The Midwestern Gentleman and I have a tradition called “Pancake Sunday.” Every Sunday morning that we’re home — can you guess? — I make pancakes for breakfast. The Gent brews coffee. Then we settle down in the living room, lazily enjoying breakfast and catching up on news (or favorite blogs) online — our digital equivalent of perusing the Sunday newspaper, but with much less inky fingers. The critters seem to love this quiet time together, too, especially when they can sit in the open window and check out what’s happening in the neighborhood.
One of my culinary fears after being diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome was that the necessary changes to my eating habits might herald the end of Pancake Sunday. Happily, we have found ways to continue the tradition even more deliciously and nutritiously. I stick with whole-grain flours in our various pancake recipes, often relying on a slow-release carb like rye flour. Buttermilk stands in for regular milk or cream, as a nod to Dr. Daphne Miller’s research on the healthful role of fermented dairy products in traditional, indigenous diets (described in her book The Jungle Effect). I also omit sweeteners from the batter. In the following crepe recipe, vanilla and cinnamon enhance the perception that these crepes are sweet, even though the batter contains no added sugar. Toppings of anti-inflammatory fruits like pineapple and berries provide sweetness as well as nutrients. Protein-rich, low-fat cottage cheese or nut butters also taste great.
These crepes are an equally delicious way to dress up leftovers for a fast weeknight dinner. One of our favorite savory stuffings combines sauteed mushrooms with roasted beets, caramelized onions, and goat cheese. Crepes on Sunday mornings, crepes on weeknights… crepes anytime!
Whole Wheat Crepes
3/4 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup cold water
2 tsp melted coconut oil or melted omega-3 buttery spread
1 Tbsp ground flax seed
1 cup whole wheat or white whole wheat flour (or 1/2 cup of each)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
[For Savory Crepes:
omit vanilla and cinnamon
increase salt to 1/2 tsp]
Put all ingredients in a blender and blend on medium-high speed to combine thoroughly. Let sit at room temperature for at least 15 and up to 30 minutes.
Heat a 10-inch crepe pan (or large, flat frying pan) over medium heat. Swirl a teaspoon or so of omega-3 buttery spread or coconut oil to coat the pan. Holding the pan at a slight angle, pour out a few tablespoons of batter, and quickly swirl it around into a thin layer. Let cook undisturbed until bubbles appear on the surface of the crepe and edges look dry.
Lift up the edges of the crepe with the spatula to free them from the pan, and then gently shake the pan from side to side. If the crepe slides free, then it is ready to flip. Slide the spatula under the center of the crepe and flip it in one, smooth motion. Crepes are more forgiving than pancakes, so if the crepe bunches up a little, you should be able to straighten it out with the spatula.
Cook on the second side for about a minute. Using the spatula, fold the crepe in half and then in half again and move to a warm plate covered with a kitchen towel to keep warm. (Alternatively, if you’re going to fill the crepes instead of just topping them — something we do most often with savory crepes — you can stack them on the plate without folding them first.)