Good Morning, Pancakes and Sweet Potatoes!

Fall harvest crops are some of my favorite vegetables and fruit. I’m still learning the ins and outs of cooking squash, but in the meantime, I’ve taken on a new patron cause, and that is the sweet potato.

Internationally, sweet potatoes are an important part of many cultures’ diets, but in North America they’ve been somewhat marginalized. They’re still plentiful in the States, and sweet potatoes are still a staple of a few regions, Southeastern US being the major proponent of this fantastic food. In Mississippi, for example, sweet potato farming yields 19 million annually to the state’s economy. The National Sweet Potato Festival is held annually in Vardaman, self-proclaimed “Sweet Potato Capital.” They’re also quite popular in Kentucky, where slices of sweet potato fried in bacon droppings then served with bacon on toast are a regular item on breakfast menus throughout the state.

So I’ve been spending some quality time with the sweet potato. Last week I made roasted sweet potato burritos. For my weekly Sunday breakfast makings, I decided to forgo the usual tofu scramble and opt instead for a pairing that makes perfect sense, taste-, texture- and timing – wise:

Apple Pie Pancakes with Apple-Walnut Topping
and Sweet Potato Hash

– 3/4 c. unbleached all-purpose flour
– 1/4 c. rolled oat flakes
– 1/2 tsp cinnamon
– 2 tsp baking powder
– 1/4 tsp salt
– 1 c. soy milk (or any other non-dairy milk)
– 1/2 large apple, diced (I used a half of a Jonagold, but any mildly sweet apple will do)

Apple-Walnut Topping
– 2 apples, peeled and sliced (I used two small Galas)
– 2 tbsp vegan margarine
– 3 tbsp brown sugar
– 1 tsp of cinnamon
– 1/4 tsp Xanathan Gum (or any other thickener)
– 1/2 c. walnuts, chopped

For the pancakes, just combine the flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add the apples and milk and stir until “just mixed.” Heat a non-stick pan or greased pan. Portion batter in selected amounts, flipping pancake when bubbles form on the top.  Makes four fairly large pancakes. (Adapted from a recipe in La Dolce Vegan by Sarah Kramer)

For the topping, put one tbsp margarine and one tbsp brown sugar in a pot and set it at low heat. Stir constantly. Add apples, then the other tbsp of margarine and the rest of the brown sugar. Keeping stirring. Add cinnamon, then the thickener. When the apples are soft, add the walnuts. Continue stirring until the sauce is thick and the apples can easily be sliced with a fork.

Warm topping + pancakes = DELICIOUS

Sweet Potato Hash
– 1 large sweet potato, diced
– 1 small white onion, chopped
– Onion salt
– Smoked paprika
– Cayenne
– Cumin
– Olive oil

Admittedly, most of this is to taste: Take a baking sheet and spread out two tablespoons of olive oil. Add the sweet potatoes and onions, tossing them around the baking sheet to evenly coat in the oil. Add seasonings to taste. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes, flip, then bake for 10 more minutes.

Add hash to the plate with the pancakes. Don’t be too alarmed if an apple gets into your hash – these two were made for each other!

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