Today, our local Farmers spotlight is on the Broadway (Capitol Hill, Seattle) Farmer’s Market, where we were able to source most of the ingredients for breakfast. Located at the corner of Broadway and Pine, the market runs from April 21st through December 22nd, offers locally grown produce, ethically raised and harvested meats, fish and fare from local flower growers, bakeries and a variety of great people that are dedicated to a healthier, non-destructive food supply.
We called it “The Studio Pancake House”, which was a mash-up of East Detroit’s (now renamed the more digestible Eastpointe, Michigan) Pancake House and Studio camera conveniently located next door, where my dad, the one that infected me hopelessly with the photography bug, would always stop to peruse the latest in lenses, films and gadgets after breakfast on Sundays. While we all saw through his thinly veiled plot to get us to the camera shop, there were pancakes and a Sunday drive involved so we all looked the other way. Call us enablers if you will….I’m weak, we are all weak, for the perfect pancake. The perfect pancake is light and fluffy in the center, with just enough rise and bread-like texture to it. Both the top and bottom have a subtle, crisp crust and there should always be blueberries. My tastebuds were spoiled a little early in the pancake game. After our Studio Pancake House trips as a kid, I spent a good deal of my life trying to find those pancakes again. There were decades of pretty good, kinda close and what the hell did I just eat as my own family and I moved around the country. Not too long ago, on a frenzy of book buying when the local Half Priced Books closed down, I stumbled across a book from Cook’s Illustrated, chock full of American classic recipes that had been tested to the point of madness, with the promise of unlocked secrets of perfecting hundreds of the things we’ve loved to eat for generations. I can tell you that, so far, the promise holds true and exhibit A comes in the form of these mouth-watering, mind-blowing, memory invoking Blueberry and Lemon Cornmeal Pancakes. At its base is a simple cornmeal pancake recipe, which is what you’d call the archetype of classic pancakes. The cornmeal, whipped egg whites and buttermilk represent an art form of morning meals long lost to busy days and moving way too fast. My suggesting to you is to clear your schedule this Sunday, sleep in (see example photo below, demonstrating the fine art of sleeping late, featuring Josh and Blue) and eventually make your way to the griddle. Whip up a batch of blueberry and lemon cornmeal pancakes and slow your roll a little, gather the family around a table and forget about the clock for the day. Monday is tomorrow….there’s plenty of busy left in the week. Enjoy.
Source: American Classics. Boston Common Press, 2002. By the Editor’s of Cook’s Illustrated Magazine
Preheat: a cast iron skillet (or non stick pan or iron griddle) over medium-high heat for 5 minutes before you’re ready to start cooking your pancakes. Time: 15 minutes to prep, 15-20 minutes to cook. 45-ish minutes really well spent. Yields 10-12 pancakes, which is enough to serve 4-5 people.
Playlist: I’m smitten by Spotify, the monthly online subscription that lets you listen to pretty much any song or album you can think of, assemble playlists, recall them on and offline and share them with anyone else that’s a subscriber. This Sunday, I played a list of perfect Sunday morning songs that I put together on the plane ride back from the Bay Area;
- Van Morrison’s Sweet Thing
- Electric Light Orchestra’s Mr. Blue Sky
- Lez Zeppelin’s Ramble On
- Michael Penn’s No Myth
- Stevie Wonder’s I Wish
Ingredients: (Organic, locally sourced is optional. We list what we use. To find local growers and producers in your area, visit Local Harvest)
- 1 pint (2 Cups) fresh, organic blueberries rinsed, plus 2 tsp of all purpose flour, tossed together and set aside in a small bowl
- 2 Cups organic, all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp grated lemon zest
- 4 tsp organic, granulated sugar
- 2 Tbsp stone-ground cornmeal
- 1 tsp Kosher salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1 1/2 Cups organic buttermilk
- 1/2 Cup fat-free organic milk (1%, whole, etc is fine too)
- 2 large, free-range organic eggs, separated
- 4 Tbsp organic, unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- Additional softened, unsalted butter for brushing on skillet (or griddle, or pan)
- Add the lemon zest and dry ingredients in a large bowl and whisk to combine
- Pour the milk and buttermilk into a small bowl or large measuring Cup (at least 2 Cups in volume), combine and whisk in the egg whites
- In another small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and melted butter, then add to the other milk and egg white mixture and stir to combine
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula until just combined
- Gently fold in the floured blueberries until evenly distributed in the batter. The flour “sets” the blueberries and avoids them bursting when cooked, so be sure to fold gently enough to keep from bursting the berries open
- If your batter is too thick to ladle, thin it by adding 1 tsp of milk at a time until loose enough
- Liberally brush softened butter on to the pre-heated skillet (or non-stick pan or griddle) and wait 15 seconds
- Ladle about 1/4 Cup of batter on to the pan for each pancake-do not crowd the skillet
- When bubbles appear on the top of the pancakes and the bottoms are browned (about 2-3 minutes), gently flip the pancakes over and cook until the other sides are browned (about 1-2 minutes)
- Repeat until the batter is used
- See notes on keeping warm, storage and reheating below
Pancakes are best served hot, right of the griddle. It captures all the crispness of the cornmeal and the structure overall. If you’re saving up a batch so everyone can sit down at once, set your oven to warm and place a large tea towel in the bottom of a rimmed baking dish with enough over hang to fold over the pancakes once you set them in the dish. Place the pancakes in the towel as they leave the pan/griddle, then fold the towel over them to cover completely.
You can freeze extra pancakes for several weeks to months in an airtight container. While they won’t be quite as crisp as when they leave the griddle, they’re surprisingly intact. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and wait 15 minutes after the oven has reached temperature. Place the frozen pancakes on a baking sheet for 15 minutes (do not thaw them-they go right from the freezer to the baking sheet) or until they are springy and hot to the touch. Serve immediately.