Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Buckwheat Blini

This weekend the Southern Willamette Valley Bean and Grain Project is hosting two events for consumers to stock up on locally grown whole grains, fresh ground flours, dry beans, legumes, and storage crops (garlic, onions, roots and winter squash). SLO Farm will be at the Eugene event on Sunday.

Fill Your Pantry Farm Direct Community Bulk Buying Events

Linn County Fill Your Pantry (Shedd):
Saturday, November 12, 2011
2 to 6pm
At the former Methodist Church, 30090 Hwy 99E (approx 5 miles south of Tangent)
Deadline for pre-orders: Friday, Nov 4

Lane County Fill Your Pantry (Eugene):
Sunday, November 13, 2011
noon to 4pm
Hummingbird Wholesale's new building, 150 Shelton McMurphey Blvd.
Deadline for pre-orders for Eugene sale: Thursday, Nov 10, 5pm

For more information call (541) 341-1216, or email

One locally grown and milled grain is buckwheat, which will be available at these events from Camas Country Mill, Lonesome Whistle Farm, and Open Oak Farm. Buckwheat is a good cover crop, but has a limited market. It is an excellent flour to include in gluten-free waffles and is a traditional ingredient in French savory crepes.    

Another great use for buckwheat is in Russian blini, savory pancakes made with a yeast batter. In my family, these are considered the height of elegance, and we often serve them on New Year's Eve. These delicate disks are the perfect receptacle for any number of toppings. Start with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and then layer on caviar, smoked salmon, bacon bits, chives, or use another of your local bulk purchases to whip up a lentil caviar.

Buckwheat Blini
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 package) yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 cup milk
3 eggs, separated into whites and yokes
3 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/2 cup buckwheat flour (or for lighter blini, you could use a mixture of buckwheat and white flour)
1/2 teaspoon salt
more butter for cooking the blini
Any of the following toppings: creme fraiche or sour cream, smoked fish, bacon bits, chopped chives, lentil caviar

1. Prepare the batter at least 2 1/2 hours before you want to serve the blini. Combine the yeast and sugar in the warm water and let sit until it foams, about 5 minutes.

2. Whisk together the milk and egg yokes, and reserve the egg whites for later. Whisk in the melted butter. Then mix in the yeast mixture, the flour, and the salt until smooth. Let the batter rest in a warm place for 2 hours or more as it expands.

3. When you are ready to make the blini, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff and then fold into the batter.

4. Warm a griddle on medium low heat and grease it with butter. Spoon out the blini batter with a soup spoon to form pancakes approximately 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Cook until they form permanent bubbles and then flip and cook an additional couple of minutes on the second side. The blini should be lightly browned on both sides. Remove to a warm platter and rebutter the pan with each batch.

5. Serve the blini warm with a dollop of creme fraiche or sour cream and a sprinkle of any of the listed toppings.

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