04 March 2014
Two weekends working in a row plus several delivery pizzas plus a lot of last-ditch sandwiches = I'm not planning to have any pancakes for pancake day. I am not going to bake a pie for pi day, though I will probably go to a party and eat pie someone else baked. I definitely won't be corning a beef.
Right. So I wrote that, went to go check out the 300 foodblog posts that have been piling up in my feed reader, and immediately came across all the pancakes in the land. And I remembered I really like pancakes, and I totally have everything I need to make pancakes, and pancakes only take a few minutes to make anyway, right? And then I went into the kitchen and made these pancakes and took pictures of them and ate them.
LET'S DO IT.
I decided to bump up the traditional crepe just a touch by using yogurt. This produced a tender, delightful pancake with just a hint of tang. They were perfect with a squeeze of lemon juice, but if you prefer the full traditional dusting of powdered sugar, go for it.
Since I was only cooking enough crepes for myself, I now have half a batch of batter happily waiting for dinnertime in the refrigerator. I think a savory filling of quick-sauteed spinach with some nutmeg may be in order. Or maybe we'll eat them for dessert with caramelized apple slices. They're such a great blank canvas that practically anything can happen.
I'm still not corning a beef, though. Limits: I can has.
1 cup flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 egg, beaten
pinch of salt
butter to fry
Deposit your flour in a large mixing bowl. Add your water and beat well with a wooden spoon. (This is a pastry chef trick: by only adding part of your liquid at first, you'll be able to work out all the lumps quickly and easily, without slopping anything over the sides of the bowl.) Add your yogurt and beat to combine. Add your egg and salt and beat one more time.
When your batter is nice and smooth, it's time to fry. Heat a nonstick or well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Add a bit of butter and swirl to coat.
Use a ladle to spoon your batter into the hot pan. Turn your pan quickly to even out the crepe and fill in any holes. You want to err on the side of too little batter instead of too much, for a nice, thin finished crepe. Cook quickly on each side for about three minutes, or until lightly browned and delightful.
If your first crepe is a disaster, don't panic! It's a kitchen truism that the first pancake is always a failure. Just eat it and keep on making more. You'll get the hang of it more quickly than you think.
Stack your finished crepes on a plate and cover them with a kitchen towel until you're ready to eat.
Yogurt crepes are amazing with practically any filling you can think of. A spoonful of apricot or raspberry jam, a flambeed sliced banana, a layer of Nutella, or a handful of fresh berries are all great sweet options. I am personally much more excited to try out some savory fillings, though. Scrambled eggs, diced chicken and mushrooms, the aforementioned spinach, or a combination of any or all of these, with or without a beautiful creamy sauce--yes please.
Are you eating crepes (or any other style of pancake) for pancake day?
24 February 2014
Why are leftover grains the best? Because if you mix them with eggs and veg, you can make a huge healthy meal of breakfast burritos in under ten minutes. As I remain exhausted and in need of nearly instant sustenance, these were more than welcome; they were necessary.
On this particular occasion, I had a mixture of multicolored quinoa and brown rice hanging out in the refrigerator. Clearly they needed to get into a pan with some egg (and from there into my mouth) as soon as possible.
Breakfast burritos with quinoa and red pepper scramble
leftover quinoa or cooked grain of your choice
fresh cilantro (or green onion)
hot sauce/etc to serve
Melt a little butter over medium heat in the frying pan of your choice. Add a handful of chopped onion and cook for about three minutes, or until beginning to soften.
Chop up your red pepper and any other vegetable you might want in your scramble. This really depends on what you have hanging around in the crisper and think would be good in a breakfast burrito. Pretty much anything goes.
Add your vegetables and a little salt to your onions. Cook for another two or three minutes before adding a couple handfuls of cooked grain. Stir everything together and continue to cook for another few minutes, or until your vegetables are tender and your grains hot through.
Now it's time for eggs. I like to add mine right to the pan, so I don't have to wash another dish (crucial when cooking tired), but you can always beat them in a separate bowl before adding if you prefer. In any case, turn the heat down to low and add your eggs. Season with salt and pepper and a handful of torn cilantro or green onion. Then quickly mix everything together with a spatula, stirring well to scramble.
Cook, stirring from time to time, until your eggs are just about done to your liking. Toss a couple of flour tortillas over your pan to quickly steam for the last minute or so of cooking. Again, you can warm them separately if you like, but I like the convenience of this method.
Fill your warm tortillas with your scramble and garnish with the herbs and hot sauce of your choice. Roll them up and eat them immediately, while they're nice and hot. Don't you feel better?
What's your favorite filling for a breakfast burrito?
21 February 2014
I don't know about you, but I have been SUPER BUSY lately. For the past couple days I've been working setup for Stitches West, a gigantic yarn convention, and if you think that doesn't sound like a lot of work, you've never hauled around a bunch of 100-lb boxes of yarn. The transition between brainwork and physical labor is interesting, to say the least.
So I've had to actually eat breakfast every morning. This is emphatically not normal for me; I've pretty much always felt nauseous if I ate anything within an hour of waking up. My usual breakfast is a lot of tea, but this week that was not going to fly. So it was a good thing that I had half a massive batch of mashed potatoes with spinach hanging out in the fridge, because that meant I could have simple mashed potato pancakes every single morning. They're the perfect solution: they're fast, easy, NOT SWEET (crucial for a non-sugar-crashy breakfast), and don't make me feel sick.
On top of that, mashed potato pancakes are a good vehicle for a variety of toppings. I went in the yogurt direction because I love yogurt and have a big vat of it around. Besides, we all know that sour cream works well with creamy potato--and yogurt, with its similar rich tang, does too.
Super mashed potato pancake!
leftover mashed potato
butter as needed
to top: plain yogurt, herbs, mustard, pepper, etc.
Form palm-sized patties out of cold leftover mashed potatoes. Fry over medium-high heat in the pan of your choice. If you had a lot of butter and cream in the initial mash, you may need no butter whatever in the pan. I certainly didn't, although I was also using a nonstick pan.
Cook for about three to five minutes per side, or until golden brown. The timing will depend on the strength of your burner. If your patties are very thick, you may want to put the lid on the pan for a few minutes to ensure that the middles are hot through.
When your pancakes are done, slide them onto a plate. Top with the savory deliciousness of your choice and eat immediately, as hot as possible.
I ate my pancakes with two different yogurt toppings. #1: thick labneh (i.e. drained yogurt) with whey-fermented brown mustard and black pepper. #2: ordinary plain yogurt with pickled peppers and black pepper. Both of these were excellent choices, although I think I prefer the latter for sheer inclusion of homemade pickles. Hot pancakes with a crispy coating and soft center, topped with creamy yogurt and crunchy, spicy pickled peppers? They were SO good.
Lots of other additions would work really well here, though. If I had fresh dill, you know I would have added some of that to my yogurt. A straight-up tzatziki, such as my tzatziki, would also be amazing.
Hooray for mashed potato pancakes! What's your favorite savory pancake?