Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oatmeal Pancakes

About all the food these days: I'm trying to finish up a wedding present for my brother and his bride-to-be. Also, if you really mind, you could comment! Or, you could comment anyway, because I love comments.

ON to oatmeal pancakes, which I wrote up a few weeks ago and hadn't gotten around to posting yet.

No thank you, you say. I like regular pancakes quite well enough (or not) without gussying them up with a nearly tasteless food like oatmeal, you say. And I will not stop you from saying it; I have gotten many such reactions from many roommates and other persons who were observing me in the process of oatmeal pancake production, and I am well aware of the futility of trying to talk people out of their right to such a reaction.


I will point out that many-- definitely more than half-- of the people who have had the "meh" reaction to the idea of oatmeal pancakes have actually liked the pancakes themselves, enough that they expressed interest in my making them again. I will point out that a fair number of those persons have asked for the recipe at some point. I will point out that I, myself, being without my little cookbook with all of my handwritten recipes in it for several months, finally just got around to figuring out the recipe again, because I needed it that much.

This recipe meets all of my basic requirements for a really good recipe: cheap, nourishing/healthy, reasonably high on the deliciousness scale, and pretty fast to make. It is also fairly environmentally friendly, if you care about that sort of thing. I have lived on this recipe for-- ok, it probably won't help my cause to admit how long at a time this has constituted a major part of my diet, but I will say that it's a poor graduate student's best friend. Also, when I would get those rare phone calls from my sister-with-five-children, saying that they had a family member who needed to go to the emergency room, and could I come watch everyone else for a few hours? I would always whip up a quadruple batch of these to take along to the house (to be cooked once I got there), and they were always well-received.

The following is a "one person" batch. I find that it works for a couple of meals for me, or a meal for me and one other person, sometimes with leftovers.

The Recipe:

  • 3/4 c. oatmeal
  • 1 1/2 c. milk

Let these soak for half an hour.

{Mom asked me: do you have to soak them? And I said, when I tried it without the soaking time, at the beginning of the frying process the batter was too liquid, so I added more flour, and then by the time I was cooking the last pancake, a lot more of the liquid had been absorbed by the dry oatmeal and the batter was not liquid enough. So I soak my oatmeal now.}

You can mix the dry ingredients at the same time as the oatmeal (I usually do this), and that will mean that when it comes time to cook them, you just combine the contents of the two bowls, and then add your egg and your oil, and you are set to go. I sometimes put the oatmeal on the night before, and then breakfast is lovely-easy.

Dry Ingredients
  • 1 c. flour (you can substitute whole wheat for white for all of this without too much consequence, though I prefer half and half, because it gives a little lighter texture)
  • 1/2 T sugar
  • 1/2 T baking powder (Heh, heh, almost spelled that "baking power;" be sure to reduce this to 1 t in high altitude regions)
  • 1/4 t salt

Last of the wet ingredients:
  • 1 egg
  • 1 T oil (or, of course, melted polysaturated fat product of your choice)

Mix well, but don't overmix. I like to crack the egg into a separate bowl before dumping it in the main bowl. I do this to make sure that I don't inadvertently let in any shell bits; it's also really nice to be able to beat the egg in its own space, because then I know there aren't going to be large glommy bits of egg which are not evenly distributed through the batter. Not that it's the end of the world if that happens; but I think I sort of overbeat the batter when I forget to beat my egg separately first.

I also never over-explain anything. Nor do I indulge in sarcasm.

Fry 'em up! They're delicious! (Especially hot off the griddle.)


Being poor, and also having various undesirable reactions to milk products, so that I often end up using the more expensive soymilk, I have discovered by trial and error that you can replace up to about half of the milk with water; more than that, and the texture of the batter gets funny-- the pancakes stop holding together very well, and that is difficult on the flipping side of things.

If you want to use already-cooked oatmeal (and I suspect that this may be the original form of this recipe; there is almost no other edible use for cold, already-cooked oatmeal) then cut the milk/water in half (so, for this size of batch, use half a cup); and then use one whole cup of cooked oatmeal per batch. You can fudge on the amounts here, especially if you are good at eyeballing the consistency of the batter. The upshot of this is that if you are REALLY craving oatmeal pancakes (and trust me, sometimes I do), and you have pancake mix on hand, then you can just mix up a batch of pancake mix and then add wet oatmeal until the consistency looks right. Doesn't that sound nice? (But it really is, once the pancakes have finished cooking.)

Egg substitution-- this could, and probably should, be a posting all its own, but who wants to read an entire post about that? Anyway, I have a bro-in-law who is allergic to eggs, SO here is what works: a tablespoon of cornstarch per egg, if you are just trying to replace its binding power. I have also used garbonzo bean powder with some success (1 T per replaced egg, plus maybe a third of a cup of water); I don't care for the taste, personally, but my younger sister and her children prefer it to the regular kind. I use GB powder on the theory that the egg also gives some protein, which I will want to replace. Using the same logic, I have also used the GB powder to substitute for soymilk, on occasion; if I remember right, about 1 T per cup of water made the texture come out OK when I was out of soymilk on a Sunday or whatever.

Oh, yes, and there is also the Classic Mayo Replacement for when you aren't allergic to but just out of eggs, but I try to avoid that one, since I think it tastes funny. I'd put in about 2 T of Mayo per missing egg, personally, because even though you aren't replacing the whole egg, it will get the job done and keep your pancakes from tasting just too much like pasta salad.

Funny/ Cross Cultural Recipe-Related Story:
I'm not quite sure what it is about me and cultural differences, but so far in my life I tend not to find as many as I am expecting. Is it just that I expect the rest of the world to be exotically different, and they are only mildly different? Is it the McDonald's effect, wherein everything really is how I expect it, because my country's culture has taken over everyone else's? Or is it that I just put things down to different personalities or in other ways don't notice them, when they are really cultural differences? Possibly it's a combination of all three. In Germany, I found the food to be, um, pretty normal. Some of it was darn fantastic, and I collected a couple of recipes, but the Ferrars and I did a great job of not shocking each other over food issues.

When it came to pancakes, however, it was different! I was really craving them about three weeks in, so I tried to make them. When I asked for baking powder (which, by the way, is "Backpulver" in German, in case you ever need to know), Elinor gave me a funny look. "You put baking powder? in something you cook on top of the stove?!" I was able to assure her that while there are plenty of idiosyncratic things about me which may not apply to all Americans, there is no doubt in my mind that the vast majority of my countrymen are familiar with the concept of baking powder being used for pancakes. Which are cooked in a skillet, on top of a stove.

Ta-da! Genuine cultural difference! I was so proud.

Since I didn't have the recipe with me and also I hear that European flour is quite different from what I'm used to, my results that time round were not spectacular, but at least I got a good story out of it.

1 comment:

Kari Lynn Dell said...

Actually, we have cross cultural differences in my marriage when it comes to pancakes. My mother's side of the family is Blackfeet. My husband's mother is Norwegian. I like to cook just about everything. Our first conflict came when I made fry bread. Basically, yeast bread dough flattened and deep fat fried. My husband insisted that these are called flapjacks. I said, "No, no,no. Flapjacks are regular pancakes. The kind you cook on a griddle. Just ask my dad." Then I made crepes. And my husband informed me that THIS is a pancake. Just ask his mother.

Kari Lynn Dell