Vintage Homestyle Sweet Corn Pancakes Recipe

Vintage Homestyle Sweet Corn Pancakes Recipe

One summer many years ago, a relative asked if I had ever tried sweet corn pancakes. I hadn’t, and decided to look for a recipe. While I found recipes for corn fritters, I didn’t find any recipes for sweet corn pancakes, so I adapted this recipe from an old cookbook, updating it by using coconut oil, oat flour, brown sugar, and unsweetened almond milk. It is now one of my favorite corn recipes, with or without my favorite local honey or maple syrup. These pancakes can also be savory, making them perfect for picnics, hikes, or simply an afternoon treat.

Adapted from: The Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook 1980 Edition by Zoe Coulson

Serves: Approximately 12 – 4 inch pancakes

Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup oat flour
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 – 1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tbsp. coconut oil, melted, plus slightly more for lightly greasing your skillet or griddle
  • 1 – 1/2 cup sweet corn cut from the cob
  • butter 
  • maple syrup or honey



Apple Orchard
Instructions:
  1. In a large bowl, mix the first 4 ingredients. In a small bowl, beat the egg for 30 seconds, then stir in the almond milk and 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Add to the flour mixture and stir until the flour is moistened.
  2. Heat skillet or griddle over medium-high heat until a drop of water sizzles. Brush lightly with coconut oil.
  3. Pour batter by 1/4 cupfuls onto a hot skillet or griddle, making a few pancakes at a time.
  4. Cook until bubbles burst and edges look dry, approximately 90 seconds. With a spatula, turn and cook until the underside is golden, about 90 seconds.
  5. Place on a heated platter, and keep warm. Brush skillet with more coconut oil, if needed, before starting on the next batch. Serve with butter and maple syrup or honey.

For a savory variation: 

Add 1/4 cup cilantro, basil, or parsley, 1/2 tsp sea salt and coarsely ground black pepper, and 2 scallions, green and white, finely chopped.

 

Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Autumn’s Spectacular Applesauce

Autumn’s Spectacular Applesauce

The autumn season not only encompasses beautifully colored leaf foliage in the Northeast and other areas around the country but a change of appetite for pumpkins, Concord grapes, apples, and a variety of squash. The sorts of autumn fruits are numerous, and the types of apples are broad. One of our family’s favorites is the Honey Crisp. The apple is crisp, slightly tart, and sweet. It incorporates so well in the apple recipes we love including applesauce, apple cake, and dried apples. 

Ingredients:
  • 10 medium-sized Honeycrisp apples (you can substitute or mix your favorite apple)
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice 
  • 1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Instructions:
  1. Wash, peel, and core apples.
  2. Cut each apple into quarters and cut those quarters into thirds. 
  3. In a 3-quart saucepan, add water and fresh lemon juice. 
  4. Cool until soft on medium-high heat, occasionally stirring, for approximately 15-20 minutes. 
  5. Cool completely. Remove the cinnamon stick if using. The recipe makes about 32 ounces. 
  6. Preserve in your freezer-safe containers packing applesauce in 1 – 2 cup increments. 
  7. Label, seal, and freeze. 
Apple Orchard

Note – I did not add sugar; however, if you prefer your applesauce to be sweet, start with 1/4 cup of sugar or honey when cooking the apples. 

Chef Yvonne Dwyer

Recipe compliments of OPL Naturalist and Home Chef Yvonne Dwyer

OPL Plant-rich Recipes

Eating more fruits and vegetables is good for you and the planet.  Find more delicious OPL-recommended plant-rich recipes here.

Going Green: Wedding Celebration With a Helpful Twist

Going Green: Wedding Celebration With a Helpful Twist

An environmentally conscientious couple creates a bohemian fairy garden wedding that’s kind to the planet.

How did they do it? First, it takes two multi-talented individuals, such as the bride and groom, Taylor and Nick. Both grew up learning and caring about our environment from family, education, and activities such as scouting, horse care, and stable management. Their knowledge, expertise, and outdoor experiences include working as whitewater rafting guides, ski/snowboard patrollers, protecting and managing natural resources through the conservation core, and providing community medical care. They are both highly conscientious of the importance of conservation, preservation, and sustainability in our waterways and land. 

Planning a dream wedding that was kind to the planet was a priority. 

Together they created a plan to use sustainable resources which could be recycled, reused, repurposed, and composted. They recruited family and friends to help make their dream wedding come true.   

From the flowers to the furnishings and food, Taylor and Nick carefully planned every aspect of the wedding to be sustainable and beautiful.

The planning began approximately a year and a half in advance when the bride’s mother planted a perennial wildflower pollinating garden where the ceremony would take place. This garden, located in scenic central Pennsylvania, required tilling by the bride’s stepfather as it is a rock garden. Wildflowers seeds, including Coreopsis, Cosmos, Brown-Eyed Susans, Indian Blanket, Evening Primrose, Eastern Columbine, and Coneflower, provided pollen, nectar, and shelter for hundreds of important species, namely Monarch butterflies, native bees, and insects such as grasshoppers.

The couple collected five used living room furniture sets and rugs for the reception from various estate and yard sales.

The accessories to complete the rooms were purchased, rented, or borrowed from family members and friends. The married couple sold the living room furniture pieces to those interested in purchasing them after the celebration.

Local Book Store
Local Book Store

Taylor and Nick rented large tents to add shelter in inclement weather. 

Rustic tables, chairs, narrow table runners, chandeliers, and other accessories were also rented from local vendors such as Rustic Event Rentals. The owner, Holly Mitchell, had a vision after she married in 2016 to rent sustainable collected pieces reasonably priced for special events such as this. An assortment of clear, green, and brown bottles was saved and used to hold candles, wildflowers, and ferns. These bottles will be recycled, reused, or repurposed for future events. Finally, the moss, pine fir, pinecones, ferns, and wildflowers were all returned to the forest or wildflower garden.

The ceremony took place at dusk when the summer sky was illuminated with hues of various shades of blue, pink, orange, yellow, and white.

The wildflowers and vibrant sky were the backdrops for the wedding photographs. As part of the ceremony, the couple planted an Eastern Hemlock Spruce tree, an evergreen tree native to eastern North America, and the Pennsylvania state tree.

The wedding food consisted of beautiful handmade charcuterie boards handcrafted by Proudfit-Made. Each platter featured fresh and dried fruit, vegetables, nuts, assorted cheeses, jams, and crackers. Family and friends contributed with warm hors d’oeuvres, cookies of all kinds, and a full bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. The homemade red velvet naked cake, baked by the groom and decorated by an aunt, was beautifully decorated with freshly washed and dried ferns. The tiered cookie and cake stand, wooden plates, bar, and wooden mountains with fairy lights were handcrafted by the groom and later given to those interested who attended the celebration.  

Bamboo plates, utensils, and napkins were all compostable.

Individual drinking glasses were provided so guests could write their names on them, making it easy to identify them. These glasses and cookies were part of their takeaway gift. Recycle bins were placed discretely throughout, and nearly all the trash collected could be recycled.

Why would this couple go to this extent of creating such a venue? Because they care about our environment and are passionate about conservation, preservation, and sustainability with our planet’s future and its inhabitants in mind. Congratulations to this beautiful couple, Taylor and Nick, on a creative, well-thought-out, green (in more ways than one) wedding celebration for all who attended to remember.

Movement of the Monarch: The Importance of Pollinators

Movement of the Monarch: The Importance of Pollinators

Each year the Monarch Butterflies migrate through North America to/from the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt in Mexico (which is protected by the Mexican government). According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, “The monarch is the only butterfly known to make a two-way migration as birds do.” 

 These butterflies are pollinators, and they play a crucial role in the health of our ecosystem as they carry pollen from flower to flower aiding in plant reproduction. The Monarch Butterfly appears to love a variety of milkweed common with mauve flowers, pink swamp, and butterfly milkweed.

 Unfortunately, the population of Monarch butterflies has been declining for several reasons: 

  • Commercial and residential development has destroyed suitable summer habitats; there are simply not enough milkweed plants for the 700 eggs and babies to lay.   
  • With a short supply of plants, these butterflies will lay their eggs wherever is available, and a high population in one area is a huge problem as they are attacked by flies, wasp predators, and disease.  
  • Climate change is another major problem as monitoring the past 3-10 years weather patterns have demonstrated heavy rains and freezing temperatures causing massive mortality of 50 to 80 percent of the population.

The good news is that Monarch Way Stations have been created to conserve and protect the declining Monarch Butterfly population throughout their journey. 

 These stations, gardens, and meadows provide milkweed, nectar sources, and shelter. It is wonderful to witness the amount of attention around how important our pollinators are to our ecosystem. No matter what roadside milkweed bank, meadow, garden, or park is visited, we are fortunate to witness some amazing beautiful butterflies.

 What can you do as an individual to aid in creating a habitat which would enable pollinators to thrive and multiply?  The American dream of a yard looking like a highly manicured golf course has been the demise of many pollinators. Try creating a space in your backyard devoted to native plants that bloom from spring to autumn; it may look a little messy but will support a home for a host of pollinators. The beauty is two-fold: these native wildflowers will reseed themselves, becoming a low-maintenance garden where there is not only beauty amongst the flowers, but the attractions of butterflies, bees, moths, hummingbirds, and birds. 

 As volunteers, members of citizen science, getting involved is so easy as there are numerous programs for all ages to participate include counting, tagging, and releasing monarch butterflies through the North American Butterfly Association, sponsored walks, home ecologists children’s programs, national, state, county, and city parks throughout our nation.  

 I was so excited when the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) offered me an opportunity to release a third-generation monarch who will fly and make its way to Mexico.  Wishing you a safe journey. Fly baby fly!

 

Wildflowers are Essential to a Healthy Ecosystem

Wildflowers are Essential to a Healthy Ecosystem

We love wildflowers for a variety of reasons. The vision of beautiful bright colors displayed in natural floral arrangements catches our eyes, whether in meadows in the countryside, vacant lots in the city, or beyond human-dominated areas such as forests, wetlands, and seascapes. However, there is so much more that wildflowers provide besides their beauty. Wildflowers are an essential part of our ecosystem. 

What do wildflowers benefit?

Colorful wildflowers attract hummingbirds and beneficial insects such as bees and butterflies. They enjoy the nectar and collect pollen on their bodies as they move from one plant to another. That pollen dusted on their bodies pollinates the new plants they visit. For humans, this is extremely important as pollen is essential for plant production in fruits, vegetables, and nuts.

Wildflowers provide food for birds, insects, and other animals. In addition, they create natural habitats, nesting areas for birds, and shelter for small mammals, insects, amphibians, and protection from other animals.

What is the significance of wildflowers?

For centuries, native wildflowers (plants here before European settlement) have been foraged for tea and food recipes, medicinal purposes, ceremonies, symbolism, stories, ink, and in some instances, as a currency. In A Naturalist’s Book of Wildflowers, author Laura C. Martin states, “The indigenous people of North America found medicines in the woods and fields, plains, and deserts where they lived.” Amid our days of modern medicine, several wildflowers have been shown in studies to be complementary health resources found in teas, essential oils, and tinctures. Always do your research with these resources before experimenting.

Are wildflowers thriving in today’s environment?

Some varieties are in trouble. Common milkweed, a wildflower that is an important food source for Monarch butterflies, is in decline. As a result, our migratory monarch butterfly has recently been placed on the (IUCN) endangered red list. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) states, “Native populations, known for migrating from Mexico and California in the winter to summer breeding grounds, have shrunk by 22% and 72% over the past decade. Pesticides and herbicides used in intensive agriculture kill butterflies and milkweed, the host plant that the larvae of the monarch butterfly on which they feed.”

Monarch Butterfly on Milkweed

Non-native invasive species known as exotics are wild plants brought here to North America for their beauty or by accident. Unfortunately, they are not only out-competing and smothering our native wildflowers, but invasive plants also secrete chemicals into the ground, prohibiting the growth of native wildflowers. Plants such as Japanese knotweed, oriental bittersweet, and garlic mustard are just a few to mention.

Where can we buy wildflowers?

As the spring, summer, and fall seasons progress, we notice not only the change in colors and variations of the types of wildflowers but the variety of species that catch our eyes and ears. They lead us to want to learn and know more about them and how we can do our part to protect them by creating our unique wildflower garden, be it in a pot or plot. Wildflowers can be purchased through your local conservation resources and online.