Gluten Free Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup

Nature is not a procrastinator’s enabler. She moves ever forward, reminding us, we are on her time. We must nurture tiny seeds before the last frost. We must water before the intense heat of the afternoon. We must harvest in due time and then rake leaves over garden beds, blanketing them for the coming cold. She moves in cycles, and we too must move with her, lest our flower beds lay flowerless and our tomato trellises stand tall and barren. Nature is not a procrastinator’s enabler.

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Last year, I took that notion for granted. Day in, day out, little Julep and I passed bushes brimming with honeysuckle. Their yellows were eye-catching, and their fragrance was intoxicating. Yet, every day, I thought, “Oh, I have to remember to pick these tomorrow.” Finally, “tomorrow” became a sad collection of shriveled flowers, the last exasperated efforts of photosynthesis. I was too late.

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

I vowed not to be so reckless with Mother Nature’s schedule the next year, this year, and I waited expectantly. The Urban Farmer and I stood in his field, digging, weeding, planting, just like the other days of digging, weeding, planting, except on this particular day, there was an incredible smell in the air- sweet and floral. Like a word poised on the tip of the tongue, the fragrance was familiar but still hidden in a hillside of indeterminate green. It wasn’t until walking the same old Julep route, I realized what we had been smelling- honeysuckle in bloom!

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

We walked uphill, under a washed-out, turquoise bridge, turned the bend, and the fragrance greeted us once more. Into the bag of farmers market strawberries and sweet, sweet peaches, we dropped petal after petal. True to my vow, we picked, brainstormed and experimented, and this was the first pass. Much like the first efforts at planting, there are lessons learned and plenty of room for reworking, but as far as turning over procrastination leaves, it was a very good, sweet, honey-laced place to start.

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

If the honeybees and maple trees decided to share the burden of sweetening our breakfasts and teas, if the dairy cow decided to snack from the branches teasing her with sweet smells… these were the magical unions in my head. These were my attempts to harness a wild flower’s aroma.

Honeysuckle Brunch by With The Grains 05

The results were mild but intriguing. They left the tongue and the brain questioning the hints of honey in maple syrup and the faint floral notes in a spread of butter melting down a stack of hotcakes.

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup // www.WithTheGrains.com

I made good on the promise I made to myself and to those blossoming branches at the top of the hill, just beyond the patinaed dome of the beautiful cathedral. There’s still time to experiment further, though not much time. These flowers, the seasons, Mother Nature in general, is a schedule to be embraced without delay. We’ve been spoiled and desensitized by transports of produce and aisles of peaked produce, but the here and the now is trying to harness the scent in the air into our breakfast. How will you use these little yellow gifts?

Single-Grain

Bon Appétit!
-Quelcy

Gluten-Free Pancakes with Honeysuckle Infused Butter & Maple Syrup

About This Recipe: Rare is the occasion you will see me recommend a pre-made mix of any sort, but it seems I have a soft spot when it comes to all natural, gluten-free, pancake mixes. I keep them on hand in case I have a gluten-free guest, but for this Monday morning treat, I went for the ease of the mix, so I could focus on my flower experiments. Rather than buying an assortment of flours, the mix does it all for you! For these round, puffy beauties, I used Pamela’s Pancake & Waffle Mix, which uses sorghum flour and has big hints of vanilla. The honeysuckle infusions are experimental and not precise in the least, so take my “research” as a start, and adjust as you see fit.

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Roasted Beet Waffles with Sour Cherry Jam & Whipped Coconut Milk

March 2015

I feel warmer when I look at the magazine cover. It radiates with a glossy depiction of bright yellow flowers, knee-high leafy greens, a freewheeling chicken, plump carrots and a tender father-daughter gardening moment. It’s the Urban Farmer’s seed catalog, and by now, its pages are tattered, wrinkly and thoroughly perused. While he plotted how to fill his plots of land, I found myself caught up in the excitement of seed shopping. Not unlike combing through a favorite clothing company’s pages, I would interject with “oooh, will you buy that one?” However, this catalog shopping boasted a level of anticipation like no other.

Beet Waffles by With The Grains

From their exotic colors, to their wild patterns, to their poetic monikers (Silver Cloud Cannellini, Midori Giant, Kentucky Wonder, Who Gets Kissed?), each of these heirloom seeds contains a rich history and immeasurable potential. The Urban Farmer will plant and nurture these tiny seeds into fully fledged roots, fruits and vegetables. He’ll reclaim vacant land, restoring its purpose and a neighborhood’s pride, one cultivated row at a time. He’ll harvest, and he’ll nourish those who buy into this farming notion, those who will eat with confidence, knowing he has their health and wellbeing in mind every time he steps foot on that soil. His hands will callous, his heart will swell, and our cupboards will fill with new recipe inspiration,and all of this starts with pages in a seed catalog.

Beet Waffles by With The Grains

The Urban Farmer’s brunching mornings might be on hold for a spell, while he bends fence posts into hoop houses, tills and tills, plans his plots, and plants his seeds. Fortunately, we managed to savor a lazy waffle morning before the farm clock began to tick so loudly. This year, another farm’s beets inspired our brunch, but who knows how the Urban Farmer’s seeds will transform and inspire us next year?

Single-Grain

Here’s to Seeds, Soil & Stacks o’ Waffles!
-Quelcy

Roasted Beet Waffles with Sour Cherry Jam & Whipped Coconut Milk

About This Recipe: Above all, the beets add a bright, rosy hue and a faint sweetness to this waffle recipe. The cornmeal gives the waffle a bit of a crunch. The whipped coconut cream is light and fluffy, and a great non-dairy alternative to whipped cream. I recommend a slathering of Sour Cherry Jam or your favorite fruity spread.

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Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch

February 2015

I had a lot on my proverbial plate, but my eyes were bigger than my stomach. The heaps grew, but the flavor diminished. Beautiful foods were pushed aside to cram more and more varieties. Strong flavors weakened as the dishes mixed. My favorites were buried under others’ preferences, and my craved flavors were nearly lost completely. Tried and true dishes were just off– rushed, under cooked, and full of excuses. I didn’t need anything else added to this metaphoric plate.

What I needed was a cold hard assessment.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

January, full of New Year’s resolutions and birthday reflections brought just that- a very snowy and cold reassessment. I realized there comes a point when too much is just too much. When I snap at my dog who just wants to play, too much is too much. When my posture sinks with sadness, too much is too much. When I barely see friends, too much is too much. When my dining room table sees more laptops and paper piles than brunches and guests, too much is too much, so I made some changes, big changes (more on those to come).

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

I cleared that proverbial plate. I looked at the menu with new eyes. What’s important to me? What invigorates me? What makes me feel passionate and yields my best work? This space, my own little corner of the blogosphere (thanks for joining me here!), the Urban Farmer, my not-so-little little one, sharing meals, feeding people…all these priorities emerged through the old, mucky heaps, with all the intentional, beautiful drizzles and garnishes of a styled plate at a fancy restaurant.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

The natural thing to do after a cold, hard reassessment is a warm, celebratory brunch with good friends, so as my proverbial plate cleared, my very real plate FILLED in the best possible way- with Spelt Waffles, Quinoa Crusted Fried Chicken, Local Grits with Maple Roasted Root Veggies & Sage, drizzles of pure maple syrup, and a few mugs of a hot coffee.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fried Chicken & Waffles is a mouth-watering combination, but it’s a combination I often pass because of chicken sourcing, frying oils, and a general lack of ingredient care. This brunch, however, celebrated this classic combination with love, care and collaboration.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

I wish I could share the recipe for the fried chicken with you, but it was my friend Chris’s doing, and like many a talented cook, his kitchen process is fluid and off-the-cuff. I can give you a few hints. He started with organic, pasture-raised chicken. One of our friends is gluten free, which makes traditional breading problematic. We couldn’t flaunt fried chicken in front of her. That would just be cruel, so Chris used a Quinoa chip as a crust. Additionally, I lent Chris my bottle of organic, non-GMO Safflower oil for a guiltless fry, and the chicken had a stint in the oven for real juiciness. It was a gluten-free gamble, since he puts a lot of pride and practice in his cooking, but it was a crispy win- a win I wish I were still eating!

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

The grits were another ad-libbed process. I boiled the local grits from the Urban Farmer’s CSA, and as they thickened, I added bright, golden Irish butter, pure maple syrup and maple roasted sweet potatoes and crispy sage. It was a hit- a hit without measurements or recorded times, so I recommend some grit experimenting of your own.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

I also recommend sharing your brunch with pups for extra enjoyment. Meet Runo. No, I have not added another little companion to our family though he did trigger the part of the brain that results in hours on petfinder.com. I’m exercising [some] discipline and resistance and trying simply to relish four-legged brunch guests whenever possible.

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

Fried Chicken & Butternut Squash Spelt Waffles for Brunch // www.WithTheGrains.com

The one element of this brunch I can share accurately? The waffles! Mixed by yours truly, and flipped by my handsome fella, I recommend you add this recipe to a warm, celebratory brunch of your own! I you happen to have a gluten-free guest in your midst, I recommend this mix from Bob’s Redmill because as much as I love my grains, I’d hate to watch a friend skip waffles.

Single-Grain

Happy Brunching!
-Quelcy

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Pumpkin-Cranberry Buckwheat Waffles w/ @WigleWhiskey Landlocked Spiced

December 2014

As one who spends a lot of time crafting visual stories, it’s all too easy to straddle (read: dive over) that pencil-thin line between collector and hoarder. It becomes all too easy to elevate the potential of each and every object. “I could make that into…” or “that would be perfect for a post about…” or “what if I have an event and need that..?” Truth be told, I’ve had these mental dialogues since I was young. I clung to old drawings, old toys, old clothing because of the associated stories and potential future uses. I found plastic containers, boxes, pieces of paper and saw endless art projects, parcels, etc. Then one day you wake up and feel SURROUNDED- surrounded by stuff, by clutter, by stress.

Pumpkin Waffles

I’m no neat freak, and I’m no minimalist, but when stress strikes and procrastination whispers in my ear, I am prone to cleaning and purging, purging and cleaning. I recently hit one of these spells. Not quite ready to face the more difficult issues at hand, I dove into sorting my life, ie: my home. I filled bag after bag for Goodwill and bade farewell to the superfluous. Does this object have meaning? Does it represent a truly personal story? Have I used this object recently? Essentially, does this object exist in my life intentionally?

Waffle Breakfast

I still have a long way to go, but at the end of this purge session, I was able to breathe a little easier and welcome dear guests into my home for the holidays. What they saw were the more meaningful pieces, the more intentional stories and the most updated version of me. Much like cleaning out the cobwebs of my space, I’ve been reevaluating myself and considering what my true mission(s) is/are, what pieces of past me I should safeguard, what bad habits of current me need to go, what needs to change or improve, what needs to be rearranged, etc.

Farmer Eating Waffles

Gleaning the most meaningful objects from my collections meant making room for a splendid surprise from the Urban Farmer- a new-to-us waffle maker! A score from our friends at the Pittsburgh Vintage Mixer, we plugged in our new toy with a healthy dose of skepticism and anticipation, and before long, we had a plate full of lovely waffles. So long pancakes! So long waiting in line for waffles from crowded brunch scenes! A vestige of a different era in quality and longevity, this baby may outlive us all, and we’re looking forward to several slow mornings of syrup-filled nooks and crannies.

Waffle Stack

Rather than start with a basic waffle recipe, we went BIG! We went boozy. We went grain rich and flavor-FULL. After all the reflecting, questioning, purging and aspiring, starting big is a wonderfully delicious place to start. As you hunker down to review the last year and settle on what is important for the coming year, I hope you reward yourself with a beautiful scene, a confidant, hot coffee, a well deserved dose of laziness, and the type of brunch to make you savor every single bite.

Pumpkin Waffle for Quelcy

Pumpkin Cranberry Buckwheat Waffles + Cranberry Apple Topping + Landlocked Spiced Whipped Cream

When creating a recipe, I often look to weave a thread throughout the various elements of the dish. In this case, this over-the-top waffle breakfast features Wigle Whiskey’s Landlocked Spiced in each component. Made from scratch and pot-distilled from Pennsylvania buckwheat honey, this distilled mead is Wigle Whiskey’s uniquely inland approach to island spirits- landing somewhere between a rum and a brandy. Infused with whole, organic botanicals–roasted orange peel, cocoa nibs, whole vanilla beans and cinnamon, the result is a spirit with a vanilla nose and a complex body of pepper, cocoa and fig. It’s delicious, and I recommend a bottle, but if you’re closer to the sea and sunny skies, you can substitute the rum of your choice.

Happy New Year’s Eve!

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