Eight months in and California, you’re still leaving me breathless (may I say this is a condition I hope never to be cured from). Last weekend a wrong turn led us into a deep canyon, soft and misty and (thanks to buckets of rain) spectacularly green. Then there was an innocent hike up a foothill whose summit revealed the ocean spread wide in front of us, immaculate orange groves behind, and lofty mountain ranges beyond that.
The scene however that I love the most are the vast and wide fields of, let me see, well, you name it. Lettuce, and tangerines, broccoli, and lemons. Yesterday Hiro and I stumbled upon a field of artichokes on our way to the library. Artichokes!! And of course, strawberries. There are fields of strawberries at every turn; along the highway, between bike paths, right at the foot of the ocean, which I always think to myself whenever I see it, if you had to be picking anything anywhere picking strawberries while look out at the ocean has got to be at least one of the more desirable positions. If you have veggie-lust like I do make sure to follow along this weekend as I take over the @cagrownofficial‘s instagram feed with some of my favorite shots of the fruits and vegetables growing around here.
Thanks to the abundance of fresh strawberries they are plentiful at farm stands and in Farmer’s markets around here year round which means they are a staple at our breakfast table and top just about everything from yogurt to cereal and in this case, pancakes.
These are a special breed of pancake made not with wheat flour but masa harina, the very finely ground corn flour used to make corn tortillas, tamales, and any number of Latin American dishes. The masa harina makes a thicker-than-normal batter which might leave you in doubt but they fry up so fluffy and light and tender you’ll forget all about the weird, heavy batter. Making them with masa harina means they are naturally gluten-free and when you make the batter with plant-based milk and vegetable oil like I did they are also dairy-free, so yay for healthy pancakes! These masa harina pancakes also have a delicate corn flavor that goes beautifully with strawberries.
As for the strawberries, I like to slice them and toss them with fragrant vanilla bean sugar made by my friend Lola and you can buy some for yourself here! Otherwise you can toss them with plain granulated sugar and some vanilla beans or vanilla extract.
- 3 cups milk (any kind will do, I used vanilla soy milk)
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- 1½ cups masa harina
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large eggs
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
- ¼ cup honey
- Butter and syrup, for serving (optional)
- 1 pint fresh strawberries
- 2 tablespoons vanilla sugar or 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and the seeds of ½ a vanilla bean, or ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- Heat oven to 200°F.
- Combine milk and lemon juice in a large bowl. Let sit 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine masa harina, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk to break up any lumps.
- Add eggs, ⅓ cup vegetable oil, and honey to the milk mixture and whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture and whisk until just combined and no dry spots remain. Batter will be thicker than normal, but still cook up light and fluffy.
- Heat 1 teaspoon vegetable oil in a large, non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Add about ¼ cup of the batter for each pancake and spread into a ¼-inch thick circle. Cook until crispy and browned on the edges, about 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 more minutes on the other side.
- Transfer pancakes to a baking sheet or large heat-proof plate and place in the oven to keep warm. Repeat with remaining batter.
- Stem and slice the cleaned strawberries and place in a medium bowl. Sprinkle vanilla sugar over the top and toss to coat the strawberries in sugar.
- Serve a couple warm pancakes with a generous spoonful of strawberries and butter (or dairy-free butter) and syrup, if you'd like.
One More Thing
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