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!

Monday, December 10, 2012

On The Third Night of Chanukah, My Latke Gave to Me - Sweet Potato, sort of

We've now reached the third night of Chanukah, and I think my tummy might not make it to the 8th night.  Latkes are VERY filling when eaten night after night.  Here's a cool picture Sam took of the chanukia tonight.

So we were going to make a "modernist" (as it was described by Saveur magazine) style latke tonight, but we had some trouble tracking down potato starch.  We DID (key word being did) have a box of it in the cupboard, but we somehow used it all up.  I thought it would be readily available at the grocery store, but I was sadly mistaken.  After the second grocery store and no luck.  Sam informed me that he bought it at the Vons/Pavillions store the last time he bought it.  Oh well!  The one grocery store I didn't go to.

While at the second grocery store, I decided to pick up a couple of sweet potatoes and come up with my own version of a sweet potato latke.  I say it's sort of a sweet potato latke because I did use some regular potatoes as well.  Anyway, on to the recipe.  Here's what you'll need:

1/2 pound of sweet potatoes
1/2 pound of yellow potatoes (we used Klondike, but any yellow potato will do)
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons flour
2 large shallots
2 cloves of garlic, minced
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of salt
large pinch of black pepper

First you'll need to finely chop your shallots and mince your garlic.  Once you've done this, place both in a large bowl and add in the cayenne pepper, salt, and black pepper.  Stir until mixed.

Next peel and shred your sweet potatoes and yellow potatoes.  We used the food processor for this tonight.

Put the shredded potatoes and sweet potatoes in the bowl with your onions, garlic and spices.  Add the eggs and flour and mix thoroughly.  You should end up with something that looks like this:

Heat some olive oil in a pan and drop heaping tablespoons of the mixture into the frying pan.

Make sure not to over crowd the latkes in the pan, or else they'll turn out to be a soggy mess.  Cook on one side until golden brown, about 5-6 minutes.  Flip, and continue cooking another 3-5 minutes on the other side.

Allow to drain on a cooling rack that is set over a cookie sheet.  Again, this helps save you from a large mess, and it keeps your latkes nice and crispy instead of letting them get soggy.  Continue cooking until all of your batter is used up.  You should get 9-10 medium sized latkes.  

These were a tasty bomb of sweetness followed by a little kick.  Yummy!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

On the Second Night of Chanukah, My Latke Gave to Me, Quinoa Pancakes

Moving on to night number two of Chanukah, we decided we needed a protein packed latke.  Thus we ended up making quinoa pancakes.  I had discovered a recipe awhile ago for these, and it called for a poached egg on top.  What could be better than quinoa pancakes and a poached egg?  Well, we decided to poach the egg my favorite way, which is in tomato sauce instead of water.  Keep reading and you'll see what type of latke meal we had for the 2nd night of Chanukah.

Before beginning the explanation of this recipe, I have to admit that we were not very good at taking pictures this time around, so sorry if it seems like there aren't enough.  We'll try to do a better job tomorrow night.

There are several steps to making these latkes.  The first thing you'll want to do is cook the quinoa.  Thoroughly rinse 1 cup of dry quinoa.  Place it in a pot with 1 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil, and immediately turn down to low and cover.  Simmer for 30 minutes.  After the quinoa is finished cooking, spread the quinoa on a rimmed cookie sheet and allow it to cool to room temperature.

Now we can move on to the ingredients you'll need to make the tomato sauce.  You'll need to start making this at least an hour before you plan on eating.

2 tablespoons olive oil
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
3/4 cups of white wine (red will work if you don't have white handy)
Pince of crusehd red pepper flakes
2 1/2 pounds whole, peeled canned tomatoes (or 3 cans of 14/5 oz diced tomatoes)
Salt and black pepper
3/4 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon chopped fresh basil

The first thing you need to do is heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a sauce pan.  Once it's heated up, add the garlic and cook on low heat until the garlic is golden brown (about 4 minutes).  As soon as the garlic is golden brown, add the wine and cook on medium heat until the liquid is reduced by half (about 2 minutes).  Add your crushed red pepper flakes at this time too.  While the liquid is reducing, place your tomatoes with their juice from the can in a blender or food processor and blend until they are of a desired consistency.  I don't like chunks of tomato in my sauce, so I blend until smooth.  However, if you like chunks of tomatoes, only blend until you still have chunks left.  After the liquid in your pot is reduced, add the crushed tomatoes to the pot along with salt, pepper, and the sugar.  Bring to a simmer, and simmer on medium heat for 1 hour.  At the end of one hour, add the additional tablespoon of oil and basil and remove from heat.

O.K., now that all of this is prepared, we can move onto the actual quinoa latke making.  Here's what you'll need (and we have more pictures now):

2 cups of cooked quinoa
3 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup of shredded parmesan cheese
1/3 cup of fresh chives, finely chopped
1/2 cup of bread crumbs

In a large bowl, mix everything except for the egg.  After everything is evenly mixed, add the eggs.  You'll get a fairly sticky mixture.  Now you're ready to fry your quinoa latkes.  First heat up some olive oil in a pan (you don't need a whole lot, just a couple of tablespoons).  Take a heaping tablespoon of the mixture, and gently press it into a oval ball shape on the spoon.  Then gently slide it into the oil.

As you can see, one of mine fell apart as I placed it into the oil.  This is O.K. if it happens, just gently press it back together into the form of a pancake.  If it doesn't fall apart, you will need to gently flatten out your ball into a flat pancake.  Cover the frying pan and cook for 4-5 minutes over medium heat.

Check at 4 minutes, and if the edges look golden brown they're ready to be flipped.  If they aren't, cook them for another minutes.  When you flip these, be careful, as they are still susceptible to falling apart.  Don't worry, once they're cooked on both sides, they won't fall apart.  Cook for 2-3 more minutes on the other side.

Remove cooked quinoa latkes to a cooling rack that is placed over a cookie sheet so that the excess oil can drain off.  Continue cooking until all of your quinoa batter is used up.  Now, if your kitchen is anything like ours, you will probably not have more than one of these on the cooling rack at a time, as we kept eating them as they came out of the frying pan.  They are quite tasty dipped in tzatziki if you happen to have some in your refrigerator.

As we got to the end of the quinoa batter, we had to stop dipping them in tzatziki and eating them so that we would have some left to put our poached egg on top of.  If we hadn't kept eating them, we would have ended up with 7-8 quinoa pancakes, depending on how large you make them.  Once you've cooked all of your pancakes, heat 3/4 cups of tomato sauce for every two poached eggs that you are making in a frying pan (make sure your frying pan has a lid that fits over it).  You will need one poached egg for each quinoa pancake.  If you are cooking for 2, and you each only want one pancake with a poached egg, don't worry, these pancakes can be stored in the refrigerator and reheat nicely in a toaster oven.  They are even tasty cold.

Anyway, back to finishing this meal.  After your tomato sauce is heated up, you will want to gently crack your eggs into  the sauce and then cover the pan with a lid.  Gently poach for four minutes over low heat.  While your eggs are poaching, place a quinoa latke on a plate.

At the end of four minutes, spoon some of the tomato sauce from the pan on top of the quinoa latke, and then gently place one poached egg on top.  You can pour remaining tomato sauce over the top of the egg.

Upon cutting into the egg, you should have a nice runny yolk .  MMMMMMMM . . .

On the First Night of Chanukah My Latke Gave To Me, A Traditional Potato Pancake

Welcome to our eight nights of pancakes, or rather, I should say latkes.  We decided to prolong our break from our "travels" since it's Chanukah, and instead we are exploring the many different types of latkes that people are making during this time of year.

Traditionally latkes (yiddish for pancake) are made out of potatoes; however, as often happens over time with many things, the view of latkes as always being potato pancakes is being challenged and changed.  Because of this, we decided to devote each night of celebration to a newer idea of what a latke can be.

For the first night of Chanukah we decided to stay somewhat traditional in our latkes in that we did make potato pancakes.  However, we used a slightly different recipe than what we would normally use.  Generally speaking, we usually grate the potato in large shreds, but this year we did the smaller shreds.  We also opted to leave off the traditional applesauce or sour cream topping.  You may recall in an earlier post a recipe I stumbled upon for an everything potato pancake, well, we decided this would be the perfect potato pancake for the first night of Chanukah.  Without further ado, here is what you need to make the everything latke:


sesame seeds
poppy seeds
caraway seeds
minced dried onion
minced dried garlic
black pepper

For the latke:

3 large russet potatoes, peeled
1 medium onion
2 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons of flour
oil for frying

The first thing you'll want to do is mix all of the ingredients for the topping, except for the minced dried garlic, in a small skillet.  I didn't use any measurements for this, I just made additions until the mixture looked like the top of an everything bagel.  Once you've done this, heat the toppings over medium heat until toasty.  Once they are toasty, add the minced dried garlic and continue toasting for one more minute.

After everything is all toasty and light brown, you'll want to remove your toppings from the heat.

Set aside the toppings and prepare to make the latkes.  First you'll need to shred the onion.  Use a box shredder, and using the fine shred side, shred the onion and then transfer to a large bowl.

Now prepare to shred the potatoes.  Using the same side of the box shredder, shred all of the potatoes.  Once they are all shredded, repeatedly press them between paper towels until most of the moisture has been removed.

The potatoes should be pretty dry.  Here's a picture of what they looked like as I added them to the bowl with the shredded onion.

Now that the onion and potatoes are shredded, add the beaten eggs and flour, and mix everything all up. Heat a pan with about 1 1/2 inches of oil.  We used a cast iron skillet so this so that we could maintain a constant temperature.  Once the oil is heated up, you're ready to spoon the potato mixture into the hot oil.  I usually use the "heel" of one of the shredded potatoes to see if the oil is hot enough.  Once that potato bit has bubbles all around it, your oil is hot enough to spoon in the latke mixture.  Use heaping tablespoons to make your latkes.

The little one is my potato tester.  Gently press down to make the pancakes flat and let them fry until you see that the bottom edges are golden brown (about 4-5 minutes).  My burner's flame is usually set somewhere between medium and medium high during the frying process.  Any hotter, and the oil begins to burn, any lower, and all that happens is soggy oil filled latkes.  Once they're golden brown, flip the latke and fry the other side.

I could have fried mine a little bit more, but this color is a good starting point.  Fry for a few more minutes once you've flipped them.  As you take them out of the oil, flip them onto a cooling rack that is placed over a cookie sheet to let the oil drain and prevent them from getting soggy.  If you put them on paper towels to drain, then you're risking soggy latkes.  Anyway, as you put them on the cooling rack, flip them so that the side that was just in the oil is facing up.  Quickly sprinkle and gently press your topping on each latke.

The oil will help the topping stick, and as you can see, any mess you make from putting the topping on gets contained on the cookie sheet underneath the cooling rack.  Makes for easier cleanup.  Continue cooking in this manner until all of the potato mixture is used up.  The original recipe for this calls for a dollop of creme fraiche on top, but we opted to eat them as is.  You could probably put a smear of cream cheese on top if you wanted to, and then they would be like two Jewish traditions in one!