You know how you know it’s November? I actually made breakfast this morning. I’m sorry if that shattered your pristine image of me. Sure, I occasionally cook big, elaborate brunches for friends or family and I even spoil myself from time to time with yogurt with pumpkin butter and pepita granola, but pretty consistently, Saturday and Sunday morning I chew on my fingernails until Alex wakes up, or sometimes, if I’m really hungry and he’s still sleeping (the boy is a sleep MACHINE) I’ll sit next to him on the bed and stare until he wakes up and brings us either bagels from Murray’s or eggs from the diner. Yes, you heard that right. I get a fried egg and toast take out. Yes, I am ashamed to know myself sometimes, too.
Nonetheless, as it appears that despite my caveats this NaBloPoMo thing is on, I figure that if nothing else I can use it to clean out the refrigerator. Have you ever bought something but forgotten to eat it then found six weeks later that it was in the very back of the refrigerator, still in perfect condition? Did it make you feel wildly uncomfortable about the preservatives that must be in your food? Did you get over it and eat it anyway? Well, I did. I found some little green apples in the produce drawer this morning that Alex, despite loving green apples, had been staunchly avoiding because they had actually ripened (true story: the boy doesn’t like ripe fruit), and then there was some leftover ricotta from a dish we’ll get to next week and a lemon that really had better days, but wouldn’t my grandmothers be proud that I hadn’t wasted food?
Wow, I really know how to make a dish sound appetizing, don’t I? Mmm, old apples and a lemon ready for the retirement home–I bet you can’t wait to try this one! Oh, but you should, even with fresher ingredients. These lemon-ricotta pancakes were delicious, light and every so crisp at the edges and the sauteed apples had all the best qualities of apple pie, including making the apartment smell decadent. Breakfast this morning just triumphed over anything available from the diner, and I questioned why I didn’t do this more often. Could it be time to turn over a new leaf? What if I used those hours between the time I woke up and Alex did for something useful, not just reading Jezebel and watching the Food Network? Maybe NaBloPoMo will make me a better person.
And then I spied the dishes in the sink–two saute pans, two spatulas, cutting board, knife, pile of peels, empty containers, a stray lemon seed, plates, bowls, forks, ohmygaaa. Corner diner, I will not forsake you again.
One year ago: Dream a Little Dream of Scone
Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with Sauteed Apples
Gourmet, September 1991
Servings: Makes about twelve 3- to 4-inch pancakes.
For the sauteed apples
4 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and sliced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
fresh lemon juice to taste
For the pancakes
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/3 cups ricotta
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Melted butter for brushing the griddle
Maple syrup, as an accompaniment
Prepare the sauteed apples:
In a large heavy skillet saute the apples in the butter over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, or until they are softened, sprinkle them with the sugar and the cinnamon, and cook them over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 10 minutes, or until they are tender. Stir in the lemon juice and keep the mixture warm.
Make the pancakes:
In a bowl whisk together the egg yolks, the ricotta, the sugar, and the zest, add the flour, and stir the mixture until it is just combined. In a bowl with an electric mixer beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they hold stiff peaks, whisk about one fourth of them into the ricotta mixture, and fold in the remaining whites gently but thoroughly. Heat a griddle over
moderately high heat (Deb does not concur. She firmly believes that pancakes should be cooked medium-low.) until it is hot enough to make drops of water scatter over its surface and brush it with some of the melted butter. Working in batches, pour the batter onto the griddle by 1/4-cup measures and cook the pancakes for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, or until they are golden, brushing the griddle with some of the melted butter as necessary. Transfer the pancakes as they are cooked to a heatproof platter and keep them warm in a preheated 200Â°F oven.
Serve the pancakes with the sauteed apples and the maple syrup.