When we were home over the holidays, I was flipping through a Bon Appetit magazine at my in-laws house and saw a recipe for Spiced Coconut Pancakes with Tropical Fruit. It was in an article by Mark Bittman talking about his new Food Matters Cookbook. The article and the recipe caught my interest, so when I got home I looked up the cookbook on amazon. After reading some reviews, I decided to order the cookbook.
My fist step with a new cookbook is to page through it and get an idea of what is in there. I was surprised that some of the recipes seemed so very basic. Is it really necessary to write a recipe for salad greens tossed with oil and vinegar? Or for a basic tomato sauce?
On reflection, I suppose the answer to that is yes. Husband and I both grew up on home cooking. We – and our siblings – learned to cook at a young age. Most of our friends are foodies who like to cook and experiment in the kitchen. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has that comfort level in the kitchen. That there are many people who don’t cook at all. So it makes sense that if you want to bring people back to cooking real food, you need to give them some basics.
In addition to the basics though, there are plenty of interesting recipes to consider. The inclusion of a recipe for Ma Po Tofu is enough to make me like Mark Bittman just because I love it so very much. I already have my own Ma Po Tofu recipe but I’m happy to see someone else spreading the Ma Po Tofu love. I was also happy to see a recipe for a Brown Rice Pudding with Coconut Milk, something I had been planning to try even though I didn’t have a recipe to work from – now I don’t have to wing it.
This weekend, with no plans or obligations, I decided it was a good time to test some recipes. For dinner last night I made Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder with Chipotle accompanied by Jalapeno Cheddar Almost Whole Wheat Quick Bread.
They were both good. Not Wow-I-Can’t-Wait-To-Make-This-Again good, but it was a satisfying meal. The quick bread lived up to it’s name, coming together both quickly and easily. Definitely a good option to have in your recipe arsenal (though maybe not as quick as tea biscuits, as a loaf takes longer to bake). The chowder was good, though I thought it was missing a little something. Likely just a matter of playing with the seasonings.
However, it was filling, it was a healthy meal, and we have leftovers. I could see making both of these things again.
This morning I finally made the Coconut Pancakes – or rather Coconut Flapjacks, as the recipe in the book is a bit different than the recipe I saw in Bon Appetit. I actually didn’t realize that fact until I searched for the recipe to link to it for this post. I just remembered that I wanted to try the coconut pancakes.
The text of the cookbook is very basic. No pretty photos of food. Just the text of the recipe, and in some cases variations – like the Jalapeno Cheddar variation of the quick bread.
The Coconut Flapjacks recipe was pretty easy to throw together – basically your dry ingredients, coconut milk & water. Then, based on the recipe, they should cook up like regular pancakes. I pulled out my snowflake griddle pan and set to work.
They didn’t look very impressive, and they were really hard to flip over. I didn’t see how I could have messed it up, as the recipe was fairly simple, but I’ll be honest: I didn’t have high hopes. They did, however, smell like fresh baked coconut macaroons – that was a little bit promising.
Mr. Bittman says these flapjacks can be served with fruit or – his favorite way – sprinkled with turbinado sugar and a squeeze of lime. We have a fruit syrup that Husband’s parents gave us that I thought might be good.
When I was finished making the flapjacks, Husband cooked up some eggs and back bacon. Then we served up our brunch.
These I really liked. They had a nice texture, a little more hearty than your usual pancake, maybe a little more chewy, but still light with a subtle coconut flavor. The fruit syrup was definitely a nice complement, as were the sugar and lime. These I will definitely make again.
And there were leftovers – normally I half pancake recipes because I know it will be too much for just the two of us, but for some reason today I didn’t. But that’s okay – I can just look forward to flapjacks for breakfast tomorrow!