Navel Oranges + 81 Fahrenheit = Pancakes and Christmas in SoCal

So, it’s a day after Christmas. While a lot of the world is suffering in the miserable cold, I am hanging out on my terrace drinking coffee, wearing a tank top and shorts. Sure I have Jack burrowing into my lap. Sometimes I really can’t believe where I live. Back in Warsaw, it’s 38 degrees. Here in Signal Hill it never gets that cold, it never snows. The worse we get is a little rain and a slight chill. And what’s more, is that the sun is winking at me over the horizon telling me it’s going to be another beautiful day.

Today, I am going to make Navel oranges pancakes. I will do this for a few reasons least of which is that Navel oranges are my favorite variety of oranges. Navel orange season just recently started and I bought a whole bunch of them. The season stretches from winter to spring. And to be honest, I kind of get antsy during summer waiting for those delicious naturally sweet oranges. The second reason is that I have a particular fondness for Navel oranges during Christmas time because oranges are associated with Christmas in Poland, sort of like pumpkins and Thanksgiving.

The other day, I told you the Christmas tale about ugly Cuban oranges in communist Poland. Sounded absurd, right? Fortunately, that time is long behind me. I am no longer at the mercy of the government rationing, only on Mother Nature and my local grocery store. In fact, the Navel tree is in my friend’s backyard so I can pick up the freshest fruit any time I want to.

When I make Navel Oranges Pancakes I try to be resourceful and use every element of the fruit. Maybe that’s my own sentimentality of these precious fruits, but many people discard parts of the fruit that are nutrient-rich and have their own unique flavors and aromas. So here is a recipe with a lot of oranges. By the way, for this recipe, you can use any orange in the season.

navel oranges
Every part of Navel Orange is in that stack of pancakes.

Navel Orange Pancakes


  • 2 small Navel oranges
  • 1 1/4 cups smooth ground oatmeal (to the consistency of coarsely ground flour)
  • 1/4 cup of ground flaxseed pollen
  • 1 teaspoon of flax seeds
  • 1 egg (yolk separated from the whites)
  • 1/2 cup Mexican queso fresco or whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 1/2 cups of soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • salt and sugar to taste
  • plain yogurt (preferably whole milk)
  • fresh tarragon or mint for garnish and flavor
  1. Wash all Navel oranges well with a brush.
  2. Gently remove the entire zest of one of the oranges, using a sharp small knife, a peeler, or a zest grater; save the fruit’s pulp; discard the rind and seeds.
  3. In the food processor blend orange zest with queso fresco/ricotta cheese to a smooth paste; remove from the food processor and place in a bowl.
  4. Separately mix in the food processor ground oatmeal, soy milk, flax seeds, baking soda, egg yolk, and the fruit’s pulp until smooth; it should have a semi-liquid texture.
  5. Combine both mixtures with a hand mixer or a spatula; try to get a consistent batter; add sugar and salt to your liking.
  6. Whip up the egg white in a bowl until it thickens and fluffs up; add whipped egg white to the other mixture and gently steer by hand all ingredients together; you don’t want to lose the fluffiness of the egg white (the batter should be smooth and semi-liquid consistency at the same time being quite fluffy).
  7. Grease the pan with butter, your oil choice, or a non-stick pan spray.
  8. Pour the batter into the pan making about a 3”

diameter circle; fry pancakes on medium to high for about 1-2 minutes on each side until golden brown (if the pancakes fall apart or stick to the pan, you can modify the recipe by adding more of the oat flour or soy milk, depending on needs).

I wouldn’t say I like it when my pancakes are too sweet. I prefer the natural flavor of the batter and yogurt enhanced by the natural sweetness of the fruit. Still, if you prefer, you can add maple syrup, honey, or any other sweetening ingredient.
I recommend eating them on your terrace with a cute dog while the sun starts to gently warm the morning air and feeling happy to be where you are at this moment in time.



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