May 4, 2006

Puffy Pancake

My Betty Crocker cookbook was on it's last legs so Rob told me I could buy a new one as a Christmas present from him. I finally got around to ordering one in January some time, but I, for some reason, ordered a Better Homes cookbook by mistake and was dismayed that it was entirely different from what I had wanted.

However, this cloud came with a really tasty silver lining. It's generally the pancake section of all of my cookbooks that is the first to go and so of course it was to the pancake section that I first turned. They didn't have a single normal pancake recipe but there is a recipe for a "Puffed Oven Pancake" (which was the only recipe that I had all the ingredients for, so I went for it).

The Puffy Pancake has since become our all time favorite breakfast as well as a really enjoyable dinner on two occasions. It takes me all of 2 minutes (max.) to whip up, 20 minutes to cook and maybe a minute or two of cleanup. Who could ask for a better warm breakfast?

3 eggs
1/2 cup flour (i use whole wheat)
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
some butter for the pan
fruit or jam or some such for a topping

This recipe makes just enough for the three kids for breakfast. If I want to include myself then I double the recipe. I use a medium sized cast iron pan for a single recipe and a larger pan for a double recipe. (The cast iron cleans up much easier. It really puts the Calphalon to shame.) The key to your pan choice is that it should be able to go into the oven. I'm sure a casserole pan might work.

Throw some butter (the recipe book says 2 tablespoons but I always just throw in a wad -- that's a technical term for just the right amount of butter) into the pan and put the pan in the oven (which should be set to 350 degrees).

Throw the eggs, flour, milk and salt into a small bowl (I just use a measuring cup with high sides) and mix thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Once the butter is melted, pour the mixture into the pan and let bake for about 20 minutes (until puffy and very slightly browned).

For breakfast I put about a teaspoonful of jam on each kids third of the pancake. For dinner I heat two bags worth of frozen fruit and add a bit of jam to sweeten the mixture. I then pour the warmed fruit over the pancake and serve. (I can't wait till summer when I can use fresh fruit!)

We don't use syrup on our puffy pancakes. The jam is enough to sweeten the dish, which makes this a pretty nutritious meal without all the sugar that's often in breakfast cereals or poured (in the form of syrup) over the usual pancake, waffle or french toast meals.

Molten Chocolate Baby Cakes

This recipe is from the New York Times food section (December 14, 2005).

These little cakes really don't take long at all to make and are ooooooooooooohhhhh so yummy! A dollop of whipped cream and maybe a smidgen of jam go well on top.

I've never made a single batch. I knew from the first time I ever made them that this is one of those recipes that should automatically be doubled or tripled.

4 tablespoons soft unsalted butter, more for greasing dishes
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (preferably with 70 percent cocoa solids)
4 large eggs
¾ cup superfine sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup flour.

1. Place a baking sheet on center rack in oven and heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter insides of six 6-ounce heatproof glass or ceramic baking dishes. (If using soufflé dishes, line bottoms with parchment paper; dishes with flared sides will not need lining.) -- I used muffin tins. Call me gouche, I know.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat or in a microwave oven, melt chocolate; set aside to cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat eggs together with a pinch of salt until frothy; set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream together 4 tablespoons butter and the sugar. Gradually add egg mixture, then vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Add chocolate and blend until smooth.

3. Divide batter among six baking dishes and arrange them on baking sheet hot from the oven. Bake until firm and dry on surface, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove dishes from oven and immediately invert cakes onto small plates or shallow bowls. Serve hot. -- The only problem I found with serving them hot was that the whip cream melted. But no one seemed to mind.

Memories in the Making - 2006

The Northern Colorado Alzheimer's association accepts drawings from victims of dementia throughout the year. They then choose 52 pieces for an annual auction which is held in June and raises 25K or more to fund programs run by the Alzheimer's association in the area.

My dad has had at least one submission chosen each year for the past three years. (In 2004, his water color was their signature piece.)

In May, the association has a tea to honor all of the artists whose pieces were accepted.

Here are the pics from this year's tea. (I may dig back and add the pics I took in 2005 and 2004 as well if I can find them.)