Thursday, February 2, 2012

Breakfast, It's What's for Dinner

Ahhh breakfst.  I've been a fan of breakfast foods at dinnertime and any other time since I was a little kid.  There was just something so fun about all that sugar being allowed at dinnertime.  But then, I seem to remember my mom allowing pie at breakfast (it's a fruit group!), so it could be our family is just a little odd ...

What is it about pancakes?  Nothing beats a good pancake.  Red Beard is just as addicted as I am, though we do differ on a few of the specifics.  For example, I like real, natural, from-a-tree maple syrup; he likes that sugary fake "pancake syrup" that never has to see the inside of a fridge and will out live a cockroach (really, it's just cooked down sugar with some caramel coloring and "maple" flavor thrown in).  I like my eggs poached or sunny-side-up (ie, runny yolked) while he likes his dead as a doornail, with brown bits and crispy edges (bleh!).  And, I adore blueberries and cinnamon and orange zest (fancy pancakes), whereas he is likes his so plain Jane that I'm lucky I can sneak vanilla in there.  

For the sake of family harmony, I just split the batter and make two kinds.  Partially because I like to get my way; partly because I spoil Red Beard as often as humanly possible (it's okay, he totally gets me back).

In addition to pancakes, I also love Bisquick, because it saves me from having to measure very much stuff.  

I also love any dinner with a fairly short ingredient list, where I pretty much have everything already on hand.

Bisquick, Baking Powder, Salt & Pepper (for the eggs), Butter (Duh), Cinnamon, Orange, Vanilla, Blueberries, Milk, Eggs, & Bacon (Yay!)
First, because I always forget this step, preheat your oven to 250º.  

Usually, I'd mix all of the dry ingredients (including the cinnamon) all at once, but since I had to split the batter later, I started with the dry ingredients that were in both batters first:

Dry Ingredients
Start with 2 Cups of Bisquick, 1 Tablespoon of Sugar, a pinch of Salt, and 2 Teaspoons of Baking Powder.  Whisk them together to combine them (besides, Bisquick is lumpy stuff, you need to break it up). 
Add the Wet Stuff
Then add 2 (large) Eggs, 1 Teaspoon of Vanilla Extract (please, for the love of flavor, buy the REAL vanilla that you have to store in the fridge and not "vanilla"), and 1 Cup of Milk.  

Why hello there!
Then, beat it into submission whisk away!  I know they say pancake batter can have lumps, but lumps send my OCD into overdrive.  So sue me.  That's why I like to whisk vs. stir.  You'll have a few teeny weeny baby lumps, but that can't be helped.  

If you don't like fruit and etc, stop here and skip ahead to where I melt butter in a non-stick pan.  Red Beard wants me to stop here.  

Because it's fun to make dishes dirty ...
But because I'm me, I split the batter into 2 batches - the large amount for his plain Jane pancakes, and the smaller amount for me to mess with.
Pretty pretty pretty.
Zest an orange (it probably equals about a tablespoon...approximately).

Sprinkle Away!
Add some cinnamon (start with a teaspoon, more if you really like it).

How to Stay Sane, Lesson 1.
Add a tablespoon of orange juice.  And while you're at it, mix yourself a Screwdriver.  They're especially nice with vanilla vodka.  Or regular vodka, plus a splash of vanilla extract.  There's no picture of me putting orange juice into the batter, because I was preoccupied by cocktail time.  Oops.  Yes, I realize I could have just juiced the orange that I just zested, but I already had an open Tropicana carton in the fridge to use up.  The naked orange will last longer - I can make cocktails with that tomorrow!

Time to cook!

I don't have a griddle pan.  Pancakes work best on a griddle pan.  But I've got six non-stick frying pans, so that's what we're using.  I set the stove to just under medium heat.  When the pan's hot, add butter.  Side note:  I only buy unsalted butter.  You can get it everywhere (including Wally and stinky but wonderfully cheap Winco).  Even in baking.  If I forget to say it later, any recipe I make uses unsalted butter.

Unsalted only, please.

Here is where I take a moment to thank the Pioneer Woman for showing me this trick with the butter - forget tossing chunks into a hot pan, just peel half the paper and swipe your pan with it.  If you don't like the butter as it starts to brown, or don't like butter (please say you love butter, how can butter inspire hated?), use pan spray.  

I'm not going to show cooking both types of pancake, that would be silly.  We're skipping straight ahead to the glorious-ness of the blueberry-orangey-cinnamony ones.  

Check out the teeny lumps.  OCD moment in 3... 2... 1...

Pour circles (or spoon circles, or whatever) into your pan.  I wouldn't recommend huge, plate-sized pancakes because the weight of the blueberries (see below) already makes them more awkward to flip than regular pancakes.  Plus, the berries add fibery goodness (so they are more filling) and all that yummy orange and cinnamon (and the vanilla) makes them kind of rich - smaller is better.   

See, brown butter.  I promise, it tastes fine.
Sprinkle fresh blueberries over the top.  Press them (gently) down into the batter.  Cook them until they are golden on the bottom.  How to tell if your pancake is ready to flip?  It will be loose from the pan.  Undercooked batter = sticky mess.  If your spatula slides underneath easily, while it may not be as golden as you'd like, it will be cooked.  Seriously, could I get a manicure already? Or at least make friends with an emery board?  Please disregard my lack of grooming.

I know, you can't see the fruit.  It's on the bottom, remember?

Flip! Again, flip carefully.

Repeat this step until you've cooked them all. 

As the pancakes get done, set them on an oven-proof dish in your (preheated) oven.  Feel free to stack.  You don't even need to cover them.  They turn out just fine, and they're toasty and hot when you're ready to serve them.  On regular plain pancakes, I usually add a little butter between them as I stack.  These, though, are rich enough, so I don't even bother to butter them before eating them.  

How to Stay Sane, Lesson 2.
In the meantime, while you're mixing, and whisking, and measuring, and flipping, you really ought to have a 2nd pan going of thick-cut peppered bacon.    Because bacon goes with everything!  And of course, when you're having breakfast for dinner, bacon is even more important.  AND, Red Beard would revolt if I served his eggs and pancakes sans bacon.  You do not want to get between him and his pork products!

Peppered thick-cut bacon is my favorite.  Of course, you could cook whatever you prefer, but when paired with the fruit and sweet in the pancakes, the pepper helps to balance everything so that you don't end up with a cavity. 

This whole time, I had this playing at my feet:
How to Stay Sane, Lesson 3. Please take note of the hair tie that he's snuggling with.
We've been lucky so far - Wonder Kitten has yet to discover the kitchen counter tops.  I don't have to hide the butter.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!

I also made eggs; because what would pancakes be without eggs to squish between them?  Eggs are awesome.  A little salt, a little pepper ... 

Don't blame me for the broken yolks - Red Beard insists on it.

I don't have a picture of my perfect, sunnyside up, runny yolked egg.  I forgot.  At that point, I was getting hungry.

Oooooooh, yum!
The mellow blueberry flavor, with the subtle bursts of orangey, cinnamony goodness, plus that flavor that only real maple syrup has, is fantastic.  Inside, they are cakey and fluffy and the blueberries are just barely barely cooked.  Squish an egg between them, and add some peppery bacon to the plate, and it's heavenly.  

Have I made you hungry yet?

PS.  I promise, my grout/counters are cleaner than they may appear in the pictures.  But in 73 years (the tile is original to the house), stains and discoloration tends to happen.  My kitchen may have some stains, but it's also scrubbed regularly and I go through bleach spray even more quickly than I go through butter, bacon, vodka, and cheese.  

PPS.  You can also find a printable version of this recipe over on Tasty Kitchen, with measurements and everything

No comments:

Post a Comment