Wow—my coconut cookie post was a big hit, it seems! So today I’m going to post another recipe, although this time, sadly, I don’t have a picture—we ate these all up before I put my fork down long enough to get out the camera. This picture, therefore, is not the real Oat Pecan Pancakes, but an imposter—a sort of placeholder of pancake-y goodness. Picture or no, though, take my word for it—these are really good, and with the richness of the pecans, perfect for that Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras/pre-Lent splurge.
Oat Pecan Pancakes Chez Loupas
1 cup flour (For more nutrition use 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat. You can also use 1/2 white and 1/2 cornmeal for a johnny-cake-like flavor and texture.
1 1/2 cup rolled oats. (You can break these up a bit in a food processor, or use quick-cooking oats, but I like the heartier texture of old-fashioned rolled oats.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups milk
2 tablespoons molasses (You can use dark brown sugar for a slightly milder flavor.)
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Stir together dry ingredients—flour, oats, baking powder and salt.
Stir together wet ingredients—eggs, milk, molasses and melted butter.
Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir just to combine.
Let stand for a few minutes. This is important—it will soften the oats and make your pancakes fluffier by giving the baking powder a head start.
Just before cooking, fold in the pecans. Want to keep these crisp!
Ladle batter onto hot, lightly oiled (or buttered or cooking-sprayed) griddle by quarter-cupfuls or so. When bubbles have formed on the top and the edges begin to look dry, flip. The second side will be done in about half the time it takes to cook the first side.
These are utterly heavenly with real maple syrup. They’re pretty darn good with plain old pancake syrup, too.
Kalo Podariko! (“Happy First Foot,” the Greek wish for a happy new year.) The first foot over our threshold this morning (as it is pretty much every morning) was a freckled beagle paw belonging to our Miss Cress. I love her freckles—I’ve given her freckled paws to Seilie, Rinette’s little hound in The Flower Reader. Since Cressie is a typically beagle “merry little hound,” I think she’ll bring us happiness in the year to come.
Living in Texas as we do, we’re also supposed to eat black-eyed peas for luck on New Year’s day—the dish is called “Hoppin’ John,” the etymology of which is obscure. Sadly, the Broadcasting Legend™ and I don’t really like black-eyed peas. Heresy, I know. What we’ve done is create our own version, which we call “Hoppin’ Jim.” Heh. It’s a sort of bean soup made with ordinary white beans and the bone from the Christmas ham, and it is delicious. I’d post a recipe, but none of the things Jim cooks actually have recipes. He’d say something like, “Well, you take the ham bone and put in the beans and some other stuff and simmer it all afternoon.” Right.
I like vegetables—shredded carrots and greens of some sort—in my Hoppin’ Jim, but I have to add those separately so as not to sully the purity of the original.
Warmest new year wishes to all, and God bless us every one.
I’ve made a big change in my schedule this past week, and it’s turned out to be a whole-life transformation. Isn’t it funny how small things can make such big changes?
Anyway. I’ve moved my writing time to first thing in the morning. I get up, let the doggies out, make my coffee, and start to write. Period. No email, no news, no journal, no morning pages (sorry, Julia Cameron)—just coffee and writing, pure and simple. I am a natural morning person and the Broadcasting Legend™ isn’t, so I even have solitude, with the sunrise gradually lightening my south-facing windows, coffee steaming and doggies curled up on their pillows behind me. I’ve been working till I get to five pages or ten o’clock, whichever comes first. And then, amazingly, I am free. I can manage everything else in the course of the day, because my real work is done and no matter what else happens, I have achieved something important (well, important to me) for that one unique, irreplaceable day in my life.
I know it sounds ridiculously trivial, but for me it’s been a revelation. It is such an enormous relief to have my work done and the rest of the day stretching out enticingly before me. Do I sometimes do more writing (or particularly research and editing) in the course of the day? Why yes, I do. But only because I want to. If I want to take a nap instead (with Nigella Lawson or Ina Garten rambling soothingly about food in the background) I am utterly free to do it.
What special rituals seem to make your creativity work for you?
In other news of the week: Cressie has also experienced a transformation—into a tri-color predator extraordinaire. This week she added a rabbit and another squirrel to her list of victims. You do not want to know the details.
I am reading Great Maria by Cecelia Holland. For about the leventy-leventh time, but I love this book so much and it is out in a beautiful new edition from Sourcebooks. If you haven’t read it, please put it on your list. You will not be sorry.
I am making a lovely pan of Mexican Lasagna this week, since the Broadcasting Legend™ is going to be out of town and I’m free to eat casseroles every night of the week. (I love casseroles. The BL™ is a large-recognizable-piece-of-meat man.) I take the wonderful chili I wrote about last week, layer it with plain, lightly oven-toasted corn tortillas (the toasting makes a huge difference in the flavor) and a mixture of colby cheddar, monterey jack, and queso fresco tossed with lots of Mexican spices. Then I bake the whole thing till it’s brown and melty and crunchy around the edges. The corners are my favorite pieces.
And finally, did you see the story of Paris Japonica, the white flower that has been determined to have the longest genome ever discovered—fifty times longer than the genome for a human being? Can you imagine what my floromancer heroine Rinette would make of that? Unfortunately I can’t put Paris Japonica into The Silver Casket, because it’s a native of Japan and would have been outside the ken of anyone in sixteenth-century Scotland or France. But! Paris Japonica has a relative called Paris Quadrifolia, known to folklore as Herb Paris or True-Lover’s Knot, and that plant might indeed have been found in damp and shady places along Aberdeenshire streams. Rinette wouldn’t know about genomes, of course, but with her uncanny affinity for flowers she might sense something unusual about Herb Paris. I’ve already worked out just what part this enigmatic plant is going to play in the story…
See you next week!
I am working away on The Silver Casket. One of the most fascinating things is the way Rinette, the heroine, uses her idiosyncratic system of floromancy to characterize the other people in the story. By the time I’m done the “Floromancy” part of my notes will be a book in itself!
Sincere thanks to everyone who has voted for The Second Duchess on Goodread’s “Historical Fiction 2011” Listopia list—“Books we are excited about coming out in 2011.” Are you excited about Duchess? Yay! Please add your vote.
Delicious things I have cooked/baked this week: well, it’s not really cooking, but I made the best carrot and broccoli slaw. Healthy and easy. One bag of shredded carrots and one bag of broccoli slaw—take a handful of each and throw in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar, add a pinch of salt, and toss. (You could shred the carrots and broccoli stalks yourself, of course, but think how much more trouble that would be!)
On the unhealthy but yummy side, doughnut muffins. Mmmm! All the pleasure of a glazed cake doughnut but baked into a muffin rather than fried. Start here for the recipe. I used all butter instead of butter and oil, and cut way back on the nutmeg—the merest soupçon of nutmeg is fine with me. And I glazed them with Alton Brown’s doughnut glaze instead of rolling them in butter and cinnamon sugar. Incredibly good.
Meanwhile, the medical community is still trying to figure out why my wrist is hurting so much. This week, had a new series of x-rays. Should have results next week.
Have been reading Mary Anna Evans’ Strangers (an advance copy of which I won on the DorothyL mailing list) and Deanna Raybourn’s luscious Dark Road to Darjeeling. I have a lovely new-bought extra copy of Dark Road to Darjeeling and signed bookmarks on the way from Deanna, and I will be giving it all away next week. Watch this space!
Cooler weather seems to be tiptoeing into north Texas, thank goodness. This morning it brought some rain with it, and we’re grateful for every drop.
A new Top Chef season starts tonight. Yay! I don’t care for “reality” television in general but I do love Top Chef and its more pedestrian (in a culinary sense, at least) cousin The Next Food Network Star, which also just started a new season a couple of weeks ago. Haven’t picked favorites yet, but stay tuned.
Our little town has had a farmer’s market for three or four years now, but I’ve never been before because I’ve never managed to combine the elements of a) being up and dressed at eight o’clock on Saturday morning, and b) remembering that the farmer’s market happens at eight o’clock on Saturday morning. This morning, however! I set an alarm on my computer to remind me and the Broadcasting Legend™ and I went farmer’s marketing for the first time.
It was fantastic! A huge bag of fresh locally-grown produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, sweet corn) for a tiny price, plus freshly-baked artisan bread—a gorgeous crusty baguette which is not sourdough, which for some reason has become suddenly unobtainable at our local supermarkets. This one visit is all it took to make us farmer’s market devotees forever.