Monday, March 25, 2013

My Grandma's Pancakes

Swedish pancakes, crepes, Grandpa's pancakes. It doesn't matter what you call them so long as you call them breakfast sometime very soon. It's a long weekend coming up. Perfect for spending a little extra time making something special for breakfast.

As kids we would go up to my Grandparents house on the lake almost every weekend. Us kids- my brother, cousins, and I- would get up early on Saturday and go with Grandpa on his morning walk to the "treat store" (when the grand kids weren't there I'm pretty sure he just called it the store where he got the newspaper). If you weren't up by the time Grandpa left for his walk you were left behind. We would get home and have some "crepes" that Grandma had started making at the butt-crack of dawn in order to feed the hordes.

I use quotations on "crepes" because these are not your dainty French crepes that are not to brown when cooking. These are big, spotty Swedish pancakes. Only Grandma is Estonian. They're not pancakes- those are fluffy and you put maple syrup on them- so we just called them crepes. We would get home from the treat store with our candy that we were not to eat until after breakfast and sit down to stuff our faces with crepes.

In hindsight, I'm not sure why we had to wait to eat our candy. Now that I think about it, the crepes probably weren't much better on the healthy scale. We always ate them with strawberries and whipped cream or applesauce with cinnamon sugar. When I was a bit older I also started to eat them with lemon juice (from a bottle but now I'm a snob and use fresh) and sugar. The crunch of the sugar with the tartness of the lemon is my favourite. Jam is good too. Or you could eat them like Grandma- standing at the counter after everyone had finished eating, holding a crepe smeared with lingonberry jam in one hand and a cigarette in the other.

I wish I could say that this is Grandma's recipe, but she doesn't have a recipe. She's been making crepes so long that she just mixes stuff together, tastes the result, and tweaks it if needed. Perhaps one day I'll get there, but even recipes I know off by heart I still look up just to be sure. So I cobbled together a recipe from a bunch of different recipes for Swedish pancakes online. These are very close to Grandma's. If you're really good you can work two pans at once in order to crank them out faster like Grandma used to.

PS I wish I had taken made the crepe in the lead photo look nicer, like the one below. Or used a smaller plate at least. But I am digging the breakfast table setting so I went with that one. I guess I don't do my best food styling at 7:30 am. My apologies. 

One Year Ago: Mystery Box Dinner and The Reveal
Three Years Ago: n/a

Serves 8 (2 crepes per person, although members of my family have been known to eat 5 in one sitting)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter, divided (to grease the pan)
  • Applesauce and cinnamon
  • Jam
  • Berries- thawed from frozen are good, then you get some nice berry juice
  • Lemon and sugar
Heat an 8 to 10 inch skillet over medium high heat. Whisk together milk and eggs in a large bowl. Add flour, sugar, salt and whisk until mostly smooth.

Once pan is heated add a small pat of butter and spread around the pan to coat. Add a soup ladle of batter while turning pan so that batter coats it evenly. You'll get a feel for how much batter to add for the next one on this first crepe- you don't want your crepe too thin or too thick. Even if they're not perfect, they'll be rolled up so don't sweat it. Flip once the crepe is golden on the bottom, about 45 seconds to a minute. Cook until browned on second side.

Transfer to a plate, stacking subsequent crepes on top. If crepes cool before eaten, warm one at a time (i.e. the one you're about to eat) in the microwave for 15 seconds. Spread desired filling all over the crepe or just down the middle- everyone has their preference- and roll up.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

DIY Skinny Irish Cream + Grown-Up Shamrock Shake

It's St. Paddy's day. If it were 10 years ago I'd be going out, standing in line freezing for an hour to gain entrance to a pseudo-Irish pub and then proceeding to drink my face off. But. I'll be 30 in a few months (eek!) and I have a toddler and a job on Monday. So Irish Stew and Irish Cream drinks at home it is.

I am not sharing a recipe for Irish Stew today, but here is the one I'm making tonight. It may show up in another post if it turns out well. I'm going to make it with lamb, so we'll see how that goes. Last time I cooked lamb at home I was pregnant and couldn't stand the smell so the whole thing went in the garbage. Better luck this time I hope!

I believe it was on Pinterest that I first noticed a recipe for DIY Bailey's Irish Cream. Of course. I didn't pin it though and then forgot about it until today since all the recipes I Googled call for cream. Any recipe that calls for a cup of cream is generally a deterrent for me, especially this one as Tyler doesn't like Bailey's so I'll have it all to myself. It occurred to me that it would just as good with milk. I used 2%, but any other milk or even almond milk would be great too.

As I was making the Irish Cream Tyler decided he wanted a Shamrock Shake and a burger from McDonald's. He left to get one and I had the brilliant idea to make a grown up Shamrock Shake. Oh my gosh, this is the best milkshake ever. Dangerously good. Unfortunately it's not green- I did add 3 drops of green food colouring but the brown of the Irish Cream overrode it and I didn't want to add any more. The minty goodness is there though. I think Shamrock Shakes are no longer just for St. Patrick's Day in my house any more. Yum.

Three Years Ago: Almond Cake

Adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Makes 16 oz., recipe is easily doubled

I didn't have any chocolate syrup so I used 1 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with a little hot water, which is why my Irish Cream is darker brown than the original recipe. Also, I didn't have any Irish Whiskey but we did have some 40 Creek Whiskey and it tastes great, it's just not as authentic obviously.
  • 3/4 cup Whiskey
  • 1 cup milk - 2%, 1%, skim, or almond
  • 1/2 (14 oz) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 tbsp chocolate syrup or 3/4 tbsp cocoa powder mixed with a splash of hot water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp instant coffee
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
Blend all ingredients in a blender, or in a mixing bowl with an immersion blender, until smooth. Transfer to a jar and refrigerate up to 2 months.

Serves 1
  • 1.5 oz Irish Cream
  • 1/2 cup vanilla ice cream- regular or reduced fat
  • 3 ice cubes
  • 1/4 tsp peppermint extract
Blend everything until smooth.

Monday, March 11, 2013


Photo via Canadian Living
 I haven't done a bookmarked post for a while. Here's a few things I've come across in the last couple of weeks. Again, if you try out any of these recipes let me know in the comments how it turned out!

Spicy Sausage Cornbread Cobbler via Canadian Living I came across this while looking the for sesame snaps recipe. I may make this for dinner. Perfect for a chilly rainy day like today. Can you tell I'm on a diet? See food. Want food. 

Sesame Snaps via Canadian Living I saw sesame snaps at the store today and now I really want some. I didn't buy any, of course. I'm actually in the process of making these as I write this. Craving? What craving?

Lime, Lemongrass, Ginger, and Coconut Cheesecake via Nutmegs, seven Wow this looks so good. Would have been perfect with my Thai feast had I come across this recipe a couple of months ago.

Grapefruit, Lime, Ginger Juice via Lottie and Doof I seem to really be digging this flavour profile lately. In anticipation of spring methinks.

Spiced Pear Cake with Browned Butter Fudge Dribble via Dinner with Julie You had me at browned butter. This is another "quick make it before spring!" recipe.

Homemade Mascarpone via Vegetarian Ventures I saw a tub of mascarpone on sale at the grocery store this weekend. For $10. Yikes. I've made ricotta at home a few times and it's easy (no, it really is!) and this is the same process only using cream instead of milk.

Skillet Mac and Cheese with Spinach and Bacon via Dinner with Julie This is on the menu for this week. Looks yummy.

Bacon and Brie Potato Skins via Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice The brie with sweet potatoes is an interesting twist on potato skins.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Super Simple Scrumptious Supper

This is, hands down, once of the simplest and most delicious meals I have ever made. They always say that keeping food simple is best, and this is a fantastic example of that. The pork is 3 ingredients plus good old salt and pepper. The roasted vegetable side is thrown in the oven with the pork at the back end of the cooking time. Easy peasy.

My family was all abuzz about pork this weekend. Yesterday my step mom called asking if we wanted some pork from Costco. She had already bought a couple of pork loins and was going back for more. Because they were $11 bucks for just over 7 pounds!!! What!?! Of course I wanted some. So my step mom called my brother, my brother called me, and a few hours later I had 15 pounds of pork. Oh yeah.

Obviously a pork roast was in order for dinner tonight. A quick Google search turned up this recipe for Pork Loin Roast with Garlic and Rosemary. This one's a keeper folks. The pork came out perfectly cooked, perfectly seasoned, and incredibly juicy. I'm sure this is a testament to both the recipe and the meat itself (Costco's meat is so good, right?).

Okay, pork is in the oven. What will we eat with it? I had a few vegetable contenders- sweet potatoes, parsnips, or carrots. I went to my new go-to vegetable book Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule. This book is my new favourite. Beautiful photography, simple recipes, and witty commentary. I also love the fact that the author has organized the recipes by colour i.e. Yellow- there is a page for corn, one for pineapple, one for yellow onions. Each fruit or veg has a funny overview on the vegetable, a few suggestions on how to use it (not recipes but simple uses like Nectarines: Relish = diced nectarines + cherries + red onion + ginger), and then a recipe highlighting the produce.

The parsnip recipe won me over. The recipe in the book is for Roasted Parsnips with Pears and Thyme. I didn't have any pears, but apples with pork are classic, so I swapped apples for the pears. Now, I actually am just warming up to the sweet with savory deal. I have never had a pork chop with applesauce. It just weirded me out. BUT the apples were the best part of this meal and went perfectly with the pork, other vegetables, and thyme. I will make this again and again.

By the way, how do you like the alliteration in my post title? I enjoy it myself.

Three Years Ago: Ricotta Gnocchi

Vegetable recipe adapted from Ripe by Cheryl Sternman Rule
Serves 4
I used dried rosemary on the pork and it was great, but I bet it would be even better with fresh rosemary. Ditto for the thyme with the vegetables.
Get the pork loin in the oven following the recipe linked above. Keep in mind that you will putting another pan in the oven beside the pork or on the rack underneath, so plan accordingly.

Cut parsnips in half across the width. Cut the thinner ends in half again lengthwise. Cut the wider ends into quarters lengthwise. Cut the apples into wedges, discarding the core.

Place apples, parsnips, and carrots on a baking tray lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, salt, and pepper. Toss and arrange everything in a single layer, ensuring the apples are not sitting with the skin side down (you want the flesh to touch the tray so that it gets caramelized for optimal deliciousness).

After turning the pork halfway through cooking, put the tray of vegetables in the oven with the pork, either side by side on the middle rack if you can, or on the rack below. Roast for 15 minutes then flip the apples and veg with a spatula. When the pork is done let it rest as per the recipe, keep the apples and veg in the oven cooking until the pork has finished it's rest. Serve with ketchup if you are 2 years old, otherwise nothing else is needed.