I like to create a facade of product grumpiness. I do love cooking with whole ingredients but every once in a while, I come across a product that brings special delight and opens me up to new cooking possibilities. So I’ve decided to start the ProductLove category, inspired by my new best breakfast friend; the gluten-free pancake.
Last Sunday, I came by a bag of birthday treats from my friend Mrs. M. Nestled in with several other goodies (including a very cheery Gerber Daisy plant bearing several nodding orange blooms) was this guy: gluten-free pancake mix by GoGo Quinoa.
I’m new to the world of gluten-free, but I’ll never say no to an excuse to break out the maple syrup.
I need to take a maple moment. When I was shopping around for universities, Australia was my first pick in terms of locale, followed by the US. When I wound up finally selecting a Canadian school, I feared the cold, but entertained elaborate fantasies about the exotic pleasures of the land of maple.
Some North Americans believe that back in the Caribbean, I made my home in a well-ventilated beach huts (which might be more appropriate than a concrete houses with a heat-generating fridge and freezer and wall-to-wall carpets that keep in the 35-degree November heat) wore coconut bras, and amused myself picking pineapples and dancing to calypso music piped in from a local banana tree.
I, in turn, imagined I would head north to a wintery land where maple syrup would be cheap enough to be used in place of sugar in every recipe. Instead, I spend a lot of time tittering over tiny $30 bottles that I could polish off in less than a week. We can all dream, I guess.
Back to pancakes. In the past, I’ve been judgmental about pancake mixes. Not because of my vast experience with them, but because boxed mixes in general seem to have mysterious, unpronounceable ingredients (to stop the flour and baking powder from going mouldy, I guess), because they are generally not whole grain, and because it seems ridiculous to pay someone to measure out dry ingredients together for you.
This pancake mix was different. The ingredients–organic brown rice flour, organic tapioca flour, organic kaniwa flour, organic pink salt, Xanthum gum, baking soda, and baking powder–are beyond reproach. And none of these ingredients, with the exception of the raising agents, currently live in my kitchen, so the chances of me just rustling these guys up from scratch are slender. Bonus: the only mystery ingredient on the list was kaniwa, which, I have since learned, is nothing more harmful than quinoa’s petite, nutty cousin who brings iron, calcium, and zinc to the table. Sit on down, kaniwa. Any time.
I’m not specifically a gluten-free diner, but I do appreciate the value of varying the foods one consumes, grains included. One of the best things about coming to Vancouver (despite the distinct lack of maple syrup flowing in the streets) was the variety of ingredients I could suddenly access, easily and relatively cheaply. Raw cashews? Hello! Make room for raw pumpkin seeds. Green bean vermicelli noodles? Ahh suukki suuki now! Miso? Five different kinds of miso? Bag of ground almonds, is that you? Come on over here, roasted seaweed.
I mixed up a cup of the pancake mix with a cup of almond milk and a dash of oil and after a few minutes of griddle time…
The pancakes came up crisp, not too thick, and chewy, but not too gooey, inside. Paired with Earth Balance and maple syrup, they sent me to weekend breakfast heaven. Definitely a winner, whether you eschew gluten or not.
My batch of pancakes was shared between Fella and I. My only criticism is that the instructions to make up a cup of mix at a time are conservative and pretty naive. I could easily have polished off the whole stack myself.