Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Oats, plumped and fried

About three or four years ago, I used to make oatmeal pancakes for our breakfast on a regular basis. We had a school bus-riding foster child then, and since I needed to be up anyway to make sure she didn’t slip out of the house with her tongue ring still in, I went the extra step and made a hot breakfast for everyone. Along with Dutch puff, oatmeal, Farmer Boy pancakes, scrambled or fried eggs, egg casseroles, and Cream Cheese and Blueberry French Toast Sandwiches, I made oatmeal pancakes.


Everyone likes oatmeal pancakes better than plain oatmeal (c’mon, there’s syrup involved!), and they are fairly simple to assemble, though because the oats soak in a yogurt-water mixture overnight, you do have to remember to start them the night before. I’ve been trying to make them all week now, but somehow always ended up going to bed before setting the oats to soaking. Until last night, that is. Then I finally remembered. (Seeing as last night was Tuesday night, I guess I'm not doing so bad.)


Soaking oats (and other grains) in yogurt or buttermilk is recommended by the health experts because the enzymes in the cultured dairy products help to break down and neutralize the phytic acid, thus improving the food's nutritional benefits. (I got so smart by reading Sally Fallon’s book Nourishing Traditions.) But we all know I’m no health freak (I’m a freak in other ways, yes, but not in healthy ways), and even so, I choose to soak my oats. Why? Because they taste good! The oats plump up till they are swollen and tender (and about the same consistency of cooked oatmeal), and they develop a slight hint of sourness (use less yogurt for less sour; more yogurt and the sourness becomes more intense) so that the final product tastes more cultured (in a sophisticated sort of way).

So this morning after spending some dark morning quality time at my computer, I set the griddle on the stove top and went about adding flour, spices, oil, and a handful of eggs to the bowl of soaked oats. The Baby Nickel joined me and hijacked my spatulas.


The final pancakes are tender and chewy (but not gummy) with a hint of cinnamon. Served with lots of butter and homemade maple syrup, they make for a deliciously hearty breakfast.


We ate a bunch of the leftover pancakes for lunch (after we finished off a loaf of bread, some chicken salad, lentils and brown rice, and spinach-chicken quiche), reheated and spread with butter and grape jelly.


Oatmeal Pancakes other ways:
Molly's Oatmeal Pancakes
Mama Pea's Oatmeal Pancakes

Oatmeal Pancakes
Adapted from Simply in Season

A double recipe feeds my family most generously and still leaves a couple pancakes for later snacking.

Variations: Add a grated apple, chopped dried dates, or blueberries to the batter.

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup yogurt or buttermilk
1 ½ cups water
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup oil, or melted butter
½ cup flour
2 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt

The night before:
Stir together the oats, yogurt, and water. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap (or a shower cap) and set it aside on the counter. Go to bed.

In the morning:
Stir together the dry ingredients in a small bowl.

Add the eggs and oil to the soaked oats. Stir in the dry ingredients.

Melt a pat of butter in a frying pan and spoon some of the batter into the pan. The batter is thick, so you may need to use the back of a spoon to spread the batter out a bit. Fry the pancakes until they are golden brown and no longer wet inside.

About one year ago: A child's blessing.

11 comments:

  1. Oh, I've been looking for something new for my breakfasts. And since it's past 11 p.m. I'll soak the oats right away. I'll write tomorrow how they turned out!
    Thanks!


    Aleksandra

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  2. I want to come and live at your house!!! Mmmmmmmm! ;)

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  3. I want to hear stories about foster kids... please.

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  4. Enough is enough. I can't believe I haven't read Nourishing Traditions yet. It's going on my birthday list. Those look delicious, by the way. I'm going to show our pancake-maker the recipe.

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  5. Oh my, this is so funny! I was just telling my mom, grandma, and a certain aunt whom you get along with quite nicely about this phytic acid thing this morning! The Grandmother and Aunt thought me a bit crazy (read: freak) and my mother was the only one that believed me...in fact, she said that you soak your oats, too! That makes me feel a bit better, though I'm still confused about a few things. Does this mean that granola, apple crisp, and other such goodies in which you can't soak the oats are bad for you? This would upset me if that's true. What does Nourishing Traditions have to say about that? And now, it's 9:34 pm and I best get to soaking some oats. Or wait, maybe I'll make waffles tomorrow. The littlest bro is here and I'm sure he'd much rather have sweet waffles then zingy pancakes, though believe you me, I'll be making these pancakes soon! Oh, and could I use whole wheat pastry flour for these things?

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  6. Zoe, Nourishing Traditions would say that you can go ahead and eat those other non-soaked oat products, but only rarely and in small amounts and so long as you soak most of your other grains. You don't have to listen to everything Nourishing Traditions says, but she (author Sally Fallon) has a good point: those humble oats will do a whole lot more for your body if the enzyme inhibitors aren't around to inhibit enzyme activity which we need for excellent digestion, and if the phytic acid is neutralized so it doesn't bind with and block absorption of valuable nutrients such as calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc. (Read more in the Whole Grains section of Nourishing Traditions, page 452 and onward...)

    And yes, I am a health freak, but I choose food that tastes good too and this recipe promises sublime flavors and texture in my mouth! I must make these pancakes soon.

    Kris

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  7. Mavis, I'm on it.

    ThyHand, You're welcome to borrow my book if you want to read through it...

    Zoe, I don't fret about whether or not to soak everything---I just do it if it makes my life easier and tastes good. We go through a 14-cups-of-oats batch of granola weekly and I don't feel one bit concerned. And yes, I think you could use whole wheat flour. I thought of doing it, but I would've needed to grind more flour and that would NOT have made my life easier at that moment.

    Kris, I've heard that soaking white flours makes them as nutritious as straight wheat flours (or something along those lines). Is that true?

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  8. I found an informative website here, if you don't have Nourishing Traditions and don't want to buy it now: http://www.healthbanquet.com/soaking-grains.html

    Jennifer, I spent a little time researching your question online and in my books, admittedly doubting that I would find any evidence that white flour could ever be as nutritious as whole grain flour, since all the nutrients are removed to make it white. I found this bit about soaking white flour, at this website:
    http://www.cheeseslave.com/2009/11/17/why-soak-and-sprout-grains/

    "White flour doesn’t have a lot of anti-nutrients, because the anti-nutrients are found in the bran, which has been removed. However, white flour doesn’t have any nutrients either. It’s an empty food that has no real nutritional value.

    So, ideally, you want to eat soaked or sprouted whole wheat flour. Try to minimize intake of white flour, but if you do eat it, it’s best to ferment it with sourdough starter, which makes it more digestible."

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  9. How wonderful! Thanks for posting...these are going to be breakfast! :)

    Blessings,
    Camille

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  10. The report ~ Breakfast was a BIG HIT!! I posted about them and linked to you. Thanks again!

    Have a terrific day!
    Camille

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  11. Who say's pancakes are for breakfast? I'm making these for dinner tonight!

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