I've lived in Aspen, CO twice before. Once, the summer before my senior year in college to work in my uncle's jewelry store, and once about two years later, to escape the jobless wasteland that was NYC in 2008, find work in an art gallery, and live with my then boyfriend. Plus...adventure, right?
In many ways, living in a condo at the base of Ajax was amazing. I struggled with feelings of depression during this time and put a lot of mental energy into intervening (as over-thinkers are wont to do), but I also remember feeling incredibly privileged to relish so much beauty. I was grateful for it. The landscape. The hiking. The skiing. Wandering around Aspen's cobble stoned bits. Those street lamps on wintery evenings after closing up the gallery; snowflakes on my eye lashes. Getting into making art once again. Doing the master cleanse for 14 days (all I can say here is...strange bodily experiences aside...you realize how much of human life centers around joyful meal experiences and between-meal periods!). Seasonal people-watching (...aka witnessing wildly ostentatious displays of feathery, furry, oversized outerwear). That bear that ate watermelons outside of our front door. The full Thanksgiving dinner I single-handedly prepared. Holding my first turkey up by its back legs, speaker phone resting on the counter (connected to my mom and aunt in Block Island) hearing myself say (slightly embarrassed to admit this): "oh my god, it looks like a beheaded turkey." That delicious Thanksgiving apple pie that I have never since been able to replicate. In general, experiencing what is often perceived as "winter city" over the spring, summer, and fall - it's beautiful. And...poppycocks.
Poppycocks? Yes, poppycocks. Poppycocks is a quaint diner in downtown Aspen, and one of its most popular items is Oatmeal Buttermilk Pancakes. I remember them as being hearty, moist, and enormous. Decadent while still maintaining a pinch of heath (a psychological trick no doubt) due to the texture and taste of the oatmeal. I associate them with lazy Sunday mornings. And, they were...amazing.
Getting back to present day life, Marcio has made pancakes or french toast at least once a week for the past few years. He loves them and I can't believe that it wasn't until a few nights ago that I remembered Poppycocks.
As I'm 13 weeks pregnant (did I mention that?), I find myself craving hearty food for almost every meal. During my survey to find generous but semi-healthy breakfast foods, I stumbled upon two oatmeal pancake recipes (here and here) and fell asleep that night excited to work together to come up with our own oatmeal pancake iteration the following morning.
Our kitchen might not be Poppycocks, and we might have argued over the correct way to fold wet ingredients into dry ones. But, like Poppycocks, we have art-strewn walls, plenty of coffee, and two solid pancake lovers, so we were in. Here is our first iteration of hearty oatmeal buttermilk pancake recipe, future takes to come, I'm sure!
HEARTY OATMEAL BUTTERMILK PANCAKES
1/2 c oat flour (pulse 3/4 cup rolled oats into a food processor or spice grinder until finely ground)
1/2 c white whole wheat flour
1/2 c cooked oatmeal* 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 c buttermilk 1.5 Tbsp melted ghee
a splash of vanilla
Whisk the oat flour, flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl.
In a smaller bowl, whisk the ghee, buttermilk, cooked oatmeal, and eggs together until thoroughly combined.
Gently fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Using a light hand is important for tender pancakes; the batter should be slightly thick with a holey surface. Although the batter is best if using immediately, it can sit for up to 1 hour on the counter or overnight in the refrigerator. If you leave it overnight, it may become very thick and should be thinned, one tablespoon at a time, with milk. Take care not to overmix.
Heat a 10-inch cast-iron pan or griddle over medium heat until water sizzles when splashed onto the pan. Rub the pan generously with butter. Working quickly, dollop 1/4-cup mounds of batter onto the pan. Once bubbles have begun to form on the top side of the pancake, flip the pancake and cook until the bottom is dark golden-brown, about 5 minutes total. Wipe the pan with a cloth before griddling the next pancake. Continue with the rest of the batter.
Serve the pancakes hot, straight from the skillet or keep them warm in a low oven.
* To make oatmeal: if you don’t have any leftover: Bring 1 cups of water, 1/2 cup of rolled oats and a pinch of salt to a boil and simmer on low for 5 minutes. Let cool. You’ll have some extra oatmeal.