Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Tonquin+island Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Hey, we’re back. Sorry for the radio silence – my laptop decided awhile ago to be wireless intolerant, and won’t pick up any signals, let alone connect – so I’ve been unplugged since we left Tofino on Friday. (I would have been really hooped had it been last year.) Oh, we have so much catching up to do.

As beautiful a place Tofino is, it’s nice to be home.

I don’t usually backtrack on this blog – it’s all real time – but I feel the need for a recap in order to cover the edibles of our last days there and wander-through the BC interior en route to Calgary. Looking back, we ate a lot. The red huckleberries, for example – they turned into a mighty fine jam. I’m not going to even touch on the subject of how easy jam is to make – wait, I just did – but seriously, you don’t need pectin, you don’t need a chemistry degree, you don’t even need as much sugar as you think you do. I made one batch straight-up and it was wonderfully runny – I soaked the last half of grainy baguette in the last egg and cup of milk and made French toast to eat before making the early-morning run for the ferry, then used the wee toasts like dip lovers use those little corn chip scoops to load as much sweet-tart ruby red jam as they would structurally tolerate. It was like scooping as much summer as I could fit into my mouth before leaving the beachy place and going home to the tax audit, overgrown garden and messy office.

You’d be proud of me for how I managed to use up almost everything perishable before we left. (If you ever go grocery shopping in Tofino, you’d be thrifty too. It’s actually a deal to eat out.) At the very back of the fridge sat a tub of cottage cheese. My Mom loves the idea of cottage cheese – her good friend eats a dish of it every day for lunch with fruit, and she is the type I aspire to be – but whenever she makes up her mind to take cottage cheese on, the two of them don’t get along. She manages to down a bowl of the stuff and the rest goes soupy and eventually gets tossed. Such was the case with this sad tub.

On the day after we arrived, my parents’ next door neighbours popped by, and brought with them an immense, maroon leather-bound copy of The Gourmet Cookbook circa 1956 that her mother had given her. Talk about summer reading – it sat on the coffee table and we all thumbed through it throughout the week, pointing out gaudy-coloured photos, aspics and recipes like Cold-Glazed Ox Tongue, Marinated Brains Paysanne and Pigs’ Feet in White Wine Jelly, and noted that there is an entire section titled Innards. I decided that if any recipe book were to include recipes using cottage cheese, this would be it. I was right. It had a lovely recipe for Cottage Cheese Pancakes Brittany that turned out 6 dense, cheesy pancakes, which we topped with runny huckleberry jam, which made them sort of reminiscent of cheesecake. If and when I make them again, I’ll add a teaspoon of baking powder to lighten them a little (I’ve added it to the recipe below, but didn’t have any there). The original recipe also called for a few grains of white pepper and to sieve the cottage cheese, which I didn’t bother with.

Cottage+cheese+pancakes Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Cottage Cheese Pancakes Brittany

adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook by Judith Price, 1956 edition (eighth printing)

1 cup cottage cheese
3 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
pinch salt
1/4 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. canola oil or melted butter

In a large bowl, beat together the cottage cheese, eggs, sugar and salt; mix until smooth, then add the milk and stir until creamy. Add the flour and baking powder and stir just until blended; stir in the oil or melted butter.

Preheat a griddle or skillet over medium heat and brush with butter or oil or spray with nonstick spray. Drop batter (I used a small ladle) onto the pan and cook until bubbles begin to break the surface and the edges no longer appear wet – flip using a thin spatula and cook until golden on the other side as well. Serve immediately or keep warm in a 250F oven until they are all cooked. Makes 6 good-sized pancakes, or twice as many dollar pancakes.

Chocolate+Tofino Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam
W+eating+ice+cream Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Flipping through my photos I just realized – could it be I’ve forgotten to tell you about Chocolate Tofino? The teeny little offshoot of a building tucked away beside/behind Groovy Movie, it’s the epitome of Mom n’ Pop shops, with Mom and Pop back there making waffles, then wrapping them around a little cone mold and twisting the tip ever so to prevent drips – one at a time. I’ve never had such good waffle cones – light, thin and crispy but never breaking. I had heard the ice cream was fantastic. You guys- there are no words. (They make it all themselves – when I inquired about this, Mom replied “I crack the eggs and simmer the cream!”.) Their maple pecan praline is near the best thing I ever ate. Besides their pecan turtles, that is, which are so much better than any other version I’ve ever eaten – I can’t figure out why (besides the obvious crisply toasted pecan halves and some sort of buttercrunch underlying the soft caramel) but I’m determined to keep up the research.

On the way back, we stayed overnight in Kamloops (rather than making the mad dash home) and had time to dawdle through the Shuswap on Saturday. This never happens. Usually we’re in a hurry to make the ferry, or Mike wants to make good time, or W is sleeping and we don’t want to stop the car at all the enticing fruit stands and U-Pick farms. Plus I’m a little gunshy, having stopped at one or two overpriced tourist traps. Yesterday we hit the jackpot.

Golden+Ear+Farms Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam
Please+don%27t+undress+us Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam
Plants+growing+in+shoe Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Soon after leaving Kamloops (heading east on highway 1) I was lured in by handpainted signs on weathered wood scraps nailed to poles starting a couple kilometers away – they said things like “Eat Well”, and “Coffee and Pie $4″, and went by too quickly for me to reach my camera. But when I made Mike pull in I found pies – freshly baked and frozen in stacks ($10) with fillings like blueberry, apple-raspberry, peach and strawberry-rhubarb.

Apple raspberry+pie Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

There were still-warm rustic loaves made by their new baker out of organic locally milled flour. Besides the obvious produce (cherries, corn, apricots) there were coolers with local cheeses, beef and bison, paper bags filled with flax and hemp granola, local honey and preserves. Luckily we had limited car space.

Bread+from+fruit+stand Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Further down the road we hit Sorrento, and their Saturday morning farmers’ market, almost like we planned it that way. I left with golden beets, beautiful lettuces, a roasted garlic and cherry tomato focaccia from a company called The Little Red Hen, a bag of the sweetest peas I’ve ever eaten – one honestly reminded me of vanilla ice cream – to eat out of the cup holder in the car, and jars of blackcurrant jam, organic hazelnut honey and black raspberry honey that rattled around by my feet for the rest of the drive.

Little+Red+Hen+Focaccia Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Peas Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam
W+shucking+peas Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Further down the road we found peaches – finally from BC! – but missed the U-pick cherry farm we saw on the way out. We stopped by a lake in Field and the boys swam and we ate focaccia, peaches and peas.

Smiley+W+at+the+beach Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

And for those of you who may be planning a trip out to Tofino – I highly recommend it, any time of year – here’s a recap of where to go and what to eat (in no particular order) in response to all the requests I’ve been getting:

Barnacles+%26+starfish Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

Beaches:

Anywhere on Long Beach – Chesterman, Cox Bay, McKenzie Beach – they all sort of run into each other, are all different and worth a visit. Check the tide tables – when the tide is out you can see some great tidepools and living things up against the rocks, especially at the north end of Chesterman (where we saw the barnacles and starfish above). Further down you’ll get into Pacific Rim National Park, and you can go in at Incinerator Rock or the Wickaninnish Interpretive Centre.

Tonquin Park (photo above) – access through the town, only a few parking spots and a nice short walk through lovely forest, it’s nice and protected – not too windy – nice sand for playing in, and cool caves.

Schooner – a stunning walk through the rainforest (about 1k, lots of stairs but totally doable even with young kids) brings you to an equally stunning beach – this is where we saw the whales.

Eats:

SoBo – no duh.

Tacofino – the adorable orange bus at the very back of the cluster of shops around Beaches Grocery.

Wildside Grill – straight from their boat to their kitchen – also to the left of Beaches – Crispy Cod Club!

Jupiter (look for the signs – it’s sort of in-between buildings and sometimes hard to find) – the very best muffins – haven’t tried the coffee.

Tuff Beans – we go here for coffee; like it better than the coffee at Tofitian (sorry Tofitian!) – the muffins are huge and cakey, but they have really good breakfast.

Chocolate Tofino – the best ice cream, made on the premises and if you opt for it, scooped into a handmade waffle cone (Sugar Shack in town is great too, but they use Foothills Creamery Ice Cream). Also try the pecan turtles (they have another name – but essentially the same thing).

Schooner and Shelter are also beautiful restaurants and worth a visit

Miscellany:

There are a ton of surf shops and surf schools in Tofino, but we found a really great guy named Jessro who taught Ben (6) and Emily (11) to surf one afternoon, and was patient and fun and wonderful, and not even expensive, and gave them a really cool Tshirt and hat, even. You can find him in the little surf school with the yellow awning on the right hand side on your way into town.

Every Saturday morning there is a market in the park from 10-2; I’m not sure if this is just a summer thing, but definitely worth checking out.

There is an 800 year old Western Red Cedar tree as you come into town – can’t miss it on the right.

There are lots of trails: The Wickaninnish Trail (6 miles/10 km return) runs between the beaches on Wickaninnish and Florencia Bays. There’s also Shoreline Bog Trail (0.5-mile/0.8-km loop), the Rain Forest Trail (two 0.6-mile/1-km loops), and the Spruce Fringe Trail (1-mile/1.5-km loop)

Ucluelet is worth a visit- don’t miss the tiny aquarium! And the Wild Pacific Trail is spectacular.

Tofino Time is a great resource if you’re looking for more info. (Or email me!)

Of course if I’ve missed something, please let us know!

We now return to our regularly scheduled program.

One Year Ago: Peach and Cornmeal Upside-Down Cake and Crepes with Nutella

pixel Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam
button print gry20 Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam

July 26 2009 10:34 pm | bread and breakfast and dessert

23 Responses to “Cottage Cheese Pancakes with Red Huckleberry Jam”

  1. Jess on 27 Jul 2009 at 4:44 am #

    Thanks for this window into your trip, Julie. All that cookbook thumbing, recipe experimenting, and painstakingly-made waffle cone eating sounds wonderful. I can relate to wanting to use up all perishables before leaving. My husband always looks at me with equal parts amusement, awe, and fear, as I use up every last piece of bread, fruit, and salad green. Banana bread, smoothies, salads, crisps, and omelettes are my trademark “foods of departure,” since they happily take in whatever is left in the fridge or on the shelf.

    Speaking of which, I’m not a muffin girl, but I do love bread pudding. I will definitely be taking your bread pudding muffin recipe out for a spin. “All stump” sounds good to me.

  2. Sam@BingeNYC on 27 Jul 2009 at 5:17 am #

    It seems like you had a lovely trip!

    My father ADORES bread pudding, and my mother won’t touch it. I never thought to make it muffin-sized! I know what I’ll be bringing on my next visit, thanks for sharing : )

  3. Barb on 27 Jul 2009 at 5:40 am #

    Hmmm… vacations go by so fast. Glad you made it home safely.I haven’t been to Tofino in decades. There was far less to do when we were there. Long walks on the beach, good books to read, the rare trip in to town for fish and chips which were delicious. Thanks for taking me again.

  4. Charmian Christie on 27 Jul 2009 at 5:50 am #

    You’re killing me. Great recipes and gorgeous photos — especially the one shelling peas.

    I haven’t been to Tofino in 15 or so years. Now I just want to hop a plane and tour about. Please, stay at home and do laundry. I’ll feel so much better if you do :-)

  5. JulieVR on 27 Jul 2009 at 6:28 am #

    Ooh yes – omelets are a great use of leftovers – I made a giant one with mushrooms, spinach, shallots and the last of the extra-old cheddar. Mike said it was one of his favourite things he ate in Tofino!

  6. Erica B. on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:03 am #

    Beautiful pictures Julie. I wish we could get out there this summer!

    We spent sunday road tripping around Innisfail – to Pearsons Berry Farm (2 weeks early for picking as it turns out) but picked up some of their butter tarts and the kids loved their shakes; then to Edgar Farms. I picked up the best fresh peas, some crabapple jelly, and pickled asparagus and beets. Elna reminded me that the next Country Drive is Aug 1&2, and Edgar farms will have a petting zoo and garden tours and other things for the kids to do. http://www.countrydrive.ca/

  7. Cheryl Arkison on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:06 am #

    We were eating (well, Hubby and The Monster) peas out of a Tim’s to go cup last night too. This was after peaches and sour cherries. Seems we travel the same way… Glad to have you home.

  8. JulieVR on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Yep – I’ll be at Country Drive this weekend! Unfortunately cherries aren’t ready yet, and the strawberries are limited due to a late frost (-5 on July 1 at one farm). Just trying to get up to speed on what’s out there and what’s late for the show tomorrow!

  9. Carolyn on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:09 am #

    Nice to have you back, Julie! Sounds like a wonderful vacation. Great shots of W! Thanks for the bread pudding muffin recipes. I have 1/2 a loaf of stale no-knead bread that will be perfect to try these out.

  10. Lana on 27 Jul 2009 at 7:56 am #

    LOVE the photos in this post, especially W’s little hands pulling apart the pea pod!

  11. sue.d on 27 Jul 2009 at 9:23 am #

    That BOOT! Where is Golden Ear Farm, it looks amazing!

  12. Fiona on 27 Jul 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Oh, this is a great list, Julie! I’m going to have to bookmark it for the next time I go, because I am definitely going back.

    We splurged on dinner at Schooner one night and we didn’t talk about anything except how delicious it was. It was packed. We’ll have to try Shelter next time.

  13. Beverley on 27 Jul 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    Yay, thanks for the recap! We’re heading there this weekend…. Grandma has offered to keep the baby (14 months) rather than us taking her so we’ll be able to do more stuff. Thanks for the inspiration!

  14. Beverley on 27 Jul 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    PS – I forwarded your Naan recipe (from day 176 or so?) to my friend and she said she grew up two doors down from you. You might not have known her as she’s several years younger but you might have known her sister. Last name Andrew anyway :) I won’t post her first name on the internets for everyone to see but you likely know the family I mean!

  15. Jen @ MaplenCornbread on 27 Jul 2009 at 3:40 pm #

    Oh my goodness what a beautiful, fabulous trip!!! I love all the details :) :) thanks for sharing!! The bread pudding muffins is a genius creation!! They sound SO good!

  16. Natalie (Michigan) on 27 Jul 2009 at 4:53 pm #

    What a lovely trip! Thanks for sharing

  17. Donna on 27 Jul 2009 at 4:54 pm #

    Welcome back Julie.
    While you were gone we were inspired to make a blueberry crisp (an I am sure many others were, too) Yum.

  18. Nancy on 28 Jul 2009 at 4:57 am #

    How fantastic and fun to read about! Also loved the signs and the prices that showed they are about the same for produce as here in Toronto! Inspired yet again by you and all the beautiful produce right now. Also made two more HUGE Grazing fans by taking your new book to the cottage and brother in law and girlfriend are hooked – now I know what to get them for xmas! Used it a lot, and made a bunch of stuff from it. Off to the Tues. Farmer’s Market, hurrah!

  19. Sue (London, ON) on 28 Jul 2009 at 7:25 am #

    Welcome Home Julie! I for one am exhausted from living vicariously through your vacation so it feels good to me too that you’re back home!! Love all the details, your beautiful pictures – my Goodness W is looking more like you everyday!

  20. Hillary on 28 Jul 2009 at 2:04 pm #

    Your cottage cheese pancakes look beautiful! I attempted to make these once and it turned out disastrous.

  21. Golden Ears Farm on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:30 pm #

    Wow, those are some beautiful pictures. And thanks for the kind words. Would it be alright to keep a copy of those photos?

  22. JulieVR on 18 Aug 2009 at 7:39 pm #

    Absolutely! I’ll send you some high-res copies!

  23. Patricia on 01 Jan 2011 at 12:55 pm #

    Made these cottage cheese pancakes for the 2nd morning in a row! I love them! Thank you.

    Pat from Montreal.

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