When I was three or four years old, I got the idea to make my mom some eggs one morning. I wanted to surprise her; perhaps it was her birthday. I had this amazing toy stove and oven, sized to my child height, whose stovetop burners, when the dial was turned, would shift from black to red, giving an illusion of heat. Although it never actually warmed, I was convinced that I could cook things on it. Having no idea what went into scrambled eggs, and possessing a well-developed sweet tooth, I thought that it would be smart to add sugar to the eggs. Imagine a child’s toy skillet filled with raw, whisked eggs to which a generous quantity of sugar has been added. I remained convinced that after a while the eggs would start to do what they did when my mom cooked them. My mom caught me in the act, and she was not pleased that I had wasted the eggs and the sugar, so she cooked them for me on the real stove. And she made me eat them, which was an awful punishment for a well-meaning kid. I was thinking about this recently because it’s my first food memory, and it’s not a pleasant one. But what’s amazing to me is that it didn’t deter me from cooking.
You hear stories so frequently of traumatic food memories turning people off to a dish for years, even decades, perhaps an entire life. We could talk about watermelon, chocolate milk or ketchup and I would happily chime in. But I’m so happy that having to eat a plate of repulsive, sugary eggs as a toddler didn’t keep me from cooking.
Consider these pancakes. They’re fluffy little pillows of Sunday morning heaven. There’s something very straightforward in the pleasure of a pancake. Its levity, its texture, its hint of sweetness, its buttery edge. The citrus preserves are sort of like a cheater’s jam – you just simmer down a variety of citrus fruits until they’ve thickened up, and serve it with your lovely pancakes. Easy perfection.
This Buckwheat Pancake recipe is part of The February Seasonal Food Guide
BUCKWHEAT PANCAKES WITH CITRUS PRESERVES
adapted from Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain
For the preserves:
1 blood orange
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 – 1 cup sugar (adjust according to taste)
Note: you can substitute any citrus you’d like
For the pancakes:
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups buttermilk or milk
2 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Make the preserves first. They will need about 1.5 hours. Peel and dice the citrus. Add to a non-reactive sauce pan, along with the sugar and lemon juice. Simmer, uncovered, for about an hour and a half, until the liquid has reduced and the jam has thickened. As it progresses, you will need to check on it and stir to make sure the fruit isn’t burning. After using, refrigerate.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.
In a separate bowl, combine the buttermilk, eggs and butter and whisk thoroughly, until foamy.
Slowly fold the wet ingredients into the dry with a wooden spoon, mixing only until everything has just combined. You want lumps in your batter.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add about 1/2 tablespoon of butter.
Using a 1/4 cup measure, add the batter in batches of about three pancakes. I found that I prefer smaller pancakes, so didn’t empty the entire 1/4 cup into the skillet.
Cook the pancakes until bubbles begin to form on the surface, about 4 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Repeat with remaining batter, regreasing skillet as needed. Keep the cooked pancakes warm in the oven.
Top with preserves (or maple syrup!) and enjoy!