Making a breakfast that folks really want

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Practical cookbook will get plenty of use in the kitchen

March 26, 2003|By Peter Jensen | Peter Jensen,SUN STAFF

As large an inventory of cookbooks as the average bookstore carries, the number of sensible ones tends to be in short supply.

The Big Book of Breakfast by Maryana Vollstedt (Chronicle, 2003, $19.95) is the happy exception. No rare ingredients, difficult techniques or noveau cuisine of any kind can be found in its 296 pages - just stuff that your family is actually going to want to eat.

Let's face it. Breakfast isn't just the most important meal of the day, it's often the most popular. And why not? It has all the good stuff: blueberry muffins, buttermilk biscuits, omelets, sausage and biscuits, waffles, and hash browns.

Vollstedt has smartly collected all the breakfast recipes you could possibly require, including basics like how to make a screwdriver (I'm taking more of my morning meals at the Vollstedt household) to the ingredients in home fries: potatoes, oil, salt, pepper.

But she also has the recipes for the more advanced stuff, too. She has nine different versions of strata (a kind of savory bread pudding), eight ways to use crepes and even a recipe for homemade scrapple that combines pork sausage and polenta (and sounds unauthentically wholesome to this scrapple-fed reader).

What it doesn't have are photographs, illustrations or glossy paper (or much in the way of low-calorie cuisine). This is a practical, paperback, comprehensive book for real people that's going to end up dog-eared on your kitchen counter, not set aside on a coffee table somewhere.

Yes, there may be people out there who aren't impressed by blueberry buttermilk pancakes. But that's not so bad. It means more for the rest of us.

Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes

Makes about 16 pancakes

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 large eggs

2 cups buttermilk

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, thawed if frozen, rinsed and dried

In a medium bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk and oil. Add dry ingredients and whisk until just blended.

Preheat a nonstick griddle or skillet over medium-high heat. Lightly spray or brush with oil. Pour 1/4 cup batter onto griddle for each pancake. Scatter a few blueberries on top of each. Cook until bubbles form on the surface, about 2 minutes. Turn and cook until other side is golden, about 1 minute longer. Serve with toppings of your choice.

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