Clouds, a tease of snow drifting through the air, and cool sunshine, the kind that beckons you outside with a friendly promise, only to laugh at you because you are shivering, even in your fleece. Yes. It is for sure late February in the Pacific Northwest.
These are the months that I struggle and slop through, and promise myself I can't take one more year of, and start perusing sunnier places to live, crunching numbers, and big dreamin'. Ahhh, the beautiful seasons of Southern Oregon. The beaches and temperate region of Northern California. Dare I even go further and fantasize about living like a tropical mama in Hawaii or Costa Rica where we can nosh on fresh fruit, and wear flip flops in December. I bet though, after a few months of living there I'd be craving a big, juicy Washington State apple. A fresh, crisp, juicy apple beats out just about everything in my book, but a fresh mango just might be neck and neck if I were to compare.
These mornings while I robotically move through the gray months and starve for vitamin D, I make something I have nicknamed "Sunshine Pancakes". I don't know why I call them that. I suppose maybe because they have sunflower seeds in them, and sunflowers naturally make me think of blue skies and sunshine. Remember that Blackberry Syrup recipe I gave you back in late summer? This would be a great time to grab that blackberry stash from the freezer and whip up a batch to go with these pancakes. Frozen raspberries can be swapped for the blackberries and will make a very fine syrup too. With winter sun falling through the sky and hitting your kitchen counter, eating these pancakes with the syrup and bathing in the light may make you instinctively open up a window, grab a tank top, and lather your arms in sunscreen. Or, maybe just make you smile and think of the "return of light" coming two weeks from today. I'm counting down the days, and excited to fix and eat dinner in the early evening light, instead of the dark, which makes my kitchen feel cavernous. This recipe has been adapted from a foodie blog called 101 Cookbooks. It makes about 9 mid sized pancakes, so feel free to double the recipe to feed that sunshine hungry family of yours.
1 Cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 Tbsp. sugar
1/4 tsp Kosher salt
2 Tbsp. poppy seeds
2 heaping Tbsp. of sunflower seeds
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Cup buttermilk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tbsp. melted butter
To make the batter, mix together all the dry ingredients first, then gently add the wet ingredients to the mix and mix them all together in a bowl. Mix until just combined. It may still be lumpy, and that is OK, but be careful not to over mix it.
Heat up your griddle, and brush it with a little butter or nonstick spray. Pour your desired sized pancakes, trying not to make them too thick, or they might turn out gooey in the middle. Wait until the bottom is a deep golden color before flipping them, and cook until both sides are golden and the pancake has puffed a little.
Repeat with remaining batter. Serve with a pat of sunshine colored butter and syrup. Make someone happy. : )
There. Now you can have your sunshine, and eat it too. Let's slog through these months as best as we can, shall we? Maybe I should have added a crushed up vitamin D chewable to the batter, I dunno. That may not be such a bad idea.