Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Buckwheat Buttermilk Pancakes
(Vegan, Gluten-Free, Soy-Free) – Makes 10 pancakes

184 calories for (2) pancakes or 277 calories for (3)
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I have this pretty amazing pancake recipe that I routinely make. My pancake go to recipe, everyone has one, right? Even if you’re opening a box of the “just add water” stuff. I got off that ‘stuff’ years ago, once I realized how easy it was to make myself from scratch. The same goes for cookies and cakes from mixing bowl to oven, it shouldn’t take more than 10-15 minutes to mix a few ingredients together. The only exception is my carrot cake and that is simply because I shred/grate a few carrots, if that counts as work.
Back to my pancakes, I wanted to challenge myself. How can I make them better? They tasted great and were fluffy, everything you want in a pancake. I thought about a conversation I had with my mother last week she mentioned the idea of exploring a gluten-free diet. Bingo! I’ll make a gluten-free version. If you have or know someone with gluten sensitivity, celiac disease, an addiction to wheat gluten or any other reason you’d like to eliminate gluten from your diet, this recipe can easily become your go to. Buckwheat despite having wheat in the name, it is not a grain. It is actually a fruit seed related to rhubarb. Buckwheat appears to be a grain but it is a pseudocereal, like quinoa or amaranth. The seeds can be eaten as a cereal or ground up into flour. This recipe utilizes buckwheat flour.   Buckwheat is a rich source of fiber, protein, riboflavin, niacin and minerals like copper, magnesium and zinc, great for your immune system.
So I make these delectable pancakes and to my surprise, I start to hear murmurs at the table while I’m in the kitchen. “I like these better” I hear…first, one of the children and then my husband. Note to self: “It’s okay…the other ‘pretty amazing pancakes’ that I first mentioned are still good and should still be blogged about in the near future.”

Ingredients:
1 1/2 Cup Almond milk, unsweetened
1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
1 1/3 Cup Buckwheat Flour
1 Tbsp ground Flax Seeds
½ Tbsp Pure Vanilla extract
½ Tsp Salt
1 Tsp Baking powder
2 Tbsp Coconut Oil, plus additional for pan

Directions:
-Stir Apple cider vinegar into Almond milk to create a buttermilk. Let this stand while you blend your remaining ingredients.
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-In a mixing bowl, whisk together Buckwheat flour, ground flax seeds, salt and baking powder so dry ingredients are incorporated.
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-Cut in coconut oil to dry mixture, you can use your hands or mix in with the whisk.
(Chunks are okay, if you use your hands the heat from your hands can melt some of the coconut oil, which is okay too.)
-Add buttermilk (almond milk/apple cider vinegar) mixture to dry ingredients plus vanilla extract and whisk together.
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-Lightly oil frying pan or griddle with some additional coconut oil over medium heat.
-Using a ¼ Cup Measuring cup, scoop batter and pour into frying pan. (Depending on pan size I’ll make two or three at a time.)
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-Like any other pancake once the top of the batter starts to bubble in the pan you should be ready to flip. Cook until browned.
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-Serve with your favorite topping – fresh fruit, maple syrup or plain. Enjoy!
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Pancake tip: Between each batch, for instance, if I make two or three pancakes before going right in to the next set of pancakes: I take frying pan and run it under cool water, then return it to the stove before adding the additional coconut oil or Earth balance (vegan butter) and putting in my next batch/batter. I’d say for the past 10 years or so I’ve always done this while making pancakes. I do this to keep the heat of the pan consistent. It always bothered my how the first two or three would look great vs. the last two or three that would be burnt looking or darker.

Ultimate Black Bean Burgers with Onion Strings and Aioli

Ultimate Black Bean Burgers
(Makes 10 vegan burgers)

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”The Big Kahuna”

Certain foods can be very nostalgic for me. Likewise, new recipes and creations can pioneer new memories that I will surely reflect back on years from now. When the kids first tasted this burger, they absolutely loved it! I was concerned that they were alittle soft, but they were flavorful and delicious! On a toasted warm bun everything just all melded together; it is a must try with the Aioli. Seth’s reaction when he first tasted the burger, hysterical. First bite, “Mmm, wow!” Second bite, “This is a tasty burger!” Clearly he was channeling Samuel L. Jackson’s character in Pulp Fiction. I laughed. Of course then later he pulled up the clip of the scene from Pulp Fiction then said I should call the burger the “Big Kahuna Burger.” The kids laughed. This is clearly his girlfriend’s version of the Kahuna burger since Sam Jackson referenced that she was vegetarian, I said.

On our first date, Seth took me to a Stephen Starr restaurant in Philly (Tangerine). We were dressed to the nines; the restaurant had excellent ambiance. Ironically we had dinner there on the last night they were opened in August 2009. Then he cleverly planned dessert at Maggiano’s. I say cleverly because Maggiano’s is about 40 minutes away down an expressway from the other location. Of course at the time, I’m thinking, “wow, this is a long drive” now that I think back on it, it was brilliant. Long drive = conversation. Communication is key and good vs. bad can make or break a first date. Dessert was my first Maggiano’s experience – this was pre-vegan, of course. This restaurant served as several memories for us, eventually he proposed to me here also – it was a different location than from our first day, however. Maggiano’s served these amazing onion strings. Coming up with a side suitable for my black bean burgers was fairly easy when I think of these onion strings. My version is vegan and melt in your mouth delicious. I utilize a vegan buttermilk – so easy to make. Buttermilk is tart and acidic, essentially the acid causes the pH level to decrease making it curdle. I achieved this by mixing simple apple cider vinegar with almond milk. I really hope you try these recipes. Make dinner then pop on Pulp Fiction for dinner and a movie, haha. Enjoy!

Black Bean Burgers
Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ Sweet Onion, chopped
3 cloves Garlic, chopped
2 (15.5oz) Cans Black Beans or 3 Cups Cooked Black Beans
¼ Cup Water
1 can of Corn or kernels off 2 ears of fresh corn
½ Cup Pumpkin Seeds, toasted
1 small head of Broccoli, florets chopped
1 Carrot, shredded
1 Tsp Cumin
1 Tsp Garlic Powder
2 Tsp Smoked Paprika
½ Cup fresh Parsley, chopped
4 pieces of Sundried Tomato (oil-packed), chopped
½ Cup Panko Breadcrumbs
½ Tbsp ground Flax Seeds
½ Tbsp Cornstarch
1 Tsp Fresh Ground Pepper
1 ½ Tsp Salt
Additional Olive oil for frying

Directions:

-Heat Olive oil in pan over medium heat. Add chopped onions and sauté for 1-2 minutes, add garlic and continue sautéing for another minute.
-Add black beans to onions and garlic and heat through (1-2 minutes). – Add ¼ cup water and begin to mash beans. –You can use a potato masher; I typically just use the back of my spoon to mash them. The consistency you’re looking for is that of refried beans.
-Add mixture to a food processor (I let it cool slightly before adding to my food processor – I’ve already cracked my base before by adding something too hot).
-To the food processor add: Corn, Pumpkin Seeds, Broccoli, Carrots, Cumin, Garlic powder, Smoked Paprika, Parsley and Sundried tomatoes (chop them first before adding so they get better incorporated) and pulse until ingredients are all blended.
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-Turn out into a mixing bowl, then fold in: Panko, Ground Flax Seeds (instead of buying ground, I but whole flax seeds then grind them up in a coffee grinder), Corn Starch and Salt/Pepper with a spoon or spatula.
-Once mixture is incorporated, form patties with your hands. This recipe made 10 patties for me. We ate four and I froze the remaining.
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-Best method I found for these were to cook them in a sauté pan. Just heat some additional olive oil and cook for 4-5 minutes on each side. Note: I did try these baked in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes (10 each side) but I found they broke apart easier.
-Serve these up on a whole wheat bun or bun of your choice with your favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Notes on freezing:
Place parchment/wax paper on a baking sheet – add black bean burgers and cover with a sheet of plastic wrap. Freeze for 1-2 hours or until solid. Then transfer into zip top freezer bags. I have left these overnight in the freezer also, which was fine, I just put them in the freezer bags in the morning.
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Onion Strings
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Ingredients:
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
2 Cups Almond Milk – unsweetened
2 Sweet Onions, Sliced thin
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp ground Pepper
1 Tsp sea Salt
1 Tsp Smoked Paprika
¼ Tsp Cayenne Pepper
Oil for Frying

Directions:

-In a large mixing bowl, (large enough to add all the sliced onions), add Apple cider vinegar to Almond milk – stir in and let stand before you slice the onions, about 10 mins.
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-Slice the onions thin either with your knife or I find it easiest to use a mandolin so all the slices are uniform and even about 3mm (1/8”). I also cut only one side of the onion ring to make long strings instead of circle rings.
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-Mix together flour, pepper/salt, paprika and cayenne pepper in a separate bowl and set aside.
-Add onions to buttermilk and let stand for about 45 minutes to an hour.
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-Working in batches, grab a handful of onions drain excess milk toss in flour – shake off excess flour and fry for about 2-3 minutes until golden.
-I just used a pan on my stovetop filled halfway with oil or you can use a deep fryer if you’d like. Enjoy!

Spicy Aioli
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Ingredients:
½ Cup Vegenaise
Juice of ½ Lemon
¼ Tsp Smoked Paprika
¼ Tsp Turmeric
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ Tsp Sriracha

Method:
Mix all the ingredients together for a divine aioli. Top your burgers with it or use it as a dipping sauce, the possibilities are endless!