I am thrilled to have received a copy of Kathy Hester’s new book, The Easy Vegan Cookbook (along with the task of making a recipe and writing this post). I like the look and feel of the book – it has lots of photos, glossy paper and my favorite lay-flat binding (which I use in my book The New Fast Food). The end papers are green and this 200+ page book feels good in my hands. The recipes have oil-free, soy-free and gluten-free options where appropriate. These are truly easy vegan recipes which will help anyone eat well easily when following a vegan diet and might be a great book for people new to this way of eating.
As for me, I could have chosen a “more usual” recipe or a more visually appealing recipe but I have a thing for buckwheat flour, although not quite as much a hankering for pancakes. But heck, it’s nearing the end of summer and it’s when both apples and zucchini are still abundant so why not make the recipe for Apple Zucchini Buckwheat Pancakes?
Other wonderful recipe choices include Warming Lentil Soup, Ma Po Tofu, Zucchini Masala Fries or Creole Okra Corn Soup from one of the nine chapters in the book. The chapter headings cover a lot of culinary ground: Make Ahead Staples, Soups Save the Day, Simple Stews, Pushover Pastas, Manageable Mains, Speedy Stir-Fires, Easy Sandwich Filings and Spreads, Straight-Forward Sides and Desserts and Drinks.
Rather than those other recipes, I said that I’d be making pancakes, very large pancakes, using the directions in the recipe of using ½ cup batter for each. Hester recommends having two pans going at once to do this but I only have one great ceramic coated nonstick pan so it’s slow going but things are moving along. Making the batter is easy enough and the ingredients might be standards in your kitchen.
I keep wondering why buckwheat tastes so good but doesn’t look so good? It seems like another brown “hippie” food to the omnivores. These are definitely not the light and fluffy pancakes that one can make by adding milk and eggs to a premade pancake mix. They are hearty, they are very brown, they are a bit heavy but oh my, they are darned tasty, with hints of the cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg called for in the recipe.
What I like: the flavor, the bits of apple and zucchini, the sturdiness which is different than the texture (at least in my mind) and how they fill you up without making you feel like you ate a pile of dough
What I don’t like: the color (please buckwheat, my gluten-free friend, why can’t you get a better look?) and heavy texture
After making the initial two pancakes, I added more cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract which I thought that they needed. This batter seems as if it would be easy to play with and adapt to your taste and desires. I thought about repeating the process but making the pancakes savory by adding some curry powder.
The batter which makes 6 large pancakes is enough to feed at least 3 hungry people. The pancakes freeze very well and it’s simple to reheat them in the toaster oven, which is what I did. They probably also reheat well in your nonstick pan (which I didn’t do). I can see them as an easy grab n go on a weekday morning as you’re heading out the door.
The recipe is well written, which is what I expect from Kathy Hester, and truly makes 6 large pancakes. I think that next time I would prefer to make 12 smaller pancakes as these might make an amazing nut butter pancake stack, or little “sandwiches”. Spreading a little apple butter on along with nut butter would be the crowning jewel. Eating two large pancakes would be just too much food for me.
If you are looking for a different kind of breakfast, brunch or dinner, then try these out. Perhaps adding some fresh apple slices might make the color more appealing but the taste just might win you over.