Off the Griddle with Ihopapotamus at…the Cinnamon Snail!

One of my favorite things about New York City is the parade of small food establishments that become somewhat of a craze.  What starts out with a small faithful following, often turns into a full on foodie-fascination.  The recipe is simply: unique trendy food, a distinctive atmosphere and a funny name.  Pancakes are no exception.

cs truck

I decided to put the pedal to the food truck metal and visited one of these food crazes, the Cinnamon Snail (told you it would have a funny name).  The Cinnamon Snail is actually a roaming food truck that travels all around the NYC (and parts of NJ) serving breakfast and lunch to hundreds of hungry people each day.  They serve a 100% vegan food menu, so their truck is filled with exciting options  unlike most traditional restaurants (and food trucks).  Not only do they provide a (relatively) healthy, environmentally friendly and animal rights approved menu, but their food is delicious, so that everyone, vegan or omnivore, will certainly enjoy.  (Basically eating there is good for the world…)Of course, they prominently serve delicious pancakes on their menu.

 cinnamon-snail-menu

(the menu changes seasonally – photo from streetgrubeveryday)

Knowing that the lunch line often has a 45(!) minute wait, I made sure to arrive twenty minutes before the Cinnamon Snail opened. Not completely to my surprise, there were already two Cinnamon Snailers on line.  By the time 9:00 rolled around, there were 23 people anxiously waiting for their pancakes and other baked goods.  After the first two customers ordered (pancakes), I placed my order!  A couple minutes later, out came my fresh, warm Blue Corn Pancakes in … a brown box.

brown box

(sorry for the blurry picture – I was clearly jonesing for some pancakes!!)

Normally, when I order out for pancakes, I expect a carefully executed presentation by the chef, complete with white powdered sugar and cut-up strawberries.  But at the Cinnamon Snail, these pancakes were more about the throw-back feel of a brown paper box and (importantly) the taste.  Having never had a blue corn pancake, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I really enjoyed the traditional pancake flavor combined with the “earthy” taste of corn flour. Although I wish they were fluffier, the flavor more than made up for it.

pine-nuts

(PINE NUTSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS – pic from Seed Guides)

The highlight of the Blue Corn Pancakes was that it was served with delicious pine nut butter.  For those of you who have never had pine nut butter, I highly recommend it.  I love pine nuts, and butterizing them was as good as it sounds!  It was able to provide the extra flavor of butter, but with a little extra punch.  What else would a pancake be if it was not topped off with a (quite large) serving of Vermont maple syrup.  And of course, Cinnamon Snail gave me a generous sized helping, which is always a major plus!

cinnamon snail

Overall, the pancakes were above average, the pine nutter butter was great, and the overall experience of getting pancakes from a truck called the “Cinnamon Snail” was a real plus.  Although I would classify the Cinnamon Snail as a food craze, the long long lines each day demonstrate that the people of NYC love its food.

*** For those of you still wondering, the Cinnamon Snail is the name of one of its dessert options, which is essentially a large gooey Cinnamon bun!  So stop by for a pancake, but make sure not to leave without indulging in its bakery, including the donuts!!!

bakery

3.75 out of 5 Paul Bunyans!!!:Untitled1Untitled1Untitled1PB .75

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World Cup…OF PANCAKES

Olá fanquecas! (That’s Hi Fancakes in Portuguese). In honor of all things World cup, we here at SYTYCP have decided to go on a pancake journey of world cup teams – we might not be able to get to Rio, but we can definitely eat pancakes like we are (…that’s basically the same, right?)

Let’s get pancaking! To kick off the inaugural start of the World Cup of Pancakes, we started in the host country, Brazil with some Brazilian Panquecas.

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Panquecas are definitely savory pancakes – in fact, you basically make savory crepes and almost treat them like pasta shells/noodles. You stuff each crepe with a delicious and simple filling of ground beef and sauteed veggies. Traditionally, panquecas would be served with a green salad and rice. I had some peas that were on their last legs so I just did a light lemon dressing. The goal is to have something fresh to contrast with the pancakes, so I think my pea salad served that purpose even if they were a tad untraditional. (oh, and the rice just never got made…)

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Even though it seems like the steps to making panquecas may be a little involved, it’s really not! The crepes are super simple and if you can handle a little basic cooking, the filling is no problem at all. Plus, it’s totally worth the effort – these pancakes are DELICIOUS. For reals, the filling is rich and hearty, the flavors all meld together, and the cheese just kicks it up a notch. Can I say that we shouted “GOOOOAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL” after tasting these? We didn’t, but I felt like that needed to be typed out.

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So, for your next world cup viewing, skip the chips and dip/wings/fries…whatever else you might be thinking of and go straight for the pancakes!

4 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackiestackie

Ingredients:

For the pancakes:

1 C flour

1 1/2 C whole milk

1 Tbs oil (plus more for cooking)

1/2 tsp salt

For the filling:

1 lb ground beef

1 onion

1 bell pepper (I used yellow, but any color works)

chives or green onions

1 clove of garlic

salt and pepper

And…

Tomato Sauce

8 oz shredded mozzarella

Directions:

Whisk together the milk, eggs, and oil. Then, sift in the flour and salt. Whisk the mixture together until all the lumps are out. (Alternatively, you can put all the pancake ingredients into a blender and mix until smooth). Set aside to rest.

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Dice the onion, pepper, chives, and garlic.  In a large pan over medium high heat, cook the garlic until fragrant (use 2-3 Tbs of oil to cook). Then, add the onions, pepper, and chives and cook until the onions are translucent (about 5 minutes).

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Add the ground beef. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook until it’s cooked through, another 5 or so minutes.

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Put the filling aside, preheat the oven to 375°F, and start working on the pancakes.

Heat a small nonstick pan over medium heat. Lightly grease the pan. Cook 1/4 C of batter at a time (give the batter a quick stir before you measure). Swirl the batter so the entire bottom of the pan is coated.

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Cook for about 2 minutes, the edges will be crispy and the top of the pancake should be dry to the touch.

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Flip and cook for another minute. Slide the pancake onto a pan and keep cooking – makes about 9 pancakes.

When you’re done cooking the pancakes, it’s time to start assembly.

Take one pancake at a time, and scoop about 1/4 of filling onto the pancake. Sprinkle with some cheese.

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Roll the pancake up and place it seam side down into a glass pan (you can use metal, but make sure to line it with aluminum foil so the pancakes don’t stick).

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When the pan is full, lightly spoon about 2 Tbs of tomato sauce on each pancake.

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Sprinkle the rest of the mozzarella on top of the pancakes and bake for 15 minutes.

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Remove from the oven and enjoy!

 

 

Stay Puft!

Hi Fancakes!

So, I’ve been sitting on this recipe for awhile (one of my trusty ihopapotami sent it to me a few months ago), but I’ve been waiting for fresh corn to be in season! I’m probably still a little early, but I saw a few ears at the farmer’s market and I just couldn’t resist. Without further ado, I present a Puffy Corn Pancake with Blackberry Sauce. (original recipe from the New York Times)

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Corn and blackberries are definitely at the top of my favorite foods list so I was pretty excited to make these and shove them into my mouth eat them. I have to say, though, I was a leeetle disappointed. On its own, the pancake is a little bland and chewy–there isn’t much sugar in the dough itself, so when you get the pops of corn kernels, those bites are excellent, but if you get a bite of plain pancake, it’s just sort of meh.

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(my fancy way of cutting kernels off the cob and actually getting all the kernels in a container instead of just all over the kitchen — and yes, that is the world’s smallest angel food cake pan)

Putting the blackberry sauce on the pancake changes up the entire game.  Honestly, you just can’t go wrong with blackberries cooked in sugar until the berries just start popping and you get a thick syrupy mess of deliciousness.  The key to really kicking the pancake up a notch is letting the sauce sit on the pancake and really seeping in. I tried the pancake just minutes after I put the sauce on, about half an hour later, and the next morning, and the longer I waited, the better the pancake got.

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The way you cook this pancake is similar to the method for Dutch Babies, the key difference (in my moderately profession pancake opinion) is in texture. Dutch babies are soft and pillowy, this pancake was pretty dense and almost had a dense sponge-cake like texture.  I was sort of expecting a more Dutch baby-like texture so this pancake threw me at first, but eventually, it won me over.

Overall, this is an interesting sort of cornbready pancake that’s interesting to try, but just be warned that it may not be a total crowdpleaser.

3 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackie

Ingredients:

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1/2 C flour

1/4 C fine cornmeal

5 eggs

1/3 C whole milk

2 Tbs honey

pinch sea salt

1/2 tsp black pepper

3/4 C fresh cut corn kernels (it took me 1 large ear to get to)

2 C blackberries

3 Tbs sugar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the butter in a pie pan and let the pan heat up in the oven until the butter starts to bubble (about 5 minutes).

In a large bowl, whisk together the two flours.

flour

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk.

eggs

Whisk the egg mixture into the flours. Slowly whisk in the honey, salt, and pepper. Try to get as many lumps out as possible. Stir in the corn.

batter

Pour the batter into the prepared dish.

in pan

 

Bake the pancake for about 25 minutes – the sides should puff up and the entire pancake should be golden to dark brown.

While the pancake is cooking, make the sauce. Cook down the blackberries and sugar over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Then, turn the heat down to low and let the blackberries simmer while the pancake finishes cooking. The finished sauce should be thick and syrupy.

blackberries

 

Once the pancake is done baking, pour the sauce over the pancake and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Then slice and enjoy!

 

 

 

I said a hip hop, hippie to the hippie, the hip, hip a hop, and you don’t stop

Hey Fancakes! This week I made rice flour hoppers (see what I did with the title there? you know you love it) aka appam. The recipe I followed (from Saveur)  said the recipe was Sri Lankan, but I think these pancakes are also popular in different areas of South India and Malaysia. I confess I did quite a bit of research on wikipedia… Anyway, I made 2 types of hoppers, basically the same, but one had an egg cooked into it.

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The hoppers were really simple to put together – the most “exotic” ingredients are the rice flour and coconut milk and I was able to find both in my local grocery store. Other than that, the recipe just has a lot of “wait time” – the batter needs to rest twice for a total of 3 hours! Madness, I know, but worth the wait!

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The hoppers are supposed to be cooked in a hopper pan (seriously, I never knew there were so many specialty pancake pans before I started this blog!), but I just used a small wok.

hopper

(hopper pan – basically a shallow wok with 2 small handles and a lid – get yours on Amazon!)

As I was cooking, I realized how similar the hoppers are to classic crepes – they both have thin batters (as far as consistency), require quite a bit of batter resting time, and call for similar swirling motions when you cook (you need to swirl the batter so that the pancakes cover the whole bottom of the pan. Oh yeah, and they’re both delicious. SNAP.

photo 1

(Everyday I”m swirlin’)

The hoppers smell amazing while they’re cooking, they give off this amazing coconut smell – not overwhelming at all, but just a warm toasty coconutty…mmmm…I feel like cooking more just I can smell them.  Taste-wise, the plain hoppers are fairly neutral with just a smidge of saltiness. Hoppers are sometimes eaten with curries and stews and I can totally imagine how delicious that would be.

photo 4

I added a drizzle of honey to the plain hoppers and they were a delicious snack. As for the egg hopper, I sprinkled just a few flakes of kosher salt on the egg portion and it was equally delicious, the egg turns into a sort of yolky savory syrup which is the ish…you know, if you’re into that sort of savory glory.

3.75 out of 5 stackies:stackiestackiestackie.75

Ingredients:

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp dry yeast

3/4 C rice flour

1/4 tsp sugar

1/2 C + 2 Tbs coconut milk

1/16 tsp baking soda (I just use my 1/4 tsp and estimate!)

3.5 oz water heated to 115

oil

eggs (optional)

Directions:

Combine the yeast and water and let sit for 8-10 minutes (the water should get foamy).

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In a separate bowl, combine the salt, flour, and sugar. Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture. Stir and then cover and let sit on the counter for 2 hours.

4

Add the coconut milk and baking soda. Whisk until the batter is smooth. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in the fridge.

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Heat a little less than 1 Tbs of oil in your pan (I used a small wok since I don’t have a hopper pan, but you can use a regular small frying pan as well).  Cook 1/3 C batter at a time. (Oh, I also had to re-oil my pan after every other hopper.)

photo 1

Add the batter to the pan and swirl to cover the entire bottom of the pan, cook for about 1 minute.

If you’re cooking the egg version, crack an egg into the center of the hopper.

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Then cover and cook for another 2 minutes (the edges will get crispy). If you’re making a plain hopper, then just skip the egg part.

photo 2

Slide the hopper out of the pan and enjoy!

 

 

It’s Buckwheat Baby!

Hi Fancakes, I feel like we’ve come to a point in our relationship where I can tell you guys a secret, right?

I kind of don’t like salted caramel. I KNOW. It’s not that I hate the flavor, it’s just that I feel like it’s everywhere -anytime someone wants to do something “cool” with food, they make salted caramel. I’m a hater…sorry! Anyway, I’ve been sitting on this recipe from Smitten Kitchen for forever because of the salted caramel but then I figured that if anyone could convert me, it was SK, so without anymore of my whining, I give you a buckwheat baby with salted caramel sauce.

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And, even with my anti-caramel attitude, I LOVED THIS PANCAKE. I love dutch babies to start with and this recipe is no exception. The buckwheat gives the pancake a slightly toothier texture than the classic recipe and the salted caramel is just right. Not too salty, not too sweet, just a great balance between the two that really brings out the inherent buckwheatiness of the pancake.

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(mmm, salted caramel…I can say that now!)

I will say that the pancake was slightly spongier than the other dutch baby recipes I used but that was totally my fault and not a problem with the recipe. The recipe is for either a 12″ pancake or two 9″pancakes. I only have a 10″ pan and I was too lazy to adjust the recipe, soooo…yeah. my b. With that being said, the pancake was still delicious. (If you’re lazy like me, just cook the pancake for a little longer and you’ll be fine…)

photo 2

Oh, also, I thought my pancake was just a tad too buttery (blasphemy, I know) so I modified that in the recipe, too!

4 out of 5 stackies: stackiestackiestackiestackie

Ingredients:

(for the syrup)

1/4 C granulated sugar

1 1/2 Tbs unsalted butter

pinch Kosher salt

just over 1 oz heavy cream

(for the pancakes)

3 Tbs buckwheat flour

3 Tbs all-purpose flour

1 Tbs granulated sugar

pinch Kosher salt

1/2 C whole milk

2 eggs

2 Tbs unsalted butter

Directions (for a 10″ pan):

Start by making the syrup. Melt the sugar in a medium sized saucepan over medium high heat. Stir the sugar constantly so that it doesn’t burn.

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Keep cooking the syrup and stirring until it liquefies and gets to the color of a penny. Add the butter and sea salt, cooking until the butter is completely melted.

2

After you add the butter, the caramel will be bubbly.  When the butter is fully melted, turn the heat down and slowly stir in the heavy cream – the caramel will foam up and sound crazy, just keep stirring until the sauce is smooth.

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Once smooth, just remove the sauce from the heat and make the pancake!

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees (F).  Make the batter by whisking together the flours, sugar, salt, milk, and egg (some lumps are okay).

photo 1Melt the butter in a castiron pan over medium low heat, make sure the swirl the butter all over the pan. Once the butter is melted, pour the batter into the pan and cook for a few seconds (about 15).

photo 2 Then, slide the pan into the oven and bake for about 18 minutes.

Remove the pancake from the oven, slide it out of the pan and top it with the caramel. ENJOY!