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Notes from Wolfgang: Start 2015 right with a healthy New Year's breakfast!
Even as you're getting ready to celebrate the arrival of 2015, you're also probably thinking about your New Year's resolutions. And if you're a food lover, which you probably are if you're reading this article, it's very likely that one of your top goals for the coming year is to eat in a more healthful way -- improving your well-being and, in the process, maybe losing a few pounds, too.
I believe that the best way to begin a new approach to eating is with breakfast. It only makes sense. Each new day is like a new year, offering you a clean slate and a fresh start. Make the right choices with your first meal of the day, enjoying recipes prepared with healthy ingredients that not only satisfy and fill you up but also bring you pleasure, and it becomes easier for you to go on eating sensibly, and more sparingly, for the rest of the day -- and the days, weeks and months ahead. The approach reminds me of the old saying that, for greater health, you should always breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dine like a pauper.
My recipe for Whole Wheat, Walnut, and Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes, adapted from my recent book "Wolfgang Puck Makes It Healthy," is a great example of that principle. You'll feel like you're feasting when you sit down to three robust pancakes, topped with warm, glistening Fresh Berry Compote. Yet, each serving (not counting the fat-free berry mixture) contains only 392 calories, fewer than a third of which come from fat; and you can make the recipe even lower in fat, about 26 percent of total calories, by leaving out the walnuts, although their fat is high in heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. (If you want a change of pace, and a relatively slight indulgence, you could also serve them with a light drizzle of pure maple syrup instead of the berry compote. Or try other nuts instead of the walnuts; or drop slices of ripe banana into each pancake in place of the blueberries.) The pancakes provide additional nutritional benefits, as well, with about 5 grams of dietary fiber and almost 13 grams of protein per serving.
Did I mention that they taste great, too?
They're also easy to make. The batter takes only about a quarter hour to prepare. And it benefits from sitting overnight in the refrigerator, which lets the flavors develop and the whole wheat flour soften. You can prepare it up to 12 hours in advance, before you begin your Dec. 31 festivities.
Just think: You'll have something delicious, and healthy, to look forward to as you begin a wonderful New Year!
Whole Wheat, Walnut & Blueberry Buttermilk Pancakes
Makes about 12 pancakes, serves 4
1/4 cup (60 ml) walnut pieces
4 large cage-free egg whites
2 large cage-free egg yolks
1 cup (250 ml) buttermilk
2 tablespoons (30 ml) canola oil
1/2 cup (125 ml) pastry flour
1/2 cup (125 ml) whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon (15 ml) sugar
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon (2 ml) ground ginger
Fresh Berry Compote (recipe follows)
non -stick cooking spray
1. Put the walnut pieces in a small, heavy, ungreased skillet. Cook over low heat, stirring almost continuously to prevent scorching, until the nuts are fragrant and have darkened slightly but are still a shade or two lighter than you want ; 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer immediately to a heatproof bowl; their residual heat will continue to cook and dark them slightly as they cool.
2. In a clean mixing bowl, use a hand mixer on medium speed or a wire whisk to beat the egg whites until they form soft peaks that droop slightly when the beaters or whisk are lifted out. Set aside.
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth and slightly frothy. Whisk in the buttermilk and oil.
4. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the pastry and whole wheat flours, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and ginger. Make a well in the center, pour the egg yolk mixture into the well, and whisk just enough to incorporate it into the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts. With a rubber spatula, gently fold about one-quarter of the egg whites into this batter to lighten it. Then, in two more batches, lightly fold in the remaining egg whites until fully incorporated. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 30 minutes or, better, overnight.
5. About 10 minutes before cooking the pancakes, prepare the Fresh Berry Compote. Keep it warm.
6. Heat a large non -stick griddle over medium heat.
7. Spray the hot griddle with non -stick cooking spray.
Using a 1/4 cup (60 ml) ladles or measure, pour the batter onto the griddle to form pancakes, spacing them about 1 inch (2.5 cm) apart. Scatter some blueberries onto the surface of each pancake as it's formed. Cook until the undersides of the pancakes are golden brown and the surface is covered with small bubbles, 3 to 4 minutes. With a spatula, turn the pancakes over and continue cooking until the other sides are browned, about 3 minutes more. As the pancakes are done, transfer them to a heated platter. Repeat with any remaining batter.
8. To serve, present the pancakes on the platter or arrange them slightly overlapping on individual heated plates. Transfer the berry compote to a sauceboat or serving bowl and pass it at the table.
FRESH BERRY COMPOTE
3/4 cup (1 75 ml) fresh blueberries
3/4 cup (1 75 ml) fresh raspberries
3 tablespoons (45 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 ml) grated orange zest
3 ounces (85 ml) fresh orange juice
pinch kosher salt
1. In a non
-reactive saucepan, combine the berries, honey, orange zest, orange juice, and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring occasionally, and continue simmering just until the berries have given up some of their juices and have turned slightly syrupy, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and keep warm