pancakes! yum!

We’ve been doing a lot more pancakes around here lately. They used to be just a Saturday thing, and then turned into a weekend thing, and now they’re starting to show up on weekday mornings, too, when I have time to get them cooking. I love this recipe (modified from a New York Times cookbook recipe for sour cream pancakes) because it’s filling and wholesome, and because ALL the boys gobble them right up. (And, uh, I do too.)

I double this recipe, which makes enough (with maybe a leftover pancake or two) for two teenage boys, one ravenous toddler, and a breakfast loving mama. I have added wheat germ before, but I think the grittiness detracted a bit from the deliciousness of the tender pancakes, so I’ve been omitting it lately.

Perfect Pancakes

3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup plain whole milk yogurt
ROUGHLY 1/2 cup milk
1 egg
2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat your griddle on medium high heat and coat with spray oil.

Put flour, salt, and soda in a bowl. Mix together with a balloon whisk. Make a well in the middle.

Add yogurt, egg, and melted butter to the well. Mix lightly, then incorporate into the dry ingredients.

DO NOT MIX MORE THAN NECESSARY. Nobody likes tough pancakes. Batter will be a little lumpy, so relax.

Add milk, one shploop at a time, and mix lightly, until the batter is about the consistency of a melty milkshake. I like my pancakes pretty thin, so if you like thicker ones, use less milk.

Drop about two tablespoons of batter on the griddle for each pancake, spread around into a circle with the spoon, and flip when bubbles appear. (Duh.)

If you’re out of yogurt: Substitute buttermilk. Make your own buttermilk by putting one tablespoon of vinegar in a measuring cup and then filling to the one cup mark with milk, then let sit for 5 minutes. I just add one tablespoon butter instead of two if I use this method, and it will require less milk to thin the batter. Also, you can sub part or all of the yogurt with sour cream; I skip the butter entirely if using sour cream.

Serve with softened butter and heated real maple syrup.

down in the dirt

Oh, yeah.  I’m feeling ALL satisfied.

I was going to skip the garden this year and mooch other people’s veggies.  Which has its obvious plus side, but I’ve found that beggars can’t be choosers, and I like my zucchini and squash picked when young and tender – that tough old stuff goes into the compost – and I like to (ahhhhh) pluck off a tomato and some basil leaves and have a quick little oil and vinegar salad when the mood strikes, which is pretty much daily.

So, I busted a move today and got some plants in the ground.  I scaled back and only planted things I was pretty sure would thrive.  I’ve had bad luck with cucumbers and lettuce (bitter and gross) and with brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, onions, green beans, and bell peppers (not so productive) so they didn’t make the cut.  I planted two tomatoes (Early Girl and Better Boy), one cherry tomato, one zucchini, one golden zucchini, one crookneck squash, and one packet of mixed squashes (including butternut and spaghetti squash).  Also herbs (cilantro, oregano, and basil) joined the ones that made it from last year (rosemary, chives, and mint).  And some zinnias for cutting.

I sowed some flower seeds in a little corner-of-the-backyard spot, which is ludicrous, because I know perfectly well that Wolf, the German shepherd, will find the fresh, soft soil irresistable for digging.  And some more flower seeds in a spot next to the shed, which (like the veggie and herb gardens) is protected from naughty puppies by a white wire border.  And some of my favorite shade annual – those trailing Purple Queens – in a planter and in the bed by the back door.

Anyhoo – if you’re still reading, know that I am quite happily relaxing with some chardonnay and very, very happily looking forward to grilled zucchini, interesting squashy dishes, and – mmmmmm – warm, ripe tomatoes from the garden.

I am particularly excited about trying this recipe.  It’s from Home Tested Casserole Recipes, and was submitted by one June Holmes of Alpharetta, Ga.

Two Squash Risotto in a Bag

1 tablespoon flour

1 can (14 1/2 oz ) plus 1 cup chicken broth

1 cup arborio rice

1 large onion, diced

1 cup matchstick zucchini strips

1 cup matchstick yellow squash strips

1/2 cup shredded mozzarella

1/2 cup butter or margarine

2 T balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, minced

crumbled bacon, optional (mmm, no, but perhaps some kind of nutty sprinkle on top? or possibly sauteed mushrooms?)

1. Preheat oven to 350.

2. Add flour to large oven-roasting bag and shake well. Combine all remaining ingredients, except bacon, in large bowl, mix well.

3. Pour into bag; close tightly and cut six 1/2 inch long slits in top of bag.

4. Place bag in 3 quart baking dish.

5. Bake one hour or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed. Garnish with crumbled bacon, if desired.

Makes 4-6 servings.

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