September 3, 2011

It's Breakfast Time Somewhere!

Good morning, noon, or night, friends! Tonight's adventure is a great meal to have anytime!

Trevor and I made pancakes, bacon, and scrambled eggs for dinner this evening. Breakfast for dinner was a very popular menu option when I was growing up and therefore perfect for my generation to start making on their own.

For the pancakes, you will need:

2 cups all-purpose (AP) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs
2 cups milk
2 tablespoons of vinegar
5 tablespoons butter (melted then slightly cooled)

Ideally, buttermilk would make the hands down, absolute best pancakes; however, buttermilk doesn't get used as often in the modern American kitchen as it used to be. If you happen to have buttermilk on hand, you'll need two cups, but scratch the vinegar and you'll only need 4 tablespoons of butter.

If you will be using regular milk (like I do more often than not), 1 tablespoon of vinegar per cup will sour the milk enough to give the buttermilk effect and adding the extra tablespoon of butter will boost the butter fat content the "vinegared milk" will lack.

I have a cast iron griddle pan to make the pancakes on, but an 8-10" non stick skillet will do. Place your pan over medium-low heat (if your oven dial is numbered, between 3 and 4 is best).

While that heats, beat your eggs. And when I say beat, please don't pulverize the poor things into oblivion. Simply whisk with a fork until the yolk and white come together. Then add your milk and melted butter.

In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and sugar.

Add the wet stuff to the dry stuff and mix until all the dry stuff is mixed in. Be sure not to leave flour chunks in the bottom of the bowl.

Now, since 4-5 tablespoons is half a stick of butter (I only keep butter sticks in my fridge. I haven't bought the tubs ever), you should still have the other half floating around somewhere. Rub down your pan with the butter. It will hiss at you, but don't worry. It won't bite.

This is my favorite part. Since pancakes are essentially flat muffins, as your pancakes cook, you will see first hand what goes on in your oven when muffins are made.

Spoon enough batter onto the pan to make a 4" pancake. At first, nothing will happen. Then little bubbles will start to form. These bubbles are the same bubbles that make muffins rise. When there are bubbles across the surface of your pancake, flip it! A perfectly golden brown side of a pancake should be smiling back at you. The pancake will be flat initially, but you will know when your pancake is fully done when the center, like a muffin, will start to rise. When the center has a noticable bubble and the both sides are equally golden brown, remove to a plate. Repeat this process until all the pancakes are made, but keep the plated ones under a clean, warm kitchen towel.

Tasty Tips for this recipe: Pan sear your bacon in a 12" cast iron skillet instead of throwing it in the microwave. I promise you will taste the difference!!

Happy cooking and happier eating!

September 2, 2011

A Toast to Garlic!

Since spaghetti was this dinner of choice this evening, I wanted to share a very simple recipe for garlic toast. Instead of going out and spending money on the premade stuff, all you will need is:

Sliced bread
Garlic salt
Cheese (optional)

Set your oven rack to its top setting and preheat your broiler. Butter your bread (1 to 2 slices per person should do), add a dusting of paprika and a dash of garlic salt. If you wanted to add some mozzarella or parmesan cheese, top the bread with such at this time.

Place your bread on your broiler pan and pop in the oven. Leave in for about 30-40 seconds. Basically, until the butter (and cheese) have melted and the sides of the bread are toasted.

Serve with a heaping helping of spaghetti and enjoy!

Happy cooking and happier eating!