Buckwheat pancakes with Rhubarb sauce

Surprise your mom for breakfast with these delicious, healthy pancakes for Mothers’ Day or just treat yourself any time.

This naturally gluten-free pancake recipe is the successful marriage of the traditional American buttermilk pancakes and the Russian buckwheat pancakes (blini). I wanted to replace the white flour with something healthy and then I remembered the Russian pancakes and started experimenting. Let’s face it, white flour is tasty but is not very nutritious or filling. Furthermore, many of the flour alternatives can be also lesser quality. So after using buckwheat over the years, I decided to experiment and see how it would do here. I have to say the result quickly became a family favorite. 

Buckwheat is an ancient plant but has been forgotten. It has recently become a popular food again in the West because it lacks gluten that causes gastrointestinal problems in so many people. It is a staple in Russia, in fact, the Russians have survived on it for centuries. Eating buckwheat might have been their secret. So why should we eat buckwheat on a regular basis? Even if there is no crisis, buckwheat can be included in our diet as it is incredibly healthy and nourishing. It is not a grain but it is the seed of the buckwheat plant and does not cause digestive problems like wheat does but it actually nourishes the digestive tract.

Let’s look at its energetics. Its neutral thermal nature and sweet flavor are an indication that it is a tonic food. It is rich in protein (13g). It has also intestine cleansing and strengthening and appetite improving ability.  Rutin, a bioflavonoid in the grain strengthens the capillaries and blood vessels, hinders hemorrhaging, decreases blood pressure, and promotes circulation in the hands and feet. Rutin also has the ability to protect against radiation. 

To improve the texture, I added tapioca pearls.  The trick is to grind both grains before you make the pancakes. It is worth it! The store-bought flours yield a lesser quality for sure. You can get the tapioca flour ready ground instead of grinding it yourself if your grinder isn’t strong enough but the store-bought buckwheat flour is too bitter.  Another trick/personal preference is when you grind the grains, leave the flour a little coarse. This gives the pancakes a bit of texture. Try not to grind too long though.

In the spring, I like to serve the pancakes with rhubarb sauce. The rhubarb stems are great in the spring.  It is the first fruit, oops I meant to say vegetable here. Yes people often think it is a fruit because of its fruity, sour taste but it is in fact a vegetable. I can’t believe I get excited about rhubarb but it is really the first new plant that shows up at the farmers market in the Midwest. While it is not a fruit, it can be prepared with sugar to –kind of cheat- make them be like they are fruits.  Rhubarb has favorable health effects as it is cooling and detoxifying to the liver.  (Just on the side, I will have a rhubarb cobbler recipe soon posted when the berries are ready. Please check back). 

EDIT: I have been trying to figure out how to balance the sourness of the rhubarb. As I mentioned before I got the recipe straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking but there is something missing. I can’t believe I didn’t come up with this earlier. So I added a little fresh chopped ginger root, orange peel and sprinkled it with a little cinnamon powder and salt. It did the trick so I will add these ingredients to the recipe now.

The PANCAKE RECIPE

What you need

  • 2 cups of freshly grounded buckwheat groats
  • 1 cup of freshly ground tapioca pearls
  • 2 cups of fresh buttermilk or powder would work too
  • 2 cups of milk (use only 1 cup of milk if using already ground tapioca flour)
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp cornstarch
  • 3 whole eggs.- lightly beaten (at room temperature)
  • 3 Tbsp of melted butter
  • ½ tsp salt
  • sugar (optional)
  • oil for the pan (I like to use ghee but sunflower or grapeseed oils are fine too)

ground tapoica

Ground buckwheat

Directions

  • Grind buckwheat and tapioca. Put them in a large bowl. 
  • Add the buttermilk and let the mixture sit overnight but at least for 4 hours.
  • Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, corn starch.  I like to add these right before I make the pancakes.
  • Have a bowl ready.
  • Melt butter in a heavy bottom pot and add to the bowl.
  • Wisk eggs. You can beat egg whites separate if you want to make pancakes fluffier.  Add to the bowl.
  • Add milk to the bowl.
  • Mix together and when ready add this mixture to the grains from earlier.
  • Blend batter using a wooden spoon. Stir only until it’s just blended. Do not over stir!
  • Heat a lightly oiled frying pan over medium heat. You can flicker water across the surface and if it beads up and sizzles, it’s ready!
  • Poor or scoop the batter onto the baking pan, using approximately 1/3 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.
  • Serve with your choice of yoghurt, rhubarb sauce, maple syrup, nuts, fruits, jam etc. 

The RHUBARB RECIPE

What you need

  • 4 cups of rhubarb stalks (Choose firm stalks that are not wilted).  
  • ¼ – ½ cup of sugar (can omit if sugar is an issue)
  • little salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root (finally chopped)
  • 1 Tbsp orange peel
  • cinnamon powder + freshly graded nutmeg – (I use apple spice from penzeys.com)

Preparation

  • Wash and trim the top greens off.
  • Cut into 1 inch pieces lengthwise. If the stalks are wide (more than 1 ½ inches), slice them lengthwise in half.
  • Put rhubarb and sugar in a smaller pot for about 15 minutes or until the rhubarb exudes some juice.  No need to add water! Add also the ginger and orange peel.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.
  • Reduce the heat to low.
  • Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally until the rhubarb is tender and the liquid thickened. (10-15 minutes).
  • Remove from the heat.
  • Let it cool for 15 minutes, the sauce will thicken as it cools.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon.
  • Keeps in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • (This recipe is straight out of the cookbook Joy of Cooking).

enjoy!

Sources

Written by twincitiesherbs.com

Sorrel and nettle stew (Sóska és csalán fözelék)

Every year, I look forward to spring just so I can make this dish. The main ingredients are sorrel and nettle. The sorrel gives a really nice, pleasant lemony flavor and the nettles add the substance, texture and protein to the dish. It is a simple recipe to make, the hardest part is really to find the sorrel and the nettles. Our ancestors regularly ate them in the spring but today unfortunatelly they are seldom available in stores. My recipe is based on the Hungarian sorrel stew recipe (sóska fözelék) with the addition of the nettles. Years ago, I could not find any recipes that had nettles so I decided to experiment. In my opinion, the results are fantastic.

Before I post the recipe, I would like to talk about nettles and sorrel. Nettle is like the super food of the US and Europe. When I think of Nettles, two things come to my mind: nutritive tonic and the kidneys. It is very high in protein, vitamins, and minerals and makes a nutritious food for sure. Just to demonstrate its high protein content, Nettles have 40-45 grams of protein compared to beef that has 20 grams. It is rich in iron, silica and potassium. It also supplies vital energy to the kidneys that can be helpful for everybody but especially during pregnancy, menopausal years and old age. In general, it is safe to include in the diet and should be consumed during the spring months. Just make sure you get the leaves before the plants start flowering.

With its sharp, tangy taste, sorrel adds zest to dishes. However, it is not just added for its flavor but it is also a nutritious goodness. Sorrel is a green leafy vegetable with calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc, vitamin C and a fair amount of fiber. Polyphenolic acid, flavonoids, anthocyanins are the beneficial organic compounds in sorrel. No wonder our ancestors frequently included it in their diet. It aids digestion, improves energy and circulation, boosts immunity, heart and vascular health, improves kidney health, builds strong bones, improves eye sight, and one’s overall functional health.

RECIPE

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of washed sorrel or you can use spinach too but the dish will taste differently.
  • 1/4-1/2 lb of washed nettles (the nettles should be fresh and stingy but they will not hurt your mouth after you cook them).
  • vegetable oil (I like sunflower)
  • 2 strips of longer bacon (optional)
  • 1 onion finally chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp of sweet Hungarian paprika (powder)
  • about 1/2 cup of water, vegetable or meat stock (preferably home-made)
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  • Saute the onions in some oil until translucent and can smell the wonderful aroma of the onion.
  • If desired add bacon and fry until crisp.
  • Keeping the oil warm add the paprika and the garlic, mix for 30 seconds and add cold water or stock.
  • Add sorrel and nettles.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Turn the heat down and cook on low heat for about 30 minutes.
  • When done, take off heat and let the dish cool off.
  • Chop the vegetables in a food processor. Here you are trying to create a sauce with a little texture.
  • Add salt and sour cream, black pepper.
  • Serve on mashed potatoes along with fried eggs or hard boiled eggs.

enjoy! Jó étvágyat!

Sources

Hot and sour burdock soup

When I go to Asian restaurants, I always wish I could make their foods. Well, here is one that can be easily made!

Spring is here! In the Midwest, one of the first edible foods in nature is Burdock root. A great way to include burdock in your diet is to make a soup with the roots. Asian cooks rave about their burdock soups that they make in the spring. I’m presenting a burdock root soup here that is inspired by Rosalee de la Foret’s blog. Well, here is one dish that can be easily made! There is really nothing exotic about this soup, all the ingredients can be found here in the US.

The website to the original recipe: https://learningherbs.com/remedies-recipes/hot-and-sour-soup-recipe/

As we transition from the winter into spring, it is important to pay attention to our digestion. Heavy foods in the winter might be clogging our livers that can lead to some dreaded health problems in the spring like fevers and tiredness. We tend to eat heavier foods during the winter months but now as our livers are waking up, our body is ready to embark on something lighter and easier to digest. The spring season is the time to attend to the liver and the gallbladder. Our body tends to cleanse itself naturally as we eat less. In addition, it is nice to add some bitter plants that aid the liver to accomplish this process. Our ancestors ate a lot of bitters in the spring. One of these spring bitters is burdock.

Burdock is a lovely plant. It has a distinct flavor. It is earthy, slightly sweet, and bitter. The bitter flavor is lacking in our diet today and is what our liver needs at this time. It cools and clears the stagnation that was caused by the heavier winter foods. Oh and one more … it is also aphrodisiac! So yes! … you can make it for your date dinner, too!

This soup works great in the spring. The burdock’s earthy, heavier flavor pairs nicely with the carrot’s sweet and light flavor. In addition to bitter flavor, the liver also needs the sour flavor that it gets from this sour dish as well. This soup is a big favorite in our family, yes even the kids like it. Perhaps it is because of its interesting, well balanced flavors. In fact, it has all five flavors: sweet, salty, bitter, sour, and pungent!

Ingredients

  • 1 qt (or more to well cover the vegetables) of home-made stock (vegetable or pork, beef, chicken, fish). For the meat stock recipe, please refer to my Stuffed Cabbage recipe.
  • 1 cup of shredded burdock root (peeled and shredded through the largest holes of your grader) – if you don’t have it in your backyard, it is available at farmers’ markets, co-ops or also from Harmony Valley in Veroqua, WI.
  • 2 cup of shredded carrot (peeled and shredded)
  • 2 clove of garlic
  • 1 Tbsp of minced ginger
  • 2 handfuls of mushrooms (like morelle, shitake)
  • 3 Tbsp cornstarch mixed with 4 Tbsp of water
  • 4 Tbsp of rice or white vinegar
  • 2 lightly beaten egg yolks
  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • scallions
  • soy sauce
  • hard boiled eggs
  • hot red pepper or sriracha sauce (optional)

Recipe

  1. Bring stock to a boil.
  2. Add carrots, Burdock roots, mushrooms, the crushed garlic and ginger. After it boils, turn it down to low medium heat for about 5 minutes.
  3. Add vinegar and the cornstarch mixture. Keep stirring it becomes thick for about 2-3 minutes.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir egg yolk in gently. Add salt and hot red pepper (optional).
  5. Serve in a deep bowl. Garnish with scallions and add soy sauce to taste.
  6. You can add hard boiled eggs too. Bring some water in a pot to a boil and add the eggs at room temperature. Boil them for 7 and a half minutes. Take them out and put them into cold water. Peel and serv. If the eggs are cold, straight out of the fridge then the cooking time is 8 minutes.

Enjoy!

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