In case you haven't guessed, Greg and I are foodies. Real foodies. We don't tour restaurants or order $400 bills. We don't critique whether the creme fraiche was really fresh (Okay, I couldn't help but make the pun). We do, however, eat a lot, and we always eat well. What you might not know about us, however, is that both Greg and I have a particular everyday thing that we never sacrifice.
Breakfast. Oh Breakfast.
Typical breakfast fare for a weekday morning would be a vegetable omelet with toast or an egg sandwich with whatever cheese I have around. Maybe we'd have granola with yogurt and fresh fruit, or an on-the-go wrap. On the weekend I occasionally spice things up with a little hash browns. Weekend or weekday, I often make pancakes.
Another thing you might not know about me is that I'm actually a little obsessed with pancakes. My interest in pancakes almost competes with my cookie obsession. It's not that I even like pancakes themselves all that much (especially when compared to other breakfast possibilities, or, my goodness, cookies themselves): it's that I like tweaking the recipe. The basic pancake recipe is so simple, so easy, and so flexible that I could probably make pancakes every day for a year and still be interested in it. Here it is:
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 egg
- 3/4 cup flour
- 3/4 tsp baking powder
The thing about this recipe is that you can substitute just about anything for the milk and anything for flour.
- Here are my favorite substitutions for the milk ingredient: yogurt, ricotta, mashed bananas, applesauce, fruit juice, soy milk, or any of the above plus a few tbsp coconut milk (this is astoundingly good, by the way, what with all the saturated fat in coconut milk). How much should you substitute? For any of these ingredients, you can substitute to whatever degree you like - just make sure the total fluid volume comes to about 3/4 cup. When I substitute yogurt or ricotta, I usually go just shy of 3/4 cup and add a few splashes of milk to keep the consistency right. For the mashed bananas, around 1 banana + 1/4 cup milk or 1/2 cup yogurt works well.
- Here are my favorite substitutions for the dry ingredients: whole wheat flour, oat bran, and oatmeal
- Here are my favorite fruit additions: blueberries, apples, raspberries, strawberries, and banana slices. For the berries and banana slices, add them in after all of the other ingredients have been mixed. For apples, slice them thin, place in a pan with a sprinkle of brown sugar and pour the pancake batter over. Fry for several minutes until the apples caramelize, then flip. Alternately, just stir in chopped apples.
- And then of course there are the seasonings: vanilla, brown sugar, maple syrup, walnuts, nutmeg or Cinnamon.
On Saturday, Greg and I got up at 5am to join a friend in a three hour car ride to ski in Vermont. It. Was. Awesome. I've only been skiing (now) twice in my life, and I have to say this: I like to ski. I really, really like to ski. If it wasn't so unaffordable and life wasn't so busy, I'd have gone skiing every free weekend day I could find. Saturday was the first day we were able to go skiing this whole winter: I managed to do all right, staying on the easy trails, only tripping once, and getting scared but still enjoying myself. Greg and his friend Alex tackled some black diamonds (glad I wasn't there to see - probably would have been terrified to watch them), and they joined me for a few runs, giving tips and training to help me learn. 7 hours of hard exercise later, we collapsed into the car and drove back to New Haven. This morning I woke up with aching hips (snowplowing), tense quads (skis themselves), and bruised shins (damn boots!). Poor Greg managed to take a pretty good fall early in the morning and crushed his shoulder in an awkward position - he woke up in decently more pain than I had to deal with.
Both of us needed a filling healthy breakfast, and along with soy milk cappuccinos, here's what we had:
Soy Blueberry Pancakes
3/4 cup soy milk
Splash of cream*
1 organic, free range egg
100g organic, whole wheat flour**
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup frozen organic blueberries ***
- Whisk together soy milk, cream and egg. Sift flour and baking powder on top. Stir just until moistened. Add blueberries and stir just until combined
- Heat skillet over medium-low heat with a tiny bit of vegetable oil and a swipe of butter
- For each pancake, add 1/4 cup batter and spread out with spatula until pancake is about 1/2" thick. Fry until edges begin to brown and bubbles appear in the batter (about 4 minutes). Flip and continue frying until done throughout (about 5 minutes) ****
- Serve with a little bit of butter and good syrup. Walnuts or granola are good on the side*****
*Can omit the cream. I had some on hand, so I added it to enrich the soy milk
**Yes, I weigh the flour because this ensures that the dry ingredients will match the wet ingredients. This works out to 3/4 cup all purpose flour or just shy of that for whole wheat flour
***The blueberries will turn the batter green over time. It doesn't bother me. If it bothers you, toss them with several tbsp of flour before adding to the batter and use quickly.
****To tell whether pancakes are done, tap the center with your index finger. If the pancake springs back, it's done. An indent means it needs longer to cook
*****Fortunately for us, our upstairs tenants have parents that sugar off their own maple syrup every year, so we've got a good supply of really good syrup. It is truly worth it to get good syrup - I promise