Monday, August 27, 2012

Rainy Day Weekend Treat

I cherish weekends during the school year. On hard weeks (especially around report card time), I actually count the hours. There's something about working all week and coming home on Friday and knowing that there will be no morning routine the next day, and that extra hour of sleep that I craved on Thursday morning can actually happen. It's always a time to refresh and re-energize. I know I've had a great weekend if I look forward to Monday, and believe it or not, that actually happens sometimes.

But weekends kind of lose their meaning in the summer. All the days kind of blend into each other, and the weekends just become like any other days. It's been fun. But it's back to the grind soon. In fact, I have to go into work today to start preparing. School starts in about a week and getting into that familiar weekday routine before I actually have to, helps a lot when I have to suddenly jump from afternoon naps, mornings spent in cafes and bike trips to 6:45am streetcar rides, too much marking and 150 children demanding my attention -- not to mention teaching a little French in between. Weekends will start meaning a lot more in about a week.

I'm looking at the forecast, and it calls for rain all day. If it were a weekend, it would be a perfect one to spend inside on a baking or cooking project, watching an old, favourite movie, or having a long lazy weekend brunch. And what better brunch food than pancakes, especially when I've just brought back a litre of beautiful amber maple syrup from the nation's capital. We've tried a few pancake recipes -- some vegan ones, some with hearty whole wheat flour and other grains (that was a supper pancake!) and they were all great. Only once, did we make a pancake that wasn't too great; it was the Michael Smith pancake recipe from the BlogAid recipe book, and while it produced a stick-to-your-ribs, hearty pancake, they weren't the least bit fluffy, and they actually turned out a little tough. Did we mess up, or was this pancake just not supposed to be fluffy?

Is there a secret to fluffy pancakes? I'm not sure. Is it beating egg whites separately? Is it just the right amount of leavening? Is it using buttermilk, or a splash of vinegar? Or is it all in how you mix the batter? Have you encountered a perfect pancake recipe? I think I have, and it's not surprise that it's a Joy the Baker recipe. It's actually a sexier pancake than we made: the original recipe calls for the addition of meyer lemon zest and fresh berries. But we wanted a nice, plain pancake to savour our last-of-the-season strawberries and maple syrup with , so we nixed the additions. The result was a super fluffy, perfect pancake; no really. It's perfection. I confess that I'm not usually a pancake person, especially in the morning, but these little fluffers had me hooked.  And they're just as good cold if you happen to have left overs ..

We pretty much used the original recipe without the lemon and berries. The only small change we made was replacing the 1 cup of buttermilk with 2/3 cup of plain skim yogurt and 1/3 cup of almond milk. And letting the batter sit for about 10 minutes really makes them super fluffy and sky-high. It's a rainy Monday -- not really pancake day, but it's perfect pancake weather. Break your weekday routine and make these. Go on...

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