For about 9 months of the year I thrive on a well-thought-out weekly meal plan that morphs into a carefully-crafted shopping list and then transpires into an efficient visit to the grocery store. I find it hard to get excited about food that has travelled millions of kilometers to reach my table, so I try to make the whole process as streamlined as possible.
But when June hits, it’s a different story all together.
Plump berries brimming from pint baskets shout to be picked up and baked into a pie. The intoxicating charcoal scent teasing from my neighbour’s backyard makes me want to abandon plans for that frozen lasagna and fire up my own grill. To me, summer eating is all about impromptu meals inspired by the freshest thing I can get my hands on.
But in order to eat this way, it’s essential to have a properly-stocked pantry. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself, as I did this past weekend, with an insane desire for blueberry pancakes but absolutely zero will to get dressed and head to the store for buttermilk. (Not to worry about waste, though: my blueberry-inhaling toddler and husband made quick business of my farmers’ market haul.)
Next weekend, however, I’ll be a little more prepared. Did you know that soy beverages in Tetra Pak cartons can be substituted for buttermilk? And they’re shelf-stable, so you can always be prepared because you never know when a pancake craving will hit. Here’s a recipe:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cups vanilla soy beverage
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup blueberries
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Directions: Sift flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Whisk soy milk, egg and melted butter together. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and pour milk mixture in. Fold ingredients together. Fold in blueberries. Heat a skillet and add oil. Scoop approximately 1/4 cup of batter onto the skillet. Brown on both sides and serve hot with maple syrup.
–Christina, CF’s managing editor