Everyday Gourmet

Everyday Gourmet
We've got a whisk, and we know how to use it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

How About Pancakes?

by Jo Ann Miller (Karyn's mom)

Well, how about them? You've probably eaten some version of them most all of your life, and  have not given  a second thought to the fact that this quick bread has been around on this earth about as long as any food made with grain. Crushed grain mixed with a liquid and baked on a hot stone was probably the first pancake (or stonecake.) In the United States we call them flapjacks, pancakes, griddlecakes or hotcakes. They may be made with white, wheat, oat or buckwheat flour. Johnnycakes are a variation made with ground corn. Different names in different countries: French crepes, German Pfannkuchen, The Netherlands Pannekoekenk, Swedish pannkakor and on and on and on. If you are interested in all the variations in all the world, Check http://en.Wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancakes.

My experience with them started when I became engaged. I was teaching a Home Economics class, and one of my students wanted to know how to make pancakes. I confessed that I had never made them,  He said, "Well, Miss Orr, if you are getting married, you'd better learn." This was good advice since pancakes were my husband's favorite food. And I've made many a pancake in the last 55+ years. They are quick, easy, versatile and so wonderfully delicious in so many different variations.

After we had children we had pancakes EVERY Sunday Morning. Pancakes, sausage and syrup. It's our tradition!! When we had company, I would simmer sliced apples or peaches with butter, cinnamon and sugar.. Just slather THAT on the pancake for a company meal! Throw in a few blueberries to the batter before baking. Sprinkle some chopped pecans on the top when the pancake is poured on to the griddle. We had orange, thyme pancakes at a B&B in Maine; my friend makes wonderful ones from a biscuit mix. There are as many ways to make and serve as there are kitchens--almost.

On Shrove Tuesday, March 8, beginning at 8:30 a.m. we will be serving the British Isles version of pancakes along with some American ones from my "old family recipe." (Come and enjoy. No confessions required.)

The following is the British Isles pancake recipe:

1 cup flour
2 eggs
2 cups milk
Pinch of salt
Butter for cooking

Whisk together milk, eggs and salt.
Fold in sifted flour a little at the time and whisk until smooth.
Let rest for 10 minutes.
Heat a small amount of butter in a small skillet until it almost smokes.
Pour enough batter to thinly coat the pan.
Cook until lightly brown. Turn and brown on the other side.
Serve with lemon juice and sugar.
Note: the first one will be a disaster. It's the "one for the dog." The first one seasons the pan.
(Our neighbor always said that kids are like pancakes. You practice on the first one and pitch it out.)

My basic recipe is as follows:

l cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons cooking oil

In a medium mixing bowl whisk together all dry ingredients.
In a smaller bowl or a large measuring cup mix the milk, egg and cooking oil.
Pour liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir. Do not over mix, Mixture will have some lumps. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Drop by spoonfuls on a preheated griddle (about 375F.) that has a bit of cooking oil to prevent sticking.
Turn when light to medium brown and cook on other side to desired doneness. Remember that the first one seasons the pan, and the others will be better. To keep hot while cooking the entire batch, place a cookie sheet in a warm oven and place cooked cakes on that. That way maybe the cook can eat when everyone else eats.
Serve with butter, syrup, jams, jellies--with any of the variations mentioned or any other food that strikes your fancy.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

If You REALLY Love Your Valentine, Cook at Home

I really love my Valentine. I love my Valentine so much that I want to stay home and have a wonderful, satisfying, delicious, meal. Of course, my Valentine is my 8-year-old daughter. She is, without question, the love of my life. And, at least for now, she loves me almost as much as I love her. She thinks I am beautiful. She is loyal. She is kind. She is worth everything I can give her on Valentine’s Day. So, I am making a special meal. Okay, so the meal is as much for me as it is for her, but I know she will love it, too. Here it is. (The exception will be that I will also make every kid’s favorite salad dressing – Ranch – but it WILL be homemade!) By the way, you can get the specialty ingredients at Gourmet Gallery in Waco. Stop by and let us help.

Happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you try this simple menu and I hope you enjoy a loving, if not romantic, dinner with your Valentine.

Mixed Greens with Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette
Filet Mignon with Vanilla Wine Sauce
Strawberry Meringue Torte

Mixed Greens with Truffle Mustard Vinaigrette
⅓ c grape seed oil
1 peeled shallot, thinly sliced
1 T truffle mustard
1 t parsley, finely chopped
1 T honey
3 T rice wine vinegar
3 T champagne vinegar
1 T dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste

Whisk all ingredients together and toss with salad greens.

Filet Mignon with Vanilla Wine Sauce
from the Nielsen-Massey Cookbook, A Century of Flavor
Vanilla Wine Sauce
2 c organic beef stock
¼ c dry red wine
1 small onion, sliced in half
3 large sprigs of fresh marjoram or oregano
2 whole garlic cloves
1 t Madagascar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Extract (we like Nielsen-Massey)
1 ½ T tomato paste
1 t light brown sugar
2 T butter, softened

2 four-ounce 1 ½” thick steaks
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T olive oil

2 c sliced mushrooms
½ c clarified butter

Strawberry Meringue Torte
from the private recipe collection of JoAnn Miller
3 egg whites
½ t baking powder
1 c sugar
10 square (2”) soda crackers, rolled fine
½ c cut-up pecans
½ qt unsweetened strawberries
1 c chilled whipped cream

Heat oven to 300. Butter generously a 9” pie pan. Beat egg whites with baking powder until frothy. Gradually beat in sugar until whites are stiff. Fold in cracker crumbs and pecans. Spread in pie pan. Bake 30 minutes. Cool. Fill with strawberries. Chill several hours. Serve with whipped cream.
We sometimes make individual-sized portions by spooning meringue onto parchment paper before baking. Fill with sliced strawberries. Top with whipped cream or Gran Marnier Cream and some orange peel. It makes a beautiful presentation.