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When I was in high school, I went through a period where nothing I ate sat right with me. My parents took me to our family doctor, trying to figure out what was the matter. I was tested for celiac disease, IBS, Crohn’s and other illnesses that can sometimes cause digestive distress and they all came back negative. It wasn’t until a family friend who was also a naturopathic doctor suggested I take a break from eating wheat-based foods that things began to improve.
This was back in the mid-’90s, before everyone was eating wheat-free and gluten-free. The available rice pasta was terrible and the spelt bread sold at our local co-op was dry and crumbly. I ate a lot of my mom’s homemade granola and gave up a lot of the things I most liked to eat for a time.
Happily, I found that it was enough for me to take occasional breaks from wheat to keep my belly happy and so every couple months, I’d take a week or two off from bread, pasta, cookies and anything else with wheat in the ingredient list.
Over this past weekend, I realized that it was time for another such wheat-free period. I did a little meal planning and made a shopping list of things that would ease the shift (though it’s so much easier to do these days than it was nearly 20 years ago).
And on Sunday morning, to kick off the shift, I made a special brunch for my husband and me. I made a half batch of Giada’s Crispy Zucchini and Potato Pancakes (skipping the breadcrumbs, of course). They go wonderfully with fried eggs (sopping up runny yolks like champs) and make sure that you start the day with a little green vegetable. They also come together in a snap, particularly if you use a food processor to grate the zucchini and potatoes.
Whether you’re trying to eat wheat-free, gluten-free or just want to shake up your Weekender routine, these crispy pancakes are a fun change of pace.
Before you start cooking, read these tips:
— I made a half batch of the pancakes, because I knew that would be more than enough for my husband and me. I’ve made larger batches, when we’ve had guests, however, and it’s just as easy.
— The recipe calls for egg whites. You can either scramble the leftover yolks with a few other eggs to serve with the pancakes, or freeze them for future use.
— Starting to plan your Passover menu? Make these pancakes with matzo meal instead of breadcrumbs.
— If you struggle with zucchini haters, peel the green skin off the zucchini before shredding it. They’ll never even know it’s in there.
Marisa McClellan is a food writer and canning teacher who lives in Center City Philadelphia. Find more of her food (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) at her blog, Food in Jars. Her first cookbook, Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, is now available.