Beet Buckwheat Pancakes

The bright pink batter was a cause for alarm among my children at the start of a recent weekend pancake breakfast.

They expressed their concern as a stack of vibrantly coloured pancakes steadily grew next to my stove. “Don’t worry”, I assured them, “You love chocolate beet cake and you will love these too. I’m testing a new recipe for the blog.”

The first bite was hesitant; the second much more confident, and then: “Tell your readers they don’t taste like beets at all”Noah offered up, between enormous bites of fluffy pink pancakes.

Thanks for the tip, buddy. And so, readers? Today’s recipe is one hundred percent kid approved.

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Strawberry Cinnamon Dutch Baby Pancake

Sunday was Father’s Day, as you probably remember, and we spent what was easily the hottest day of the year so far poolside with family.

It was a slow morning before all that, though, and the kids coloured handmade cards for Danny while I whipped up one of his favourite breakfasts – a Dutch Baby. This quick treat also goes by a Bismark, puff pancake or a German pancake and can be likened to a sweet Yorkshire pudding.

It’s long been Danny’s ‘special’ breakfast request, accompanied by seasonal fruit like sautéed apples in fall and sliced peaches in August. Of course, it being strawberry season, I had a flat of berries sitting on the counter, ready for slicing.

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Make-Ahead Steel-Cut Oatmeal with Maple-Stewed Berries

This past week offered the opportunity to actually get outside and tromp around the homestead a bit. Hello Spring!

Among my discoveries, I noticed that the snow melted from the raised beds and small scarlet nubs of rhubarb are pushing through the mulch. The oregano patch is starting to show some green underneath the tangle of brambles and the raspberry canes are finally free of ice. Life is returning.

We’ve ordered our pullet hens from the farm and next weekend we’ll make repairs on the coop. Small brown eggs are synonymous with spring around here and in a few weeks production will start.

Say, if you haven’t toured our homestead yet, why not take a peek? And of course, find the expanded version, with recipes, stories and urban homesteading tips in my recent cookbook.

I’m holding out for local berries and our homegrown raspberries and (so far) have not been tempted by the imports from Mexico. Thankfully I still have a stash of Quebec strawberries and blueberries in the freezer from last summer. Gently stewed with some of this-season’s maple syrup, they make a delicious topping for nutty oatmeal.

Speaking of oatmeal, my favourite variety just became a lot more easily available, thanks to a new do-ahead method that I have been playing with for weeks.
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Savoury Steel-Cut Oats with Ramps, Parmesan and Tamari

As a child, I can remember my dad occasionally stirring a spoonful of Marmite and a splash of Tamari soy sauce into his morning bowl of oatmeal. At the time, such a combination was of no interest to me, so content was I with a drizzle of honey and a pour of goats milk in mine.

However, I now see the appeal, after a recent success – nay, revelation – with a bowl of savoury steel-cut oats. My dad was onto something, with his decidedly bold umami flavourings first thing in the morning. A man ahead of his time, as savoury oats, kasha, and all sorts of breakfast bowls are trendy right now.

Our family has always been a champion of oatmeal (cookies, muffins, bread, breakfast, cake, scones, baked, instant…) and we are continuing the obsession with today’s Savoury Steel-Cut Oats with Ramps, Parmesan and Tamari.

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Spinach Crepes with Maple-Stewed Blueberries

The evening I prepped this recipe was just like any other. I puttered barefoot in the kitchen to the tunes of Buena Vista Social Club, music I am revisiting and finding as just moving as the first time I heard ‘Chan Chan‘.

I cracked eggs and beat them with flour, melted butter and sauteed spinach into a crepe batter that would chill while we slept, or supposedly slept. There was no way I could have known what the night held, although little Clara had been nursing a cough during the day and was reaching for me to cuddle more than usual.

The last of my prep finished, the table set for the morning, and the final email sent, I headed upstairs to wind down for the night. It was close to eleven, and it had been a long day. A long week. A leisurely Saturday morning breakfast and the whole weekend stretched out before us, full of projects and plans, among them an autumn hike in the fall foliage of the Laurentians.

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