January is national Oatmeal month and to celebrate, Wild Oats in Evanston, 1111 Chicago Ave., had a cooking party. Well, it was more of a demonstration, complete with granola, the best-ever pancakes, cookies, of course, and even oat milk. Staffer Dana, who hosted the event, even threw out a trivia question about which state eats the most oatmeal. One gentlemen in the crowd of about 20 answered proudly,"Illinois?"
Wrong. It's Vermont. Buncha granolas.
So January is Oatmeal month because the nation consumes more oatmeal than at any other time of the year, according to Quaker Oats. And a bowl of warm oatmeal is definitely made for a subzero day like today. So are indoor cooking demonstrations. Dana told us about where oats grow (best in temperate climates where its also damp, like parts of Great Britain) and that all this heart-healthy business we keep hearing about oatmeal is based on the grain's soluble fiber, which trickles through the digestive track, acting like a magnet that attracts all the nasty stuff that might otherwise stick around and cause high cholesterol out of the body.
But let's get to these amazing pancakes, a version of the Swedish pancake with 2 cups of old fashioned oats. The oatmeal-buttermilk recipe, courtesy of Bon Apetit, August 1999, is my kind pancake with a bit of a crunch if you brown it long enough, but on the inside it has a nice balance of fluff and moistness.
And they're brunch-friendly since you have to make them at least two hours before putting them on the griddle to make sure the oats soak up enough moisture. Dana says just mix up a batch the night before. And they're single-friendly. You can halve the recipe. Either way, keep them very Swedish by adding lingonberries.
This recipe was located through www.epicurious.com:
Swedish cooks use lots of buttermilk, and the lingonberry jam suggested as an accompaniment to these incredibly light pancakes is a typical Swedish condiment.
Servings: Makes about 16.
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2 cups old-fashioned oats or quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional melted butter (for brushing skillet)
Fresh blueberries (optional)
Whipped cream (optional)
Combine first 6 ingredients in large bowl. Whisk buttermilk, eggs, 1/4 cup melted butter and vanilla in medium bowl. Add to dry ingredients; whisk until blended but some small lumps still remain. Let batter stand to thicken, about 2 hours. (Can be prepared up to 1 day ahead. Cover batter and refrigerate.)
Preheat oven to 250°F. Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Brush skillet with melted butter. Working in batches, ladle batter by 1/4 cupfuls into skillet. Cook pancakes until bottoms are golden brown and bubbles form on top, about 2 minutes. Turn pancakes over; cook until bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Transfer to baking sheet. Keep warm in oven. Repeat with remaining batter, brushing skillet with more butter as necessary. Serve with lingonberry preserves and fresh blueberries and whipped cream, if desired.