Spiced Buttermilk Pancakes

Let’s try an experiment.

How about we all try to talk to strangers?

I was recently directed toward this Onion article and was aghast that I might very well be one of the most annoying people in Boston. I like talking to people. I like it when someone’s wearing sassy shoes on the train – so much so that I tell them how sassy their shoes are. The 40-something-year-old listening to funk was just begging for someone to groove with him, right?

“Hi, your tattoo of a shark jaw is pretty fantastic.”

“Are you seriously listening to ‘Call Me Maybe?’ Is this really happening right now?”

“Would you rather have your hands smell like garlic or your feet like asparagus?”

A girl sitting next to me on a park bench and I both were reading a book during the sunset, and amidst the silence and distant sound of dogs barking and children playing, she let out a very audible toot. I burst out laughing and she did the same. We didn’t even say anything to each other, just laughed for a few seconds then went on reading until it was time to go.

Talk to people. Just give it a whirl. And maybe, someday, you’ll make them a stack of buttermilk pancakes in the morning and realize that if not for your mild nuisance of a personality, you wouldn’t have met half of the people who make your life special every day.

Ingredients everywhere. Recipe on the laptop for inspiration. This is what the kitchen looks like when it’s time to cook.

I find it difficult to have a plain pancake. Even if it’s fluffy and filled with buttermilk. It needs some oomph. It needs ginger and cinnamon.

Egg whites into stiff peaks. It might be the one baking process that is both my least favorite and most satisfying thing to do. If you don’t have an electric mixer, I suggest avoiding it. Unless you work out your forearms on the regular. Who works out their forearms on the regular?

I like eating in my office in the morning. I also like waking people up with the smell of sizzling butter.

Spiced buttermilk pancakes.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon powdered ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs, separated

Optional: blueberries

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking power, spices and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together buttermilk, butter, vanilla and egg yolks until just combined. Add to the dry ingredients until and mix until just incorporated.

Using an electric mixer, whisk the egg whites until they become stiff peaks. Fold gently into the rest of the batter, being careful not to over mix.

Heat a skillet to medium temperature and add a dollop of butter. Scoop pancake batter in 1/4-cup sizes, being sure to leave about 1-2 inches between each round.

Makes about 12-18 pancakes, depending on how large you make them.

Ginger Pancakes

Every Friday at 5 o’clock I get that flippin’ Lover Boy “Everybody’s Working for the Weekend” tune stuck in my head and until I’ve had at least three $2 PBRs, I’m stuck in the 80s.

I’m working for the soon-to-be-in-the-oven-then-in-my-face chocolate chip oatmeal coconut cookies. And the Zipcar rental that’s taking me to the gardening store where I’ll pick up soil, seeds and clay pots. The 9-5 gets me pumped to sweep up the dust bunnies that have collected over the week. It’s making that entire pot of tea so much more delicious than the usual thermos-on-the-train coffee.

The weekend means no alarms. No deadlines. Only eyebrow-plucking and nail-painting self-pampering goodness.

Oh, and eating. Lots of awesome eating.

Chocolate chips are probably even more important than parmesan cheese and balsamic vinegar. Everything is better with chocolate.

By request, I made these mini pancakes so they could crisp a little. No-guilt! 100-calorie pancake packs!

I crocheted a trivet. That looks like a waffle. Weekends are for mittens and trivets.

Ginger Pancakes.

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 cup plain greek yoghurt
4 tablespoons milk
butter for the skillet
chocolate chips (if you dare)

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, including the brown sugar. In a small bowl, lightly whisk the egg, yoghurt and milk. Add to the dry ingredients and mix until no flour pockets are left.

Heat a large skillet to medium and coat with butter. As soon as the butter starts to sizzle, pour spoonfuls of batter onto the skillet and sprinkle chocolate chips wherever you please. When the upper-facing sides start to bubble, flip the pancakes (check to make sure they’re golden brown, just in case) and fry for another few minutes or until it’s brown.

Repeat until the batter’s gone.

Vegan Pear Ginger Cobbler

In lieu of whining about this weekend’s Winter Wonderland, and the fact that I still don’t know what it means to “layer,” the difference between snow shoes and snow boots (I think mine are boots?), or what distinguishes a cottage from a cabin, I will instead admire the crocheted booties and warm cider that kept me warm all the while.

Oh man.  I need to re-learn how to crochet.

I also need butter, because the season is screaming for copious amounts of baked goods and I can’t make everything vegan just because I’ve run out of dairy.

In my defense, I made this cobbler even though I still had butter and eggs in the fridge.  It doesn’t even have refined sugar.

From Halloween to New Year’s I tend to gain at least five pounds.  That’s normal, right?

Even after thinking about it more, I still don’t know the difference between a cottage and a cabin.  Winter cabin?  Why can’t there be a summer cabin?  Or a winter cottage?

And why do so many of my friends prefer Aunt Jemima’s pancake syrup over pure maple syrup?

Don’t resist the urge to take bites of this while whisking.  Or right after you top the fruit.  Or…after you bake it.  Listen, I made a little extra because I knew I’d be nibbling.

So I bought these ramekins for $1 at a second-hand shop.  They’re worth $25.  It’s not a big deal.  (And yeah, I always look up the actual price of things I buy from garage sales and second-hand stores to make me feel like I won something.  Or that I’m smarter than the average consumer.)

Cobbler for breakfast?  It could happen.

Vegan Pear Ginger Cobbler.

For the fruit:

2 medium sized pears, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon whole wheat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1/8 cup pure maple syrup

For the topping:

3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
pinch of cloves

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a medium-sized bowl, toss the pears with all of the spices and maple syrup.  Set aside.

In another medium-sized bowl, toss the oats, flour, and spices until nicely mixed.  Whisk the oil, syrup and vanilla in a separate bowl, then add to the dry ingredients, being sure to coat all of the oats with some liquid.

Take 1/4 cup of the topping and mix with the fruit.  Pour the fruit mixture into three small ramekins or one small casserole dish.  Make sure the fruit reaches the top of the dish.

Cover with the topping and bake for about 35 minutes, until the cobbler has just begun to brown.

Serves three lucky, probably not totally, vegans.