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Deliciously Organic: February 2010

Deliciously Organic

A blog devoted entirely to simple, wholesome, organic cooking.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Banana Cream Tart and Give-Away

I think many of us have the idea that when we switch to wholesome, organic ingredients, we have to give up our favorites. Many of my friends either give up desserts entirely or pull out the white sugar and white flour when they want dessert because they don't know any other way to do it. I'm drawn to re-creating desserts because most of us know how to make a salad or healthy dinner, but give in completely when it comes to dessert. I've recently discovered ways to do a little tweaking here and there so I can make any dessert using whole, organic ingredients.

Banana cream pie is one of those nostalgic desserts we all loved as kids. For me, it never fails to conjure memories of a vanilla wafer crust, box-pudding mix, bananas, and whipped cream eaten on a Sunday afternoon at Grandma's house. While the pie brings good memories, it usually lacks flavor and has way too many preservatives from all the boxed ingredients involved. I decided to take banana cream pie to a completely different level with a whole wheat crust, smooth caramel, simple homemade pudding, and a lovely sweet cloud of meringue on top. 

I would love my meringue to look something like this (gorgeous, right?) but I'm not a pastry chef and I don't have a hand-held torch to lightly brown the meringues. On top of that, our current home oven has a broiler drawer at the bottom, near the floor (isn't that the most inconvienent place for a broiler?). Imagine me, kneeling on the floor with mits on my hands, pulling out the drawer every 15 seconds to make sure I didn't burn the meringue. I realized this recipe would be so much easier with a chef's torch, so I'm giving one away this week, hopefully saving one lucky winner from aching knees. All you need to do is leave a comment between today and Sunday, February 28th and I'll pick a number at random (using and announce the winner on Monday.  Good luck!

Banana Cream Tart
Makes 1 9-inch tart or 6 individual tartelettes

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (also known as soft wheat flour)
1/4 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat (to read more click here)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
3 tablespoons water
3 tablespoons fresh cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 1/3 cups whole milk
3 tablespoons organic whole cane sugar or sucanat, divided
7 large egg yolks
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 bananas, sliced thin

3 egg whites
3 tablespoons maple syrup

For crust:
Pour flour and whole cane sugar in bowl of food processor and pulse twice to combine. Add butter and process until dough starts to come together. Add 2 tablespoons water and pulse to bind the dough. Dough should not be dry, if it is add a bit more water. If it's too wet, add a little flour. Place a piece of plastic wrap on the counter and pour dough out. Shape dough into a disk, wrap, and freeze for 10 minutes or refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and adjust rack to middle position. If making tartelettes then divide dough into 6 equal portions. Instead of rolling to a certain thickness I like to roll out the dough, place my tartelette pan on top and see if it's large enough to go in the pan. If it is, I transfer the dough to the tartelette pan, if not, I keep rolling. Line each pan with a small round of parchment paper and then line with pie weights, beans, rice, or whatever you have on hand. Bake for 15 minutes, remove pie weights, and bake for 5 minutes more, until crust is golden brown. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature.

Caramel:  Whisk together whole cane sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and let mixture simmer for about 5 minutes, or until sugar turns deep amber. Remove from heat and slowly whisk in cream and then butter.

Pudding:  Heat milk and 1 1/2 tablespoons whole cane sugar over medium heat until steaming. Beat egg yolks, remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons whole cane sugar, and vanilla until thick (about 45 seconds). Whisk in arrowroot until smooth. Slowly pour hot milk over yolks, whisking constantly to avoid clumping. Pour milk/egg mixture into a medium saucepan and heat over medium, whisking constantly until thick, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and cover surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming. Chill for at least 1 hour.

Meringue:  Whip egg whites until foamy and then slowly add maple syrup. Whip until stiff peaks form.

To assemble:  Spoon 1 1/2 tablespoons caramel into each tartelette crust. Top with a layer of sliced bananas. Divide pudding among tartelettes and spread evenly. Top with meringue and brown with a chef's torch or under a broiler (for about 30 seconds or until lightly browned)

Chill for 30 minutes before serving. These tartelettes are best eaten the day they are made because the meringue will begin to weep after a few hours.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Quick Sauteed Snapper, Roasted Potatoes, and Mixed Greens Salad

I just watched the speech Jamie Oliver gave when he accepted the 2010 TEDPrize (Technology, Entertainment, Design) last week.  He boldly hit key points about our country's eating habits and annunciated his personal missions of helping Americans learn to cook at home and fighting obesity.  

As Jamie pointed out, we have an epidemic problem of disease and obesity in our country today and many of these problems can be helped by changing the food we eat.  American portion sizes have gotten way out of control and so has the amount of sugar we consume on a daily basis.  To make it even more difficult, going shopping in the grocery store requires a wealth of knowledge just to navigate through the labeling.  Last year, when I was writing a chapter for my cookbook to help readers understand the labels at the market, it actually made me very upset and I had to get up and walk away from it for a few days.  Unless you've studied and kept up on what all the labels actually mean, you're probably buying things that sound beneficial but really aren't.  For instance: "Natural" is a label that's thrown on everything from fruit to soda to cereal and yet there are no American standards for the label "natural" unless it pertains to meat or poultry products.  Companies label their products "Natural" because people are more willing to buy it.  In fact, just today I saw a label on a loaf of bread that said, "100% natural.  We put 100% natural on all of our (brand that I won't mention) breads."  Well that's nice, but it completely misleads the consumer because the label "natural" on bread could mean just about anything.

Listening to Jamie's speech reminded me of a question I've been asked time and time again but never addressed on the blog.  The question is, "Why do you use so much saturated fat in your cooking?"  Many of us have been on low-fat diets for years and have internalized the claim that all saturated fats are detrimental to our health.  This message began with the lipid hypothesis in the late 1950's and there is actually very little evidence to support that:

"A diet low in cholesterol and saturated fat actually reduces death from heart disease or in any way increases one’s life span. Unrefined, stable fats are some of the most important building blocks to a healthy body." 
Quoted from "Myths and Truths About Saturated Fats" by Mary Enig PhD and Sally Fallon

I've learned that naturally-occurring saturated fats are different from ones that are "hydrogenated" in some factory to make them more stable.  I've learned that a diet including unrefined, stable fats is essential to a healthy body.  Fats play many roles: they satisfy our appetites, help maintain healthy cell membranes, serve as a long-burning source of energy, aid in hormone production,  help keep our bones healthy, and contribute to the health of our immune system. 

While there are many wonderful healthy, stable, fats I mainly cook with organic butter, olive oil, and coconut oil.  I stick with these three because they're easy to find and the most economical.  Butter from organic, grass-fed cream contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, conjugated lineolic acid (CLA's, which help build muscle and prevent weight gain), and vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Organic, unfiltered, cold-pressed olive oil is extremely high in oleic acid and also contains saturated fat, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.  Coconut oil contains lauric acid, and has very high antimicrobial and antifungal properties.

I understand you may not be with me on this.  Seven years ago, when I began my journey into wholesome, organic cooking, I thought a lot of this information sounded strange.  Frankly, it seemed like someone was trying to con me.  If that's what you're thinking, I encourage you to do your own research and find out more about the fats you eat.

I've seen many of my friends' lives completely changed by cooking with only unrefined, stable fats along with consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, and organic meats.  A few friends have called me after just 6 months of changing their diets to report lowered cholesterol numbers, blood pressure returned to normal, and lost weight (while eating wholesome, stable fats!).  Others I've talked to have overcome auto-immune problems and seen their kids' allergies disappear overnight.  I even had one friend who was shocked when the doctor told her she wasn't pre-diabetic anymore and could stop her medications because she didn't need them anymore.  **Remember my standard disclaimer - I'm not giving medical advice, nor should you proceed without the advice of a licensed health care professional**

I've personally experienced extreme health improvements in my own life and no longer have to take daily medications that I relied upon heavily in the past.   I'm confident you'll feel better than you ever have before as you begin to make small changes by cooking more at home using wholesome, organic ingredients.

If you want to do some of your own reading on this issue here are a few of my favorite articles:

"The Truth about Saturated Fats" written by Mary Enig, PhD, and Sally Fallon
"7 Reasons to Eat More Saturated Fat" written by Dr. Mercola
"Myths and Truths About Nutrition" written by Weston A. Price Foundation
"Safer Fats for Cooking" written by Caroline Barringer, NTP, CHFS, FES
"Does High Cholesterol Really Cause Heart Disease?" interview with Uffe Ravnskov, MD, PhD

Learning about the benefits of whole grains and deciding to change the fats I use sent me on a whole new culinary path.  I feel like I found my calling changing "conventional" recipes into delicious ones that use more healthy ingredients.  That's why this blog give you the recipes you need to eat well, using new ingredients.  Jamie Oliver encourages us to learn to cook at home, using real ingredients, in moderation.  In that spirit, here's an easy recipe (3 actually) to help us all live more healthy lives.

Roasted Baby Potatoes
Serves 4-6

3 pounds baby potatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons coconut oil
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Cut potatoes into quarters, toss with coconut oil, sea salt and black pepper and pour onto a baking dish.   Cover tightly with foil and roast for 15 minutes.  Remove foil and continue to roast for  30-45 minutes until potatoes are golden brown. 

Quick Sautéed Snapper
Serves 4

4 fillets red snapper (or any flaky white fish)
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter (pastured preferred)
4 lemon wedges

Pour flour into a pie plate. Pat snapper fillets dry with paper towels.  Season each side with sea salt and black pepper and then dredge each side in flour.  Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet.  When foaming subsides, add fillets.  Cook until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes and then carefully flip over.  Cook for one more minute, remove from pan, and spritz with lemon juice.

Mixed Green Salad
I make this salad almost every night of the week and simply change out the greens and vegetables.
Serves 4

5 ounces mixed baby greens, washed
1 cup arugula, washed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place greens and tomatoes in a large bowl.  Spritz salad with juice of 1/2 a lemon, drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper.  Toss salad about 10 times.  Taste a few leaves and then add more salt, pepper or olive oil if needed.

This post is linked to Real Food Wednesdays.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Lentil, Carrot, and Kale Soup with Creme Fraiche and Dill

Every evening we make a point to sit down as a family and eat dinner together. It is a special time when the four of us can talk about our day and my husband and I usually end up laughing at the funny things our kids have to say say. Well, things have changed a bit this week. You see, my husband is a huge Olympic fan, like a watches-every-single-moment fan.  Every day we've recorded 8+ hours, so when he comes home after a long day at work there's a lot of catching up to do. Every two years our house completely shuts down (as much as it can) for Olympic viewing, so this week we've spent almost every dinner in front of the TV, cheering.

I was going to serve this soup alone, but thought I'd I could at least throw in a side of grilled cheese since lentils aren't usually the first thing kids crave for dinner.  Besides, we needed something to sop up the juices at the bottom of the bowl.  So that's what we did.  I used Ezekiel bread, a good organic butter, and raw cheddar.  It was the perfect accompaniment to our creamy, nutrient dense soup. 

Lentil, Carrot, and Kale Soup with Crème Fraiche and Dill
I noticed my kids loved this soup and devoured every last spoonful.  I knew they'd like it. (smile)
Serves 8-10

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large leek, chopped
3 large carrots, cut into 1/2-inch thick slices
10 cups chicken stock (homemade preferred)
1/4 cup red wine (optional)
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen)
2 1/2 cups French lentils
2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
1 bunch of kale, chopped into bite-size pieces
juice of half a lemon

1/2 cup crème fraiche or sour cream
dill, for garnishing

Melt butter in a large stock pot over medium heat. Stir in leeks and carrots. Cover pot, turn heat to low and let vegetables sweat for 20 minutes.

Remove lid and add chicken stock, wine (if using), crushed tomatoes, and lentils. Bring to a boil and then lower heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until lentils are soft. Using a ladle transfer about 4 cups of soup into a blender and blend until smooth. Pour pureed soup back into pot. Stir in kale and lemon juice. Season soup with salt and pepper if needed. Serve soup with a dollop of crème fraiche and a sprig of dill.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Garlic Noodles

Helen multi-tasking

Last week was an incredible week full of laughter and many hours of learning. I faithfully follow many blogs and as I read, I usually create a picture in my mind of what that person is like. Obviously it is based largely on what the writer allows the reader know and then my imagination kicks in. I knew Helen is an amazing photographer and pastry chef with a wonderful sense of humor and meeting her only increased those opinions of her. She is also incredibly quick witted, confident, an extremely hard worker, and a blast to be with (she also makes the strongest coffee known to man, the spoon can literally stand in the cup). I've always wondered how food photographers do what they do, so insightful to sit back and watch her. I saw her play with the light each day depending on what the sun was providing. I’ve known that lighting is crucial when taking pictures of food, but watching her showed me different light can play different roles and change the whole feeling of a photograph. Helen shooting the photography for my cookbook feels like winning the lottery, and that usually only comes around once in a lifetime.

Helen editing on her computer

I learned a few tips that I'm going to be trying in my photography. The first one is to slow down!  The food isn't going anywhere.  The second is to have a little bowl with olive oil and paint brush near-by when taking pictures. If there is a certain part of the food you want to highlight you can simply "paint" it with a little olive oil so that it glistens when the light hits it.  Another huge tip I learned is to let the food cool a bit before taking pictures, otherwise the food will move while the pictures are taken. This entire time I've been taking pictures of piping hot food!  No wonder my garnishes never stayed where I wanted them to stay. What a revelation!

When Helen shoots her photographs there is a moment when she knows she's gotten the shot because she gets a huge Cheshire-cat grin on her face. We are similar in the fact that I also have a "look" about me when I nail the flavor for a recipe.  I do this little dance that involves moving my head back and forth and shaking my hips. 

Checking the light and choosing a cake stand before shooting.  What you can't see is that I'm having to squat because I was way too tall for the table (I'm 5'10").  By the end of the shoot my legs were shaking terribly.
Even her sweet dog gets caught up on the latest cookbooks

I'd never been to Charleston and was very taken by the town. The downtown area is beautiful and rich in history.  Helen's husband is a history professor so we had our own personal tour guide.

I was so enchanted by this entryway

After a week, I arrived home exhausted, but with a smile on my face and craving some comfort food.  Pasta is my ultimate comfort food that I spoon into large bowls for the family on Sunday evenings. I went for the standard spaghetti with fresh marinara for years until I came across this garlic noodle recipe that quickly became our Sunday evening ritual. The noodles are creamy and sweet with loads of garlic in each bite.

I usually use rice pasta because I try to avoid gluten where it's easy to do so. Gluten is not necessarily a bad thing but takes quite a bit of energy for the body to digest so if I can easily substitute wheat pasta with rice pasta then it's an easy alternative. I usually use Tinkyada or Trader Joes pastas.   Both brands taste just like white pasta which is always a bonus!

This week I've had some technical issues with my blog and I realize that a few previous posts were sent out to those of you with an email subscription. My apologies, and hopefully I will soon figure why this has happened. Thanks for your patience!

Garlic Noodles
The recipe which I adapted ever-so-slightly comes from Kat's blog which is a eclectic collaboration of food, photography, and art (she graciously gave me permission to post her recipe)

I also learned last week that Rapunzel (the company who sells rapadura) has changed the label on their sweetener. It no longer says "rapadura" but instead "organic whole cane sugar" even though the product is exactly the same. I will be changing this ingredient name in my posts within the next few weeks so there isn't any confusion.
Serves 4-6

12 ounces spaghetti
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups green onion, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce (can be found in the "Asian" section of the grocery store)
2 tablespoons soy sauce (I prefer Nama Shoyu because it's raw and fermented)
1 tablespoon organic whole cane sugar or Sucanat (to read more click here)
1 tablespoon water
Sesame Seeds (optional)

Bring water to boil in a large pot over high heat. Cook spaghetti to al dente according to package directions.  Drain noodles and set aside.

Melt 5 tablespoons butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan. Stir in garlic and onions and cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant and onions begin to soften. Stir in fish sauce, soy sauce, whole cane sugar and 1 tablespoon water. Stir until sugar dissolves. Add noodles and toss until coated. Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired. Serve immediately.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Dark Chocolate Creams

Years ago, my husband and I decided to make Valentine's Day all about the kids.  It's not that we don't want to be romantic, but because our anniversary is just a week prior it seemed silly to have another extravagant day for the two of us shortly afterwards.  Valentine's is great day for us to show the kids how much we love and appreciate them with a few small gifts (usually books) and, of course, dessert. 

This is such a dreamy chocolate dessert and a wonderful sweet treat for your loved ones.  I prefer to eat this incredibly creamy, thick, chocolaty cream just after it's blended and still warm.  Since these creams are so incredibly rich you could even pour small individual servings into shot glasses and tiny serve with spoons (perfect for a ladies get together).  At any rate, these creams won't last very long...

Dark Chocolate Creams
Serves 6-8

12 ounces organic chocolate, chopped (I prefer organic Trader Joes bittersweet chocolate because it doesn't contain lecithin)
1 cup cream
4 egg yolks
pinch salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Put chopped chocolate in a blender.  Bring cream to a simmer over medium heat.  Just when cream simmers pour it over the chocolate in the blender, put the top on the blender and blend until smooth.  Add eggs, pinch of salt, and vanilla and blend until smooth.

*By the way, I don't know why my recipe for pumpkin pie (written in November) went out to those of you with an email subscription.  Sorry for that!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Fried Egg Spinach Ricotta Toast

I'm spending the week in South Carolina with Helen during the final week of the photo shoot for the cookbook.  I'm having such a blast getting to know Helen and feel so privileged to have several days to watch her behind-the-scenes.  Honestly, I don't even think there are proper words to express how beautiful the photos are and how well she has captured my ideas and carried them out in the photography.  

Last week before leaving on my trip I finally attempted to make ricotta and laughed at how simple it was to prepare. All that's required is milk, salt, lemon juice, a little simmering, about 10 minutes, and you'll have the creamiest, most luscious ricotta that will rival anything you can find at the store.  If you have kids, this is a fun recipe to get them involved.  Seeing the little curds pop up from the milk is almost like magic. 

Ricotta spread on warm crispy toast, topped with sautéed spinach and a fried egg is a wonderful meal for just about any time of day and can be put on the table in just minutes. 

Fried Egg Spinach Ricotta Toast
Ricotta recipe from Bon Appétit
Ricotta yeilds 1 1/2 cups
Fried Egg Spinach Ricotta Toast Serves 1

8 cups whole milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice

Line a strainer with cheesecloth and place over a large bowl.  Bring milk and salt to a simmer in a large saucepan.  Add lemon juice and let simmer for 1-2 minutes.  As the curds pop to the top skim them with a slotted spoon and place them in the cheesecloth lined strainer.  Leave in strainer for 3-4 mintues and then transfer to a bowl.  Can be eaten immediately or stored in the fridge for 5-6 days.


1 piece whole wheat bread (whole wheat sour dough preferred)
1 cup baby spinach
2 teaspoons coconut oil (to read more about coconut oil click here)
Lemon juice for spritzing
Sea salt
1 egg
1 teaspoon butter

Toast bread and then spread with 2 tablespoons ricotta cheese.  Heat coconut oil over medium-high heat in a small sauté pan.  Add spinach and sauté until wilted.  Spritz with lemon juice and season with sea salt.  Top ricotta and bread with spinach.  Melt butter in now empty sauté pan.  Add egg and fry until set.  Place egg on top of spinach, season with sea salt and serve immediately. 

Friday, February 5, 2010

Loaded Baked Potato Skins

Things are beginning to get exciting around our house. Now that the manuscript is in, the design process has begun!  For the last two weeks Helen has been working night and day photographing over 60 recipes in my upcoming cookbook.  She's sent me a few out takes and every time I get one (keep in mind, I haven't even seen the "money" shots yet) I get all giddy and call to my husband to come take a look.  How she can make something so simple and make it look so gorgeous is beyond me.  Next week I fly out to South Carolina to stay with Helen for the last week of the shoot.  I am so excited to watch her work and see all of the beautiful photography she's taken.

A few weeks ago Pete, the kids, and I had a photo shoot for some of the interior pictures.  We had a ball making several batches of cookies together.  My husband, who has a wonderful sense of humor, was on a roll and had us almost in tears during most of the shoot. 

Afterwards we ate way more cookie dough than necessary.

This weekend is the Super Bowl and loaded baked potato skins are our favorite "game food".  It's not original, but so delicious - pockets of crispy-salty potato skins loaded with sour cream, bacon, and green onion.  This Sunday since I'll be gone I'm going to leave all the ingredients for Pete and the kids and let them have a shot at it.  The kids are thrilled to have a chance to make these "without Mom's help".

Loaded Baked Potato Skins
Serves 4-6

6 large russet potatoes, cleaned
2 tablespoons coconut oil (to read more about coconut oil click here)
1 tablespoon sea salt

4 slices bacon (organic, nitrate-free and pastured preferred), cooked and broken into bits
1 1/2 cups raw cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup green onions or chives, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Coat each potato with coconut oil (I use my hands) and sprinkle generously with salt.  Bake in oven for 1 hour or until a knife can be inserted without resistance.  Remove from oven and cool for about 10 minutes. 

Cut each potato in half length-wise and carefully scoop out the flesh (I usually keep this and use for mashed potatoes or potato cakes the next day).  Sprinkle each potato skin generously with sea salt.  Smear 1 tablespoon of sour cream into each potato skin and top with cheese and bacon.  Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes or until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Before serving sprinkle with green onion.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Anytime we have guests staying with us I always whip up a huge batch of whole wheat pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup. I do this on purpose. I want others to see how delicious cooking with organic, unprocessed ingredients can be and these pancakes are the perfect recipe to convert even the biggest skeptic. 

The conversation usually goes something like this: 

"Wow, these are great!  What did you put in them?"
"Oh, some whole wheat flour, butter, eggs, buttermilk and a few other things."
"These are made with whole wheat flour?"
"But I don't understand, how can they be so light and fluffy?"

Exactly. So many of us have had a bad experience or two with heavy, dense, whole wheat recipes that we've given them up all together. 

I can understand why everyone is so shocked. These pancakes are light and fluffy with delicious crispy edges and are opposite of the heavy whole wheat pancakes that are usually eaten when starting some new health kick. I found this recipe in The Best Recipe years ago and tried it with fresh whole wheat pastry flour one day and couldn't believe it actually worked. (This is the only recipe I've ever tried where I could substitute white flour for whole wheat flour 1:1, usually there is some tweaking involved.)

My favorite are the crispy edges. In fact, after I took pictures today, no one was around so I happily ate my way around the edges of these. what to do with the middle.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes
If there are any leftovers simply freeze them and the next morning: turn the oven to 350 degrees, place leftover pancakes on a baking dish in a single layer and pop in the oven.  Warm for 10 minutes and then serve.
Adapted from The Best Recipe
Yields 24 3-inch pancakes

3 cups whole wheat pastry flour, freshly ground preferred 
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup whole milk
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Coconut oil, for frying (butter is a great substitute)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup maple syrup

Whisk together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, milk, and egg whites. In a small bowl whisk together egg yolks and melted butter. 

Pour melted butter and yolks into milk mixture and whisk to combine. Pour this liquid mixture into flour mixture and whisk until just combined.  Let mixture rest for 5 minutes.

Meanwhile heat butter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan over low heat. Heat a large sauté  pan over medium high heat (I actually like to heat mine in between medium and medium-high.) Drop about a teaspoon full of coconut oil into the pan. When oil is melted, swirl the pan to coat and then place 3-4 ladle-fulls (about 1/4 cup) of batter to make 3-4 pancakes. When the bottom of the pancakes are golden brown and the surface begins to bubble, flip pancakes. Continue to cook until bottom is golden brown. Serve immediately and drizzle with butter-syrup mixture. 

Tip:  If you are making pancakes for a large crowd and want to serve everyone at once then heat oven to 180 degrees, line a baking sheet with a cooking rack, and as the pancakes come off the pan place them on the cooling rack and keep warm in the oven. The cooling rack will prevent the pancakes from getting soggy.

*Soaked Option:  The night before pour flour (increase measurement to 3 1/4 cups) into a large bowl and stir in the buttermilk. Cover tightly and leave at room temperature overnight. The next day whisk together milk and egg whites in a medium bowl.  In a smaller bowl combine egg yolks and butter. Pour egg yolk mixture into milk mixture and whisk. Add salt, baking powder and baking soda to soaked flour and stir to combine. Add milk/egg mixture to soaked flour mixture and whisk until just combined  Let mixture rest for 5 minutes.  Continue with recipe above where it says "Meanwhile heat butter..."