Cornmeal Hollaback

I had a lot of leftover cornmeal pancakes.  I couldn’t bear to throw them away and I thought maybe I could reinvent them…I ended up trying to do a “chicken and waffles” thing.  It’s a regular ol’ baked chicken, some re-tooled cornmeal pancakes, and some baby bell peppers (I was trying to work some veggies (and color) in…)

I flattened out the pancakes, heated them up in a pan with a smidge of water, and then coated them in a little bit of honey…it didn’t work.  They were mealier and just not good. I guess there just isn’t any saving for a bad pancake. Oh well.

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A Pancake sCORNed

I love corn. I LOVE CORN, but I was not lovin’ on these cornmeal pancakes.

The original recipe is for cornmeal pancakes with pine nuts, and you can find it here. In the picture from the original recipe, the pancakes are a bit bigger and seem fluffier than mine.  I have some ideas about what went wrong, but I don’t think I’ll be re-making these any time soon.

I ended up using 3/4 C milk (the original recipe says to start with 1/2 C and work your way up to the right consistency) and chopped cashews instead of pine nuts. (You can find my version, and more pictures, here).  The uncooked batter smells really good, a lot like cornbread, but it’s really really thick.  I thought that with the extra 1/4 C of milk that my pancakes would be fine (the original describes the proper consistency as spreadable but thick). I think the consistency should probably be spreadable and medium-thick – when you pick up the spatula, it should drizzle thickly, not glop* (like mine did) – 1 full cup of milk should do it.

(that’s some thick-looking batter!)

Well, because my batter was so thick, I decided to make smaller pancakes for easier in-pan management.  Cooking 1/4 C of batter at a time, I made 13 palm-sized pancakes (my palms have a 2.75” diameter).  Also, since my batter glopped into the pan, I had to press them down a lot just to make sure they cooked all the way through – I think my pressing was needed, but definitely contributed to the de-fluffing of the pancakes.

(batter glops)

The pancakes also came out very soft, as in they were just on the verge of crumbling at the edges.  The texture in the middle was nice, but a little soft and mealy around the edges. On the plus side, with a little bit of honey, that sweet corn flavor really came out.  I may experiment with a finer cornmeal or cutting the cornmeal with some regular flour so that I retain that corn flavor but get a more standard pancake texture.

I have a whole bunch of pancakes left over, so I may try to re-tool them – I’m thinking I can: (1) make a bread pudding so that it’s more corn bread-like, or (2) flatten them out a bit and try to make faux corn tortillas. What do you think?

Stackies: 1.75 out of 5 

*by my definition, a “glop” is heavier than a “plop” but not as soft as a “glob”

Scallion Me Some Pancakes

After a couple weeks of trying out different (& delicious) pancake recipes, I just had to go back to my roots this week and try out a recipe for scallion pancakes!

   

(You can find the original recipe at the Dramatic Pancake and my annotated one here!)  I’ll admit that the finished product over at the Dramatic Pancake looks much more professional than mine, but mine still tasted great!

First things first, the original directions tell you to use a food processor, but I was feeling too lazy to pull mine out, so I just mixed the dough by hand.  I know, it doesn’t make any sense, I was too lazy to pull out an appliance that actually would have made making the dough easier, but whatever, I’m just tellin’ it like it is.  In any case, my dough still came out lookin’ pretty nice.  See?

I do think that I added a bit too much water so the dough was really sticky and difficult to roll out.  In the end, my pancakes came out a little too thick and I think the excess water was the source of my troubles.  

Another thing, I used about 6-8 bunches of scallions, so make sure you stock up before you get started! I thought I had enough on-hand for the recipe, but I didn’t, and I had to run to the store mid-prep and load up.  I showed up at the register with flour in my hair, sesame oil on my hands, and a basket of scallions – I’m pretty sure the cashier thought I was on some crazy scallion diet.

One last thing, the original recipe for the sauce was a little too sweet for me, so I cut out a bunch of the sugar in my version.  I think if you added the sea salt from the original recipe, the sugar would have been balanced out more; but…since I skipped the sea salt, I decided to just cut the sugar.  I like a more savory sauce in any case.

4 out of 5 stackies: 

Wasted Batter aka Beer Pancakes

Ever want to make pancakes, but don’t have any milk? Well, do you have some beer in the fridge? If yes, then you should definitely try these beer pancakes. (Original recipe here). If no…well, you should probably just go to the store.

Before I made these, I was a little concerned that they would taste gross, like beer in bread form, which isn’t really appetizing to me.  Good thing I was wrong (it happens every now and then!).  The cooking pancakes smell like warm popcorn or puffed rice and they ended up having a mildly nutty flavor that tasted great with just a little bit of syrup.  Texture-wise, the pancakes were super fluffy, really moist, and basically like the inside of French toast. (Ready for my recipe already? Click here!) 

A couple notes on making these: 2 things I made sure to do were to: (1) let the beer settle, and (2) sift the dry ingredients.  You want the beer to settle because you actually want to be using 1 cup of beer and not part-beer part-foam.  I let the beer settle for only a minute or so, because I didn’t want it to go completely flat.  Sifting the dry ingredients made it easier to combine them and the beer without the beer foaming out of control.  Even with letting the beer settle for a few minutes, though, the dough was still super bubbly.

(see all the bubbles?)

Another cooking tip: I cooked these on high-medium (just a notch or two hotter than I normally use for pancakes) since the batter was on the liquid-y side and I wanted to make sure I cooked the alcohol out (sorry, you can’t actually get drunk on these).

With all this being said, these weren’t my faaaavorite pancakes, they were decent, and definitely work in a pinch, but they probably won’t be my go-to pancake anytime soon.  I wonder how much a different beer would affect these pancakes (I used Coors Light).  I’m thinking a nuttier brown ale, a blueberry beer, or even a nice oatmeal stout could make for some more interesting pancakes.

With a bonus point for innovation (I would never have thought of substituting beer for milk on my own), these are getting 3 out of 5 stackies: 

Crepe Expectations

My friend Jake always brags about 3 things: his chocolate chip cookies (pre-made dough), his (Costco frozen) pizzas, and his crepes, which are actually good…So you know when I decided to make crepes, I had to wheedle his recipe out of him.  Actually it wasn’t that hard and his crepes are pretty good, so here we go!

(I tried to get fancy with my crepe plating)

Crepes are one of my favorite foods, I love that they’re a little crispy around the edges, but soft in the middle (like me!).  The one thing I would change when making these would have been to make them a little thinner.  I’m not sure if I should’ve added more water to the batter or if my pan-swirling wasn’t up to par. Maybe I need to buy one of those crepe rakes. (image from cookability.biz)  I’ve also read about people using the underside of woks to get nice thin crepes…sounds dangerous.  I guess it’s a good thing that my first crepes were a little thicker since I was nervous about flipping them, but they held together really nicely and I only ripped one.

Besides their texture, crepes are also great because of all the toppings you get to use! My roommate and I decided to keep it simple, we went with lemon, honey, strawberries, and powdered sugar…the fruit keeps the crepes healthy, right? Lemon and honey, and butter and sugar are both classic combinations, as well as: nutella, nutella + fruit, jam, ice cream, and just about anything else you can think of.  Next time I think I’ll try making buckwheat crepes with savory toppings, ham and cheese, here I come!

(parting shot!)

While I’m talking about crepes, I have to mention my 2 favorite creperies: Meli-Melo in Greenwich, CT and the Flat in Charlottesville, VA – if you’re in either of those two places and you don’t have crepes, you’re missing out!

As for these crepes: 4 out of 5 stackies!!