Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Zucchini Bread Pancakes

I have a problem with those recipes that promise to sneak a heap of veggies into your family's meal with the obviously false assertions that A) no one will notice, and B) this will somehow make the recipe "healthy."  Not that getting an extra serving or two of vegetables in to your day isn't healthy; it obviously is.  But when they're disguised as something else, you usually wind up using lots of extra sugar and/or flour and/or oil and/or salt to get them to taste less like themselves and more like the thing they're not.  In my unprofessional and largely untested opinion (I only have one kid, and she mostly eats vegetables, albeit with some consistent encouragement), if the problem is that our children don't want to eat vegetables because they're really into eating brownies or pasta, the solution might not be to give them more brownies and pasta, but to demonstrate to them that fresh veggies are actually delicious and worth getting into.

 With that off my chest, here are some zucchini bread pancakes, and I'm happy to say that they contain vegetables and whole grains and not a lot of sugar.  I will not tell you that they are health food, though I am aware that the words "shredded squash," "whole-wheat flour," and possibly even "zucchini bread" may conjure up images of bricks of heavy, sodden, earnest self-righteousness.  These are anything but.  The zucchini acts much like carrots in carrot cake, bringing moisture and a subtle sweetness, while the whole-wheat flour provides excellent structure (these were some of the fluffiest pancakes I've ever made!) and its unmistakable nutty flavor.  These are decadent, weekend-breakfast fare, and I'll be making them again next weekend, and probably the weekend after that, for as long as there is summer squash piling up in my fridge.  Because vegetables are delicious, and so are pancakes.

from The Smitten Kitchen blog

makes 10 to 12 pancakes

2 large eggs
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons light brown, dark brown or granulated sugar
1/4 cup buttermilk or 2 tablespoons each of milk and plain yogurt, whisked until smooth
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 heaping cups shredded zucchini (from about 9 ounces whole, or 1 1/2 medium zucchini)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground or freshly grated nutmeg
butter or oil, for coating skillet

In a large bowl, combine eggs, olive oil, sugar, buttermilk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in zucchini shreds. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. Stir dry ingredients into zucchini batter, mixing until just combined.

Preheat oven to 200°F and place a tray on a middle rack.

Heat a large, heavy skillet (cast-iron is often great for pancakes) over medium heat. Once hot, melt a pat of butter in pan and swirl it around until it sizzles. Scoop scant 1/4-cup dollops of batter into the pan so the pancakes do not touch. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface, about 2 to 3 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook another minute or two, until golden underneath. Transfer pancakes to prepared pan to keep warm as well as ensure that they’re all cooked through when they’re served. Repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm. 

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