Before the ferry

Hello from Maine.

We are back on the mainland now, but for the past week, we've been out there. We spent five days on Monhegan, ten miles off Port Clyde. There was electricity and running water and wifi and heat and a fridge full of food we brought over in a cooler. There was no pavement. There were hikes and knitting and board games and my sister and my parents and my husband and Sally.

It was lovely.

Unfortunately, Sandy chased us off a few days early. Riding out a storm is one thing; leaving on a small boat in 10 foot seas is quite another. But! We are still in Maine, at my parents' house; we still have power; and later on, we are planning to make a batch of homebrew. We will vacation on, hurricane!

An important part of keeping the feeling, we've discovered, is pancakes. We made a batch yesterday—a batch of oatmeal whole-wheat—with the last of our flour and milk before the ferry. I found the recipe online and we were short a few ingredients, but we improvised, and they came out perfectly. They were thick and soft and crispy, with plenty of heft but not the kind that sit in your belly. We doused them in maple syrup and smeared them with butter. The adults all ate two, and Sally ate three. 

It seemed fitting.


I am a big fan of pancakes, but I don't care much for the white-flour variety. I like my pancakes thick and hearty but still soft on the inside and crisp around the edges. These, adapted from a Gourmet recipe, fit the bill perfectly.

3/4 cup rolled oats
1 and 1/2 cups whole milk, divided
3/4 cup whole wheat flour (I imagine spelt would also work)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine-grained sea salt
1 large egg
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 tablespoon brown sugar (I imagine maple syrup or honey would also work)

Soak the oats in 3/4 cup of the milk. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and sea salt in a mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, melted butter, sugar, and remaining milk. Stir the oat and egg mixture into the flour mixture until a thick batter just comes together. 

Warm up a cast iron skillet or griddle and grease it. (We used homemade lard to grease our skillet, which I think made the pancakes particularly tasty.) Pour the batter on—I made quarter-cup cakes—and fry on the first side for 2-3 minutes. Flip and fry on the second side until golden and crispy. Serve hot, with butter and maple syrup.


Teresa Parker said...

Yes to pancakes, for feeling like you're on vacation. Sometimes even if it's a work day. And yes again, to oatmeal to make them better.

Have you ever tried adding a little corneal too? It adds a nice yellow crunchiness. I like this combination: equal parts whole wheat flour, oatmeal, stone ground corn meal, and unbleached white flour.

I've tried getting rid of the white, but if your pancakes get too heavy, it wrecks the mood.

Debbie Riordan Dionne said...

Loved this different pancake recipe on this post storm morning.

Elspeth said...

teresa, totally agree about the heaviness. i didn't feel that way with these, though. more...hearty? than heavy. perfect really.

i like the cornmeal thought. i just made an all cornmeal batch the other day, in fact (via mark bittman), but i like the idea of mixing.

and debbie, thank you! hope you made it through okay.

all the best,


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