Megan Gordon has the whole-grain thing nailed down. Her cozy new book, Whole Grain Mornings: New Breakfast Recipes to Span the Seasons (Ten Speed Press, ©2013) makes you want to pull up a chair, pick up a spoon, and dig in.
The recipes in Whole Grain Mornings have everything you love about whole grains -- the healthy goodness, the rich flavors and the hearty textures -- and deliver food that’s fresh, seasonal and light on its feet. Extra bonus: Whole Grain Mornings introduces you to whole grains you’ve always wanted to try but didn’t know what to do with (amaranth, anyone?) and uses familiar grains in new ways (millet grits, quinoa porridge). Which is exactly why you buy a book like this.
Before you turn on the oven, Gordon walks you through the grains – gluten-free grains are noted -- so that you’ll know the players and their charms, then tips you off the to the pantry items you’ll need on hand. After that she warms you up with the basics (a five-grain porridge mix, whole-grain pancake mix, nut milks and oatmeal) then you’re rolling through the seasons with sweet and savory puddings and breakfast bowls, cobblers, crisps, granolas and couscous, breads and muffins. Measurements given by weight as well as volume make preparation tidy and easy.
So what’s for breakfast? Baked Pumpkin Risotto with Hazelnuts, Fried Halloumi with Sundried Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Couscous, a Hasty Pudding with Golden Raisins and Pepitas, California Barley Bowl with Cotija Cheese and Sliced Avocados, topped with toasted almonds and Lemony Yogurt Sauce. And there’s plenty more where that came from, but of course you can always fall back on pancakes or porridge on days when you don’t need to show off.
But even when Gordon’s showing off, the recipes go together easily. The Buckwheat Crepes with Honeyed Ricotta and Sauteed Plums – a sort of a mash-up of blini and deconstructed cheese blintzes -- are in fact as easy as any crepe, only made with buckwheat flour. The ricotta ingredients are simply stirred together, and the sautéed plums only spend 2 to 3 minutes in a saucepan with some butter.
For a closer look at the book and its recipes -- or to purchase it -- go to the Whole Grain Mornings website.
Buckwheat Crepes with Honeyed Ricotta and Sautéed Plums
Reprinted with permission from Whole-Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013)
makes about 12 crepes
Morning Notes: The crepe batter needs to rest for at least an hour, so plan accordingly or make the batter and refrigerate it overnight. If you go that route, the crepes cook best when the batter is at room temperature, so let it sit out for at least 30 minutes before cooking them.
- 1⁄2 cup / 65 g buckwheat flour
- 1⁄2 cup / 60 g unbleached all-purpose flour
- 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup / 240 ml milk
- 3⁄4 cup / 180 ml buttermilk
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted, plus more for greasing the pan
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoons coconut oil or butter
- 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 pound / 450 g Italian plums (6 to 7 plums), each sliced into 6 wedges
Honey, for serving
To make the crepes: Whisk the flours, salt, milk, buttermilk, butter, and eggs together in a large bowl until very smooth. To save arm power, you can blend the ingredients in a blender instead. Let the batter sit for at least 1 hour at room temperature and up to 1 day in the refrigerator.
Rub a small dab of butter (1⁄2 tablespoon or so) onto the bottom of a 9- or 10-inch nonstick crepe pan or sauté pan over medium heat and wait until it melts completely. (Too much butter will make for a soggy crepe.) Pour 1⁄4 cup of the batter into the hot pan and tilt it in a circular motion to ensure the batter spreads out into an even layer. Cook over low heat until the edges start to pull away from the pan, about 2 minutes. Using a nonstick spatula, carefully flip and cook the other side until golden brown, about 1 minute. Lay the crepe on a large plate and repeat until you’ve gone through all of the batter (it’s okay to stack the crepes on the plate). If the crepe pan starts to get too dry, add another little dab of butter. I tend to cook these quickly while the plums are sautéing and assemble them right then, but if you’re chatting with friends and taking your time, keep the finished, unfilled crepes warm in a 200°F oven until ready to assemble.
To sauté the plums: In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the vanilla and honey, swirl the pan so they combine with the coconut oil, and then add the plums. Sauté until juicy and warm, 2 to 3 minutes.
To assemble: For each crepe, gently fold the crepe in fourths (fold in half, then in half again) and dollop 1 to 2 tablespoons of the Honeyed Ricotta and a few sautéed plums on top. Finish with a generous drizzle of honey.
Make It Your Own: These crepes work in any season. Swap out the plums for stone fruit in the summer or pears and cranberries in the winter
Make Ahead: You can cook the crepes and store them in the refrigerator, stacked between pieces of waxed or parchment paper, for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months by allowing the crepes to cool completely, wrapping them well in plastic wrap, and placing them in an airtight container. To reheat, place them in a glass baking dish or a pie plate covered with aluminum foil. Heat in a 250°F oven until just warmed through.
Ricotta is traditionally made from the whey that’s left over from the cheese-making process, and it’s often extremely mild. This recipe brightens the simple cheese with a combination of honey, vanilla, and lemon zest—transforming it into a light morning topping that could rival any high-end yogurt or jam.
makes about 2 cups
- 15 ounces / 425 g part-skim ricotta
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1⁄4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1⁄4 teaspoon grated lemon zest
In a small bowl, use a whisk to whip all the ingredients together until light and creamy, 1 to 2 minutes. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.