Welcome to Our Pancake Blog

Welcome to Our Pancake Blog!

So, what does a married couple with no children and free time do? Why think of creative ways to eat of course. So begins the Around the World in Pancake Sundays project.

One day while eating pancakes made from sprouted wheat and chocolate chips, we started talking about how fun it would be to eat a different type of pancake each Sunday. I know, you must be stuck on the whole sprouted wheat pancakes. I'm sure many are thinking eeeeewwww, sounds yucky right now. However, they are actually quite tasty. We were given our first taste of them by a friend last New Year's Eve (well, technically the morning after New Year's Eve). We were so enamored of them that we went searching for our own sprouted wheat to make some for ourselves a couple of months later.

O.K., enough digressing. While eating the above mentioned pancakes, the conversation started about eating a different type of pancake each Sunday. We began to wonder if we could find a different type of pancake for each Sunday for a whole year. So we set ourselves the challenge of finding a unique pancake recipe to try out each Sunday.

We continued to talk about this idea for the next couple of weeks. We started thinking about how most cultures actually have their own versions of pancakes. This led us to try to find a pancake from each country in the world. We finally began our project last Sunday, and decided to chronicle it here in this blog.

So welcome to our pancake blog, we hope you enjoy it as much as we are sure to enjoy making and eating them! Heck, we hope you make some and enjoy them too!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Amusing Things We Run Across in Our Pancake Research

While we are still only in the A countries of the world, we have run across a few weird and funny things as we research each country's pancakes.  We shared one a few weeks ago when we talked a little bit about Antarctica.  Remember, we found a link to a fake (we think) Antarctica university that serves penguin in their dining hall?

We started doing some research for our last A country tomorrow, and in the process, discovered these two videos.  They are by a person who goes by the name GiR2007 on You Tube.  We thought they were amusing, and we decided to share them with you as a pre-Sunday treat to some pancakes.  Enjoy!





Sunday, June 3, 2012

Bubble and Squeak? - I don't see any bubbles! I don't hear any squeaks!

As we begin to come to the end of the countries that start with A, we come to Australia.  We were hoping to actually find an Aboriginal Australian pancake, but we didn't have much luck with that.  Instead we found that Australia has a couple of different types of pancakes that come from their English heritage.  The first one is called a pikelet.  This is a more traditional flour type of pancake.  The other one is called a bubble and squeak, which is more similar to the Andorran trinxat and made from potatoes.  We decided to go for the potato pancake version.  We made this decision for two reasons:  1)  we've had the flour version of pancakes for a few weeks now, and we wanted to mix things up a bit, and 2)  New Zealand also eats the pikelet as their pancake, so we thought it would be best to save the pikelet for then.

As we searched for bubble and squeak recipes, we discovered the reason why they're named bubble and squeak.  Apparently the vegetables are supposed to squeak as you fry them.  I'm not sure about this, as I didn't hear any vegetables squeaking when I fried them.  Also, I discovered that there are many different ways to make bubble and squeak.  Most of them use the base of potatoes and cabbage, and then add any additional vegetables you want, such as carrots, peas, etc.  Since neither Sam nor I like peas, I opted not to put any in.  Also, one of the recipes I found called for cheese, so I decided to throw some cheese into mine as well.  Here's what you'll need to make Australian bubble and squeak:

500 grams potatoes
200 grams cabbage
20 grams butter
1 carrot, julienned
2 generous pinches of salt
1 generous pinch of pepper
Grated cheddar cheese

The original recipe called for peeling the potatoes.  I chose not to peel the potatoes as I was using a fairly thin skinned yellow potato. If you are using a potato with a thick skin, such as a russet, I would definitely take the peel off first.  If not, leave the peel on for the extra fiber and nutrients the skin adds.  First scrub the potatoes, then cut into cubes and place in a large pot that will cover all of the potatoes.


I'm including this picture because Sam was not in the room as I first began making them.  As I weighed them, I knew he would probably want a picture of me actually weighing them.  Sure enough, as soon as he walked in, the camera was pointed at the scale and snapping away.  It made me laugh!  Anyway, here's what the chopped potatoes and water looked like:





I had just begun the chopping phase.  I think Sam was a bit anxious to get the picture taking done.  After the potatoes are all chopped and put in the water, chop the cabbage as well and add it to the potatoes and water.


Bring the water to a boil and continue to boil until the potatoes are soft and the cabbage is cooked.  While the potatoes and cabbage are cooking, peel and julienne the carrot and shred the cheese.  I cut the carrot into thirds, and then julienned it.










We then shredded the cheese.  I estimate we shredded enough cheese for about 1 1/2 cups of cheese.






After the potatoes and cabbage are cooked, drain the water off in a collander.




Return the potatoes and cabbage to the pot, and steam off the excess water over low heat (just as was done when making trinxat).

Once the excess water has been steamed off, add 2 generous pinches of salt and 1 generous pinch of pepper, and the butter.  Then mash the mixture together.






Mix in the cheese and carrots.  Once everything is mixed together, you're ready to start frying spoonfuls of the mixture.  First heat your favorite cooking oil in a skillet or frying pan.  Our cast iron skillet worked fine for this, but I think a nonstick frying pan might have worked a little bit better.  If you use a cast iron skillet, be sure to keep the heat no higher than medium once the oil is heated.  I didn't on the first batch, and they almost burned.  Once the oil is nice and hot, add spoonfuls of the potato mixture to the pan and press them flat with a spatula. 





Flip them when you see that the bottom edges are brown at about 3-4 minutes.  If the bubble and squeak seems like it's going to start to fall apart as you lift it out, it's not ready to be flipped.  Let it fry a couple of more minutes before flipping it.  They should be golden brown once flipped.





Continue frying until the other side is golden brown as well, and then allow the excess oil to drain off.  We used a cooling rack placed on top of a foil lined cookie sheet for this.





Once all of your bubble and squeak has been fried up, you're ready to eat.  We opted to keep them warm in an oven while we fried up some eggs to eat along with it.  We thought these would be the perfect thing to help soak up the runny yolk from the fried egg, and we were right.  The bubble and squeak soaked up all of the excess yolk nicely!





This version of potato pancakes was quite tasty, but it still doesn't measure up to latkes. Now that I'm finally all caught up, I can say join us again next Sunday as we visit Azerbaijan to finish up the list of A countries!

Aruba, Jamaica, Ooooohhh, I Wanna Take You to Bermuda, Bahama, Come on Pretty Mama . . .

If you haven't guessed already, this next post takes us to the land of Aruba.  Hopefully once I've finished writing the blog for Aruba's pancakes I will be able to get that Beach Boys song out of my head for awhile.  It has been randomly going through my head every time I think about writing the blog for them for the last couple of weeks now; and let's not even talk about the fact that I couldn't get it out of my head the entire Sunday that we made the pancakes.

It took a little bit of investigative work to find the Aruban version of pancakes.  I finally found out that they are called pan bati.  Once I had a name for them, it was relatively easy to find a recipe as well.  As we're finding in many countries, Arubans eat their pancakes with many of their meals and not just for breakfast.  So here we go on our Aruban pancake adventure.

Ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 cup corn flour
2 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch of Salt
1 egg
1 3/4 cups milk
Sugar to taste
Vanilla to taste

When I initially saw the ingredient list, I was a little bit scared of the amount of baking powder that is in these.  I was afraid that all I might taste was baking powder.  Don't worry, you don't really taste any baking powder at all in these.

First whisk together the dry ingredients.  As always, I put all of the ingredients in a bowl and used a whisk.  If your mindset is more like Sam's, then go ahead and use an actual sifter.  For the sugar, I used about 2 tablespoons.  I say about because I initially just put a couple of pinches in since it says to taste.  After making the first pan bati and taste testing it, we realized we needed to add more sugar, and we did. 




After whisking the dry ingredients together, add the wet ingredients and whisk them until all of the dry ingredients have been incorporated and the batter is relatively lump free.


Since Sam takes lots of ingredients shots, I thought that maybe I should include a picture of one of them.  Here is a shot of the vanilla.






If the batter doesn't seem smooth and liquidy, you might need to add some water to help smooth the batter out.  We didn't have this problem though.  When your batter is ready, heat some oil in a frying pan.  We used our cast iron skillet, and it worked great.  We also used our favorite oil for cooking, olive oil, but you can use any oil you have on hand.  When the oil is nice and hot, ladle some batter into the center of the pan.





As with most pancakes, it's ready to flip when the edges look dry and there are bubbles distributed throughout the batter.





It should look golden brown once flipped.





If you make these, don't be surprised by how much the pan bati rises and puffs up.  We could actually see them rising once they were flipped.  It's probably from all of the baking powder that was used.  After making the first one, we taste tested it to make sure the flavors were correct.  We discovered that more sugar and vanilla were needed.  I would say we used approximately 2 tablespoons each of sugar and vanilla when all was said and done.





Continue frying the pan bati until all of the batter has been used up.  It made about 8 salad dinner plate sized pancakes. 





We added some eggs and fruit to our meal since we were planning on doing some more work in our backyard and knew we would need the energy.


These would be just as tasty served alongside some bacon, sausage or even fish.  Enjoy!

Ack! Another Roll Out Pancake! - Armenia

So this next post brings us to the country of Armenia.  For this country, I sent Sam off to research what an Armenian Pancake might be.  I must say, we are getting really good at finding them now.  No more hours and hours of searching before we find something that might even be a clue to what they could be. 

When Sam had concluded his research, we discovered that there are a couple of types of Armenian pancakes.  Sam decided to try the one called bishi.  Much to my dismay, this involved rolling the pancake dough out into a circle.  Ack!  Although I was somewhat successful with the last pancake recipe that required this, I still have my moments where I lack confidence when it comes to rolling out dough.  I hoped and hoped that this one wouldn't give me any problems.

We must give thanks to a blogger right here on Blogger.  Sam discovered the recipe we used on the blog The Armenian Kitchen.com .  There were some other recipes on the site that looked really tasty as well, so check them out if you have a chance and are looking for some Armenian eats.

Here are the ingredients you will need to make Armenian Pancakes:

1 egg, beaten
1 ½ Tbsp melted butter, cooled to lukewarm
½ cup water
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp baking powder
clarified butter
sugar

You can make the clarified butter yourself if you'd like, but it does take some time to do this.  I won't go into details on how to make clarified butter, as you can go to The Armenian Kitchen.com, and Robyn has very clear instructions on how to do this.   We chose to buy clarified butter instead.  The grocery store nearby didn't have any, but we found some at Bristol Farms.  I'm sure a store like Whole Foods would have some as well.  If you can't find it at either of these places (or you don't have one nearby), you can also find it at a local Indian food grocery store, where it is sold under the name of ghee. 

The first thing you want to do is melt the butter (Not the clarified butter, but just regular butter.  We used regular salted butter).  Make sure to allow it to cool to almost room temperature.  If it is too hot, it will cook the egg when you put them in.  While the butter is cooling, beat the egg in a separate bowl.  Sorry, we didn't take a picture of the beaten eggs, but you probably know what they look like already anyway.

We found that our butter still hadn't cooled enough, so we moved on to sifting the dry ingredients together.  Normally I just put all of the dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk them together to sift them because I hate having to deal with a sifter and cleaning it afterward.  Well Sam decided he was going to actually use the sifter this time.  While the butter is still cooling, sift the dry ingredients together into a bowl that does not have the egg or melted butter in it.






Your butter should be cool enough now, so add it to the beaten egg, stirring the egg with a fork constantly as you add the butter.  Doing this will help prevent the butter from cooking the egg as you add it.  After all, you don't want little bits of cooked egg inside your pancake.


Once you've beaten the egg and butter together, you can now start adding the dry ingredients.  I added them slowly and used a wooden spoon to mix until everything started to come together into a solid clump.





After it all started coming together into a solid clump, I switched to kneading the dough with my hand until it was no longer sticky.





Next pinch off 1 1/4 inch diameter balls of the dough.





Now it's time for my least favorite part - rolling the dough out.  Roll each ball of dough into a circle.  After I finished rolling them out, mine were about 1/8 inch in thickness.


As you can see, I seem to be getting better at this whole rolling dough out thing!

Melt some clarified butter in a heavy bottomed skillet.  Fry the rolled out dough in the melted butter until it is golden brown.


As always, you can keep these warm on a plate under a clean dish towel or in a warm oven.  As you can see from the above photo, this recipe made about 8 pancakes.  We sprinkled some granulated sugar over them and ate them with scrambled eggs.





While these were tasty, they were a bit chewier than I expected.  It could have been that I overworked the dough a bit, or it could just be that they are supposed to be chewy.  Whichever it was, they were delightful to eat.