Breakfast for dinner: It was our surefire way to gather the kids to the dinner table and coax smiles and conversation. Omelets, crepes, fruit-filled pierogi, waffles, sometimes cereal. No matter, the flip-flopped meal succeeds.
Now we empty nesters continue the quirky tradition. We don't really need an excuse — tough day, gray skies, whatever. Nothing comforts like warm, tender sweet pancakes after a busy day. These days we lean toward savory toppings alongside sweet options.
This fall, flavor-packed sweet potatoes enliven our pancake batter. So does the nutty essence of whole wheat flour and a touch of aromatic allspice.
You have options for the sweet potatoes: Microwave 3 medium-size (total 1 1/4 pounds) potatoes on high until fork-tender for 10 or 12 minutes. Then, cool, peel and mash. Or, use 1 can (29 ounces) cut sweet potatoes in light syrup, drained and mashed. Truth be told, canned pumpkin makes a great substitute. Either way, the pancakes taste rich and yield a soft, puddinglike interior.
When serving the pancakes with a sweet topping, I spice up the batter with 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg. Sweet potato pie comes to mind, especially when served with maple syrup. For company, we pull out the stops and offer a praline-mascarpone topping too. For flapjacks served with the savory ham and greens topping, I substitute olive oil for the canola used for cooking.
Breakfast never tasted so good. Ditto for dinner.
Sweet potato pancakes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Servings: About 6, 12 to 14 pancakes (each 3 inches in wide)
2 large eggs
1 ½ cups low-fat buttermilk
1 cup pureed cooked sweet potatoes (or 1 cup canned sweet potatoes, drained)
4 tablespoons butter, melted
2 tablespoons expeller-pressed canola oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground allspice
Expeller-pressed canola oil or rice bran oil for cooking