Pancakes Archive

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

buckwheat baby with salted caramel syrup

buckwheat baby with salted caramel

Yesterday morning, at last, I handed in my cookbook’s edits. And I know, you’re thinking, “but I thought you already handed your book in?” and I had. Copyedits, which come back six weeks later, are like closing costs (or so I understand) when you buy a house. You think you’re all done and just have some papers to sign/designs to approve and then wham! Comparatively, writing a book is a cinch. Writing is like splashing bright paint all over a giant white canvas — look at all of those lovely words all lined up! Aren’t they darling? Copyedits are like measuring the space between each mark of paint and having to answer questions like, “This splatter is .25 inches from that splatter, and you call it a ‘blue splatter’ but this one is .5 inches away and labeled ‘splatter, blue’. Was this intentional?” There were about three of these questions on each of 390 pages, and yet despite the fact that this work consumed the last 21 days of my life, I frequently wanted to HUG this poor copy editor who managed to wade through my blather and find small adjustments that made sentences sing. She is a saint.

the makings of caramel
caramel stages

Nevertheless, the three weeks I worked on this had some unintended side effects, the first is that I missed you all terribly. I dreamed of nothing but buckwheat pancakes, buttermilk chicken and hearty winter slaws and could not wait to get back into the kitchen again. However, the saddest side effect of being swallowed up by work for a few weeks was oddly not that I now have something my husband calls my “editing pants.” (What? They’re soft and comfortable and they have pockets! And now we must burn them.) but from my son, who is now enough of a two year-old that he’s capable of telling it like it is: After three weeks of his mama having no time to cook, he now sees an I NY bag and hollers “DINNER’S HERE!” Oh, the shame. It burns.

copper caramel

Continued after the jump »

Thursday, December 22, 2011

parsnip latkes with horseradish and dill

parsnip latkes with horseradish, dill

I have this affliction or maybe you could call it a fixation with latkes. And I know you’re probably thinking, potato pancakes? With shredded onion? They’re good, but are they really worth obsessing over? But you’d be using the literal definition of latkes and to me, latkes are not so much a singular recipe with a finite ingredient list but an approach to pancakes; an approach that could include anything that can be shredded and fried. And oh, when you start from this vantage point, they most certainly will.

parnsips, potato -- not pretty yet
shredded

I’ve made potato latkes, sure. Many times, even. But then I made mixed vegetable latkes with Indian spices and curry-lime yogurt. I made apple latkes, replete with a caramel sauce made from the juice you wring from the shredded apples. (I waste nothing in the kitchen. My grandmother would be so proud!) This past summer, I made zucchini fritters to solve a dinner crisis. And now, there’s this: Parsnips. Potatoes. Dill. Horseradish. Lemon juice.

ready to wring out

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

zucchini fritters

impromptu zucchini fritters

Everyone’s got their superheroes; I’m sure when I was younger they were things like Super Grover and later, Jem but these days, they’re decidedly more humble: I admire the hell out of people who manage to put homemade meals on the table everyday, as this has never been my strong suit. It probably doesn’t help that I’ve spent the last year or so developing recipes for very specific things — a side dish, a salad, a tart — that don’t exactly add up to be a dinner, and that NYC makes it quite easy to order in whatever parts of your meal you haven’t made at home. I’m a terrible multitasker — really, no fan of it at all — and when I’m making brioche, I’m making brioche, and not brioche with a side of a pot of beans with something braising in the oven, no matter how much I wish I were.

humble servants
shredded

It also means that more often than not, I have a 4 p.m. panic as, whoops! someone will soon be hungry and I have no idea what’s for dinner and true to form, this happened last Tuesday. For the better part of two days, I’d been elbows deep in a truly epic cake I was making for the book but it turns out that even when you’re the grown-up in the house, cake does not equal dinner, which of course crushes all of my earlier hopes and dreams about adulthood. Often we’ll have something around that can become dinner — eggs for omelets, vegetables for salad or even flour for a quick pizza dough — but we’d just returned from vacation and the fridge was sparse. For once, however, what I scratched together exceeded my expectations, in the form of zucchini fritters from the zucchinis that seem to be growing in my fridge this summer; I never remember buying them but they’re always around.

so tiny once drained

Continued after the jump »

Saturday, August 6, 2011

sugar plum crepes with ricotta and honey

sugar plum crepes, ricotta, mint

One of the things that has surprised me the most as I’m chugging my way along to my manuscript’s finish line is how little clear my vision was for it from the beginning, and how little I’ve erred from my original list of recipe ideas, as in real life, I am a bafflingly indecisive person. “What should we order for dinner?” can send me into a tailspin. “Which colander looks best from Amazon?” will lead me to read 30 minutes of reviews. And yet, half the recipes that are lined up for the book right now (except the breakfast section; we should definitely not discuss that again) are pretty much as I scribbled the ideas while my then-newborn was napping in the fall of 2009. It’s probably for the best I jotted it all down then because my brain has probably not been so centered for 5 minutes since.

measured
flipped

Outside of the book, however, I’m in a huge rut. The idea that I should still be clever, or have inspiration to spare or enthusiasm to return to the kitchen after finally getting it clean from the last cooking cycle (day 10 without a dishwasher!) after working on this book is well beyond my capability, as sadly evidence by the trickling pace of updates this summer. And when I do cook, I only want one of three things: 1. Dishes that involve corn (see also: corn pancakes, corn pie, corn popovers, corn tacos and that’s just the tip of the iceberg for my corn plans, so help us all), 2. Crepes and crepe family members. Did you know that popovers, Dutch babies, canneles and blintzes are more or less crepe batters at their base? So, yes, all those as well. 3. Things with ricotta. I’ll occasionally throw in cherries, stone fruit or tomatoes, but more or less, my brain is like that raven in Game of Thrones: “CORN! CORN!”

pom-pom plums

Continued after the jump »

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

blueberry yogurt multigrain pancakes

new blues: wholegrain blueberry pancakes

I had a little crisis on Father’s Day, and unlike the week that proceeded it, it did not relate to a feverish toddler who landed himself in our bed (and proceeded to be well enough at 5 a.m. to stand up and announce the different parts of our face as he poked them “NO” “EYEAR” “AYE” “MOUF”), the gutting of our (single) bathroom so that plumbers could access a wayward pipe in the building or the thin film of dirt left on every surface of every room when they were done working. No, by Father’s Day, most of those things had thankfully righted themselves, leaving only crises of less grave proportions: the blueberry pancakes I’d always known and loved no longer worked for me.

all ready to go
batter, berries, separate

I mean, they work, in terms of technically executing what they’re supposed to. They’re a bit runnier than I remembered, thus making it difficult to flip and bake them through cleanly, but they’re hardly worth complaining over, or so felt the Dad of Honor who found them–as he is contractually obligated to–delicious. We ate our pancakes, showered him with gifts and set off for the playground. But I couldn’t stop thinking about them; they didn’t sit right and I realized that it had less to do with the recipe and more to do with … me. I’ve changed.

studded with blueberries

Continued after the jump »