Sunday, January 23, 2011

Homemade Pancakes & Week's Menu Plan

Pancakes and eggs are an after-church Sunday lunch tradition in my family.  We take our pancakes very seriously...and our maple syrup, too.  My dad is from New York state so we always had real Grade B maple syrup in the house.  (You might think this is a little crazy extreme but we even take our own syrup to restaurants. I say it's just plain smart -- who wants to have gummy, artificially sweetened corn syrup when you can have the real thing?)

As usual, the blog Smitten Kitchen came through as I was searching for a pancake recipe.  This is a great recipe - it was originally for blueberry pancakes but it's January so we nixed them (and I don't really like blueberry pancakes, anyway). Plus, we wanted to top ours with cinnamon sugar or Nutella or (surprise, surprise) real maple syrup. I love the blog Smitten Kitchen but tweaked a few things: less sugar, less buttermilk and less butter (I have learned I can often cut the butter/oil/fat in half without really missing it).  Bryant declared the best pancakes he had ever had, so we didn't miss these foregone ingredients.

Homemade Pancakes
Taken from: Smitten Kitchen
Makes 20ish pancakes 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten*
  • 2 cups buttermilk (a great substitute I use is for each cup of buttermilk, add 1 Tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to a 1-cup measurer and then fill up the rest of the way with milk) 
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Smart Balance, melted, plus 1 tablespoon extra for brushing griddle
* I used this trick to try to make the pancakes even lighter: separate the eggs, mix the yolks with the buttermilk and butter, but whip the egg whites in a separate bowl until stiff. If you fold the egg whites gently back into the batter–this should be your very last step–your pancakes will be unbelievably light, with an extra-crisp edge.

-Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs (or just egg yolks), buttermilk, and 2 tablespoons melted butter together.  Add to the dry ingredients and whisk lightly to combine but do not overmix. (Optional step: Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula.) The batter should have small to medium lumps. Set aside to let the batter rest (this is an essential step).
-Preheat an electric griddle to 350-375°F, or place a griddle pan or cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Test the griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If the water bounces and spatters, the griddle is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush a bit of the remaining melted butter onto the griddle.
-Using a 1/4 cup measurer, pour the batter in pools 2 inches apart.  When the pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around the edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.
-Repeat with the remaining batter. You can keep the finished pancakes on a heat-proof plate in the oven at 175°F. Serve warm with any of your favorite toppings - fruit, cinnamon & sugar, Nutella, maple syrup, butter, etc.

Week's Menu Plan

Monday: Mujadara and spanakopita

Tuesday: Grilled scallop ceviche with wild rice pilaf

Wednesday: Flank Steak with wine mushroom sauce with polenta and roasted Brussels sprouts
Thursday: spaghetti squash with homemade sauce and turkey meatballs

Friday: homemade pizza


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