A Luminous Halo

"Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end." --Virginia Woolf

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Location: Springfield, Massachusetts, United States

Smith ’69, Purdue ’75. Anarchist; agnostic. Writer. Steward of the Pascal Emory house, an 1871 Second-Empire Victorian; of Sylvie, a 1974 Mercedes-Benz 450SL; and of Taz, a purebred Cockador who sets the standard for her breed. Happy enough for the present in Massachusetts, but always looking East.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Vegan Pancakes à ma façon

All my kids can cook, but they'll never be too old to like Mommy turning out a meal that they don't have to prepare or clean up after. And it's amazing how the two who aren't vegan and who on a regular basis used to declaim vehemently against "that tofu crap" will polish off a whole meal made without meat, eggs, or dairy.

Today I was in the mood for pancakes, and I had two willing customers. These are made in the traditional New England way, from an old Vermont cookbook. Simple substitutions render them vegan. Difference in flavor and texture is negligible.

Original recipe: for about four of these dinner-plate sized pancakes, stir together a cup of flour, a spoonful of sugar, a spoonful of yellow cornmeal, a half teaspoon of baking soda, three-quarters of a teaspoon of baking powder, and a pinch of salt. Add an egg, a cup of buttermilk, and a couple of spoons of melted butter and stir sunwise just barely to mix. (If you mix out all the lumps, you'll have crepes, not pancakes.) Pour onto hot greased skillet, preferably cast iron, and turn once.

Now, I never have buttermilk around, so I just sour some milk by adding a couple of spoonfuls of lemon juice or vinegar. If I'm going the vegan route, I use soymilk instead of cow's milk, souring it the same way. Instead of melted butter, any vegetable oil. Instead of an egg, I add a teaspoon and a half of egg substitute, which looks like baking powder, along with the dry ingredients, and a couple of tablespoons of water or extra soymilk with the wet. Canoleo is a nice butter substitute made out of non-hydrogenated canola oil, good for slathering over the pancakes.

I like maple syrup, but my boys prefer a syrup I made up, and for which I have given a recipe in a previous blog entry. It's sugar and just a couple of spoons of water brought to a boil in a heavy pan. Then some cinnamon and plenty of heavy cream swirled in. Then some vanilla once it's off the heat. Silk coffee creamer from the dairy case is a good vegan substitute for cream...it's the right color and texture, doesn't separate, and doesn't have the disgusting hydrogenated and non-food ingredients of fake coffee creamer.

Et voilà: pancakes à ma façon.

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