Somewhere it is written, or it is now, that if your mom is a gazillion (cough, 35 weeks and 4 days, not that anyone is counting) weeks pregnant and she is the one that under ideal circumstances provides you with dinner, sooner or later that dinner is going to be breakfast pancakes with a side of bacon. You probably won’t mind.
It might be because she’d spent the first half of her week in Jury Duty, something she believes in so strongly in an abstract sense but, like most people, was resentful of as she spent two days sitting in a windowless room, watching her cankles swell (some recliners would be great, New York Supreme Court, kthx!), reaching a boredom level that can only be described as: well, she’s finally tackled Knausgaard. Maybe it’s because we had a little too much at our impromptu 15-pounds o’ ribs fest on the patio last weekend, and it hadn’t occurred to her to cook since. Or maybe it’s because it’s her birthday and while she had great plans for a towering strawberry shortcake stack, it turned out her energy level was more in line with a not-so-towering strawberry pancake stack.
Regardless, I love these pancakes, and not just because my first attempt at them last week was such a dull flop. I remain amazed even after all of these years of cooking by the way that the smallest tweaks (buttermilk instead of milk, an extra egg, more cornmeal and a little baking soda) can turn a limp, flavorless pancake into a perfect one, worthy of inclusion in your Repeat Forever file: crispy edges, plush, ungritty center, just-tangy-enough bits of strawberry and the ability to stay moist even when left “warming” in the oven way too long because sometimes you take a 5-minute sit break and you wake up 20 minutes later. Ahem.
I realize that I might be in what is known as the final stretch, but as is predictable of those of us in the third trimester species, I’m still brimming with ideas and plans, such as the area of our apartment I decided to redecorate… yesterday. I’ve got so many things I want to make with miso, with burrata, with zucchini, plums, cheesecake, ice cream, slushies and set out at patio parties this summer, plus a list of things I’m eager to stock the freezer with and share in the months that come. And while we’re totally prepared to redirect our attention upon the arrival of the Great Adorable Disruption, this is a fun time and, if I may be so dorky, I’m glad you’re here to enjoy it with us.
Picnics, Potlucks and Barbecues: My brain is set to Weekend pretty much the minute June begins. From pink lemonade, to that obsessively good avocado-cucumber salad, a nectarine-almond galette and easy-peasy blueberry crumb bars, I’ve gathered my 70 favorite ways to be the most welcome guest at all of this summer’s picnic and potluck festivities, over here.
One year ago: Pasta and Fried Zucchini Salad
Two years ago: Bowties with Sugar Snaps, Lemon and Ricotta
Three years ago: Broccoli Parmesan Fritters
Four years ago: Roasted Peppers with Capers and Mozzarella
Five years ago: Lamb Chops with Pistachio Tapenade and Strawberry-Ricotta Graham Tartlets
Six years ago: Pesto Potato Salad with Green Beans and Lemon-Mint Granita
Seven years ago: Jim Lahey’s Potato Pizza
Eight years ago: La Vignarola [Roman Spring Vegetable Stew] and Gateau de Crepes
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Jelly Doughnuts
1.5 Years Ago: Sugared Pretzel Cookies
2.5 Years Ago: Caesar Salad Deviled Eggs
3.5 Years Ago: Cauliflower Feta Fritters with Pomegranate
Strawberry Cornmeal Griddle Cakes
These are a perfect way to use those overripe too fast strawberries from the market that I secretly love most of all for cooking, as they’re insanely sweet and practically collapsed even before they hit the oven. Or, in a few weeks, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries, because summer is such a showoff.
Yield: 14 3-inch pancakes
3/4 cup (95 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (105 grams) yellow cornmeal
2 tablespoons (25 grams) granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon fine sea or table salt
3 tablespoons (45 grams) unsalted butter, plus more for buttering skillet
1 cup (235 ml) buttermilk, well-shaken, or 2/3 cup plain yogurt thinned with 1/3 cup milk
2 large eggs
1 cup (about 140 grams or 5 ounces) roughly chopped strawberries
In a large bowl, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt with a whisk. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in the bottom of a medium bowl, then whisk in buttermilk, followed by the eggs, one at a time. Stir in strawberries. Pour strawberry-buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
In a large skillet (cast-iron is my favorite for pancakes), melt butter over medium/medium-low heat. Pour a scant 1/4 cup batter into skillet for each pancake. Cook until bottoms are golden and bubbles appear all over top, about 1 to 2 minutes. Flip pancakes and cook until second side is golden, another minute. If batter slipped out the sides of the pancake when you first flipped it, return it to the first side for another 30 seconds to ensure the leaked batter cooks. Repeat with remaining batter, adding more butter as needed. If pan gets too hot — the butter turns brown as soon as it melts, the pancakes are done on the outside before the inside — reduce the heat to low.
If you’re not going to eat these right away, you can spread them on a baking sheet and keep them warm until needed in a 200 degree oven.
Serve with fixings of your choice, be it a pat of butter, powdered sugar, syrup and/or additional fresh strawberries.