Monday, March 14, 2011

I Spy and Try

I spied in Mother Earth News this recipe for corn meal pancakes. It said they were amazing. Now, it isn't often that I take my recipes from Mother Earth News, okay, never. They just don't look or sound good. I being a food snob. And I'll admit I had great reservations about these pancakes. They looked awfully heavy and dense and an entire pancake made of corn meal sounded a bit much but my desire for more recipes to use my corn meal in won over.
The corn meal I'd ground from my sweet corn out of my garden that I'd dried needed to be used in more than just corn bread. Because the kernels were from sweet corn, the corn bread was sweeter than usual and I figured that would be an advantage in pancakes. The recipe did not call for any sugar and no leavening and that had me pretty hesitant.
It did have whipped egg whites which would lighten the batter so I tucked the recipe away to try later.
Last weekend was later. The pancakes looked good on the griddle but I could tell when I flipped them over they were a bit heavy just like the photo. A couple bites and we declared them amazing alright, amazingly awful.
Part of the problem was my fault. Freshly ground grains such as corn and wheat have all the bran still in the flour and it can turn rancid if kept to long without using it. That's why lots of people store their wheat flour and corn meal in the freezer if they intend on using it over a six month period of time or if shorter, the refrigerator. I had mine in the fridge and when I ground it was not labeled on the packaged - naughty me. Despite that, the pancakes still wouldn't have been up to snuff because of texture and lack of fullness of flavor. Besides, we really didn't like the combination of corn meal and maple syrup.

So I'm not going to share any recipe with you. Instead I want to make a point. When times are tough, and they are coming if they haven't already hit your house, it's make do or do without. Things won't be available or you can't afford them if they are. I'm beginning to think Miracle Whip is out of our price range. I'd rather spend my $6.49 on fresh fruit so I've that little experiment to try. Some say the up turn of our economy is just around the corner. The ones that helped run us deep into debt I suspect. Others say think empty shelves and make do. Joseph in the Bible story, The Coat Of Many Colors, knew to stockpile grains and food during prosperous times. He was blessed to know when the lean time was coming but things always cycle. We've had prosperity for a number of years and we've grown greedy as a human race around most of the world. The distance between the have and the have not growing each day.

The most important part of preparing ourselves to weather the down part of the cycle is to stockpile knowledge.

In preparation for what for what was obviously going to be the down slide in the cycle, I've been working on a recipe book. The Theme being Make Do Or Do Without and it includes recipes for four different kinds of biscuits. Each recipe calls for a variation of ingredients differing from the next. Yes, they all require flour but one recipe, my favorite, calls for using cream instead of milk as the liquid and the cream also is the fat so no shortening, lard, or butter is used. Works superb when the goats are fresh and I've a ready supply of cream. It freezes well as a dough also making it especially handy. This is the recipe I want to do what I'd call the supreme test for home-made baking powder. Another recipe has shortening or lard as its base, along with milk and eggs. A third has cheese, chives, milk, eggs, and butter. The fourth is a sourdough biscuit recipe. For now we are just enjoying the variety of flavors but in the future these differences could mean biscuits for supper or not.

But what does biscuits have to do with corn meal pancakes? I've a wonderful array of biscuit recipes, and waffles but pancakes I don't. Besides I wanted to try to expand my corn meal uses which is something I can produce myself. Wheat is not but I'm going to grow a small patch either this summer or next for the knowledge I'll gain. Just encase I'm in a position to need to grown my own someday or need to. That too is why I'm going to grow a little Buckwheat not just as a cover crop as I did last year, gaining valuable knowledge, but to fruition so that I can make home-made buckwheat pancakes, which I like.

So today while the sun shines, and I can well afford to experiment, fail, and toss the results to the chicken, not being force to eat the nasty things because its the only food available for the meal, I'm going to adventure out. The next plan is to use fresh corn meal and make it a small part of a whole wheat pancake batter. No, I'm not defeated, just learning what's survival food- these pancakes- or what move the corn meal on to making it fit accompany a feast.

Hopefully tomorrow, what ever it brings, we'll be eating well having stored up knowledge to expand our abilities to Make Do.

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