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Another day, another squash. (SQUASH PANCAKES)

December 7, 2008

sq_pancakes

After the very first entry on this blog (the one where I botched up that custard-filled pumpkin thing) Miss S agreed upon tasting the recipe’s manifestation, that the flavors were good. Something was missing….something …hmm what was it…a wow-factor, a contrast…salty….smoky…Bacon! Somehow weird but true, this is when I decided to reinterpret the same combination of flavors (pumpkin, coconut and maple) into a dish that would pair well with bacon. ‘Pancakes!’ -the answer to the two part mystery. Bacon and pancakes. Naturally.

I tested my creation and the recipe yields alot of silver dollar-sized flapjacks. Once cooked the pancakes can be refrigerated/frozen and later reheated for a fast breakfast when there is no time for the luxury of making pancakes, only for the luxury of eating them. The batter was thin and they were much easier to flip when poured in smaller increments into my hot skillet (my! that is a hot skillet!). Maple crystals replace regular sugar and give extra maple flavor, coconut milk keeps the recipe dairy-free (though there are eggs). I used coconut oil to cook the pancakes which boosted the coconut content too. Delicious and nutritious. I got my smack in the face.

Since we’re on the subject, and ‘tis the pumpkin season, here is an article I wrote which appeared in the Queens Chronicle. (Represent.)

Edible gourds have been growing in North American soil for over 10,000 years. They were prized and cultivated by American Indians who named them something that pilgrims thought sounded like ‘squash’. And so it goes.

Over years, this term has come to be a general description of any vegetable that falls under the genus curcurbita, which also includes what we know as pumpkins. Squash is then subdivided into categories of summer and winter. Locally, we select from just a handful of the hundreds of varieties that are in existence today, but they are grown worldwide in an endless parade of shapes, sizes and color. Our current season is the best time to find winter squash such as butternut, acorn, buttercup, sunshine, hubbard, delicata and kabocha. These squash are characterized by thick skin with hard, vibrantly colored flesh, usually deep orange or yellow, which becomes very smooth and sweet after cooking. They are also a great source of vitamins A, C, potassium, iron, magnesium and beta carotene.

A good winter squash will last a month or more when stored in cool surroundings, but do not refrigerate since that will speed up its demise. Choose one that feels heavy for its size, has dull, unblemished skin bearing no soft spots. The stem should be firmly attached. Because a winter squash is hard to cut into, it is helpful to have one side stabilized on the cutting board. For a round variety, trim off a wedge and rest the cut side down. For a long, cylindrical shape, cut in half crosswise (where the neck meets the base) and stand each piece upright for cutting lengthwise. When peeling winter squash, if the vegetable peeler is losing the battle, use a kitchen knife. If it still seems too large, cut it into manageably-sized chunks and peel each separately. (November, 2007)

SQUASH PANCAKES 2008

Yields about 2 dozen three inch pancakes
1 cup pumpkin or squash, cooked*
1 1/3 cups coconut milk
3 eggs
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 1/4 cups flour
2 tablespoons maple crystals or sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
coconut oil, canola oil or butter for cooking

*You can use almost any winter squash. A universal way to cook them is to cut the squash in half lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, rub the entire thing with a little oil and roast at 400F until you can easily pierce the flesh through to the center. Cooking will vary depending on the size of the squash….don’t worry, if you keep an eye on it, it’s pretty hard to overcook it. Once soft, allow to cool slightly and scoop out the flesh with a large spoon.

  • In a medium mixing bowl, mash cooked squash well with a fork. Add coconut milk, eggs and canola and continue to mash/stir until fully combined or use a hand mixer.
  • In a larger bowl, Whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, maple crystals, baking powder and salt.
  • Add pumpkin mixture to the dry ingredients and stir or beat until fully combined.
  • In a large skillet, melt 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil, canola oil or butter. Pour in a small ladle of batter and make a small pancake in the skillet, remember the batter will spread.
  • Cook on one side, about 5 minutes or until small bubbles appear on top of pancake. Flip.
  • Cook on the other side until done, another 3 minutes or so. Keep pancakes warm on a covered plate or in a low oven while cooking off the rest of the batter.

Serving suggestion: maple syrup and bacon!!!

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