Archive for the ‘Buttermilk Love’ Category

The last time I posted, I imagined my hiatus would be indefinite.  Indefinitely long.  Claire was increasingly interactive and on-the-go, leaving me less time to prepare meals.  Even more, though, her little teeth were cutting through at an alarming rate, which meant she was eating chunks of solid food.  Hoping to simplify my life and not have to cook separate meals for Claire and the rest of the family, I went back to basics and cooked “simple” meals that all four of us could enjoy: steamed or roasted vegetables, lightly dressed pastas, stock-cooked rice, and lots and lots of baked, broiled, steamed, and pan-fried fish.  Yes, my little girl loves fish.  I took a break from reading other blogs and websites for recipe inspiration and focused on what the four of us needed.

Toward the end of the year, we headed abroad on vacation.  Since then we’ve been trading off viruses and colds…. and continuing to subsist on simple dishes.  Nothing worth photographing or blogging about; no real “recipes” to leave for the kiddos.  It wasn’t until a chance conversation with my internist that I began thinking about Rice Kernel again.  A chance conversation in which I discovered she was a food blogger herself.

Slowly I began purusing my favorite blogs and food websites again.  Claire and Rice Kernel keep me ever-busy these days and it’s unlikely I will post as frequently as I used to.  But I will, as much as I can.  After all, Claire deserves some more variation in her ever-increasing diet. 

In celebration of all the sweet citrus trees in the neighborhood of late, a cake worthy of frosting, whipped cream, or a cup of tea with breakfast….

Orange Lemon Olive Oil Cake



Butter for greasing pan
2 citrus fruits (2 oranges, or 1 orange and 2 medium lemons)
3/4 cup sugar
Scant 1/2 cup buttermilk or plain yogurt
3 large eggs
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (or half whole wheat, half AP)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
Whipped cream, for serving (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Grate zest from fruit and place in a bowl with sugar. Using your fingers, rub ingredients together until zest is evenly distributed in sugar.
  3. Halve orange and squeeze juice into a measuring cup; you’ll will have about 1/4 cup. (If you have less, you can juice the lemon.) Add buttermilk or yogurt to juice until you have 2/3 cup liquid altogether. Pour mixture into bowl with sugar and whisk well. Whisk in eggs and olive oil.
  4. In another bowl, whisk together flour(s), baking powder, baking soda and salt. Gently stir dry ingredients into wet ones. Pour batter into prepared pan.
  5. Bake cake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until it is golden and a knife inserted into center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool to room temperature right-side up.

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Surprisingly simple and scrumptious.  I think Rice Kernel and my Dad helped themselves to the entire batch.

Apple Oatmeal Buttermilk Muffins


1 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 grated apple or pear
1 cup all-purpose  or white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
12 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  1. In a bowl, soak oats in buttermilk for 15 minutes.
  2. Stir in egg, sugar, apple and oil.
  3. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and spices; stir into oat mixture just until moistened.
  4. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees F for 16-18 minutes or until muffins test done. Cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.  Makes 12 muffins.

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My (and FHE’s) favorite cornbread is not “real” cornbread – it’s a mix of cornmeal and yellow cake mix.  Yes, that type.  Dessert masquerading as savory bread.  I know better than to offer it at the dinner table and we’ve been plenty happy with this version of creamed corn buttermilk cornbread.  In need of a lighter version with less sugar for some guests, I came across this recipe.  It’s certainly not dessert, but it is plenty delicious and moist alongside a bowl of chili or soup.

Lightened Cornbread

1 cup white whole wheat or all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
 tbsp honey or agave
1  tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 egg whites
1 cup low-fat buttermilk (or 1 tbsp lemon juice/vinegar with enough milk to fill 1 cup) 
 tbsp cooking oil


In a medium mixing bowl stir together flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

 In a small mixing bowl beat egg whites, milk, and oil. Stir into dry ingredients just until mixed.

 Spray a 9x9x2-inch baking pan with nonstick spray coating. Pour batter into pan. Bake in a 400 degree F. oven for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Makes 12 servings.

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Rice Kernel’s favorite fruit – blackberry – combined with fresh, citrusy orange zest and tangy buttermilk.  Fluffy, whole grain pillows perfect for soaking up syrup, yogurt, or decadent mascarpone or fresh cream.  Or, in Rice Kernel’s case today, perfect for sandwiching even more fresh blackberries.

Blackberry Orange Pancakes

2 egg
1 1/2 cup white whole wheat flour
1 Tablespoon honey
zest of 1 orange (or lemon)
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup low fat buttermilk
2 Tablespoons oil
1 cup fresh blackberries, or any berries (thawed and drained berries work well too!)
oil or butter for cooking

  1. In a small bowl rub the zest into the granulated sugar until pale orange and fragrant.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk and oil.  Add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Stir until just combined.  The batter may be a bit lumpy.  That’s better than overmixing the batter.  Fold in the berries with a few strokes.
    Heat a griddle pan or a cast iron skillet over medium heat.  Add a teaspoon of oil or a dab of butter and heat through.  Add 2 heaping tablespoons of batter to the pan.  Heat until bubbles form and start to pop.  Carefully flip over and cook through.   Place cooked pancakes on an oven proof plate and let rest in a 200 degree F oven while cooking the rest of the pancakes.

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Have I told you that getting Rice Kernel to eat lunch is like pulling teeth?  I reckon it’s because he gets a snack at school around 10 or 10:30.  Leaves me no hope of feeding him a “real” lunch at noon.  So he subsists on cheese, popcorn or crackers, and fruit around the noon hour.  Snacks, basically. Doesn’t make me the happiest but I can’t put the brakes on snacktime eating and socializing.

On weekends, FHE and I don’t offer a mid-morning snack.  Yes, we are cruel in that way.  But, seriously, we want the boy to learn to eat real meals at mealtime.  On a recent Saturday, Rice Kernel announced he wanted strawberry pancakes for lunch.  A rarity in our house since FHE usually prefers traditional lunch items like sandwiches or smaller portions of dinner-like options at lunchtime.  FHE isn’t picky though and with a baby fussing at my hip while FHE was called away on an emergency at work, Rice Kernel and I whipped these up in a jiffy.  Sweet and satisfying, I think all that was missing was perhaps a few pieces of crispy bacon throw in the batter or a side of ham or sausage for the meat lovers in our house. 

Strawberry Pancakes


1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or flour of your choice (I used half spelt, half white whole wheat with a touch more liquid)
2 tablespoons granulated sugar or agave
Slightly less than 1 tbsp baking powder (yes, these are fluffy)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk (low-fat is fine) or milk
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, or neutral oil
1-2 cups sliced strawberries
Pure maple syrup, for serving


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Preheat a nonstick griddle over medium heat.
  2. Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir in the melted butter or oil. The batter should be thick and smooth. Fold in the strawberries (or top them on the pancakes once they are in the griddle.)
  3. Spoon the batter onto the griddle 1/4 cup at a time. Cook the pancakes until set and thoroughly bubbly, about 3 minutes. Flip them with a spatula and cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes more. Serve with butter and maple syrup.

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Before: Looks like a bowl of oatmeal ladled onto the griddle.

If you love buttermilk, oatmeal and pancakes, this recipe showcases them all.  The oatmeal and pancakes become one in the same with a buttermilk tang.  Personally, it is a bit too much like a griddle-cooked bowl of oatmeal but it is a more filling, heartier morning breakfast than the typical recipe.  Note: The oats must soak overnight in buttermilk for the right texture.

Oatmeal Pancakes, from Simply Recipe

2 cups oats (Quaker Old Fashioned or Quick, not steel-cut or instant)
3 cups buttermilk
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Dash salt
1 Tbsp canola or peanut oil
Butter or extra oil for the griddle


  1. Put oats into a large bowl, add the buttermilk. Let the oats soak in the buttermilk overnight.
  2. Mix in the eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, and oil.
  3. Then proceed as with any pancake recipe. Heat a flat iron surface – griddle or large pan – to medium high heat. Oil the pan with either a Tbsp of butter or oil. Ladle the pancake batter onto the griddle to the desired size, usually about 5 or 6 inches wide. When air bubbles start to bubble up to the surface at the center of the pancakes (about 2-3 minutes), use a flat spatula to flip them over. After a minute, peak under one for doneness. When golden or darker golden brown, they are done. Note that cooking the second side takes only about half as long as the first side. And the second side doesn’t brown as evenly as the first side. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven until ready to serve

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After cheating on my beloved oatmeal for the duration of my secon pregnancy (peanut butter and whole wheat english muffins – with a side of cereal – overtook my breakfast favorite), I’ve been back on the steel cut oats kick in the past month. 

Then, recently, I got my first bout of mastitis (boo) and some accompanying mouth irritation.  Okay, the antibiotics inflammed my gums and I managed to cut up the entire right side and roof of my mouth.  With a slice of crusty bread.  Gross, I know.  Having dealt with a few gum graft surgeries in the past, I knew I’d be on a mushy, bland diet for awhile.  But after a few days of yogurt and ice cream (hey, ice cream can be mushy and bland), I was longing for some flavor.  (And some protein to keep me full so I wouldn’t engulf another pint of ice cream.)  Creamy lentil and chickpea soups came to my rescue first and then, eager to brighten up my bowl of oatmeal, I found this delicious, flavorful, and protein-packed recipe.  It may look bland by color, but it is anything but.  The yogurt alone is delicious with fruit but mixed in the oats, it provides a much more substantial breakfast (or snack).   You could certainly add more pizzaz to the bowl by adding fruit, some pistachios or sliced almonds, or some toaste coconut, as the recipe author suggests.

Cardamom Yogurt, from Pie of the Tiger

Halfway through my morning ritual: always served up in a non-breakable glass bowl, with an extra splash of hemp milk, and, today, a dollop of cardamom yogurt. (The rest of the yogurt is mixed in.)

1 cup plain yogurt (I used Greek Yogurt to bump up the protein factor)
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cardamom, to taste
2 to 4 tablespoons maple syrup, honey, or agave, to taste


  1. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk until smooth.
  2. Taste yogurt, and add cardamom and maple syrup until it’s sweetened and spiced to your taste.
  3. Allow to rest overnight, if possible. The cardamom will release more flavor as it permeates the yogurt, so take this into account when judging how much cardamom is enough. If you will use the yogurt immediately, the amount of cardamom can increased to make up for the lack of resting time.

Spiced Ginger Oatmeal, adapted from Pie of the Tiger

1 cup steel-cut oats
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
3 oz crystallized ginger, finely chopped
3 cups water
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup milk, non-dairy milk, or buttermilk (I used hemp milk)


  1. Put the oats, spices and crystallized ginger in a container with a tight lid. Seal and shake until evenly combined.
  2. Bring the water to a boil.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Once it starts to bubble, add the oats and stir to coat evenly with the butter. Continue to stir until the oats are nice and toasted and you can smell the spices, about two minutes.
  4. Pour in the boiling water. Stir the oats well, then lower the heat and leave to gently simmer for 25 minutes, undisturbed.
  5. Add the milk and stir to combine. Let the oats simmer for another 10 minutes. At this point, you can stir them occasionally if you want, but they’ll be fine unattended.

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