Friday, August 24, 2007

pancakes and photo shoots, buckwheat and blogging

image of buckwheat plant courtesy of Wikipedia

It's so funny how blogging can get in your head. I'm sure many of you who are food bloggers share the experience of having food get cold while you orchestrate and take the perfect photograph, of having friends and family get more and more bemused as you seek that elusive moment of food photo perfection when your food, your camera, and the light are all working in perfect harmony.

Well, sometimes it doesn't work so well. Take last weekend. Daiku and I wanted some pancakes, and we pulled out the last of our buckwheat mix and decided to give it an almond twist. Well, the pancakes turned out just fine, but before we could sit down to eat, I had to get the photo just right.

I sprinkled the pancakes with just the right amount of agave nectar, a light dusting of powdered sugar, and a finishing touch of slivered almonds. But my pictures were all coming out looking sort of ... limp and washed out. Oh well, I thought. They can't all be winners.

So I went back into the kitchen where Daiku was assembling his own plate, with no thought to styling, lighting, or photography. And guess what?

His pancakes looked better than mine! This was a good reminder that sometimes, the food is more important than the photography.

Besides, the image isn't as important as the taste when we're eating the finished result, right?

So, on to the recipe:

Almond Buckwheat Pancakes (makes 8 large pancakes)
  • 2 cups of buckwheat pancake mix (to make your own, combine 1 cup buckwheat flour, 1 cup whole wheat flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon baking soda)
  • 1 - 1 1/2 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup soy yogurt
  • handful of slivered almonds
  • 1.5 tsp almond extract
Sift pancake mix (or dry ingredients for mix) into a large bowl, add slivered almonds
In another bowl, mix the soymilk, soy yogurt, and almond extract, let sit for 5 minutes
Add wet ingredients to dry, adding small amounts of soy milk or water as necessary to achieve a thick batter
Cook on a lightly oiled griddle on medium-high heat as you normally would pancakes
Serve with Earth Balance margarine and agave nectar, garnished with powdered sugar if desired

I am submitting these pancakes for the Weekend Breakfast Blogging #14 event, hosted this month by Glenna of the "A Fridge Full of Food" Blog. The theme this month was "ethnic dishes with a twist," and I feel that buckwheat gives all-American pancakes the requisite twist.

We usually associate buckwheat with Eastern European and Russian cuisine (think kasha), or East Asian cuisine (think soba noodles). Did you know that buckwheat is not related to wheat, that it's not even a grain at all? It is the seed of a flower, and is a great addition to any diet because it is gluten-free and easy to digest. It is also full of nutrients and has been used for hormonal balance, blood sugar control, and is even being studied as a natural cholesterol controller. Click here to read more about buckwheat on Wikipedia.

Maybe this weekend, you'll give buckwheat a try for a healthy and sweet breakfast. Enjoy!

One year ago today: what I was blogging about on August 24, 2006



Celine said...

our cameras should start taking pictures on their own so that we could enjoy our food while it's perfect. bad cameras. bad.

Amey said...

hey bazu!
those pancakes sound super good. I like the idea of an almond pancake... Actually I like all the pancake photos. I guess I just really like pancakes!

I didn't know any of those good facts about buckwheat... very cool!

:) amey

anna/village vegan said...

So many of my favorite pictures have been the "accidental" ones! Not that there's anything wrong with trying to set things up for a photo, but sometimes it's nice not to, too!

I really want to try those buckwheat pancakes...mmmmm.

Anonymous said...

I like the first photo better! Very beautiful to my mind. Happened upon your blog some months ago, and bookmarked it, but later couldn't find it. Now just did, and am particularly interested as I have lived in central ny for 20 years, went to the coop when it was a startup, etc.Now i have commanded feedblitz to send your blog to me so I will stay in the loop.

Anonymous said...

I love photographing my food before I eat it. It gives me time to think about my food and to put it on my plate nicely. The visual aspect of food is so important and before I started blogging I'd just start shuffling the food in. Now I stop to think about what I eat and how grateful I am for having such an abundance of lovely food. I really enjoy taking pictures of it!

Also, those pancakes look heavenly. I had buckwheat pancakes not long ago, they're a bit different from a standard pancake but it's so good. I like them with lots of fresh berries on top.

Anonymous said...

another recipe to try, looks totally yummy!

Jen said...

ha, ha. This post made me giggle. So true! I'm no photographer, I've realized. You're photos always look great, and these pancake shots are no exception!

I totally agree with what Emmie wrote, though. I hadn't thought about it, but it is a nice step that creates a mindfulness of the food. Especially since I'm usually cooking for myself, I find I lay out a much nicer plate if I'm going to be taking a picture. Much better than eating straight out of the pan...

Susan Voisin said...

All of the photos are making me hungry! Funny thing--I have that exact same blue plate, but I've never used it. I actually think it looks beautiful in the first photo, but I do think the photo of Daiku's plate makes my mouth water more.

I love what Emmie said about taking time to appreciate the food. I'm going to try to do that the next time my family is telling me to hurry up and finish the photo so that we can eat!

Anonymous said...

Ummm... "daiku" takes exception to the "with no thought to styling, lighting," etc., remark.

"daiku" just supposes some have it, and some, well...


[thanks, you!]

urban vegan said...

Both your pancake styling and Daiku's look great.

I had to laugh about orchestrating the photos. Before we eat anything, Omniman dutifully asks, "Did you get a picture?" And my friends patiently wait for me to take shots of their dishes at restaurants before diving in. It also makes you much more aware of how we eat with our eyes first.

bazu said...

Thanks for your comments and your understanding, everybody!

And Daiku, let me correct myself- you didn't have to give the styling any conscious thought because your skills are just so goshdarn innate! ;-)

Anonymous said...

I never knew those cool facts about buckwheat. You know, I don't think I've ever even purchased or cooked with buckwheat. I'll look for it during my next health food store excursion.

I think your photograph looks lovely. Not limp at all.

Judy said...

So, so true. And what fabulous looking pancakes. Really, though, I don't think I've ever met a pancake I didn't like!

Peggy said...

I've found that the longer I've been doing food blogging, the less I care about looking silly as I arrange my food 'just so'. Your pictures (and Daiku's) both look great.

That looks like an AWESOME pancake recipe. Real simple! That's definitely on my to-cook list now, I just need some buckwheat flour. :)

I didn't know that buckwheat was not a grain, and not even related to wheat! Go figure.

LizNoVeggieGirl said...

what interesting buckwheat facts! wow, those pancakes would be PERFECT for a hearty breakfast/brunch - thanks for the recipe!

Tofu Mom (AKA Tofu-n-Sprouts) said...

Hmmm.. I may have to try buckwheat again. I haven't been a fan in the past but maybe the almond would be a nice balance...

Jackie said...

Thanks for the visit. Doubt I will ever be 100% raw as I can't live without potatoes :)

I don't photograph my food as although it tastes good something always goes slightly wrong like my pancakes can turn out looking like scrambled eggs as I never manage to flip them properly....but have improved as they no longer hit the ceiling when I try.

Thanks for the pancake recipe as I managed to find some organic buckwheat flour recently and wondered what to make with it.

Anonymous said...

I've never really heard of buckwheat flour before. Your pancakes look really good -- not heavy or dense like a lot of the whole wheat ones end up. Yours look really light and fluffy.

theONLYtania said...

I like this post. I guess when Daiku set up his pancakes he was thinking "mmm this looks good." And it does!
I haven't really experimented with different types of flour. Perhaps that is something I should get around to!
And thanks for the birthday wishes! My kitchen is well outfitted now.. I'll have to get some pictures up of all my presents!

Theresa said...

Aw yum. Both pictures make me want to eat pancakes right now!

Emmy said...

The pancakes look delish. Rob absolutely loves pancakes so I'm definitely going to print this recipe out.

Vegan_Noodle said...

I think your pics are still awesome. And thanks for that recipe, I have a whole bag of buckwheat pancake mix sitting in my pantry and this sounds like a winning recipe (plus I love pancakes).
Also, thanks for the wedding advice, I'll make sure I don't fill up too least my dress has a lace up back so I can always make some room!!

vko said...

Hi there!

Am back and have lots of catching up to do. I don't what your talking about ALL those pancake pics look pretty damn tasty to me.

and I love that old print of buckwheat- those old diagrams are always so pretty.

Mihl said...

I think your pancakes look as great as Daiku's do! I had to laugh a lot when I read your post because my food get's cold all the time.

debolichesycopas said...

Hola, vi tu blog por casualidad, está muy interesante. Tengo un blog donde me gustaría publicar bares o pubs del mundo. Te invito a que me envíes una anegadota o recomendación de tu bar favorito con una foto para subirlo.


debolichesycopas said...

Hola, vi tu blog por casualidad, está muy interesante. Tengo un blog donde me gustaría publicar bares o pubs del mundo. Te invito a que me envíes una anegadota o recomendación de tu bar favorito con una foto para subirlo.


aTxVegn said...

Since I try to always be GF, I am familiar with buckwheat. I love the flavors of all the different GF flours and actually prefer them over the plain white.

Bazu, I don't think you have ever posted anything less than awesome pictures!

laura k said...

Buckwheat pancakes... I'm so there.

And I'm with you on the photography. It's hard to for to give up before I've gotten the perfect shot... but you know, sometimes it's all in vain if your food gets cold! But your photos always look gorgeous, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. :)

Anonymous said...

Food photos. Bah. I have a hard time in the winter when dinner time is dark. Takes me forever to get the shot, then my food's cold, and everyone else is chowing down!

BTW, that article in the Atlantic is now available here. Thought you might like to read the whole thing.

SaraJane said...

Goodness that looks divine. For some reason I can cook anything except I'm hopeless with pancakes (and brownies, but that's another story) but I think I might try these.

As for the pictures - it's funny how into styling the food we get sometimes. I've noticed that when I'm taking pictures for my blog, I spend way more time arranging things on my plate than I normally would just so it looks cute on the internets. haha.

Samantha said...

I can easily convert these to GF! Yippy! I think I will do the breakfast for dinner thing one night. An easy way to go veggie.

Jody from VegChic said...

Hey Bazu,

Just checking in. Lots of new posts for me to read!

Do you think tomatoes will fair ok in the mail? I've got loads of tomatoes from the CSA and I'm going to pick up extras tomorrow.

I'm the same way with pictures and often times I can't get the photo I want. ---I guess I need to clone Lolo.

Thx for the recipe and the reminder to try those veggie burgers.

michelle said...

The pancakes look amazing in both pictures. Last night I jumped up in the middle of dinner to photograph my second carrot dog. This could become a habit.

Crystal said...

You're so funny about the positioning of the food for the blog post. We totally do the same thing. People must think we're crazy, but oh well.

I love buckwheat pancakes. Ryan's grandma used to make them for us when we were younger...Yum!


Kris said...

I love you for this recipe. I have been eating these frozen buckwheat waffles for awhile now and bought some buckwheat flour to use. I thought about making pancakes, but have been to lazy to figure out a recipe.

And for the record, I think your picture looks very appetizing. But I totally know what you mean about food styling, it gets frustrating!

Glenna said...

They are absolutely lovely! Thank you for participating in breakfast blogging.

dreamy said...

Very nice! I really would like to eat it, I haven't eaten pancakes for a very very long time....

Vegan_Noodle said...

Just tried these out yesterday morning and they were fantastic!! Definitely a good change up from normal pancakes, thanks so much Bazu for the recipe!!