina This Morning asked me to do a cooking segment for Mother’s Day, I knew I wanted to demonstrate a quick, easy recipe that kids of all ages could make themselves, or with a little help from their dad.

I talked with some of my friends, and sent out some tweets asking what they would like their child (or children) to make them on Mother’s Day. Given the choice of breakfast, dinner, or a special cake, breakfast won by a landslide. One person voted for a Mojito, but that wasn’t in my line up, and I don’t think it would go over very well on TV…maybe dad can take care of that one.

So breakfast it is!

I have a recipe for baked french toast (caserole style), which I have lightened up, replacing cream for low fat milk, and using a combination of eggs and egg whites. I am also using a whole grain or whole wheat bread in the recipe. In this case, I used protein packed quinoa bread that I picked up from Whole Foods. Add toasted almonds and fresh berries and you are letting mom know she is very special to you, and you are going to show her by making her a healthy, delicious breakfast.

Want to know something even better about this baked  french toast? It is assembled the night before and popped in the oven on Mother’s Day morning.

The aroma of cinnamon and nutmeg will fill your house, and the accomplished smiles on your child’s (children’s) face(s) as you take your first bite, will fill your heart. To me, that’s what being a mom is all about.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there!

Here is the cooking segment clip from the show, as well as the recipe for you to print and pass along to the little cooks in your home.

1 whole-wheat baguette (13-16 ounces) – cut into 1-inch cubes

8 large eggs

8 large egg whites

2 cups lowfat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/3 cup pure maple syrup

1 cup toasted sliced almonds

1/4 cup dark brown sugar

1/2 cup raspberries

1/2 cup blackberries

1 cup strawberries

Spray a 9×13 baking pan  with cooking spray.

Place the bread cubes in a single layer in the baking pan.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and egg whites with the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup. Pour this mixture over the bread in the pan. Sprinkle with the almonds and brown sugar. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight (at least 4 hours).

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes in an oven preheated to 350 degrees.

Spoon onto plates and top with fresh berries.

6 servings

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