Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's for Breakfast? Oatmeal Pancakes with Fresh Fruit and Cinnamon

Oatmeal Souffle Pancakes with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and cinnamon
Rarely do I order pancakes for breakfast.  It’s not because I don’t like them.  In fact, I love pancakes to the point where sometimes I have dreams about them: pancakes dripping in butter and maple syrup, pancakes topped with fresh strawberries and whipped cream…Mmmmm!  I don’t order them because at most restaurants, pancakes are basically dessert.  In the morning I need a little bit of protein, something to give me lasting energy for the rest of the day.  Eating a complex carbohydrate and sugar bomb (like most restaurant pancakes) has too many consequences for first thing in the morning.  (If I’m going to completely blow off my healthy eats, I prefer to save it for the end of the day and eat a giant chocolate ice cream sunday at the Farmacy, just down the street from my house in Brooklyn.  It is really worth it!)

Recently, my cousin turned me on to oatmeal pancakes.  The way she makes them, they are chewy and just a little bit sweet.  I love going to brunch at her apartment because she always serves them with a heaping potion of fresh fruit and a side of yogurt.  She says the trick to getting the pancakes moist and chewy is to soak the whole oats in yogurt before mixing them into the batter. 

As I am obsessed with her pancakes, I started looking around for a similar recipe.  I’ve tried a few combining whole-wheat flour and oats.  The cakes were delicious, but very dense.  One pancake would keep me full for hours, but to eat it, I had to saw at it with a steak knife.

I've finally worked out a recipe that is light and delicious.  It is packed with egg whites, making the cakes not only fluffy and soufflĂ©–like, but also packed with needed lean morning protein.  I just learned how to make oat flour and used it here and also in pizza dough to much success.  This recipe is based on one from Stella’s Kitchen (

Oatmeal Pancakes

Makes:  5-6 Servings (I store the extras in the fridge and eat     
              them all week)
Time:  30 Minutes
Difficulty:  Ant Icon 32x32pxAnt Icon 32x32px


1 cup low fat milk
1 ½ cup whole rolled oats (separated into two ¾ portions)
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
4 large egg whites
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp grated nutmeg
2 tbs honey


Heat milk and add ¾ cup whole rolled oats.  Remove from heat and set aside.

Whole oats and warmed milk
 In a Cuisinart food processor, a regular blender or flourmill, grind ¾ cups whole rolled oats into oat flour.  A minute or two in the Cuisinart or blender on high should be enough time to make fluffy, somewhat fine ground flour.  You may want to grind a bunch of oats at once and store the oat flour for more convenient use in the future.

Making oat flour
 Beat egg whites until stiff.

In a large bowl, stir dry ingredients, including newly made oat flour, together and add milk and oats mixture and honey.

Gently fold in egg whites until batter is uniform. It should be very moist and fluffy.

Pancake batter
 Lightly grease a frying pan.  I have tried all different kinds of oils and nonstick pans and sprays to try to eliminate, or at least decrease, the amount of butter in pancakes, and you know what?  For browning cakes, nothing works or tastes better than butter.  I use very little butter in the pan to stop cakes from sticking and give them a slightly crispy exterior.

Spoon a thin layer of batter in a circular pattern for each cake.  Cake size is chef’s choice.  I like smaller pancakes, but the batter is cohesive enough use for larger pancakes.  Flip when browned.  The pancakes are cooked when each side is golden.

I top them with nonfat Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, honey and cinnamon, but they will be delicious with whatever your favorite topping may be.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What's for Breakfast? Soft Boiled Egg Salad Sandwich

Soft boiled egg sandwich on homemade whole wheat bread from the "Cozy Homemade Bread = Serenity" post (August 28, 2011)

Breakfast is not perhaps underrated, but under-explored.  There are so many possibilities yet all I ever see people eating are donuts and Poptarts and toaster waffles.  Pre-made, over-sugared crap.  Although I think it's dangerous to reduce food to energy, in many ways that is why we eat.  We need nutrients, energy, to survive.  Period.  What we eat should at very minimum provide the energy we need to live.  Sugary treats don't do this. Much as we love them, they are not really food, making it an especially bad choice first thing in the morning.

I don't like reducing food to energy because it is so much more than that.  For one thing, meals are meant to be social experiences, a time to relax and enjoy each other's company.  Also, cooking - or even just making our own food choices - is a creative experience.  And it is clearly pleasurable.  We enjoy eating.  And there is nothing wrong with that.  It is much better than mindlessly mawing while sitting at our desks or running for the train.  I've often eaten breakfast in my car on my to work, not tasting anything at all, just fueling.

To combat the boring breakfast rut most of us find ourselves in, I'm working in a few more ideas to add to your repertoire.  Theses are quick, easy, nutritious ideas for you to try.  As always, I'd also love to hear you comments and recipes, even your favorite "guilty" breakfast.

Today's recipe: Soft-Boiled Egg Sandwich

Difficulty: Ant Icon 32x32pxAnt Icon 32x32pxbut only because soft boiled eggs can take a          
                  little bit of practice
Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 1 - 2 servings


2 eggs
2 slices toast (I used my favorite homemade recipe)
1 tbs diced celery
1 tbs diced carrots
1 tbs diced jicama
1/2-cup arugula
Whole grain mustard
Black pepper
Old Bay Seasoning


The key to a really perfect soft-boiled egg is not dropping it into water that is already boiling, but allowing the egg to heat slowly at first with the water.  
Place whole eggs, shells and all, into a pot of water.  The eggs should be barely covered by water.  Water should be from the tap, not yet heated.  Add a pinch of salt to the water and place covered pot on a burner on medium high to high heat.   Cook until egg is soft-boiled.  It should take about seven minutes or five minutes from when the water begins boiling.  You may need to remove the lid or adjust the burner temperature.

While the eggs cook, toast bread.  Chop vegetables and place in a bowl.  Rinse arugula.  Spread mustard on your toast.

After allotted time, remove eggs from heat and run cold water into the pot.  This stops the eggs from continuing to cook in the hot water.  Leave the eggs to cool in the cold water for a few minutes.  You can also take them our of the water and leave them in the fridge for hour or a few days.  They are easier to peel if they have been sitting for a while.  You may want to make a few eggs at once to keep on hand.  (If you intend to save some in the fridge, do not peel.  Just place the eggs in shells in the fridge.  They will keep better in their shells.)

Remove eggs from water, crack and peel them carefully.  Soft-boiled eggs are very delicate.  Take your time and be gentle.  After the eggs are peeled, rinse them to make sure you removed any small pieces of remaining shell.

Place the eggs in the bowl with the chopped vegetables and dice gently.  The yoke will break and run down through the vegetables as you slice the white.  Season with pepper, Old Bay and salt to taste.  Stir gently.

Spoon egg mixture onto toast and top with arugula.  Eat open-faced or as a sandwich.  Enjoy!