Household Notes June 2014

Pancakes and salsa!

Edited by Anne Gray

    We have had great response to our query about buckwheat pancakes. Monique Levesque and Kathryn Bradshaw sent us traditional recipes. None of them are sourdough pancakes, but they are delicious. We also have Andrew Harvey’s sourdough starter recipe. Once your sourdough is perking, try using it as the leaven for your pancakes. 


Monique Levesque, Bathurst, N.B.

    “In response to Sharon Cunningham’s request for a traditional buckwheat pancake recipe (May RD), I am sending what I think she is looking for. The recipe comes from a resident of St. Leonard, N.B.”

1 cup white flour

1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

cold water

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

boiling water


    Combine the two flours and the baking powder. Dilute the flour and baking powder mixture with enough cold water for the dough to become thick. Add the baking soda and salt to the flour mixture.

Scald with one-quarter cup boiling water, and then dilute with enough milk to bring dough clean and smooth.


Kathryn Bradshaw, St. Martins, N.B.

    “Here are my recipes for buckwheat pancakes. I hope Sharon enjoys trying it.”

1 cup buckwheat flour

1/2 cup flour, white or whole wheat

3 teaspoons baking powder 

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup cold water

1 3/4 cups boiling water

    Mix the dry ingredients well. You can use two teaspoons cream of tarter and one teaspoon of soda instead of the baking powder. Add cold water. Mix well to make a thick dough. Gradually add boiling water, just a little at a time to get a thin dough. It must be mixed well. Drop a thin layer of dough onto a hot griddle.Cook without turning.

    I usually flip my pancakes as I like both sides slightly browned.


Kathryn Bradshaw, St. Martins, N.B.

3/4 cup buckwheat flour

3/4 cup white flour

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 tablespoon boiling water

    Sift the flours and salt together. Add the buttermilk and stir. The batter should be thin. Dissolve the soda in boiling water and add to the mixture. Pour batter on a hot greased griddle. Turn over when browned and bubbly on top. Cook until the first side has browned. Serve hot with butter and molasses or maple syrup.

    Rose Doucet sent us a couple recipes to accompany her salsa garden story that appears on page 26 in this issue. Reading them makes me wish my greenhouse was in high production. Some fresh salsa would taste really good on this drizzly “spring” day.


Rose Doucet, Barnesville, N.B.

5 green peppers

2 pounds onions

1 pound Jalapeno peppers 

2 medium green zucchini

1 small yellow zucchini

1 full head of garlic

1 cup fresh cilantro

10 pounds fresh tomatoes, skinned

11/2 tablespoons salt

2 teaspoons ground cumin 

1 cup vinegar (white or cider)

1 cup oil

3 six-ounce cans tomato paste 

2 tablespoons brown sugar

    Coarsely chop the vegetables and cilantro. Remove the seeds from the jalapenos if you want a milder salsa. If you are using paste tomatoes, you won’t need the tomato paste. For a smoother salsa, you can put all your ingredients through a food processor. Put everything in a large pot with the salt, cumin, vinegar, oil, tomato paste, and sugar.

    Simmer until tender. Pour into sterilized mason jars to one-half inch below rim, cover with prepared lids and rings. Use your fingertips to tighten rings. Process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes – start timing when it returns to the boil. Remove from the bath, let sit for 24 hours before storing in a cool, dark cupboard. 


Rose Doucet, Barnesville, N.B.

3 large tomatoes

1 medium green pepper

1 Jalapeno pepper or 

1/4 of a Cayenne pepper

1 small onion 

1 large clove garlic

1 tablespoon cilantro

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice 

dash of cumin

Salt to taste

    Finely chop the vegetables and herbs. Add the oil, lime juice, and salt. Combine well. Refrigerate for at least an hour before serving for best flavor. Use within a week. 


Myrtle Hemphill, Knowlesville, N.B.

    “This springtime roly-poly is good anytime of the year. It’s one of my family’s favorite desserts.” 

1 cup sugar    

2 cups water

2 3/4 cups flour

4 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

2/3 cup shortening

1 cup milk

2 cups rhubarb, cut in half-inch pieces

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter

    Combine the sugar and water in a 9” x 13” pan and place over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and let stand while preparing the remaining ingredients. Measure the flour (without sifting) into a mixing bowl. Add the baking powder and salt; stir well to blend. Cut in shortening with a pastry blender until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the milk, stirring with a fork until all the ingredients are moistened. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for 20 seconds. Roll out to a 10” x 12” rectangle.

    Spread evenly with the rhubarb and strawberries. Sprinkle with the sugar and cinnamon and dot with the butter. Roll up lengthwise, sealing the edges. Cut into 12 one-inch slices. Place cut-side down in the pan containing the syrup mixture. Bake at 450° F for 25 to 30 minutes. Serve warm with cream.

Sourdough Starter

    We received this sourdough starter recipe from Andrew Harvey of Ellershouse, N.S. It’s not as fast as making up a starter using commercial yeast, but will have a longer life. 

    “This year, I decided to bake sourdough bread. Bread making has been a favorite weekend activity for many years but I’ve always been afraid to try sourdough. Mostly, this fear was because of what I saw in recipes. They were either fake sourdough, using commercial yeast, or else they looked far too difficult. But, this year I decided that the time had come.

    “The first question to ask is, ‘Why?’ To make sourdough bread takes much longer than using dry yeast and it won’t rise as high. I have three reasons, any one of which is enough. First is that it’s a folksy, old-fashioned thing to do. Second is the delicious flavor. Third is that the sourdough process creates a bread that delivers up more nutrition. The natural yeast (Candida milleri) and the bacteria (Lactobacillus sanfanciscensis) that are present in all sourdough cultures work together to create sugars and other by-products from the wheat that commercial yeast alone just cannot produce in three hours of rising time.

    “Having established why, the next question is, ‘How?’ Every person I asked had a different idea of how to make a sourdough starter. Some recommended using potatoes, some said hops. I found recipes that called for yogurt, orange juice, raisins, or grapes. The project looked daunting. Fortunately, with a bit of perseverance, a trust-worthy book and advice from those who have gone before, I was able to separate the wheat from the chaff, as it were. What follows are condensed notes from my experience of learning how to make this wonderful bread. Perhaps you’ll find them useful if you decide to make sourdough as well.

    “First, forget all the exotic ingredients. You want critters that feast on flour, so don’t complicate it by throwing other things into the mix. My guess is that those recipes work in spite of, rather than because of, the extra ingredients. Get yourself some fresh whole wheat flour and a bit of rye (flour – not drink). You’ll also need a tablespoon, a jar, a bit of plastic wrap, and some chlorine-free water.

    “With the materials lined up, you’re almost ready to start. Be aware that the process will take 10 to 14 days and involves five minutes’ work every single day. The yeast and bacteria that you want live in acidic conditions and it will take a while before your mix becomes hospitable to them. During the process, there will be a few unpleasant days that very few books mention. 

    “So start. Put three heaping spoonfuls of wheat flour into the jar, add one of rye, and just enough water to mix a thin paste. Cover the jar tightly with plastic wrap and leave it on the kitchen counter. That’s it for day one. At least once a day for the next 10 to 14 days, dump two-thirds of the mix down the drain and top it up with more of the flours and water in roughly the same proportions as on the first day.

    “Early in the process, you’ll see frothy bubbles. That’s good, but don’t get excited. These are not the yeast you’re looking for. A few days in, the microbes will seem to die. The froth will fade and it will stink. Relax – this is a normal part of the process. Smelly but helpful critters are doing useful work in that mess. Keep refreshing the flour, rye, and water every day. You might want to move it to a fresh jar once in a while, too.

    “By the seventh or ninth day, the bad smell will turn to a pleasantly yeasty one and the mix will turn frothy again. Keep going for a couple more days and you’re there! It’s time to make bread, using this as the leaven for any sourdough recipe you like. 

    “You can easily keep your starter going from week to week by putting a ball of dough from each fresh batch into the fridge. Just bury it in flour, in a jar. I’ve found that the leaven works better every week. Refresh it as follows: the morning before baking day, disperse the lump in a cup of water and stir in a cup of flour. Leave it covered on the counter. The evening before baking, add one-half cup of flour and one-half cup of water. On baking day, put a fist-sized ball of dough back into storage and use the rest for your bread.”


    Send us your family favorites for vegetable, meat, savory, and sweet dishes. Where did you get the recipe? Did you make any changes to suit your family’s tastes? You can email recipes to, or send them to us by mail at the following address: Household Notes, Rural Delivery, Box 1509, Liverpool, NS B0T 1K0.