Egg-free Passover Pancakes – Round Two

Round Two – I drew inspiration from several Passover matzah meal pancake recipes, and decided to try substitutions for the eggs. Result – this one is a keeper! The pancakes are tasty and with a nice sweetness from the fruit. I think they’ll hold up well to being re-heated in the toaster oven for quick breakfasts later in the week.

(There might be more tinkering – my taster liked the maple syrup flavor of the other pancakes, so I will try subbing the sugar in this with maple syrup.)

1/2 cup matzah meal
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup applesauce
1 banana, mashed
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Oil for cooking

1)      In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients (except the oil).
2)      Cover and set aside for at least 20 minutes. Matzah meal is super absorbent, and you need to give it time to soak up the liquids!
3)      Adjust thickness of the batter as needed by adding water 1 tablespoon at a time; it should be thin enough to “drop” off of a spoon.
4)      Lightly grease a non-stick pan or griddle with some oil. (NOTE: you really DO need to use a non-stick pan or griddle!)
5)      Pour 1 tablespoon batter into the pan. Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook on the other side.

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Egg-free Passover Pancakes – Round One

Cooking during Passover is a challenge.  Cooking during Passover while avoiding all eggs is a significant challenge.  Since most forms of leavening are off-limits, Passover baking relies heavily on eggs and more eggs to create some “lift” in baked goods.  I’ve taken two approaches to try and make egg-free Passover goodies:  start with an egg-free recipe and do Passover substitutions for the flour, or start with a Passover recipe and do substitutions for the eggs (and dairy).

Round One – I started with a vegan crepe recipe and applied Passover substitutions for the flour.  Result – yummy, a bit sweet, but also somewhat too “crunchy”, I think from the use of potato starch. Time to go do some more tinkering.

1/2 cup rice milk (NOTE: we do Sephardic rules for Passover, if you follow Ashkenazic rules for Passover, substitute with water!)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup melted margarine
1 tablespoon turbinado (“raw”) sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1/4 cup matzah cake meal
3/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt

Oil for cooking

1)      Mix together rice milk, water, melted margarine, sugar, and maple syrup.
2)      In another bowl, mix together the matzah cake meal, potato starch, and salt.
3)      Mix wet ingredients into dry.
4)      Cover and refrigerate the batter for 2 hours.
5)      Lightly grease a non-stick pan or griddle with some oil.
6)      Pour 1 tablespoon batter into the pan. Cook until golden brown, flip, and cook on the other side.

Kids. Food. Cooking.

This really isn’t a blog about kids and food, or kids and cooking.  But I have two kids who need to eat and like to cook, so the reality is that I think about these topics a lot.

First things first.   Breastmilk is the perfect “first food” for babies.  Some is better than none.  There are lots and lots of other great websites that get into politics and activism – I’m not going to go there, just pass on some resources I’ve found helpful:
AAP Policy Statement on Breastfeeding
World Health Organization – Breastfeeding
CDC Breastfeeding Report Card (2010)
Kellymom – evidence-based information on breastfeeding
Infant Risk Center – evidence-based information on the use of medications during pregnancy and breastfeeding
La Leche League Mother-to-Mother support forums
Stanford University Newborn Nursery – great resources, including maximizing milk production

Starting solids.  We chose to take the approach of offering baby (when developmentally ready) appropriate foods and then letting baby self feed and decide what and how much to eat.  Basically skipping purees and going directly to finger foods.  Lots of fun, lots of mess (but all baby eating is messy) and very low stress.  One baby liked exploring solids but didn’t really get into eating until around 8.5 months or so, the other was enthusiastic about eating solids right from the start.   Interested in learning more?  Check out these resources (and don’t be alarmed by the word “weaning” – this is just the British English word for starting solids):
baby led weaning guidelines
blog & links to resources

Great resources no matter how you start solids:
http://www.wholesomebabyfood.com/
http://kellymom.com/nutrition/solids/index.html

Whatever approach YOU choose to take with starting solids, I HIGHLY recommend taking an Infant CPR class.  Check for classes at your local YMCA or community center.

Toddlers and older.  I heartily agree with what I’ve read several places that your main responsibility as parents is to offer healthy foods and model good food choices.  I’ll add to that … and stay calm!  Even very young toddlers seem to KNOW that their parents want / need them to eat, and somehow figure out that NOT eating is a way to get attention and push every parental “button”.  Be patient.  Keep offering healthy foods.  Be patient.  Despite what it may seem, kids generally DO get all the nutrition they need over the course of a couple days or even a week.  Kids go through “picky” stages.  It’s all okay and all normal. Some reading / resources:
NYT – 6 Food Mistakes Parents Make
NPR – To Win Toddler Food Battles, Take A Softer Approach
Let’s Move – Michelle Obama’s initiative “to change the way a generation of kids thinks about food and nutrition”
My Pyramid for preschoolers (2 – 5 years old)

Kids in the kitchen.  Yes – absolutely a great idea!  Cooking with our kids, I’ve learned to expect that a recipe will take at least twice as long to make, to let go of my ideas of how things are “supposed” to go, that mess is okay, and that (almost) everything is washable.  Take your kids grocery shopping and/or to a farmers’ market.  If you can – plant even a small garden (lots of things grow well in large pots).  Start cooking young – as soon as your toddler is old enough to stand on a step stool and follow simple instructions.  Break a recipe into small tasks that even a very young child can do – like dumping ingredients into a bowl and mixing.  A slightly older child can start using a plastic knife to cut fruit or other soft foods.  Oh – and if you’ve got more than one kid – definitely make sure that each child has their OWN spoon to lick!  One of the best kid items we’ve gotten is a “Learning Tower” – big step stool with rails.  Both kids fit in it, and they actually usually get along okay.

Summery Salad – Roasted Asparagus & Tomato Pasta Salad

I needed a dish to bring to a pot-luck dinner … in my stack of recipes to try was this yummy looking Cooking Light recipe “Asparagus with Balsamic Tomatoes”, but I wanted something that would work more as a main dish.  A little searching led me to a Food Network recipe “Roasted Asparagus Pasta Salad”.  I liked the idea of roasting the veggies and the flavor from balsamic, so combined ideas from both recipes.  The dish was a big hit at the pot-luck, and the leftovers made a good lunch.

As written below, this recipe is egg, dairy, and nut-free.  It would be super yummy (and easy) to add things like:  crumbled goat cheese, sliced grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, toasted pine nuts.

1 box bowtie pasta (or other “small” pasta)
1 1/2 “bunches” asparagus
1 small box (1 pint) grape tomatoes
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt & pepper
2 cloves garlic (minced or use garlic press)
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
Zest & juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup minced fresh chives

1)      Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2)      Cook pasta according to instructions on the package.  Drain in a colander and let cool.
3)      Trim ends of asparagus, and then slice on a diagonal into 1/2 inch pieces (roughly “bite sized).   Toss in a bowl with 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper.  Spread in an even layer on a cookie sheet and set aside.
4)      Cut grape tomatoes in half.  Use same bowl from the asparagus and toss with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, and salt & pepper.  So the tomatoes don’t stick – line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, foil, or a silicone cooking mat.  Arrange tomatoes skin side down on the prepared cookie sheet.
5)      Place asparagus & tomatoes in the oven.
6)      Roast asparagus until tender.  Amount of time will depend on how thick your asparagus are – 10 to 14 min.  Remove from oven & let cool down.
7)      Roast tomatoes until they start to brown a little on the bottoms – 10 to 15 min.  Remove from oven & let cool down.
8)      Prepare dressing – in a small bowl combine garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, mustard & red pepper flakes.  Whisk in olive oil.  Mix in chives.
9)      In a large bowl – toss together the cooked pasta, roasted asparagus & dressing.
10)  Transfer to a serving bowl – top with roasted tomatoes.

Starting with pancakes – whole wheat, oatmeal & fruit pancakes

Why start with pancakes? Why not? Anyone not like to start their day with pancakes?

The original recipe came from the NYT:  Oatmeal Buttermilk Blueberry Pancakes

You’re supposed to make the batter at least one hour in advance, or have the batter sit in the fridge overnight. I rarely make the batter in advance and they seem to turn out okay. It takes a little planning ahead, but making the batter the night before does make it faster to get pancakes on the table in the morning. It’s nice to make a large batch of pancakes to have extras that can be kept in the fridge, then quickly warmed up in a toaster oven.

Makes about 18 pancakes using 1/4 cup measure to scoop the batter.

This recipe is egg and dairy-free. Egg substitute – banana. Dairy substitute – whatever “milk” you like to use.

1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup “milk” of choice (I usually use rice milk)
1 1/2 cups “milk” of choice (I usually use 1/2 cup plain soy yogurt + 1 cup rice milk)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large banana
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons canola oil (plus more for cooking)
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit (peaches, blueberries, or grated apple are favorites)

1)    Combine the 1/2 cup “milk” and oats in a small bowl, and set aside.
2)    Combine the 1 1/2 cups “milk” (or “yogurt” + “milk) with the lemon juice in a small bowl (I use the glass measuring cup I used to measure my “milks”), and set aside.
3)    Mix together the flours, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, sugar and salt.
4)    In a large bowl, mash the banana, then stir  in the “milk” and lemon juice mixture, vanilla extract and the oil.
5)    Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients and quickly mix together (I use a fork) – do not overbeat; some lumps are just fine.
6)    Gently mix in the oats that had been soaking in “milk”
7)    Prepare hot griddle / pan as needed with some oil or spray oil. On my gas stove I use a “medium low” flame.
8)    Teeny pancakes – use 1 tablespoon of batter; regular size pancakes – 1/4 cup of batter works well.
9)    Put a handful of fruit on each pancake.
10) Cook until edges are bubbly (a couple minutes); flip and cook another minute or so.
11) Keep making pancakes!
12) Serve hot with your favorite toppings.