We returned yesterday from a sweet weekend getaway to the mountain town of Julian, CA. Lucky to have acres to roam and a Quonset hut to nest, these family escapes are more rare now as we are scheduled to the stars with sports and other commitments. The property is not ours per se, but belongs to my family, and we have been adventuring there for nearly 10 years now.
I’ll be honest. We’re not exactly roughing it. I packed our SUV to the gills with the following…
paint, glue, yarn, scissors, markers, paper, leather
Motorola radios (“walkie talkies”)
pink ski vest + Uggs
books + magazines
big straw hat
scooters + helmuts
cooler, dry goods, sparkling water, spices
Bose sound dock
a bottle of pinot
plastic eggs + chocolate + goofy glasses
As I closed the back of the truck, I thought it might be possible that I’ve simply outgrown camping.
I let go of email and running, and turned instead to hiking, cooking, reading, gathering, making. We crafted swords and slingshots, I collected feathers and daffodils. We ate True Food Kitchen’s quinoa Johnny Cakes and I baked Spanish chicken with onion, potatoes and spicy sausage. We dyed eggs with beets, red onions and turmeric, and huddled together on a loveseat in front of the tiniest TV screen for a Friday night movie. I was up at daybreak each morning, and heard the call of the turkeys as I hid eggs on Easter Sunday. Later that day we packed up the truck and gave a heavy sigh, with the promise to return soon.
Quinoa Johnny Cakes
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups whole wheat pasty flour
1/4 cup sugar (evaporated cane or white)
2 tbs plus 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of sea salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups whole milk
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp olive oil
pat of butter
ripe banana, apples, or blueberries
Greek yogurt (plain or vanilla)
1. Make quinoa. (HOT TIP: If like me, you normally add some savory “better than bouillon” flavor to your quinoa, skip it if you plan to use leftovers for these Johnny Cakes).
2. Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl. Whisk well to combine. In another large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, vanilla, orange zest, and oil and whisk to combine. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and blend until just combined. Fold in the cooked quinoa taking care not to overmix. Let the batter rest for at least 1 hour.
3. Lightly brush the cooking surface of a nonstick pan or griddle with butter. Ladle about 1/3 cup of the batter onto the hot pan. Drop banana slices, thin apple slices, or 8 to 10 blueberries on top of each pancake. When bubbles form in the batter, flip and cook on the other side until
lightly browned. Continue with the remaining batter and choice of fruit.
Serve topped with a dollop of yogurt and maple syrup on the side.