Really, what tells Dad “I love you” more than cooking a special meal just for him?
When I was growing up, the only meal we could all count on as a family (since my dad worked crazy-long hours during the week, and we had all scraped the last bits of food off our plates long before he even got home) was Sunday brunch. In those days, it was a heavily meat-laden affair, with eggs over easy, rye toast and the occasional oatmeal porridge. Still, brunch remained the meal we used for family celebrations, such as my mom’s birthday, my parents’ anniversary, or Father’s Day.
It wasn’t until I moved to Toronto and discovered “going out to brunch” as an institution that I really began to consume pancakes on a regular basis. In the old days, my friends and I would frequent The Golden Griddle at Eglinton and Roehampton, where you could get a bottomless cup of coffee, stacks of moist, golden buttermilk pancakes for less than $5.00, and ny (then) very-favorite potato puffs (a full plate of which I once left entirely untouched during a 3-hour period between 11:00 PM and 1:00 AM while I sobbed into my coffee cup, and my buddy Gemini I consoled me over the dissolution of my marriage).
Since then, I’d say my pancake consumption has evolved somewhat. To begin with, they’re all made from scratch these days; and they don’t contain your average pancake ingredients. In fact, I love pancakes any which way: Buckwheat, grain-free, carob-based, high protein, coconut-filled, studded with corn kernels, mixed with fruit. . . you name it. If it’s a pancake, I will most likely be delighted to consume it for brunch.
Today’s recipe came about as the culmination of an email exchange I began several months ago with Francis, one of the owners of the family-run company Yoso. Yoso makes dairy-free yogurt and dairy-free soy-based spreads and dips. At one point, Francis mentioned that he and his brother were about to launch a new coconut-based yogurt in my area, and would I perhaps be interested in trying some out?
Of course, I replied with my usual spiel: I can’t eat anything with sugar, I don’t “do” processed ingredients, but maybe if you have an unsweetened version, I’d consider it, blah blah blabeddy-blah-blah. I kind of expected that the spate of tweets would just end right there. . . but no.
Francis responded with this list of the ingredients in their unsweetened coconut yogurt: Water, Pure Organic Coconut, Rice Starch, Chicory Inulin, Natural Flavors, Non Dairy Lactic Acid, Tricalcium Phosphate, Carob Bean Gum, Xanthan Gum, Non Dairy Bacterial Culture (Lactobacillus Acidophilus). Well, hooboy! I can work with that! Pretty impressive, if you ask me.
Now, as you all know, I rarely eat processed foods. These days, as I ease back into more “normal” eating from the strict phases of the ACD, I do sometimes allow myself the rare dried fruit (such as goji berries or golden berries), agave, or a prepared food of top-notch quality. And if I am going to eat a packaged yogurt, there’s nothing in this one that would deter me. I emailed back with a hearty “yes, please!”.
A few days later, I received a box containing the following:
Needless to say, I immediately opened all three cartons and took a spoonful of each (what? that isn’t what everyone would do?). Now, I’ve tried other nondairy yogurts before, and while they were. . . okay. . . I wasn’t exactly besotted. The first thing I noticed about the Yoso was the texture: luxuriously silky and smooth, thick, creamy, even more rich-tasting than the dairy-based yogurts I remember.
And the flavor was divine! I offered a spoonful the chocolate flavor to the HH after dinner and, well, I’ll just say that before I knew it, we were practically on the floor wrestling (no, no, not that way! For the yogurt, people!). Yes, he liked it that much. I loved the vanilla, too, though the sweetness level (with agave) was perhaps just a tad too much for me now that I’m so accustomed to stevia or no sweetener at all in most things. The unsweetened was perfect: smooth and thick, but still with a pleasant, mild flavor even without added sweeteners. I adored it.
And while I would have been perfectly happy to consume the entire carton of unsweetened straight up (as we did with the vanilla and chocolate), I decided that I wanted to create something a little special with the yogurt, too. And since Father’s Day is right around the corner, I opted for these pancakes.
Made with frozen cherries and oats, they’re hearty, fruity, not-too-sweet and very satisfying. They’ll rise up high and cakelike, with intermittent splashes of juicy crimson in between. A perfect filling brunch dish to lure Dad away from the BBQ on Sunday.
1/2 cup (65 g) Ricki’s All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour Mix
1/2 cup (55 g) old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant or quick-cook)
2 Tbsp (30 ml) unflavored or vanilla rice-based protein powder (I used Growing Naturals)
1 Tbsp (15 ml) psyllium husks
1 Tbsp (15 ml) finely ground flax seeds
3/4 tsp (3.5 ml) baking powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking soda
1/8 tsp (1 ml) pure stevia powder (I use NuNaturals)
pinch fine sea salt
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsweetened Yoso coconut yogurt
1 Tbsp (15 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp (15 ml) sunflower or other light-tasting oil, preferably organic
1 tsp (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/4-1/3 cup (60-80 ml) unsweetened plain or vanilla almond or soy milk, or coconut beverage, as needed [for nut-free, use soy milk]
1/2 cup (120 ml) sliced cherries, fresh or frozen
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, oats, protein powder, psyllium, flax, baking powder, baking soda, stevia and salt.
In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt, milk, vinegar, oil and vanilla. Pour the wet mixture over the dry and stir just to blend–do not overmix! Gently fold in the cherries.
Heat a large nonstick frypan over medium heat. Using a large ice cream scoop or 1/3 cup (80 ml) measuring cup, pour batter onto the pan and spread out with the back of a spoon or a silicone spatula to flatten. Cook 4-5 minutes, until the tops are just dry, then flip and cook another 3-4 minutes, until deep golden. As the batter sits, it may thicken up; add extra milk, about a tablespoon (15 ml) at a time, to retain desired consistency. Makes 8-10 pancakes. May be frozen.
Suitable for: ACD Stage 2 and beyond, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut free, vegan.
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