Buckwheat Pancakes and Good News

Toward the Hills

When I was a kid I longed for snow. With passion, with ire. But I lived in Southern California, and so it never came. In the years that I was away from home I relished the changing of seasons each place I lived. White and pink blossoms of pear trees lining East Village streets. Yellowing cottonwood leaves along Arizona creeks. Snow on high rises and snow on mountainsides.

I woke up this morning and I thought, “It feels like autumn.” Slightly crisp air in a gray sky. A dense fog crept up last night to cradle the houses and streets. But in Santa Barbara, fog is no indication of season. It is merely a pleasant reminder that we live by the ocean; our fog is a marine layer– moisture that drifts in from the ocean to settle over the city and surrounding mountains. It can come any time of year, but is honestly most prevalent in the summer. How bout that?

Toward the Ocean. Check it out; you can see the pier through the trees!

Spring and autumn feel about the same. Winter is a touch colder and clearer. Summer spends the morning socked-in and usually toasts up nicely by afternoon. The drinking of hot chocolate and wearing of mittens are purely for ambiance at any time of year. It’s yet another sign of how subtle the seasons are that I’ve become nostalgic for autumn and winter in the springtime when I should be sick of the chill and waiting for sunshine. 🙂 I wanted to make pumpkin pancakes in my out-of-season confusion, but after wrestling a bit with my own obstinacy, I settled on buckwheat instead.

I ate them for lunch with my Dad, while we looked out the bay window at the fog, and talked about art and architecture (I’m an artist; he’s an architect) and maybe planting some lemon trees in the front yard. Even if it’s not autumn, I love the clear, grey light of outdoors and the way it contrasts with the warm amber of indoor light. On days like this, I feel taken care of by the world.

As we ate lunch, I mused over the contents of the table. Waffles to share with my papa and to post here, plus this: a short stack of postcards advertising an art opening next weekend. Buddha Abides: a juried show of work inspired by Buddhist themes and intended to raise money for children’s charities. And including a painting by this very artist. It’s true. I spent a good portion of this week conceptualizing and executing the painting, which I took to an in-gathering yesterday, and after biting my nails for two hours, I went back to discover it had been accepted. Yay!

Human Heart, Buddha Nature, acrylic on unprimed canvas, 20" x 16"

Pancake recipe after the jump…

Buckwheat Pancakes

These are killer good. Slightly nutty flavor from buckwheat and honey, with the tang and epic fluffiness of buttermilk. None of the dense, health-food bummer you might associate with alternative flours. Just a great pancake with some added depth and complexity. This recipe is perfect for two, but can be doubled, tripled, etc for larger parties.

1/2 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

2 tablespoons unsalted melted butter

2 tablespoons honey

Sift together dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, beat the egg and then add the buttermilk. Whisk the honey into the butter to dissolve it, add then whisk the honey/butter mix into the rest of the wet ingredients. Dump the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk until just combined. Heat a skillet to medium and brush with a touch of oil. Pour in batter and cook until golden on each side, two-to-three minutes for each side, depending on your pan and stove temperature. Cover with delicious things or enjoy as is– your choice!

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