How It All Started

Bob Phillips

The title of this blog was inspired by one of my Spanish professor's at Miami University of Ohio, Dr. Robert Phillips, who died in the e...

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Cloud-Forest Pancakes

Readers of this blog will be familiar with several variations on pancakes that we have explored. Today's nutritious and flavorful version is based on a delicious breakfast I enjoyed at CENaturaleza in the PeƱas Blancas cloud forest just over a week ago. We were visiting the reserve as part of my annual coffee study tour.

Though it was my third time in the reserve, I had not been aware of the amazing research center near the base of the falls. Our first visit was a treat on many levels. After a wide-ranging discussion of the interactions among climate change, coffee and cloud forests, Alan Bolt and his staff provided us with a wonderful dinner, with many ingredients drawn from the surrounding forest.

Similarly, the next morning, while most of my students climbed to the waterfall (to which Pam and I had climbed last year), I chatted with Alan while he prepared an equally amazing breakfast. This morning was my first attempt to re-create it, combining his verbal instructions with proportions I use in my standard pancake recipe.

Dry Ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together
1-1/2 cups whole-wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda (Alan did not mention these to me, but they certainly did not hurt)
a lot of cinnamon (I dusted several times from a shaker, but will try to grind from bark next time. I do not think it is possible to use too much. Alan ground his directly from bark harvested immediately outside his kitchen.)
Alan (near center) in his cloud-forest kitchen, with one of his
staff cooks (right) and two of my students (left).
Wet ingredients: Blend together and then stir into dry ingredients
2 eggs, beaten
1-1/2 cups orange juice (juice of two oranges plus store-bought; Alan's was all fresh)
zest of two oranges
2 tablespoons blood orange olive oil from E.N. Olivier in Baltimore

I heated our indispensable cast-iron griddle and used butter to cook the pancakes. They cooked up quickly and crispy. All three of us enjoyed them, topped with butter and a bit of honey. Next year I hope to get to Alan's kitchen early enough to study his proportions and technique in more detail.

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