Every so often, Charlie will come home from the store with "something" that he thinks is so absolutely cool that he just had to have it. Two and a half out of ten times, he's right on the mark and whatever purchase he made is so great ... we'll look at each other and ask "How did we live with out this item in our lives, before?" A few months ago, my husband made one of those 2.5 out of 10 purchases.
It's a Nordicware two-burner reversible griddle.
You can buy one online, or pick one up at Costco for $25.00.
Although we have an electric griddle that works fine, what I love about this griddle is that it is very easy to clean, it neatly stores with our cookie sheets, it has a perfectly flat cooking surface for a variety of foods that makes it a million times better than a frying pan, we can cook large quantities, and we use it all the time.
As, in ... DAILY.
Our kitchen is instantly transformed in to a bistro when we bring this thing out.
We make french toast...
Grilled cheese, quesadillas and tuna melts...
And if we flip it over, we could use the opposite side for burgers, chicken, or fish.
Mostly though, we use it to make pancakes.
We eat a lot of pancakes at our house.
Yesterday, my friend Jessica sent me an e-mail asking if I knew how to make pancakes that weren't black on the outside and raw on the inside. And because I am married to such a phenomenal, outgoing, peace-loving cook, Charlie jumped at the chance to share his pancake recipe and cooking technique. Right after he ingested a couple cups of coffee.
To make Charlie's pancakes, you will need:
1½ cups flour (we use whole wheat or All Purpose)
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1¼ cups milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla
Butter for greasing the griddle.
(Notice I've discovered more than one use for the butter crock.)
Mix everything together.
To add a twist to the recipe, you can either mash a banana and add that to the batter ... throw in a cup of blueberries ... or add a dash of cinnamon before cooking. As far as I'm concerned, cinnamon makes everything a little better.
If we could infuse cinnamon in to the global drinking water supply, I'm convinced the world would be a happier place.
If you wanted to make waffles (you'd need a waffle iron, of course), just add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil to the batter recipe, above.
We use a laddle and pour approximately ¼ cup of batter for each pancake on to the griddle, which has been greased with butter. Sometimes we'll make "silver-dollar" sized pancakes for the children which require ~ two tablespoons worth of batter.
The key to cooking pancakes that are not burned on the outside and raw on the inside is to cook them on medium to low heat. Whatever you do, don't rush the pancakes.
Once the pancakes start to bubble, they are ready to be flipped.
Bubbles. You are looking for an even distribution of bubbles. And then ... FLIP.
They should be golden brown on the side you flipped. You'll only need to cook them, once flipped for another three or so minutes and BAM, they're done.
Although we will serve our pancakes with maple syrup (or it's derivative that is mixed with high fructose corn syrup, cellulose gum, caramel color, salt, sodium benzoate, sorbic acid, artificial flavors and sodium hexametaphosphate and comes under the label of AUNT JEMIMA) one of my favorite ways to "finish" a pancake is something we picked up from our good friends Paul and Jill 10 years ago while we were on a camping trip in Death Valley.
It was a real turning point for us to see people cooking GOOD food in the wilderness. Because whenever our friends broke out a griddle and whipped cream, we pledged to ourselves and the Universe that we would never eat dried out granola bars and dehydrated meatloaf and mashed potatoes around the campfire, again. The very next time we ventured in to the great outdoors and slept in a tent, we made ice cream and flaming organic peach crêpes.
Now I never thought that peanut butter would taste good on pancakes ... but this concoction is heavenly. Just smother the top of your pancake with peanut butter ...
And then, break out a can of whipped cream.
Spray the whipped cream generously on the top of the pancakes, add a dash of cinnamon (unless it's in the batter because although cinnamon is divine, too much of a good thing ain't so good) and a fresh sprig of flowers.
Our children love peanut butter and whipped cream pancakes. They can't eat them fast enough.
And I love fresh flowers.
In a world that is often filled with toddler chaos, a little dash of color on a plate makes it seem so ... so ... classy.
And you know we're all about class around here.