Photography courtesy of Lowell Washburn, all rights reserved.
A Return to Traditional Flavor
After tromping the woodlots for early morning cottontails or hiking onto the ice for daybreak walleyes, there’s nothing like coming home to a good hot breakfast. For my way of thinking, there is no better way to recharge your body engine than by tying into a stack of piping hot pancakes.
All flapjacks have their strong points, but the species I favor above all others is derived from stone ground buckwheat. With its dark grainy texture and rich earthy flavor, the buckwheat pancake is in a class of its own. A hearty staple of Iowa’s frontier homesteaders, buckwheat cakes remained a commonly featured item on kitchen breakfast tables and downtown restaurant menus well into the 21st Century. Unfortunately, this wholesome taste treat seems to have all but disappeared from contemporary cuisine. But don’t despair. Even though you probably won’t find them at your local coffee shop these days, preparing buckwheat griddle cakes at home is simple, quick, cheap, and nutritious.
My favorite whole grain buckwheat mix is produced by Hodgson Mill. I’ll be the first to agree that buckwheat pancakes make a stick-to-your-ribs, stand-alone meal that doesn’t need any help from additional add ons. But as long as we’re already standing in the kitchen, why not tweak the recipe with a couple more ingredients that will push our flavor meters to the next level?
Here’s how. Once your buckwheat batter hits the bottom of a medium hot skillet, start adding slices of fresh banana. Once that’s done, fill in the gaps with fresh blueberries. You’ll need to keep a move on. By the time you get everything in place, your cake should be about ready to flip. Since blueberries have a high water content, the pancake might get a bit noisy when it’s first turned. No problem. Getting rid of that excess moisture is a necessary step for maximum blueberry flavor.
Once your flipped cake is laying fruit side down, it will only take a minute to finish the project. Once your pancakes are done, serve in short stacks with butter, powdered sugar, or swirls of whipped cream. As a final option, top the whole thing off by pouring on some warm, northeast Iowa maple syrup. Dig in. It’s a cold weather entree that will send your taste buds into orbit. Bon Appetit!