Posts Tagged 'blueberry'

Blueberry-Buckwheat Pancakes

It is the dog days of summer, although I don’t know why any dog with a big fur coat would enjoy temperatures in the 90 degree range.  I am too tired to really cook, so I made breakfast for dinner.  With blueberries, naturally.  I didn’t really even make a real blueberry sauce to go over the pancakes – just tossed some blueberries and real maple syrup in a pot to simmer while I made the pancakes.  It’s a really basic pancake recipe, similar to one that was printed in the Wellness Newsletter, and is about as easy as making them from a box, and a lot healthier.

Buckwheat Blueberry Pancakes

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 egg whites
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 to 2 cups low-fat buttermilk*
1 1/2 cups blueberries

In a large bowl, whisk together flours, baking powder and soda. Stir in egg whites, canola oil, and buttermilk until the dry ingredients are just incorporated. Stir in blueberries. *Flours absorb liquids differently, so the amount of buttermilk you need depends on your individual flour.  Stir in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk and see if the batter is thin enough (flows easily off a spoon). Add more if it needs to be thinner.  I also found that the batter thickened up as I cooked each batch, so I had to add a little more buttermilk half way through.  Coat a non-stick griddle pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until a drop of water sprinkled on the griddle sizzles away instantly. Pour 1/4 cup of batter on the griddle for each pancake and lower the heat a bit. You know when to turn the pancakes over when little air bubbles appear on the top surface.  Cook for 2-3 minutes on the other side.  This made 16 pancakes, with a 4 pancake serving having about 5.25 grams of fat.

Buckwheat pancakes don’t photograph well, no matter what color plate you put them on.  The buckwheat makes them kind of grey – in this case grey with purple berry splotches.  But they taste good.

The item next to the pancakes (soaking in blueberry syrup) is Garrett County Farms Uncured Turkey Bacon.  It is the best turkey bacon I have eaten, all natural turkey raised without antibiotics, all natural Ingredients – no nitrites, nitrates or preservatives.   I got it at Costco.  It gets reasonably crisp and has only one gram of fat/slice.

For your information, the phrase Dog Days or “the dog days of summer”, refers to the hottest, most sultry days of summer. The term “Dog Days” was used by the Greeks as well as the ancient Romans after Sirius (the “Dog Star”), the brightest star in the heavens besides the Sun.  It was popularly believed to be an evil time “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid…”

Karen’s big dog not enjoying the dog days, although he did enjoy his pancake.

Smoked Cornish Hen with Blueberry Barbecue Sauce

I have a smoker – a useful item when it is hot and you want to make something interesting without heating up the kitchen.   It is an electric smoker, which I purchased because it seemed safer than my old charcoal smoker in this fire-prone region.  You soak wood chips in water – I used apple wood this time – and then place them around the electric elements before plugging in the smoker. The beauty of a smoker is that you can get that smoke-penetrating-the-meat flavor without the added salt that most commercial smoked products have.  It is also inherently a low-fat way of cooking. Any small amounts of remaining fat drip into the water pan below the racks.  I have smoked fish, leg of lamb, pork tenderloin, turkey, and later this year I plan to smoke a duck.

Given that it was a record-breaking 103, I decided to smoke a couple of Cornish hens that I was planning originally to bake.  I did not marinate or brine them, although I have marinated smoker-bound meats in everything from beer and wine to orange juice. I planned to make a hearty barbecue sauce, and I thought that the flavor of the marinade would be overwhelmed by the sauce. So I just cut them in half, took off the skins and fat, and put them in the smoker, filling the water pan that sits below the racks with a mixture of water and leftover wine.  I smoked them for about 2 1/2 hours. (You could also smoke them with the skins on, but it is sometimes harder to remove the skins after smoking.)

What you see on the rack below the hens are mushrooms.  I like to fully use the smoker space, so I usually tuck mushrooms or other smokable vegetables like eggplant around the main course.  Smoked mushrooms are good on sandwiches, and in salads and pilafs.

The smoked hens develop a beautiful color.  I used to think that Cornish hens were very high fat, and with skin on, they are a higher fat entrée.  But without skins, a half of a hen, the usual serving size, only has 4 grams of fat.

I am somewhat obsessed with blueberries. At this time of year, I buy them by the pound and try to work them into everything. The barbecue sauce originally came from Eating Well, another magazine you should consider reading. I left the jalapeno peppers out because I didn’t want a very spicy sauce, but added a little black pepper for some warmth.  This makes a fairly assertive barbecue sauce.

Blueberry-Bourbon Barbecue Sauce

1 Tablespoon of Canola Oil
1 small red onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 cup bourbon (confession: I didn’t have any bourbon so I used Southern Comfort)
2 cups fresh or frozen (unthawed) blueberries
1/2 cup ketchup
1/3 cup cider vinegar
2 Tablespoon of brown sugar
1 Tablespoon of molasses
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
a few grinds of black pepper

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium heat (In retrospect, I would have used a non-stick pan).  Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden (about 3 minutes).  Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add bourbon. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil, cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Stir in blueberries, ketchup, vinegar, brown sugar, molasses, allspice, and black pepper.  Return to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes.  This makes 2 cups.  They list the serving size as 1 Tablespoon, and 0 grams of fat/serving.  Realistically, you’d use more than this on your entrée.  I think I used about 1/4 cup.  This would make it about 2 grams of fat/serving.

And what is underneath the hens: a quick pilaf of brown and wild rice mix to which I added chopped up smoked mushrooms, green onions, and a handful of dried blueberries.  I estimate that the whole entrée had 8 grams of fat, including 1/2 hen, a cup of pilaf, and 1/4 cup of sauce.  I took the pilaf the next day for lunch with some chopped Cornish hen mixed in.


I have lost 200 pounds. I did not do it through surgery – I don’t like knives and needles – or by joining a club, vigorous exercise, or rigorous dieting. I did it by gourmet cooking. To be precise, by cooking low fat, really delicious food. I love to cook as much as I love to eat. Food magazines are some of my favorite reading. I would feel deprived if I couldn’t have the sensuous experience of good food crossing my lips. This blog is about my perpetual feast, my passionate love of food, with recipes, photos, and occasional advice and principles that I have learned along the way.

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