Wednesday, March 17, 2010

St. Pancakes Day

I hope you are all full of corned beef and cabbage and potatoes... and beer, if you're of the proper age. ^w^ Here's something to be full of tomorrow morning: shamrock pancakes. (Not shamrock flavored, mind you, just shaped funny.) 四葉ホットケーキを作りましょう!

green pancake batter and strawberry pieces

Add some green food coloring to your favorite pancake batter. Also, cut up some fruit into smallish pieces. I'm using strawberries, but you can use almost anything. Bananas work really well because they're so sticky.

 (this is figure 2)

Prep your pan with oil/butter (you know how to make pancakes). Then, BEFORE you pour your pancake, put four of those little fruit pieces in the pan, as in figure 2.

*splut* is the Official Sound of Pancake Batter™

Now pour some green batter into the middle of the four fruit pieces. It should spread out between and around the fruit to make a shamrock-ish shape. You can tilt the pan a little to help form the right shape. (If your fruit pieces just get pushed out of the way, try stickier fruit or bigger pieces.)

wonky, but delicious

Ta-daa! Shamrocks, kinda! (I'm not the best at this.) With some poking and prodding, you can get much more appealing shamrocky shapes. Or, you could add more fruit pieces and make a daisy shape with 5 or 6 petals. It all depends upon how creative you can be in the early morning, before breakfast.

If you need a pancake recipe, this one's great:

Strawberry-Vanilla Pancakes
1 cup flour
0.5 cups oats (rolled, instant, steel cut, whatever)
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

1 egg
0.75 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 cup chopped strawberries
0.25 cup chopped almonds (optional)
In a large bowl, mix together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, lightly beat together egg, milk, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir it all together. Stir in the chopped strawberries (and almonds, if you want them).

...and if you need them:

Basic Pancake-Making Instructions

Oil or butter the bottom of a frying pan or griddle. Heat the pan over medium-high heat, or until the butter/oil starts to sizzle. Stir the batter up a little, and pour some into the pan to form a pool of your desired pancake size. Flip your pancake when bubbles appear in the middle. Repeat until all of your batter has turned into delicious pancakes. If your pancakes start sticking or burning to the pan, wipe it out and oil or butter the bottom again.

...and if you're out of maple:

Almondine Syrup
1 cup white sugar
1.25 cup brown sugar
1 cup water

1 teaspoon almond extract
Combine both sugars and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir and stir and stir, slowly but constantly, for about a minute as the pot heats up. There is too much sugar for the water to dissolve it all, so you’ll have a sugary sludge on the bottom and liquid on the top. Let the mixture heat up to the boiling point, giving it a slow but thorough stir about once a minute.

Once the mixture begins to boil, start stirring constantly. Boil the syrup (still stirring) for roughly 3 minutes, monitoring the temperature so that it doesn’t boil over or burn. The syrup should now be a transparent dark brown liquid.

Remove the saucepan from heat and immediately add the almond extract (it might puff or hiss when it hits the hot syrup; this is a good sign). Stir the pot about 20 times around to be sure everything is mixed together, then cover the syrup with plastic wrap and let it cool to room temperature (takes a few hours). Don’t put it in the fridge yet!

Once your syrup is cool, it’s ready to enjoy. Store extra syrup in an airtight container in the fridge. It might form a sugar crust on the top, but unless it grows something really strange, like fuzz or spots on the surface, it’s still okay to eat.

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