Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Sesame Street says "Let's Cook!"

Most of my audience are not the Sesame Street set. But, maybe some of you are parents and you struggle with getting your kids to eat a variety of foods. I know how that goes. My daughter is now all grown up and her palate has expanded a great deal but she was a fairly picky eater as a kid. The fact that her mom was a trained chef meant nothing to her. I introduced new foods until they became old foods and familiar to her. I cooked more simply. The wonderful folks at Sesame Street have just released a cookbook for families, which uses many of the concepts I used with my daughter. It has recipes that appeal to children (children-tested too) wrapped up in that lovable Sesame Street package of Grover, Elmo, and Zoe.

One recipe, Zoe's Tortellini Soup with Tiny Turkey Meatballs, is printed in a story in the New York Times. Check it out. It's a very easy soup that takes advantage of pantry staples and pre-made food to make a filling dinner that kids and adults will love. You buy the tortellini. You make your own tiny turkey meatballs. You use packaged stock and canned tomatoes for the soup. Simple and delicious. Pre-made food isn't bad food if you are careful about what you use. And, it definitely makes the parent's job of getting a meal on the table a lot easier.

“Sesame Street Let’s Cook!” by Susan McQuillan, RD. Copyright © 2015 by Sesame Workshop.

Photo credit: By cyclonebill (Tortellini med svampe og mascarpone) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blueberry Wheat Germ Pancakes

We love pancakes in my house. My husband makes classic buttermilk pancakes every few weeks. I like to mix it up with some variations. I made these pancakes for Mother's Day this year. I adapted them from a King Arthur Flour recipe. As you can see from the picture, my recipe makes quite a stack of pancakes. This is half the King Arthur recipe. People must have very large families or else plan to feed all their neighbors in Vermont!

These are not sweet at all. I put real maple syrup on my pancakes. I vacationed in Vermont as a kid and only the real stuff will do. If the pancakes are sweet, breakfast tastes more like dessert. As much as the Vermonters like dessert for breakfast - pie for breakfast is a local tradition - I don't like sweet things for breakfast.

Blueberry Wheat Germ Pancakes
(serves 5-6)

Dry Ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
¾ teaspoon baking powder (1 ½ teaspoon at sea level)
½ teaspon salt
½ teaspoon baking soda (same at sea level)
½ cup toasted wheat germ

Wet Ingredients
2 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
3 Tablespoons vegetable or nut oil (walnut is particularly good)

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen blueberries (no need to thaw frozen ones)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together all the wet ingredients in a large measuring cup until well combined. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until there are no large pockets of dry ingredients. Add the blueberries, and stir gently to incorporate. Do not over-mix. Heat up a griddle using a medium heat. Too hot and your pancakes will burn before they are cooked through. Too low, and you'll be waiting forever and they will dry out. Grease the griddle lightly with butter or oil before each set of pancakes. For medium-sized pancakes, use a scant ¼ cup of batter per pancake. Do not crowd them; it becomes very hard to flip them if they are too close together. Cook until bubbles pop through the top and the holes formed don't close up. The edges will be cooked and the pancakes nicely browned. Flip and cook until the other side it toasty brown. Repeat until all the batter is gone. Serve hot.

Can be reheated in a microwave or oven but they are at their best fresh from the griddle.

Adapted from The King Arthur Flour 200th Anniversary Cookbook by Brinna B. Sands, Countryman Press, 1992.