Being true to my McClanahan nature, I interrupted and suggested that she use them for baking if she didn’t like the brown spots. She just ignored me and kept complaining. I then offered that the condition of the apples could be due to the fact that the season would be ending soon. She just brushed me off, so I left her to complain to the vendor.
I really don’t expect produce to look perfect at the farmers’ market. Many times it is beautiful but not perfect. Growing up I had the benefit of seeing the apples my dad produced in our backyard. His apples were rarely perfect. They were sometimes oddly-shaped with rough brown patches. There was no uniformity in size. We picked and ate the pretty apples; peeled and cooked the bad looking ones.
Grocery stores have distorted our expectation of how fresh farm produce should look. They sell varieties bred to look a certain way and have a particularly long shelf-life. While we get pretty produce we don’t get a variety of flavors. A few months back, I asked the vendor of Twin Girl Farms how to pick the best lemon. He said you can’t really tell by the color, a light green lemon can be just as tasty as a yellow lemon. He explained that many grocers sell lemons that have been exposed to ethylene gas to make them the uniform lemon color we are used to seeing. I was blown away by the fact that I had so easily fallen in to the expectation that lemons should look like “lemons.”
I thought about all of this as I picked out four dotted Pink Lady apples. I was only going to buy two but bought four because I felt badly for the vendor. I decided I would use two of them to make one of my daughter’s favorite breakfasts, Puffy Pancakes.
Whole Wheat Puffy Pancakes with Apples
These pancakes are also known as Dutch Bunnies but we affectionately call them Puffy Pancakes because they puff up when they are baked. You can bake them without the apples but when apples are in season it makes for a fabulous breakfast. The best thing is that they are simple to make.
1 cup milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 cup white whole wheat flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
¼ teaspoon salt
2 apples, peeled, cored and sliced
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
½ teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
6 tablespoons of butter
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
In a bowl, beat the eggs, milk and vanilla until well blended. Add the flour, flaxseed and salt all at once. Stir until just combined. The batter will be lumpy. Set aside and let rest for 12 minutes. Combine the sliced apples with the sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Melt 3 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat in a heavy skillet or sauté pan with an ovenproof handle. Add the apples and sauté for 3 – 4 minutes, until jus soft. Turn off the heat and add the other 3 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter melts, evenly distribute the apples across the bottom of the pan. Pour the batter over the sautéed apples and transfer the pan to the oven. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the pancake is golden brown and puffed.
Sprinkle the pancake with lemon juice and powdered sugar, if desired. Cut into wedges and serve with maple syrup.