A Breakfast Valentine
Blue food has been popular with kids for a surprisingly long time, particularly in sweets, from ice pops to candy-coated chocolate. There is a healthy blue food, though, that I encourage you and your family to try.
Blue corn is no gimmick. It is special, and for more than its color and its Southwest Native American heritage. Particularly sacred to the Hopi and other pueblo Indian tribes, blue corn, cultivated primarily in the southwestern U.S. for over 400 years, sends down exceptionally deep roots that help it tolerate extreme heat and dryness. It has not become more widely cultivated, despite these strengths, because it also grows slowly and has a lower yield than other types of corn.
Ground blue corn feels lighter than other cornmeal. Native Americans use it to make a creamy, sustaining, hot drink called atole. For blue corn tortillas, which are thicker, coarser and grainier than others, the grain is first treated with lime to remove its tough hull, then ground into the doughy masa from which tortillas and corn chips are made.
Chefs and a few home cooks have discovered that blue cornmeal makes exceptional pancakes, waffles, and muffins. In addition to their eye-catching color, they have its stronger, earthy yet sweet flavor, which blends especially well with whole-wheat flour, as in these delectably light pancakes. Mix in blueberries, or serve with the accompanying blueberry syrup.
Blue Corn Flapjacks
– Makes 6 servings.
- 3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1/2 cup blue cornmeal
- 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/4 tsp. baking soda
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup low-fat plain yogurt
- 1/2 cup reduced-fat (2%) milk
- 2 Tbsp. melted butter
- 3 or 4 drops almond extract
- 1/3 cup honey
- 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed
- 1 Tbsp. frozen orange juice concentrate, thawed
- Cooking spray
In large bowl, combine whole-wheat flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, and sugar.
In another bowl, whisk eggs with yogurt, milk, butter, and almond extract until well combined. Pour mixture into dry ingredients, whisking to combine them.
Coat heavy, large skillet or griddle with cooking spray and set over medium-high heat. When the skillet or griddle is hot, pour in 3 tablespoons batter at a time for each pancake, leaving a 3-inch space between them. When small holes appear on the surface and bottom of pancakes is dark brown (about 3 minutes), turn them. Cook until they are browned on bottom and firm in center when lightly pressed with a fingertip. Repeat until remaining batter is used up, respraying pan as needed.
Meanwhile, heat honey in small saucepan over medium heat until liquid, 2-3 minutes, stirring a few times. Place blueberries and juice concentrate in a blender and pulse a few times until almost a purée. Mix into the honey until well blended. Simmer 3 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature with the flapjacks.
Per serving: 262 calories, 7 g. total fat (3 g. saturated fat), 46 g. carbohydrate, 7 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 142 mg. sodium.
“Something Different” is written for the American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) by Dana Jacobi, author of The Joy of Soy and recipe creator for AICR’s Stopping Cancer Before It Starts.