Savory Buckwheat Cakes With Zucchini “Ratatouille” and Chèvre

Makes 8 cakes.

Note: Savory pancakes make a lovely light lunch or dinner. They are best eaten hot, right off the griddle, piled high with colorful vegetables and a crumble of creamy chèvre. Buckwheat groats are in the natural foods section of your grocery store, and at any food co-op. Vegans can sub the eggs with 1/2 cup water and 2 tablespoons ground flax, and stir a cup of white beans into the ratatouille. From Robin Asbell.

Ratatouille:

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 small onion, chopped

• 1 medium red bell pepper, cored and chopped

• 1 medium orange bell pepper, cored and chopped

• 2 small yellow zucchini, quartered and sliced

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped

• 2 medium tomatoes, chopped

• 1 tsp. salt

• 1/2 c. fresh basil, slivered

Buckwheat cakes:

• 3/4 c. buckwheat groats (142 g/5 oz.), or 1 c. plus 2 tbsp. buckwheat flour

• 1/4 c. whole wheat pastry flour

• 1 tbsp. fresh thyme, chopped

• 1 tsp. baking powder

• 1/2 tsp. baking soda

• 1/2 tsp. salt

• 3/4 c. milk

• 2 eggs, lightly beaten

• 1/4 c. extra-virgin olive oil

• 3 tbsp. buckwheat honey

• Oil for pan

• 5 oz. crumbled chèvre cheese

• Fresh basil, for garnish

Directions

To make the ratatouille: In a large sauté pan, warm 1/4 cup olive oil over medium-high heat, then add the onion and peppers. Sauté, stirring for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add the zucchini and garlic, and stir for 4 more minutes, until crisp tender. Add the tomatoes and 1 teaspoon salt, and stir just until the tomatoes are warmed through. Take off the heat and add basil just before serving.

To make the pancakes: Place the buckwheat groats in the blender and cover, then blend for 20 to 30 seconds. Feel the ground buckwheat by rubbing with your fingers. If it feels smooth, proceed, if not, process again.

Transfer the flour to a large bowl. Stir in the thyme, baking powder, baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

In a medium bowl, whisk the milk, eggs, 1/4 cup oil and honey. Stir the liquids into the buckwheat mixture, just until combined.

Preheat a griddle to 350 degrees, or place a heavy pan on the stove over medium heat.

When the griddle or pan is hot, brush or spray with oil. Use a 1/4 cup measure to portion the batter onto the griddle, leaving an inch between the cakes. Cook for 2 minutes or so, until bubbles cover the top surface of the cake, then flip the cake and cook for about a minute. Keep warm until serving.

Serve two cakes per plate, with about 1 1/2 cups ratatouille on top and crumbled chèvre over all. Garnish with fresh basil.

Nutrition information per serving of 2 cakes:

Calories 680 Fat 44 g Sodium 1,390 mg

Carbohydrates 58 g Saturated fat 11 g Total sugars 23 g

Protein 19 g Cholesterol 110 mg Dietary fiber 8 g

Exchanges per serving: 2 starch, 2 carb, 2 medium-fat protein, 6 ½ fat.