Edith: Cool, I’m first, so I can claim pancakes! Or at least my version of them. To me, since about 1971, pancakes are whole wheat. Preferably with either bananas and walnuts in them, or in recent decades, with a handful of hand-picked (for a while also home-grown) blueberries, either fresh or frozen, added to each. Top with a dollop of plain yogurt and the best maple syrup you can afford, and you have a Sunday morning breakfast that will sustain you for a good while. The core of the recipe comes from the Tassajara Bread Book by Edward Espe Brown. I now can’t abide white pancakes!
Whole Wheat-Blueberry Pancakes
Mix 2 c whole wheat flour, 1 T baking powder, 1 T brown sugar, 1 tsp salt in a mixing bowl. Make an indent in the middle and add three eggs, then stir with a fork. Add 1/4 c vegetable oil and 2 c milk (can be non-fat). Mix with same fork or a mixer until blended. Spoon batter into a nice medium-hot skillet with a little oil in it. Add a handful of blueberries, fresh or frozen, to the middle of each pancake as soon as you have spooned it into the pan. Cook until the bubbles pop, turn, cook some more — come on, you know how to cook pancakes — and eat with yogurt and great maple syrup.
Sherry: I have had Edith’s pancakes and they are amazing! But I also love my mom’s buttermilk pancakes. They are easy to make and easier to eat! 2 eggs beaten, 2 cups buttermilk, 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda, 3/4 teaspoon salt, 1 1/2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon vanilla. Combine beaten eggs and buttermilk. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook and drizzled with lots of hot maple syrup.
Last weekend while visiting the Boston area we stopped in the bar at the Commons at Hanscom Air Force Base. I ran into Gina Pacheco who shared this inspired use of maple syrup. She wets the rim of a beer glass with maple syrup, dips it in cinnamon and sugar, and then fills the glass with her favorite pumpkin ale! I can’t wait to try this!
Liz: Since going wheat and gluten-free, my house has gotten creative with breakfast. After a lot of experimentation and sampling, the best gluten-free French toast goes like this:
Either make your own bread (which is time consuming and messy) or find a healthy alternative. I’m lucky enough to live near a great natural store that makes their own gluten-free bread that’s perfect for French toast. Thanks, Nature’s Grocer! Then you combine one large egg, 1/4 cup of vanilla-flavored almond milk, 1 tsp ground cinnamon and 2 tablespoons butter (I use Earth Balance vegan, soy free butter). Dip the bread in the mixture and coat both sides, place in skillet and cook for about 5 minutes, making sure both sides are golden. Douse with your favorite maple syrup and enjoy!
Julie: While maple syrup is amazing for breakfast, it also works well when roasting butternut squash. Preheat oven to 400. Cut the squash in half, take out the seeds and guts. Fill up the cavity with butter and maple syrup, sprinkle some nutmeg and roast for about an hour. Really delish, and makes a lot.
While we are talking maple syrup, can I just say that using the real thing matters? I use grade B for cooking, and only have the real thing in the house. More expensive, but a little goes a long way, and it makes such a difference.
Barb: While researching my second Maine Clambake Mystery, Boiled Over, I was looking for camp-style recipes for authentic Mi’kmaq dishes. One of the recipes is for Baked Camp Beans.
Here’s a bit of dialogue from the book.
“My God, these are delicious. They taste a something like New England baked beans.”
“And who do you think invented those?” Phil smiled at me. “All the tribes in Maine, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick cooked beans mixed with maple syrup and bear fat in clay pots buried with hot coals.”
I loved that! In the Americas our cuisine is such a happy melding of heritages. The melting pot literally is a pot.
Jessie: All these ideas sounds delicious! Maple syrup is a great substitute for honey. I recommend it in a sort of teriyaki glaze. I mix together soy sauce, some sweet rice wine, maple syrup, ginger and garlic. I pour it over chicken pieces and let it marinate for a couple of hours then grill or broil it.
Readers: What’s your favorite maple syrup recipe? And have you bought Jessie’s book yet?