Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pancake Panache


Last week Rosie's teacher told me she had refused to participate in a baking project that involved eggs. When the clever teacher realized what may be the problem, she asked Rosie if tomorrow they made a cake without eggs would she help? She said yes. Then on Shabbos she started pointing out to Lillie what she could not have because it contained gluten, such as the challah the rest of the family ate. This continued through the weekend with Rosie pointing out that Lillie could not have "her" pasta, even though Lillie had her own. I recognized what was happening. Rosie was only gaining self-awareness of her own allergies. However, Lillie did not recognize the same, and got angry and even physically lashed out at her, as she interpreted Rosie's remarks as teasing and taunting. I took Lillie aside and tried to explain what "going through a stage" meant, and that Rosie wasn't trying to be mean. But even for a bright 5 year old, there is just so much they understand.

I decided for dinner Sunday night we needed something everyone could eat. I also wanted to do something easy as I had been sick the previous week and felt sapped. I had a bag of Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pancake and Waffle Mix, a newer item in their store brand gluten free line, which I was anxious to try. All their gluten free products are delineated by a "g" symbol on the packaging. This definitely makes shopping easier. Having been in the store earlier in the day, I queried the manager whether he had a vegan pancake mix, but he only directed me towards the gluten free one!? Most pancake mixes call for milk, but the Trader Joe's Gluten Free mix specifically calls for rice milk or water. It also boasts it is wheat, peanut, tree nut, milk and dairy, soy and corn free. It does require 2 eggs though, which I substituted Ener-G Egg Replacer for Rosie's sake. The results were fine, although a bit flat. I attributed this to the lack of eggs which give pancakes a fluffy lift. I think a couple of pinches of baking powder would remedy the situation in the future. I felt good about serving this pancake mix to the whole family, as the ingredients are much healthier than your average glutenful pancake mix. Trader Joe's Gluten Free Pancake Mix definitely gets a thumbs up from my family. Lillie even ate seconds, something she usually never does!

Give the kids a few chocolate chips (Trader Joe's are the best!) to make faces or free form designs on the pancakes. Rosie's masterpiece...

With Chanukah arriving tomorrow night, pancakes of the potato variety are on most people's minds. They are a boon to gluten free eaters, as they are basically naturally gluten free. Just substitute potato starch, rice flour, or any gluten free flour blend for the small amount of flour or matzo meal in most recipes. Since there are a gazillion potato latke recipes out there, I will spare you. Instead, I am providing a recipe for Thai Corn Pancakes. This is a popular street food in Thailand, and a colorful, flavorful packed addition to Chanukah celebrations.

Thai Corn Pancakes with Cilantro Mayonnaise
from Recipe Encyclopedia, Pub. Crescent Books, p. 307

2 cloves garlic
1 small red chili pepper
3/4 inch piece fresh ginger or 1/8 teaspoon ground, dried ginger
2 eggs or equivalent egg substitute
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 Tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves
fresh ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon sweet chili sauce
14 ounce can sweet corn kernels, drained
1 Tablespoon peanut or vegetable oil (more as needed for frying)

Cilantro Mayonnaise
2/3 cup mayonnaise or Nayonaise (a vegan mayonnaise substitute)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/3 cup cilantro leaves, chopped
8 scallions, finely chopped
freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Coarsely chop the garlic; chop the chili pepper and ginger. Place the eggs, cornstarch, cilantro leaves, garlic, chili, ginger, pepper, chili sauce and half the corn in a food processor. Process in short bursts for 30 seconds or until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and fold in remaining corn.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Spoon 2 Tablespoons of the corn mixture into a frying pan (repeat leaving 1 inch between pancakes) and cook over medium heat for 2-3 minutes or until golden. Turn over and cook the second side for 1-2 minutes or until the pancakes are cooked through. Repeat the process until all the mixture is used. Drain pancakes on a paper towel.

3. To make the Cilantro Mayonnaise: Combine the mayonnaise, lime juice, cilantro and scallions in a bowl. Mix well. Add pepper to taste. Serve the pancakes hot or cool with a dollop of Cilantro Mayonnaise.

Serves: 6

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