Pancakes with a Twist

Hello, everyone! The weather’s been brutal lately. And as if things can’t get uglier, our heating system decided to act up. Anyways, here I am to bring you guys something to get giddy and excited about. At least I hope it does as it did me. For a while, I haven’t really been in the mood to make or try anything for a number of reasons which I choose not to bore you with. But here I am with a brand new recipe and I can’t be excited to share it with you. I am really happy about this number because first, I finally learned how to make pancakes from scratch. The first time I tried? It was a huge flop! Yes, there is a difference between baking soda and powder. I won’t delve into that. The pro-bakers can probably enlighten you on that matter better than I do. But, I hope you would take my word for it for those who are still wondering what really is that fine line between baking soda and powder.  And secondly, I finally reached that point where I’m comfortable to tweak some details here and there and make it my own.

I got the basic pancake recipe from marthastewart.com. I remained consistent with hers because I don’t want to mess up our breakfast. I only added a few drops of vanilla extract. That’s it.  It was fluffy and light but a little too spongy for my liking. The following week I decided to add 1 yolk plus about 1/8 cup of milk to make it a little more dense but not to sacrifice its cloudy fluffiness. It was a success. And tired of my usual vanilla, I added some lemon flavor and here I am.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 & 1/4 c. All purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. Baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. Granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. Salt
  • 1 & 1/8 c. Milk (I used 2%)
  • 2 & 1/2 tbsp. Unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 large egg + 1 yolk
  • 1 tbsp. Lemon zest
  • 1-2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter to grease the pan
  • Honey or maple syrup

Here’s How:

  1. Place non-stick pan or griddle on low heat. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, pour in milk, eggs, lemon juice, zest and melted butter. Whisk together until homogenous. Then add in dry ingredients. Whisk until well mixed. It’s tempting to overmix but a few lumps is ok.
  4. Smear extra butter in the pan and pour pancake batter. Adjust heat accordingly.
  5. Enjoy!

It tasted so good. The lemon flavor bursts in your mouth. The amount of lemon you put in depends on the tartness you desire. I don’t think it will affect the fluffiness of the pancake unless you decide to throw a whole lemon in there. I used honey because what else goes perfectly with something citrussy and bright as lemon? You can be as creative with the toppings as you wish.

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ImagePancakes are L.O.V.E. Don’t you agree?Image

This stick of butter reminds me of this movie I saw last night, “Brighton Beach Memoirs.” It was a film adaptation of the play Neil Simon wrote. And there was this one part where Eugene’s mother, Kate asked him to get a 1/4 lb. of butter. And Eugene argued that he just went for a 1/4 lb. the same morning, why didn’t she just ask him to buy a 1/2 lb. butter. To that she replied, “Suppose this house sets on fire, what am I to do with a 1/4 lb. butter!” Lol. I’m such a weirdo.

Oh, and I asked Wonder girl to help me with the honey. It wasn’t much of a success, her tiny arms got easily tired holding up the spoon. And she couldn’t wait to lick the honey off of it.

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So there you go. I hope you guys try this recipe and let me know what you think. How about you, do you have a favorite pancake recipe you would like to share?

Quick Post: Scallion-Parm Drop Biscuits

I really had no intentions on posting this. I didn’t even plan on making this at all. I braved the elements and walked a mile (car’s out of commish) to the farmer’s market and Pathmark (cringe) to get some items so the Unabean and I can make something together for a Friday afternoon of fun. I bought baking ingredients so we can try the 2-minute mug brownie. It was a disaster and totally not worth it. And I wasn’t about to let a bad pin ruin my streak of culinary success this week.(No photos but amazing braised short ribs, cranberry glazed roasted pork chops, citrus-chili beans). So I remembered this recipe from Melissa D’Arabian from Ten Dollar Meals. And I have always wanted to try it. And I did and I’m sharing this with you because it was successful. And it was also green in the inside. hehe

I’m really not a baker and it’s nothing short of a miracle that I nailed this. And I almost wasn’t able to make this recipe because I didn’t have baking powder. I do howver have baking soda. I have always wondered what the difference is between baking soda and powder. Apparently there is quite a difference. I’m not going to go all nerdy right now but according to some site I googled, you can substitute baking soda with baking powder but you cannot use baking soda in place of baking powder. Catastrophe! I only had baking soda. They said it can be remedied by mixing cream of tartar and that should do it. Well, guess what? I don’t feel like taking another mile walk in the rain to get to the store  just to get cream of tartar. So I read up some more. And it said that baking soda can work if you have some acidic ingredient you can counteract the baking soda with. So, I put some greek yogurt. And it worked. So I may not be much of a baker but a little chemistry helped. (All that high school chem finally starting to sink in)

I swear I’m not trying to scare you.

Scallion-Parmesan Drop Biscuit

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup All-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp. butter, cold
  • 1/3 c scallions, chopped
  • 3/4 c parmesan, grated
  • 1 tbsp. plain 2% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 c whole milk

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F.
  2. In a food processor bowl, place flour, baking soda, and salt. Pulse until well blended.
  3. Add butter and pulse until coarse and crumbly.
  4. Add scallions and parmesan cheese. Process until mixed well.
  5. Add greek yogurt and pulse a couple of times.
  6. Pour in milk and process until all ingredients come together. It is supposed to be a coarse, think batter. It is tempting to process this mixture longer but try to resist.
  7. Take a spoonful of batter and place it on a greased baking sheet.
  8. Bake for about 12 minutes or until golden brown and it passes the clean fork/knife/toothpick test.

Easy peasy, right? This came out perfect. I burned the bottom but I’ll just adjust the temperature next time. The biscuits were crumbly the way they were supposed to be and yet moist. I am a firm believer of doing things from scratch as much as you can. And this is really easy and you can make it your own. You can substitute scallions and parm for something else. Go ahead and be creative. It can be sweet as much as it can be savory.

**Cut the butter into cubes and place it back in the fridge or freezer until you’re just about ready to put it in the food processor.

 

Happy bean

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Birthday & a Breakfast Pizza

Today is a friend’s birthday and since she’s staying here with us, Aurora bean and I decided to let her in on a longstanding birthday tradition of being woken up with a really bad “Happy Birthday” song and a candle-lit breakfast cupcake. It was well received. Better than all two of Unakin’s birthdays I have done it  where I have been slapped in the face and I had to practically prop her up just so she could blow her candles. Anyway, we made someone really happy today. And I love it.

 

Lovely (birthdayer) asked what she can bring for breakfast to share with coworkers. She originally thought of pancakes. Pancakes don’t really travel well so I suggested why not a breakfast pizza? “breakfast Pizza?” So she apparently never have heard of it so she decided to go for it. A little wary about the eggs on top but it was “ahhhhhmazing” according to her. I think I left out an “h” somewhere but you get the point. And the truth is, I haven’t actually tried a breakfast pizza yet. I tried to play it cool and hoped that it turns out ok. I wasn’t even able to taste the pizza because I didn’t want to ruin it.

The Birthday Breakfast Pizza (or Breakfast Birthday Pizza…whatevs)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Pillsbury Thin Crust Pizza Dough
  • 3 tbs. traditional spaghetti sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2  cup red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, julienned
  • 1/4 cup red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup italian sausage
  • 3 large eggs or 4-6 medium eggs, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup chives, chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

Here’s how:

  1. Preheat oven to 425 F.
  2. Prepare pizza dough according to package instructions.
  3. Spread tomato sauce evenly. Layer about half of the required amount of shredded mozzarella evenly.
  4. Evenly distribute bell pepper and onions leaving some for final topping, same with the sausage.
  5. Carefully place eggs on top. S&P to taste but this is optional.
  6. Add remaining mozzarella cheese except on eggs. Add remaining bell peppers, onions and sausage.
  7. Sprinkle parmesan evenly and drizzle pizza with olive oil. Place in the oven and cook for another 15-20 minutes. (You can start lowering the heat when the crust begins to brown and the eggs aren’t cooked yet)

So there, easy peasy. You can go crazy with the toppings and choice of cheese. You can use spinach and asiago cheese. Bacon and mushrooms. Your options are endless. I just had to try to stay mainstream because I wasn’t sure how they would take it. You know, a pizza with an egg on top. But it was a hit and everyone loved it.

Anyway, I’m happy to help make someone’s day special in my own little way. Happy birthday, Lovely!

 

Counting Blessings and Peaches

 

I guess life’s not too bad if I can prepare food like this despite of my current corporate status- unemployed. I was starting to get worried because that’s what happens when you have too much time on your hands. But I have this constant reminder that I have nothing to worry about. This may sound too charismatic to some of you or may appear like I am selling some sort of religion. But God has been extremely good about reminding me that I have nothing to worry about. He is taking care of everything and than my prayers are not in vain. And like what I said, I guess it couldn’t be that bad if we can afford a little peaches and cream in our lives. Right?

 

Grilled Peaches w/ Mascarpone Cheese:

Ingredients:

  • 3 peaches, washed and halved
  • 6-8 tbsp. mascarpone cheese
  • thyme
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tbsp. honey

Here’s how:

  1. Place peach halves on a hot grill face down. Grill for about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Sprinkle with fresh thyme and black pepper and top with mascarpone cheese. Drizzle with honey.

I am sure you have seen this recipe around but I gave it my own twist adding thyme and black pepper to accent the sweetness of the peaches and to tie all the flavors together. I was so excited about adding the black pepper and thyme because they definitely added dimension to the taste.

Does anyone have any suggestion how I could have made this shot prettier? I really had a hard time how to make the mascarpone sit beautifully on the peach. I had no room for mistakes. Remember, I eat all the food I photograph. 😛

Needless to say, I am still very blessed.

I’m Back!

I’m sorry for being away for a while. So the move finally happened and according to my driver license, I’m officially a Jersey girl. I had to put blogging aside to make room for all the packing and unpacking I had to do. Anyway, I think there’s still enough summer days left to make this count. I have been making this dish for quite some time now but I don’t know why it never made it here. But I am sorry for the poor photo. It looks like a salad bowl but it really is a taco.

Without further ado…

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Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. skinless, boneless chicken (it doesn’t matter which part), cubed
  • 1/2 cup bbq sauce
  • 2 tbsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • S&P to taste
  • 1 tbsp. cooking oil
  • 1 head green leaf lettuce, rinsed
  • 2 large plum tomatoes, cubed
  • 1 large avocado, cubed
  • 1 medium red onion, minced
  • a handful of cilantro, roughly chopped
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 cup 2% fat greek yogurt
  • shredded cheese

Here’s how:

  1. In a non-stick skillet, heat cooking oil over medium heat. Add chicken, Chili powder, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika and bbq sauce. Mix thoroughly and allow to cook about 15-20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, add tomatoes, avocado, red onion, cilantro and lemon juice and mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed. This is your salsa.
  3. Time to build your taco! On a lettuce, spread yogurt, salsa, chicken and top with shredded cheese. Enjoy!

This recipe is super easy. It should only take about 10 minutes to prepare the fruits for the salsa. You can always use traditional taco shells or tortilla and forget about the lettuce altogether, unless you want to shred it and add into your taco. You can also add some corn and black beans. You can always use guacamole but I chose to cut up the avocados because ready-made guacamoles can be a little costly and making them myself defeats the whole purpose of having a quick meal. It is fiesta indeed!