Monday, July 15, 2013

pancake pantry

If you aren't familiar with this Nashville landmark, you need to get down here so we can go!  On weekend mornings, lines wrap around the block in Hillsboro Village as folks wait to eat blueberry, chocolate chip, and other assorted pancakes, as well as crepes, Dutch babies, and the whole gamut of batter that can be fried on a hot griddle.

I don't do lines and waiting very well, so we generally skip the Pancake Pantry, except for special occasions (like your visit).  But I have been making pancakes a couple times a week, on mornings when I don't have to get to work.  They are mainly a vehicle for Vicki to get butter and syrup in her mouth.  It makes a good break from our regular breakfast of granola and milk.  We also have them probably once a week as breakfast for dinner, along with bacon or sausage.  Lately, we have been loving walking to the Farmer's Market, buying blueberries, eating some on the way home, and then dropping the rest into our pancakes for dinner!

This recipe comes from what is probably my favorite cookbook:  The 150 Best American Recipes.  It gave me my best recipe for high-heat roast chicken, taught me how to cook steak and salmon well, and never fails to provide solid recipes for both basics and fancy food.  I love this particular pancake recipe for a few reasons:

1)  I always have the ingredients on hand.
2)  It doesn't have sugar in the batter, which yields a better-tasting pancake, to me.
3)  It doesn't make an exorbitant amount of batter - just enough for a hungry adult and a toddler.

Here's what you need:

1 C AP flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 C buttermilk or scant 1 C whole milk with 1/4 lemon squeezed into it
1 egg
3 T butter
butter and real maple syrup, to serve

First, if you aren't using buttermilk, get your sour milk ready, so it can sit for a little bit while you prepare the rest.  Just squeeze a lemon quarter into the measuring cup of milk, stir a little, and let it sit.  All you're doing is providing acid to react with the baking soda so the pancakes will rise.  You can't taste the lemon in the end.

Second, begin heating a griddle or a large cast-iron skillet over medium-low heat.  Place the 3 T butter in there and let it start to melt.

Third, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add the buttermilk/sour milk and egg, and mix with a fork, just until it's all incorporated - don't overmix.  Pour about 2 T of the melted butter into the batter and stir it in with the fork.  Leave the remaining butter in the griddle or skillet to grease it.  Again, don't overmix.  Just until you can't see butter anymore.

Once a drop of water sizzles on the skillet or griddle, drop the batter by 1/4 cupfuls.  I can get three at a time into my skillet.  When you see bubbles popping on top, flip them.  I usually get eight pancakes out of a recipe, with the last one being sort of a midget.

Serve immediately with butter and syrup.

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