Archive for the ‘Recipes–Breakfast’ Category

Breakfast–Pancakes

August 19, 2009

Nothing starts the day like pancakes. Cooked flour covered with real butter and sugary syrup just has to be good. And pancakes are so flexible. You can put fruit and whipped cream on top of them, or you can drop chocolate chips inside them. Men, if she is concerned about calories, tell her not to worry, “Honey, don’t worry these are filled with love.” She’ll eat that up, wonder what happened to her man, and not talk about calories any more. You don’t have to tell her, “It’s all because of this blog, “How to Impress Chicks in the Kitchen.” What she don’t know won’t hurt her.

Certainly you can make pancakes with a box mix. Shucks you can even buy them frozen. But remember the goal here—impressing the woman in your life. She will not be impressed with frozen pancakes, and you want to tell her you made these from scratch and not from a box. Watch her eyes light up with appreciation. Oh, she will be so impressed.

By the way, pancakes are perfect weekend food. A great way to start a Saturday, especially if it is during football season.

Now don’t worry, I’ll coach you through this. And don’t worry about the mess you are going to make. (Read my posting on “Cook Alone, Clean Together.”) After you make these pancakes for her, she’ll help you clean up the kitchen and you may just end up holding the dish towel. Remember, women like to talk to you while they clean up the kitchen so holding the dish towel and listening to her talk will score double points because she’ll interpret it as spending quality time. A good meal and quality time together will score you triple points.

Inventory of Ingredients

Here is the inventory of ingredients you need. Make sure you have them on hand. Don’t wait till the last minute. If you don’t have them, buy them. Do not substitute anything. If I give you a brand name, use it. There is a reason for brand names. And usually it is they are just better.

Syrup (real maple syrup, and/or Kayro brand white syrup, not dark)

All purpose Flour (2 cups)

Buttermilk (2 cups, which is 16 oz) (Do not substitute regular white milk)

Liquid Canola oil (1/4 cup) (may substitute liquid vegetable oil; don’t use any other kind of oil though)

Fresh large eggs (2)

Salt (1/2 teaspoon)

Vanilla extract (not imitation) (1 capful)

Baking powder (not baking soda, be careful) (3 teaspoons)

Cooking spray (like Pam, but any brand is ok; you can find this on the baking aisle at the grocery store)

A stick of softened (room temperature and easy to spread) real butter (By the way, be very careful trying to soften butter in microwave; you must keep your eye on it.)

Milk and/or coffee to drink (Ice cold milk with pancakes is better than juice in my opinion; and go with 2% milk if you can get away with it; it has more flavor)

To go the extra mile: Chocolate chips (semisweet chocolate chips, brand name, don’t go cheap; or fresh blueberries for the health conscious)

Tools:

2 large mixing bowls (think half a basketball)

Standard electric hand mixer with paddles (or wooden spoon). Paddles are the things that you attach to the underside of the mixer so that they spin around and mix the ingredients up. Most mixers have 2 paddles. Turn the hand mixer over and attach the paddles until they click in place. Sometimes the 2 paddles are designed slightly different. Just look at the holes they go in and plug the right paddle in the right hole. You’re a man you can figure it out. You can use wooden spoons to do all your mixing, but it’ll be a little more challenging whipping up the egg whites with a spoon.

Measuring cups and spoons. 1 cup, 1/3 cup, ¼ cup, 1 teaspoon (by the way a little “t” in a recipe stands for teaspoon and big “T” stands for Tablespoon, 3 t=1 T), ½ teaspoon.

Spatula (or wooden spoon). You’ll recognize these. Your mother used one or the other or both to pop you when you were a kid. Believe it or not they were designed for cooking prep work not kid popping. The spatula is usually made of plastic it has a handle and then a head that is flat and is designed for scrapping the sides of bowls, mixing, and flipping things.

Griddle (this is a great kitchen tool, a large flat cooking surface, look for a 10”x8”), or electric skillet (at least 14” of surface area), or stove, large skillet (at least 14” diameter, big enough for 4 pancakes to cook in). The stove and large skillet is much more difficult because you don’t have a thermostat to set.

Procedure

Wash your hands.

Gather your ingredients and the tools and equipment.

Take out the two bowls. Set them side by side on the counter.

Handling eggs can be challenging. Get your 2 eggs and rinse them off. Bad stuff (bacteria) is never in the egg, but on the egg shell. So that is one of the reasons you rinse it off. But, hey, you can skip this step if you like. Crack 1 egg and empty egg contents (but not shells) into one of the bowls. Now the way you crack an egg is by tapping it on the lip of the bowl. Be careful and don’t crack it so hard that it splatters and drains egg down both the inside and outside of the bowl.

Be careful not to break the yoke.

If a bit of egg shell gets into the egg in the bowl the best way to fish it out is with a larger piece of egg shell. Usually the little broken piece will stick to another piece of egg shell, a larger piece that you can hold in your hand. So just take a half of the egg shell and dip it into the egg where the broken piece is and kind of scoop it out. It’s a finesse kind of thing.

Now this is the tricky part. With your hand reach gently separate the yoke from the egg white. It will feel like a handful of snot. Your goal is to not bust the yoke and move it to the second bowl. Kind of cup the yoke in your hand after you scoop it out over the egg white left behind. Usually there is a glob of egg white hanging to your yoke and from your fingers. You want to slightly separate your fingers slightly so that the white glob will drop into the white left behind in the bowl. When the white snotty glob falls back into the egg white, put the yoke in the separate bowl.

Repeat this with the second egg.

What you have is a bowl with 2 yokes and a bowl with the whites from 2 eggs. It’s ok if there is some white with the yoke, but it is not alright if there is yoke with the white.

Set aside the yokes. Get your electric mixer and stick it in the bowl with the whites. Turn it on, moving the speed up gradually (just a few seconds) to high speed. Hold the mixer into the whites and beat the whites. Move the mixer around a little from one side of the bowl to the other. Let me adapt a line from Steve Martin in Dead Men Don’t Wear Plaid, “Put the mixer in the bowl and make little circles.” What will happen is the egg white will begin to fluff up and look like meringue on a lemon pie. When it does that, it is done. Set it aside.

Now to the bowl with your yokes add the following ingredients in this order. Just measure and dump them in:

2 cups of all purpose flour (brand does not matter; don’t use self rising flour; don’t worry it will say on the package)

½ teaspoon of salt

3 teaspoons of baking powder (not baking soda)

¼ cup of canola oil (or vegetable oil)

2 cups of buttermilk

1 capful of vanilla extract

Now mix all of these ingredients with the mixer. Mix at a mid setting. Or you can mix it up with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mix it to the point where it’s mixed together but with some small lumps. This isn’t a timed thing but a texture thing. You want some little lumps. If you just missed this point and it’s all smooth that’s ok. It should take less than a minute to mix.

Now remove the mixer and toss the paddles in the sink. By the way, toss all your used stuff in the sink except for the mixer itself. If it is splattered by batter, don’t worry it will get cleaned up later.

Take the bowl of whipped whites and with a wooden spoon or spatula fold the whites into the batter you just mixed up. Folding is just like it sounds. Gently work the white into the batter with the spatula. This is a gentle process. Don’t use elbow grease. Just work it in slowly. What you are doing is fluffing up the batter. This will make the pancakes extra fluffy and not heavy. You will see the texture of the batter change a little. Stop folding when there is no visual sign of white.

The batter is done. Make sure all your used tools are in the sink.

Hook up the electric skillet or griddle to the outlet. Set the heat on the electric skillet or griddle at 375 degrees. When the little red light goes out (they almost all have a little light), then they are ready to cook.

Spray the skillet or griddle with cooking spray. This is important to keep the pancakes from sticking to the surface of the skillet or griddle. You must spray the cooking surface before you make each set of pancakes.

Get the 1/3 cup measuring cup. Scoop out 1/3 cup of batter. Pour this onto the sprayed and hot griddle or skillet. It will naturally form a circle for the perfect pancake size. Space them out so that you have room for 4 pancakes. If you can put them on the griddle or skillet without touching that is fabulous.

Pancakes are handled like meat on the grill!  See, something is easy. With meat you watch the meat brown up the sides and then turn it. It is similar with pancakes. Watch the sides cook and bubbles and holes on the pancake face and you know it is time to turn them. You know what pancakes are to look like, golden brown. Get your spatula, rinse it off so there is no batter on it, and slide it under the pancake and peek. You are looking for a golden color. If you have the bubbles, holes on the face, cooking done on the edges, and golden brown on the cook surface you know it’s time to flip them. The flipping can be a challenge if you made them too big. Just slide the spatula all the way under the pancake and flip it over. Occasionally you screw up. Don’t worry just work it back together and cook them. It doesn’t change the taste. When golden brown on both sides it done.

WHAT ABOUT COOKING ON THE STOVE? It’s a bit harder to set the right temperature on the stove. Set the stove at 7. Put the skillet on the stove. Spray the cooking surface of the skillet with cooking spray when it is hot. Now put a  thumbsize amount of batter in the skillet. Watch it cook. If it cooks in about 30 sec on the one side then it is ready for bigger pancakes. Follow the procedure above, but you really need to pay close attention so you don’t burn them, or they don’t cook too slow.

Variations: While the pancakes are cooking get a handful of chocolate chips. Pop a couple in your mouth to taste test. Use semisweet real chocolate chips. Don’t go on the cheap and buy cheap artificially flavored chocolate ones. The brand is not as important as their being real and their being semisweet. Sprinkle the chocolate chips into the batter after the pancakes have been cooking for 2 minutes. Don’t clump the chips together, but spread them out throughout the pancake. Turn the pancakes like the normal recipe.

You will want to top chocolate pancakes with Kayro syrup. Put about 1 cup of Kayro in a microwaveable bowl and heat for 30 seconds on high. She’ll love it.

Another variation is waffles. If you have a waffle iron you can use the same batter for waffles. Remember to spray the waffle iron with cooking spray, and watch the little light. Waffles are easier to make than pancakes, but they tend to run over. So you just cover about 2/3 of the waffle iron surface when you are poring the batter.

If the girl you want to impress is health conscious throw into the cooking batter some freshly washed fresh blueberries. Do it just like you do chocolate chips. If she is health conscious use real maple syrup. If she just likes blueberry pancakes, use Kayro syrup instead of maple. You can even make your own blueberry syrup. Take ½ cup of Kayro syrup and mix in ¼ cup of blueberries. Put it in a microwavable bowl and microwave for 60 seconds. She’ll love it.

Set the table with fork, spoon, butter knife (not the sharp kind) and napkin.

Eat good and impress her!

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