I am a member of a community of health and dietitian bloggers called The Recipe Redux. The Latin “redux” means to revisit or reinvent, and the aim of The Recipe Redux is to reinvent the idea of healthy eating with a taste-first approach.
On the 21st and 22nd of each month, members of this community receive a unique recipe challenge. This month’s challenge:
“Spring Clean the Kitchen: Cook with at least 3 ingredients that are actually in your refrigerator or pantry right now. Try not to go to the store to buy anything new. Give tips on how to make a healthy dish out of whatever you have on-hand.”
I recently moved and was forced to ‘spring clean’ my kitchen. In doing so I realized how many flours and grains I had laying around in my refrigerator and pantry. I have cornmeal, corn flour, and corn polenta. So clearly I had to make something corn-related for this month’s challenge.
Tip: Store your flours and grains in the refrigerator in sealed containers if you have the space. This keeps them from going rancid/stale (only problem is that you should remember to use them before they disappear into the refrigerator abyss not to be found for another xxx years).
Mark Bittman’s Cornmeal Pancakes were so easy to prepare and helped me make a dent in my cornmeal stash. The basis for these gluten-free pancakes are cornmeal, salt, boiling water, oil, and milk with a few additions of vanilla and pine nuts to amp up the flavor and texture.
If you are vegan, use a non-dairy milk where the recipe calls for ‘milk.’
These pancakes definitely require a good glug of oil to get them nice and crispy and pan-fried, so stay away if you are following a strict low fat diet.
I recently got into using date syrup as an alternative to other sweeteners. The brand I own still contains sugar in addition to the dates, but I like the flavor and it pairs well with both sweet and savory dishes. Maybe I will try making a homemade version soon.
If you are following a low sugar diet, nix the sweetener and dust the pancakes with cinnamon and serve with plain Greek yogurt and/or fresh fruit. Or, omit the vanilla extract in the recipe and serve with something savory, such as eggs, vegetables, and/or cheese.
Mark Bittman’s Cornmeal Pancakes
Recipe from the New York Times
1 1/2 cups fine or medium grind cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons olive oil or vegetable oil, plus more for frying
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup pine nuts, optional
date syrup, maple syrup, honey, and/or yogurt for serving
Whisk together the cornmeal, salt, and 1 1/2 cups boiling water in a large mixing bowl and let sit until the cornmeal absorbs the water and softens, 5 to 10 minutes.
Slowly whisk in the milk, a little at a time, until the batter is spreadable but still thick. Stir in the 2 tablespoons oil, the vanilla, and the pine nuts.
Place a large (preferably cast-iron) skillet or griddle over medium heat. When a few drops of water dance on its surface, add a thin film of oil and let it become hot. Spoon out the batter, making any size pancakes you like. Cook until bubbles form on the top and burst and the underside is golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes; turn and cook on the other side until golden. You may have to rotate the cakes to cook them evenly, depending on the heat source and pan.
Transfer to plates and serve with sweetener and yogurt. To keep warm, place on a baking sheet and place in a 200F oven.
*These reheat well when stored in the refrigerator overnight and placed in a toaster oven the next morning.