Monday, January 26, 2009

Breakfast- Buttermilk Pancakes, Orange/Earl Grey Syrup, Canadian Bacon and Fruit

One thing about winter in gets COLD. Normally I'm one of those freaks who loves the cold, I wait for snow, I get excited for piling on layers of clothes, etc, but sometimes its just too cold. This weekend was one of those times. Yesterday temps fell into the teens (ok probably into the twenties but it felt cold) so I decided to hibernate all day. I went out once during the day to pick up some necessities and then spent the rest of the day inside my warm apartment.

To start off the day right, I decided to make pancakes for brunch since I would not be venturing to any of the great eateries around me. I found a recipe for buttermilk pancakes on line, did a quick inventory in my head and found that I had everything I needed, at least I thought I did. As I began mixing and measuring, I slowly realized that it was not Baking Powder I had at all- but Baking I know that I have the powder somewhere but I could not find it for the life of me. Anyway-in a rash move, I decided to sub in the soda for the powder, and carried on.

As a bit of a chemistry lesson (which I hated in high school for the record), Baking Soda and Baking Powder both act in place of yeast giving "rise" to breads etc when a quicker method is needed. The main difference, at least that my very un chemistry minded brain can find, seems to be that Baking Soda needs a bit more of an acid to aid in its reaction then Baking Powder. So, from what I can gather, to give rise to the product, either can assist, though make sure that your adding a bit more acid (lemon juice, buttermilk, cocoa) with your Baking Soda if your recipe calls for Baking Powder. Unfortunately, I did not learn this little fact until after I made my pancakes. No matter- onward I went.

To compliment the pancakes I heated a small amount of good syrup in a sauce pan with grated orange rind, and a few pinches of loose leaf Earl Grey Tea, to give it a fun and different flavor. Then I "grilled" a couple of pieces of Canadian bacon in my very favorite, well used cast iron grill pan, and finally I sliced up a plum and an orange for a small fruit salad.

The pancakes were fine- flat, but still tasty. Luckily they were buttermilk pancakes to begin with so there was a small amount of acid in the mix anyway. I could have use a bit more to give them that great cake like consistency, but they tasted great just as they were. The syrup was delicious. Very light hints of orange and the smokey beauty of earl grey floated through it. Had I had a better idea of how it would turn out- I would have allowed the syrup to simmer longer to create a really nice flavor. I topped the pancakes with a small dollop
of Marscapone cheese that I had on hand for a dessert that Id made earlier in the week, and the addition made the breakfast very decadent.

The bacon was ok. I have issues with Canadian Bacon, the type that I bought was thin, and therefore when cooked was incredibly dry. Does anyone else have this issue? I cannot figure out how to make it a bit more palatable.

All in all, breakfast tasted delicious. I wish that the pancakes had been a bit more cake like, but they had great flavor and consistency as they are. Honestly- I can see transforming this recipe into a nice base for a savory meal as well. The syrup was my shining star. I really love making small changes to old standbys to make something new and great- this one was absolutely fantastic.

I am not one for making breakfast too much, but I do have a craving for it now!

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