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Archive for February, 2011

No, not me! Though some would beg to differ.  I’m talking about pancakes. Or even better Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras. A precursor to what is other wise known as Shrove Tuesday. Though Fat Tuesday sounds like a lot more fun. And if you’ve ever been to Mardi Gras in New Orleans (or can at least remember it!) you know it’s all about wretched excess. But oh so enjoyable. So are pancakes. They satisfy on all levels of comfort and delight. Most pancakes are considered a quick bread, as they contain some form of leavening to help them achieve that light fluffy melt in your mouth texture. National Pancake week kicks off on March 1st. It also  heralds the start of Lent which officially begins on March 8th.

Shrove Tuesday’s original intent was to use up pantry staples that were considered rich or decadent. Sounds good to me. Which after indulging in, one was to spend the first day fasting and in prayer. I’ll just take the pancakes. Sweet or savory, for breakfast, lunch, dinner or a midnight nosh, there is no wrong time to whip up a batch. Delish! And im not talking I-Hop here. No way. Cardboard discs with whipped fake margarine belong in the garbage, not on your plate. So get out grandmas pottery mixing bowl, your whisk and a few simple ingredients and you are on your way to making your mouth really really happy. Not to mention your tummy.

So first, a tiny bit of history. Drum roll if you please. In Russia the pre-lenten pancake feast, known as Maslenitsa, is celebrated by indulging in thin buckwheat crepes known as Blini. Often topped with caviar, honey, jam, sour cream or butter. YUM -O! These are traditionally based on little symbols of the sun. Golden, round, warm, they signify the end of winter and the beginning of spring.  Hell Yes! After one of the longest and snowiest winters in the history of the east coast I am more than ready  for spring to arrive. In America the original pancake was called the “johnny-cake” and made from cornmeal. In France they are known as crepes. The Swedish make a pancake with rice & saffron and baked in the oven. In China, its “cong you bing” an incredibly popular street food otherwise known as a scallion pancake. You can make it sweet by adding red bean paste. Though my personal favourites being the Danish “Aebleskiver”. Little round puffs cooked in a special pan stuffed with jam & cream cheese. Heaven. I add a zest of lemon and warm brown sugar syrup. Fantastic.

Alright now for some ideas. Sweet. Savory. Short silver dollars, stuffed or dinner size plates, whatever stack you make will fit the bill. Some of my favourite combinations follow.  In no particular order. Just enjoy. Only try not to drool on your Mac. :O

Cheddar & candied bacon w/ whipped maple butter.

Lemon/ white chocolate & warm blueberry compte.

Cranberry & orange topped w/ duck hash.

Sweet potato & pecan w/ toasted coconut & melty marshmallows (homemade plz)

Apple & cinnamon w/ whipped cream & warm pomegranate syrup.

Dark Chocolate w/ sun-dried cherries & sweet cream butter.

Ricotta pancakes w/ candied ginger & lingonberry sauce.

Peking pancakes w/ duck confit/hoisin drizzle & scallion whipped cream.

Potato pancakes w/ sliced brisket & onion balsamic jam.

Poppy seed w/ lemon curd and fresh raspberries.

Pinneaple “upside -down” pancakes w/ toasted macadamia nuts &  coconut anglaise.

Cinnamon w/ carmelized bananas & carmel peanut butter sauce.

Scallion pancakes w/ sautéed shiitake & spicy short rib ragu.

Stuffed pancakes.. while the batter is on the griddle lay in a pre-cooked maple glazed sausage.  Cook. Roll. Top w/ butter & warm syrup. Nice.

You get the general idea. Let you imagination take you away.  Create. Experiment. Have fun! Cooking, if not fun, well then .. whats the point? We need to eat to live, yes. But hell why not have a good time doing so!

So to conclude my love of pancakes… I’m including my grandpa’s pancake recipe and one for all my gluten intolerant friends. Feel free to use what ever recipe that makes you happy, or has been passed down to you.

Grampys Pancakes ;

2 cups a-p flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp sel

3 tbsp sucre

2 eggs

3 cups buttermilk

4 tbsp melted butter

mix the dry. add the wet. let rest at least one hour. have fun!

Okay for my celiac buddies : Gluten free pancakes!

1/2 cup oat flour

1/2 cup rice flour

1/4 cup cornmeal

1/4 cup sugar

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 egg

1 cup soy milk

1/4 cup melted vegan butter

splash of vanilla & pinch of cinnamon.

Mix dry. Add wet. Let rest. Enjoy! No tummy ache !

*I owe the inspiration for this post to @fugimama ( Rachael) on twitter. Who got my creative juices flowing. ((hugs))

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California Girls .. Part 2

Deciding that the end of January was a good time to escape the cold snowy frozen tundra that has become CT & NYC this winter..I booked tickets on Virgin America for the warm sunny environs of LA.  Since we’d had such a fantastic time in November, I wanted to be sure that moving (no pun intended) was the right move to make. It is. It will be. It can’t happen soon enough!

My usual limo driver Tony picked us up in the dark cold early morning light and we were at JFK in the blink of an eye. With a major snow storm approaching the east coast the airport was insane!  I got in trouble w/ TSA for taking an iPhone pic of the line of people at 6am. They were not amused. I was. Hahah. Lesson learned = keep the iPhone off. Flight was packed, but since I always buy an extra seat, lovey & I had plenty of space. First class on VA sells out very quickly!

Ipod on and b4 I knew it, we were at LAX. 78 degrees! It was -7 when we left NYC.  Same drill as last time, got picked up in a 2011 black bmw. Picked up my dusty blue mini cooper convertible. It had only 250 miles on it. Sweet! Put the top down and hit the 405. God I love LA!! The Mosaic has to be one of the best kept secrets in all of Beverly Hills. Quiet. Discreet. Private. Uber-Elegant. With a staff to die for. We were home. 🙂  “Natalie.. at the front desk.. I love u!”

Zipped off to Whole Foods for waters & snacks and then down to Santa Monica to watch the sun set on the beach and have an impromptu picnic. Stunning. Back at the Mosaic, some parmesan truffle fries and watched  the Social Network. Asleep by 10.

Up early. Refreshed. Ready to take in all LA has to offer. Quick cuppa tea poolside and we hit the streets. Top down, Katy Perry playing we headed 4 Hollywood.  The Sanrio store was calling our names. The Rite was having a premiere that eve, so most of Graumans was blocked off. Love loved the “Black” Carpet.  Quite fitting. On to Amoeba Music. OMG what a store. The Industrial & Goth section had me swooning. 24 cds later lovey dragged me out of there. Zipped off 2 the Farm for Lobster Clubs and back 2 the hotel to get ready 4 Iron & Wine at the Wiltern. Laura Marling open and she blew me away. Concerts in LA are nothing like shows in NYC.  It was a “perfect” day.

Breakfast at John O’ Groats on Pico. Then wandered around the Century City Westfield Mall. I truly think I have died and gone to heaven w/ Karen Millen London & Betsy Johnson.  Late afternoon cocktail ( no booze 4 me)  and off 2 shop Melrose.  Dinner at Matsuhia. What a disappointment. $250 later. Meh. Nobu needs to spend more time at his ressies. This was prolly the one and only time I got attitude. And I gave it back in spades. Needless to say.. I won. 🙂

Watched Yes’Man in the room on DVD. Loved it. Breakfast at the Nosh. Once again so entertaining! 3 gentleman behind me talking about their wives.  Man #1..She makes me crazy, I’d pull my hair out if I had any. OMG! Man #2 I just pay the bills and ignore her. Man #3 Thank god I have a mistress.  I almost burst out laughing. Priceless. Who knew? I’ve never been married (nor want to be).

Went to The Grove. More shopping. Then Craig Ferguson Show at CBS. Met the Logans. A  truly lovely couple. I bagged the one and only late show t-shirt the warm up comedian throws out. Chucky “lobbed” it  directly at me. Sweet!  Score. Landed right in my lap.  The guest was Jim Parsons from the Big Bang Theory. A show I have been told I remind people of .. Sheldon’s character. In smarts, not looks. I’m kind of snarky in an over the top intelligent kind of way.  LOL.

Had dinner at Mako! OMG> This has to be the best ressie on S. Beverly. Fantastic meal.  Next day had lunch at Spago. Sherry Yard came & spent 20 mins talking 2 me. Signed menus. Cookie box to take with. Can I say I was over the top. We also packed in a trip to the Museum of Death. Hollywood Forever Cemetery. Griffith Park. Lacama. Amazing sandwiches from the food truck “Phamish”. YUM -O! Discovering Whimsic Alley on Wilshire, devoted to all things Harry Potter. TeaForte at the hotels “Hush” restaurant.

Holy shit.. drove down to the Shriners to see them setting up for the SAGS.  Shopped the new Santa Monica PLace Kitson 4 a $500 Marc Jacobs bag. Dinner at Hatfields. Meh.  Dinner at Mako again= YES!  Invited to Mako-sans other ressie.. Robata-Ya. 5**** treatment. Was perfection. In West LA.  I will sosoososs be a regular when I move.

Long story  short, I have not felt so “at home” in a long long time. I could go on.. The amazing dude at LaBrea Bakery ( wanted to touch my hair)  the Getty Center, Grammy Museum. And so much more.

I look forward to exploring all this amazing city has to offer. Warm. Sun. Sand. Surf. Smiling happy people. It will be a discovery. New doors waiting to be opened. New friends to be made. The riches and glory that is LA. I and my lovey can’t wait.

I can already feel the sun on my face and the warmth on my skin.  As I shed the east coast and move on. Heres to our next chapter.

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