Today is September 23rd. Today is my birthday. The birthday wishes and congratulatory comments on facebook don’t cease to circulate, but should I feel special that dozens of people whom I don’t regularly talk to suggested me to “have a good one” or urged me to “have a blast!” on this special day? Additionally, so far I have talked to these people in chronological order: 1) mom (of course..moms always call first) 2) friend Gen 3) sister 4) boyfriend 5) dad 6) aunt. Shouldn’t number # 4 go somewhere after…well, right after number one! I know, I know. I can expect a lot from my significant other at times, but if he’s the one who’s going to stand by my side for many years to come, I wouldn’t expect less from him. One has to be particular and critical of certain things and I admit that sometimes I’m critical of things that shouldn’t matter, but that somehow do…:/ Anyways, he still adores me and I know I adore him.
So I’m spending today more or less by myself and to myself at home in DC. My family is in Spain and in Austin, my best friend is in Costa Rica, my boyfriend is touring the US with Periphery. BUT, that’s alright! I don’t feel alone. And I will meet with a good friend of mine for drinks later on tonight so things are looking cheery. I can’t complain. Or I shouldn’t complain.
So why do I sound a bit melancholic when the boyfriend calls? Well, because I miss him and think that I might have to get used to this feeling of him being away for long periods of time if he chooses this musician life. Ahh, the creative path. It’s funny…Mark and I have done the long distance thing previously during the earlier years of our relationship. You’d think I would be used to it by now. However, I have gotten worse at being away from him because he has essentially grown to become a part of me.
Mark and Vane. That’s who we are. We still hold independent identities, hobbies, and relations as every relationship should, but Vane without Mark? Or Mark without Vane? That’s like a pastry chef without an oven. He/she can get by by creating other oven-free desserts, but eventually that oven becomes a basic necessity that will generate a smooth flow during the bustling and active day. I can do it, but I will notice the absence more than before because of our emotional proximity that has deepened over the years. But yeah, the months away from him is totally doable… but it’s not an easy task, nor a cinch, nor a breeze.
Back to the topic of my birthday. Hah, I’m such a sucker for being the protagonist..No, I really am not. But a birthday without birthday cake? That’s almost against my religion. The sole idea seems to make my heart sink a bit, but I won’t opt to make a birthday cake this year. Like I said before, I’m home alone and will be for two more weeks. Yes, I’m more than capable of eating a whole cake by myself and that’s why I WON’T GO THERE. Instead, I will make something more nutritious, able to be stored and frozen, and that will still be “sweetingly” satisfying.
Whole wheat berry pancakes coming right up!
The ratio for pancakes is 2 (liquid): 1 (egg): 1/2 (butter): 2 (flour). Like we always do in this blog, let’s play with this very basic ratio and introduce new ingredients to create a formidable pancake! Here we go…
Remember that if you have trouble setting the proportions and ingredient amounts to this ratio, please take a few moments to review the ratio lesson I offered. You’ll be a pro afterwards!
Research Question: Will these whole wheat berry pancakes be flavorful enough to compete with the traditional birthday cake? Will they make me forget about the feeling of blowing out a candle that has been lightly submerged into a spongy cake while I make a birthday wish?
Hypothesis: Okay, no dessert can complete with a birthday cake on your birthday, but I am optimistic that these pancakes will have nothing to be envious of bc…
– berries + sugar + maple syrup bring about a discrete sweetness that makes for a healthier and nutritious alternative. Not as sweet as a birthday cake, but still satisfyingly sweet.
– the tartness of the berries will be balanced out by the sweetness of the maple syrup.
– adding yogurt can contribute to a more complex flavor in these pancakes.
– cornmeal will make for a slight crunchy texture in the pancakes.
8 oz liquid (4 oz milk, 4 oz yogurt) – I used soy milk bc it’s what I always have and I love the taste of it.
4 oz eggs (2 eggs)
2 oz melted butter
8 oz flour (4 oz whole wheat flour, 2 oz AP flour, 2 oz cornmeal)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon maple syrup
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon of salt
4 oz of blueberries for pancake batter
additional berries for topping
maple syrup and butter for serving
**Yield: 12 pancakes that are approximately 3″-4″ in diameter**
Procedure/Recipe: Combine all the wet ingredients (milk, yogurt, eggs, melted butter, tablespoon of maple syrup, and vanilla extract) in a bowl and whisk until they are throughly combined.
Combine the dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt) in a separate bowl by sifting them. This will eliminate all the pebbles in the mixture.
Combine the dry ingredients and the wet ingredients. Stir or mix until the batter is smooth. You will notice that the consistency of this batter is thick. If however you prefer thinner pancakes you may add 1 or 2 additional ounces of milk as I did.
Heat a lightly oiled pan over medium heat. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter onto the surface of the pan to form pancakes. After the the batter has had a chance to settle in the pan, begin to place blueberries on top of the pancakes and gently press them down. Once bubbles form on the top of the pancakes, flip them over, and cook them on the other side for about 2 minutes. Pancakes will be approximately 3″-4″ in diameter.
Top with berries of your choice and maple syrup.
These pretty much hit the spot. Like I predicted, the sweetness wasn’t overpowering but was evident enough put a stop to the birthday cake craving. The texture of the pancakes was a bit dense because I think whole wheat flour tends to make things denser by nature, especially if you use a generous amount of it. However, the pancakes did have a nice bite to them (thanks to the cornmeal) and were porous and airy enough to absorb high quantities of maple syrup.
If I were to make these pancakes again, I would use wild organic blueberries instead because they are smaller than the original ones. Therefore, it will be easier for them to sink into the batter and become completely covered and protected by the batter due to their petite size. That will prevent them from burning because they won’t become affected by the direct contact and heat of the pan. The larger blueberries that I used did not get completely covered by the batter due to their larger size. Hence, some were in direct contact with the pan, they wilted, and then they slightly charred as well.
Overall, I’m happy that I have many more pancakes to devour. They are currently sitting in the freezer, waiting for me to get my hands on them and cover them with more berries on top. Berry Nice!