Sunday, May 8, 2011
Miles from Mother's Day
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails
for hours, your imagination
And if your spirit
carries within it
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---
-Mary Oliver ("Morning Poem")
Living thousands of miles away isn't always easy, especially on holidays. I would have liked to have made my mother pancakes today. A nice breakfast to start the day off right. That's what these holidays are all about, right? The simple act of making the day nice, of showing your appreciation. Pancakes and I have had a long relationship and one marked by many ups and downs, but in the past year I've come to the conclusion that nothing says "love" more than pancakes.
After all, nobody necessarily wants to stand over a stove or a griddle in the morning, either pre-coffee or in the act of consuming said coffee. It's much easier to pour a bowl of cereal or to pop some bread in the toaster than to measure flour, whisk eggs and milk together, to make sure the batter isn't overmixed but is just right.
But it's so worth it. Especially when they turn out slightly crispy and golden. And especially when you try a new recipe that combines cardamom, oats, dried apricots and almonds. 1 point for taste; 1 point for happy arteries. It's like eating decadently but with a healthy twist. Such things--and lots and lots of flowers--were made for Mother's Day.
I'll be seeing my mother in about a month, when these pancakes will be making a triumphant return to my table. But for now, pictures of their happy tidings--and of the beautiful flowers from the local rose garden--will have to suffice! Daughterly love, after all, comes in all shapes, sizes and flavors.
Cardamom-Scented Oatmeal Pancakes
from Mark Bittman's The Minimalist
Yields 4-6 servings, depending on the size of the pancakes
1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups cooked oatmeal
1/3 cup chopped dried apricots
Vegetable oil for frying
-Combine the flours, oats, almonds, baking powder, cardamom and salt in a large bowl.
-In a separate bowl, whisk together the egg and milk; stir in the cooked oatmeal and the apricots until just incorporated.
- Add the oatmeal mixture to the dry ingredients and stir gently; don’t overmix. The consistency should be that of thick pancake batter; add a little more milk or whole-wheat flour as needed.
-Put a large skillet or griddle over medium heat. When a few drops of water dance on its surface, add a thin film of vegetable oil and let it become hot.
- Spoon out the batter, making any size pancakes you like.
-Cook until bubbles form on the top and pop, 2 to 3 minutes.
-Carefully flip the pancakes and cook until they’re browned on the other side, a couple of minutes more. You may have to rotate the cakes to cook them evenly, depending on the heat source and pan.
- Serve with honey.