This week's recipes from the L.A. Times Test Kitchen
When cooks travel, they inevitably bring back recipes as souvenirs. A trip to central Italy might mean a wonderfully simple braise of fennel in olive oil. Go to southwest France and come back with pork confit. Visit Tokyo and you find a twist on the savory custard chawan mushi. When I hit the road, I usually seem to come back with pancakes.
I found these pancakes during a summer road trip through northern Minnesota at a sweet little coffee shop in Bemidji called the Minnesota Nice Cafe — just steps from the giant Paul Bunyan statue. It was a chilly morning (do they have any other kind there?), and I was torn between the wild rice and the blueberry pancakes. So I got both.
And both were terrific, but more than the wild rice or the blueberries that were added to the batter, what really won me over was the nutty, coarse, slightly earthy base itself. Owner Jeannette Proulx, who runs the kitchen with her son Greg Archambault, was cagey about the exact recipe but did reveal that the secret was using ground oatmeal in place of some of the flour.
It took him Food editor Russ Parsons a while to get around to cracking the recipe, but when he did, the results were sublime! Suprisingly simple to make, these hotcakes have an amazing depth of flavor yet lend themselves to a variety of additions, whether you're thinking fruit or even wild rice. Check here for the story.
This week's recipes include:
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-- Noelle Carter
Photo credit: Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times