Thursday, September 18, 2008

in the kitchen

Brownedbuttersugarplumsvanillalavenderorangecinnamon, that's what my kitchen smells like right now. With a little bit of garlicky spinach thrown in there, and if you open the fridge, Thai-curry-coconut-pumpkin soup. Outside, it's soft and warm and sort of late-summer-edge-of-fall. Just pretty beautiful all around. Oh, and I did mention the dishwasher? Nothing to you suburbanites, but a crazy luxury for this low-rent city gal.

Everyone likes pancakes! You can put anything in a pancake, I think, and if you pour enough syrup over it, it's yummy! Made butternut squash-apple-spice pancakes at the farmers' market this morning, over a propane stove, and doused them in sorghum syrup from the aptly named Ozark, Missouri at the end, and they were a hit! Who wouldn't like a nice hot cinnamon-spiced pancake on a crisp September morning? I think everyone at the market moseyed over for a pancake or two (I made them silver-dollar sized, so there were plenty). Recipe's below. One guy even ate up all my leftover steamed butternut squash. It's just so fun to pick out produce from the stands and then cook with it right there, without even going home.

So that was breakfast, and then an Ozark caponata--with eggplant, green tomatoes, red pepper, vidalia onion, and lots of fresh garlic and basil--was lunch. Served with triscuits and pita chips, and it was all gobbled up. Nary a recipe sheet or eggplant cube was left by the time I left. Much fun!

And now, on to Poet Luck...and spinach quiche, pumpkin soup, plum cake, and the recipe-testing caponata, made into a pasta salad with fusilli.

Spiced Pumpkin Pancakes

2 cups all-purpose or whole wheat pastry flour
1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated if possible
1/4 tsp cloves
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup pumpkin purée (made from steamed or roasted pumpkin or butternut squash)
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 large apple, cored and diced, and/or handful of toasted chopped pecans
butter for greasing griddle
Sorghum or maple syrup and butter for serving

2. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and spices. Stir to blend.

3. In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, buttermilk, and pumpkin purée. Stir in flour mixture, followed by the melted butter and diced apple and/or nuts. Stir until just blended--do not beat! Add a little more milk or water if batter is too thick.

4. Heat a heavy skillet or griddle, and lightly coat surface with oil or butter. Spoon batter onto griddle, using about 1/4 cup per cake.

5. When pancakes are lightly browned on the bottoms (after about 2 minutes), flip them over, and cook another minute, until browned.

6. Place pancakes on warm plates, garnish with pecans, drizzle with butter and warmed maple or sorghum syrup, or spread with apple butter.

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