While volunteering in early October at the Santa Fe Farmers Market’s Fall Fiesta to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the market, I learned about one of the state’s culinary jewels, La Mesa Organics. This farm and farming team was awarded one of this year’s All-Star Farmers and by growing an indigenous item found only in the Southwest–blue corn–it’s no wonder La mesa Organics was honored.
Mesa Ruiz and his brother farm together on their father’s land and specialize in growing some of the state’s finest blue corn and apples. While the apples are typically transformed into a rich and robust apple cider, you will find Mesa cooking pupusas featuring his blue corn masa (which is also available for purchase) and selling blue corn atole–which is really blue cornmeal–while at the Santa Fe Farmers Market.
When he opened the bag of blue cornmeal atole to let me smell the impeccably roasted blue corn flour, this is definitely not the traditional blue cornmeal I have purchased in stores. This is something far superior.
Though he labels its primary use as atole–a traditional and thick, corn-based, hot beverage served during the holidays in Mexico, in speaking with Mesa, he assures me this is nothing more than pure roasted blue corn flour and can be used for a wide variety of recipes including, he says, pancakes.
Little did he know, this was exactly what I intended to make.
Perhaps my love affair with blue corn started decades ago when we visited Santa Fe as tourists? I will never know, but, years ago, I developed a recipe for organic blue corn pancakes (and/or waffles) that I sold as a kit when I was the Granola Queen. People adored these super simple and healthy pancake and waffle kits that included three individual bags of ingredients, a recipe and either pecans, walnuts or no nuts.
All that was required of the cook was to add a few basic ingredients: boiling water, an egg, milk of choice and a good splash of vanilla. This mix magically transformed into fabulous, gluten-free pancakes and/or waffles that were and are seriously good + good for you. Everyone was smitten with the color, the crisp exterior and the pillowy soft interior of the pancakes and waffles. Smother with maple syrup and the combination is stellar.
Now that I live in the land of exquisite locally-grown blue corn, I think it’s time to share this special recipe with you because we all deserve to enjoy homemade, gluten-free pancakes or waffles that you won’t feel bad about eating and you won’t feel bad after eating them, either.
In time for the next brunch or holiday breakfast gathering you host, treat the troops to these gorgeous blue conversation starters that will capture everyone’s attention. Or send them home with swag–a DIY blue cornmeal pancake and waffle kit just like I used to make.
Organic Blue Cornmeal Pancakes and Waffles
Blue cornmeal is not an everyday item and may take some effort to locate. If you want to take it a step further, order blue cornmeal from New Mexico and treat yourself to something incredibly delicious. These pancakes and waffles are gluten-free and I have not yet met anyone who doesn't love them. They are as gorgeous as they are delicious and crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. And, please, only use maple syrup for these superior pancakes and waffles. No Aunt Jemima syrup, thank you. This recipe can easily be doubled (or tripled) to serve a large group. And any leftover batter will be even better the next day and the day after, so maybe make the batter in advance and let it meld in the fridge.
- 3/4 cup organic blue cornmeal
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar coconut sugar works as well
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 beaten egg
- 3/4 cup buttermilk, milk or non-dairy milk
- 2 tablespoons butter of choice unsalted and melted
- 1/2 cup brown rice flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/2 cup nuts of choice, walnuts or pecans chopped
- Seasonal fruit optional, garnish
- Maple syrup for serving
In a medium bowl, whisk blue cornmeal, salt and sugar together. Add the boiling water and stir thoroughly until everything is wet and combined. Set aside.
In another bowl, whisk the milk, melted butter and egg.
In another small bowl, mix the brown rice flour and the baking powder together and stir gently.
Add the milk mixture to the blue cornmeal mixture and stir to combine, and then add the brown rice flour and baking powder mixture, stirring until incorporated.
Add the vanilla and nuts, if using.
Over medium heat, place a large cast iron or non-stick skillet. Add a tablespoon of butter or vegan butter or a splash of oil.
Pour 1/4 cup batter for each pancake or approximately 1/3 cup batter for each waffle.
Feel free to top your waffle or pancake with banana slices or berries.
After the pancakes have cooked about 4 minutes, peak at the underside--if it's golden brown, it's time to flip. Cook the other side until equally golden, about another 4 minutes.
Waffles are much easier as the waffle maker will indicate when the waffle is ready. Use 1/2 cup to measure the batter for a waffle.
Serve immediately with real maple syrup and more fruit, if desired.