Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Pre-race Strawberry Cornmeal Pancakes

Every October for the past four years, my dad and I have run the Army Ten-Miler together. All 40 miles, side by side. It's the biggest ten-mile race in the United States, with 30,000 registered racers in 2010. 2008 was marked by a surprise finish by my little sis, Mary W., who amazingly managed to come in strong, despite having maxed out her training at a three-miler (Mary has put her racing career on hiatus, while currently serving in the Peace Corps). In 2009, we had a guest entry by my Aunt Joanne, who, ten years my dad's junior, dropped us at mile 8 and sprinted to the finish! But alas, Aunt Joanne had some hip problems and so in 2010, it was back to just me and D. We were going to crush it.

And nothing says "I'm gonna crush this race!" like a get-psyched breakfast of fresh strawberry cornmeal pancakes with pure maple syrup. Warning: I'm not advocating eating a breakfast like this on the day of a race (for that, I stick to oatmeal or toast and PB), but for the day prior to race day, pancakes are super. Or better yet, serve them as awesome celebratory brunch. So please don't send me cranky emails about why you should never stuff your stomach with pancakes and syrup immediately before competing in an athletic event. Thx.

The addition of cornmeal to these pancakes doesn't make them taste like corn (I know, I was surprised too). When I first tried this recipe, I was looking for a cornbread style of pancake. Although that's not what I got, I did find a new go-to recipe for pancakes. I think the cornmeal helps get that crispy crust on the outside and the high yogurt content keeps them moist in the middle. And don't even get me started on the strawberries. They are so perfect in pancakes, that I don't understand how blueberries ever became so popular. The inn where Travis and I got married (John Joseph Inn) served up the best breakfast I've ever had (bacon thicker than my arm!), including my first-ever strawberry pancakes.

We topped the pancakes with Shepherd Sugar Bush pure maple syrup made by our friend Laurie's family in Michigan! This syrup put the pancakes over. the. top.

Sidebar: For the second weekend in a row, we had houseguests of the four-legged kind (my parents' dogs, Luna and Spike). They're very small and potentially smooshable. They like to sit on you and snuggle up in your armpits, so you have to be careful not to roll over on them or squish them when you reach for a drink. Travis and I are large-dog people (and sadly lost the best dog ever to doggy cancer in February), but I can't help but miss these little guys (ok, I don't miss the yapping, but I DO miss the snuggling).

Admit it, you kind of want to play with them. Or feed them to your pet snake. (My mom thinks I have a subconscious aggression towards the dogs because they've taken first chair in her heart. I don't know what she's talking about.)

This is Travis, Dad and me, before the race. I wish I had a post-race photo, but our usual photography team (the moms) decided to sleep in this year. You can take my word for it, though - the pancakes served us well. Crushing abounded.

Strawberry Cornmeal Pancakes
adapted from this Cooks.com recipe

1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
2 tbs. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 cup plain nonfat yogurt
3 tbs. skim milk
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 pint strawberries, diced
vegetable oil

Combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder and baking soda in large bowl. Combine yogurt, milk and egg; mix with dry ingredients, stirring until smooth. Gently stir in strawberries (I sprinkled the strawberries onto the pancakes while they were cooking, but wished I had mixed them in earlier).

Heat a tablespoon or two of vegetable oil on a nonstick griddle or skillet (you have to know your own stovetop, but I used medium heat on our electric range). You want the batter to sizzle, but not smoke (I suggest a little test dollop). Spoon about 1/3 cup batter onto the hot surface. Turn pancakes when tops are covered with bubbles and edges look cooked. Add vegetable oil as needed.

Serve with pure maple syrup and fresh strawberries.

Makes 9 pancakes


  1. Yummy! Your pictures are amazing, they should be in a magazine. I especially like the clarification that you do not endorse this breakfast pre race. Keep the recipes coming!

  2. I'm having flashbacks to wedding morning at the Inn! So delicious. Wish I could have been there for the race (and pancakes)! Congrats to you, D and T on another successful army 10-miler!!

  3. These look great. I'm going to make them for my family over Thanksgiving. Do you use yellow or white cornmeal?

  4. If you're cookin' below the Mason-Dixon Line, use white unless you want an earful. Otherwise, it doesn't matter (I used yellow). ;)

  5. The pancakes were rich and delicious. Nice subtle corn taste and really liked the strawberries instead of blueberries which I mixed into the batter. They were a big hit.


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