Tag Archives: pancakes

What’s Been Cooking? Pandemic edition

 

Life has certainly changed a bit since my last “What’s Been Cooking?” update. Social distancing is the new norm, so the three of us have been holed up at home (when we’re not out for our daily walk(s)) doing lots of cooking. This won’t be an exhaustive list of everything we’ve cooked since the stay-at-home recommendations started a month ago in Germany; rather, I’ll try to highlight some of our shopping strategies and follow that with cooking/baking highlights and projects. So without further ado…

Shopping & stocking the pantry:

F had good foresight regarding the quick global spread of the Coronavirus, so we started stocking up our pantry early with rice, lentils, dried beans, and canned goods. The only thing we forgot was flour, which sold out of the shops and supermarkets really quickly! Apparently when the going gets tough, the Germans get baking… We finally found some Type 1050 (high gluten) flour, which worked great for pizza dough but probably isn’t great for sweet baking; I finally caved and bought 2.5kg of Type 550 (all-purpose) flour online. It was not cheap but I’m glad to have it now.

We have been planning our meals weekly and doing a big shop once a week for a few years. It was simpler to shop less in London because our commutes were so long, and here in Münster we find it easier to save money when we’re not popping out to the shops every other day and inevitably impulse-buying things we don’t really need. So COVID-19 hasn’t really changed our shopping habits, except for trying to go when it’s least busy: for supermarkets, that has been around 8:30am on a weekday, and before 8am on Wednesdays for our weekly outdoor market.

What’s been cooking:

  • F discovered Serious Eats’ J. Kenji López-Alt’s YouTube channel and we watched his video on pan pizza. Needless to say, we were inspired to try it ourselves! F made a sauce like Kenji’s, and I made NYT’s Roberta’s pizza dough, which is one of the two I usually make. We used our stainless steel pans and topped the pizzas with cheese, basil, and salami. After 10-12 minutes in the oven, we quickly finished browning the bottoms on the stove, and voilà! Super delicious crispy pan pizza; we both agreed they were perhaps the best pizzas we’ve ever made. Richtig geil. We might never go back to the sheet pan style…
  • Our favorite buttermilk pancakes for weekend brunch! Always in the rotation.
  • Michaela’s chewy chocolate brownies – devoured just by the two of us over the course of a few days. It’s not great for the waistline when social distancing prevents you from sharing goodies with friends, but it is delicious.
  • F made a delicious Bärlauch (wild garlic) pesto, and we even had enough to freeze for future meals.
  • Pretty regular batches dal and rice, often from Priya Krishna’s Indian-ish cookbook.
  • One of our main meals for the week is always a big, hearty salad. Sometimes we do a Niçoise-style, sometimes beet(root) and carrot, sometimes just a mass of chopped veggies. At the moment we are loving cooking dried butter beans to add to our salads: soak them overnight, then add a generous pinch of salt and a couple of bay leaves and cook at a strong simmer for 45 minutes.
  • I made my whole wheat sweet potato quick bread, since we had more whole wheat than white flour. Great for breakfast and/or afternoon snacks.
  • For our fourth wedding anniversary this month, I made Melissa Clark’s one bowl cornmeal poundcake; it came together really quickly and made a great snacking cake, toasted and spread with butter and honey. I used lemon zest, half butter and half rapeseed oil, and split the flour between spelt and all purpose/plain.
  • For Easter weekend, hot cross buns from the Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook. They are actually not hard to make, and I doubled the recipe to produce 24 buns so we could gift some (at a distance) to our local friends in lieu of meeting in person. Yum!
  • This crispy potato kugel from NYT Cooking: definitely for potato lovers! It could’ve used another onion and a tad more salt, but overall was quite nice with applesauce and sour cream. It was a bit too much work to make regularly but it was a fun project.

What have you been cooking while sheltering at home?


What’s Been Cooking? Maternity leave, weeks 1-2

I love apple season

In Germany, expecting and new mothers have the advantage of a legally protected, essentially “no work allowed” time for 6 weeks before and 8 weeks after their due dates. If I were fully employed I would not legally have been allowed to keep working. As a freelancer, I think I could have continued working into the 6 weeks pre-due date, but I decided not to because by 33-34 weeks it was already tiring to cycle back and forth for my teaching commitments.

So yes – now I am on Mutterschutz (maternity leave) and working my way through some cooking and baking projects to keep me from getting too stir-crazy at home and to try and stock the freezer a bit for easy winter meals once our tiny human arrives. Here’s what I’ve gotten up to in my first two weeks off:

Week 1

On Monday, we ate leftover meatloaf and mashed potatoes for lunch, then I froze the rest of the meatloaf and decided to use the mash for a project that had been on my list for a while: potato varenyky using this smitten kitchen recipe. I have fond memories of eating varenyky in Ukraine, usually with sautéed onions, butter, and sour cream. A great cheap, cold-weather, stick-to-your-ribs, carbs-on-carbs kind of meal!

Varenyky!

The varenyky dough was simple to make and had a nice stretch to it, which made it easier to envelope the mashed potatoes and seal the dumplings. We sampled some for dinner – tasty, although the dough was maybe a tad thick – and I froze the rest of them.

Paratha

On Tuesday, I delved back into my Hot Bread Kitchen Cookbook and posted about that here: Baking with Hot Bread Kitchen: Paratha.

Superbly chocolaty cookies

On Friday, I wanted to bake something sweet for the weekend, so went for Melissa Clark’s tiny, salty, chocolaty cookies from NYT Cooking. My goodness were they good! Chewy and with crispy edges, gluten free (in case you care! I don’t), and very rich (thanks to cocoa powder and dark chocolate). G came over for boardgames on Saturday and devoured quite a few of them, and other friends also professed their enjoyment. Will make again!

Week 2

It wasn’t specifically on my cooking project list, but we had leftover vegetables on Tuesday so I threw them into these Korean scallion pancakes from NYT Cooking. It was a great use of the veg and made for a nice, lightish dinner, although I wish the pancakes had turned out a bit crispier.

On Wednesday we were hosting friends for the group’s weekly vegetarian dinner. F made spinach lasagne and I contributed dessert in the form of smitten kitchen’s Versunkener Apfelkuchen (sunken apple (& honey) cake), which was based on a German recipe. Delicious! The honey flavor came through really nicely and the apples were cooked but not mushy. I didn’t include the salted honey glaze because we thought the cake was sweet enough without it. Friends enjoyed it and, when I asked how traditional the recipe was, a couple people said their mothers/grandmothers had made similar cakes. Score for cultural integration through Kuchen!

On Friday (a public holiday in Germany – thanks, Catholics!) we had friends over for brunch: pancakes, of course. Later, I made a big pot of these chickpeas from Bon Appétit. For dinner, I turned some into a spiced chickpea stew with coconut and turmeric, NYT Cooking’s Alison Roman creation that became its own hashtag on social media. I’ve made #thestew three times now and it is so warming and delicious. It’s also quick and easy to throw together, quite forgiving, and flexible: add any greens that you happen to have; enjoy with pita, rice, or sweet potato; add yogurt and garnish, or not.

With the rest of the chickpeas I’ll make some hummus and this creamy chickpea pasta. That should get us through the start of next week!

Stay tuned for my next edition of “What’s Been Cooking” in a couple of weeks…


A New Favorite (& possibly the BEST) Pancakes Recipe

A few months ago, NYT Cooking started making interactive “how to cook” features on its website. The first one was on pancakes, which as you know hold a special place in my heart. Although I consider myself quite an experienced pancakemaker, it was useful and interesting to read the NYT Cooking feature and delve into the details. I shared the feature with F, who suggested I try my hand at Alison Roman’s base recipe for “perfect buttermilk pancakes.” So I did.

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Then I made them again the next weekend.

And the next weekend.

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That’s right — we have discovered possibly the best pancake recipe ever. And I am not exaggerating. These buttermilk beauties are the perfect blend of crispy edges (don’t shy away from a bit of sugar in the batter, Roman suggests) and fluffy, creamy interior. I usually sub in some cornmeal and have used various combinations of buttermilk, yogurt, and/or whole milk for the liquid — they turn out great every time.

Perfect Buttermilk Pancakes (slightly adapted from Alison Roman at NYT Cooking; makes enough for 3-4 people & 1/2 a batch serves 2 with no leftovers!)

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cups plain/all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1.25 tsp salt (a bit less if not using kosher salt)
  • 2.5 cups buttermilk OR 1.25 cups plain yogurt + 1.25 cups whole milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • Neutral oil for cooking (I use sunflower oil)

Procedure

  1. Heat a large non-stick skillet (or griddle) over medium heat.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. Add the buttermilk and eggs to the dry ingredients, then pour in the melted butter. Gently whisk everything together until all ingredients are combined. Don’t over-mix — it’s okay if there are a few lumps.
  4. Add some oil to the skillet. Ladle 1/3-1/2 cup of batter into the skillet and repeat if your skillet/griddle is large enough for more than one pancake (but don’t overcrowd them).
  5. Cook the pancake(s) on one side until bubbles start rising to the surface (2-4 minutes). Flip the pancake(s) and cook for another minute or 2.
  6. Serve the pancakes hot from the skillet or keep them warm in the oven (300F/150C) until ready to serve.

Enjoy!


What’s Been Cooking? Late Summer Edition

Gosh, the summer has flown by. Was it the same for you?

This blog has fallen a little by the wayside… I’m still here, just less frequently and with fewer of my “own” recipes, especially now that I can save all my favorites to NYT Cooking. Even though I’m posting fewer recipes doesn’t mean I’ve stopped cooking…on the contrary, our kitchen remains an exciting and comforting place amidst the stresses of daily life.

Here’s a peek into what F and I have been cooking over the past few months, in no particular order.

IMG_1421Ottolenghi’s “Chickpea Saute with Greek Yogurt” — light and bright summer flavors went beautifully over rice with a rich and creamy Greek yogurt sauce on the side. Highly recommended and very easy to throw together on a weeknight.
IMG_1163Pasta with Zucchini, Ricotta and Basil, courtesy of David Tanis at NYT Cooking. Creamy and rich yet summery, thanks to lemon zest and basil.

IMG_1407Smitten kitchen’s takeout-style sesame noodles with cucumber. Simple and delicious — I made them when F was away at a conference and managed not to get too tired of them despite having them over the course of 4 meals in two days…
IMG_1455The Woks of Life’s Shanghai-Style Braised Pork Belly — it took 3 hours but was totally worth it for the melt-in-your-mouth texture of the pork belly in rich, sticky sauce. So so good. We will definitely make it again on our next leisurely weekend.

Non-photographed but just as tasty dishes:

  • Melissa Clark’s Lunchbox Harvest Muffins (NYT Cooking) are moist and not dense at all, despite using only whole wheat flour. They’re packed with grated apple, carrot, and zucchini and made great afternoon snacks for F and me during the workweek.
  • We made Martha Rose Shulman’s Spicy South Indian Cauliflower for the second time. F browned some cubes of paneer cheese to add in and I made naan bread to go on the side.
  • I had always wanted to try making bircher muesli and finally did this summer. I used Nigella’s “basic bircher muesli” recipe and it turned out exactly like I’d hoped. Last week I made a double batch, which got us both through two weekday breakfasts.
  • These blueberry pancakes are SO FLUFFY, thanks to whipping the egg whites before folding them into the batter.
  • Rather have blueberry muffins? I made some of those, too: Call Me Cupcake’s blueberry lemon muffins were just right and didn’t even need the cardamom topping, in my opinion.

What have you been cooking?

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Recipe: Corn Cakes with Fresh Corn & Green Onions

Browsing through some recent issues of Cooking Light for the pretty pictures recipe inspiration, I came across these “Silver Dollar Corn Cakes.” As I do love my pancakes, I was intrigued by this more savory variant. Turns out that we had bought corn and green onions in our last shopping and so had almost all the ingredients on hand.

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The corn cakes turned out really well, acting not as a side but as the main event for our dinner, complementing chard and green beans. F thought they were great — even with ketchup! I could also imagine them being good with a dollop or two of sour cream. These are basically cornbread in pancake form, so they’d be great alongside any meaty main. We actually enjoyed the leftovers with fried eggs for Saturday brunch. I made most of my corn cakes bigger than silver dollar-sized, in part because that shortened the cooking time, but the little ones are so cute that I might do them all small next time.

Corn Cakes with Fresh Corn & Green Onions (adapted from Cooking Light Aug 2014; serves 3-5)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 – 1.25 cups buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups fresh corn kernels (from 3 cobs)
  • 4 green onions, minced

Procedure

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs.
  • Stir the dry mixture into the wet mixture, then stir in the corn kernels and green onions.
  • Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add dollops or ladlefuls of batter to the pan and cook about 2 minutes per side.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Crepes with Smoked Salmon, Sour Cream & Dill

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Springtime makes me crave easy, light, delicious dinners. I whipped up these partially whole wheat crepes with smoked salmon and dill on a Monday evening, and they were the perfect thing with some leftover potato salad and a green salad. All I did was use this crepe recipe, replacing the buckwheat flour with whole wheat flour. Fill a fresh crepe with a strip or two of smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream, some capers, and a sprinkle of fresh minced dillVoila! Dinner. (Or lunch. Or even brunch!)

Recipe: Buckwheat Crepes

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In college, a friend and I used to get together periodically for crepe-making and tea. Crepes have been on my mind (and “to make” list) for a while. Recent build-up to Pancake Day — what UK-ers (UK-ites?) call Shrove Tuesday — finally motivated me to whip up a batch for Sunday brunch (not that I celebrate such a holiday, but any excuse to make pancakes is a good one in my book!).

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These crepes are adapted from smitten kitchen — all I did was substitute some buckwheat flour for some of the plain flour. They turned out really well. F and I enjoyed them with combinations of caramelized bananas, peanut butter, chocolate, and maple syrup. Next time we might go savory, with smoked salmon and dill or eggs and cheese. The crepes themselves aren’t sweet or salty, so you can go either way with the fillings. Get creative!

Buckwheat Crepes (adapted from smitten kitchen; makes 10-12 crepes, enough for 2-4 people)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour OR whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled

Procedure

  • Combine all the ingredients in a medium bowl and whisk vigorously or blend with an immersion blender until smooth. Cover the bowl and pop it in the fridge for at least an hour and up to two days.
  • Take the batter out of the fridge about 30 minutes before you’re ready to make the crepes.
  • Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and grease it with a little bit of butter.
  • Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the skillet, swirling it around until the batter covers most of the pan’s surface evenly. Cook for about 1 minute, then ease a spatula under the edge of the crepe and flip, cooking for another 20-30 seconds. Repeat until the batter is gone (no need to re-grease the skillet).
  • Serve crepes with your favorite sweet or savory fillings.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Pancake-Dipped Apple Rings

Just a quick note and a micro-recipe of sorts. A week or two ago, A Cozy Kitchen posted this recipe for “spiced apple ring pancakes.” Basically, you dip apple slices in pancake batter and then cook them like pancakes.

Adrianna made a special, apple-ring-specific batter for her recipe. I didn’t. As I was mixing up my signature banana pancakes (using buckwheat and whole wheat flours plus cornmeal, all in equal amounts), I decided at the spur of the moment to try the apple ring-dipping technique.

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It worked! The result is fluffy pancake enclosing slightly softened apple: delicious, especially spread with peanut butter and drizzled with maple syrup. Make these with your pancake batter of choice. Pumping up the spices — cinnamon, nutmeg, maybe some allspice and/or cloves — will give the rings a nice fall-like flavor. Just remember that if you like your apples slightly more cooked than not, cut the rings more thinly.

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Banana Pancake-Covered Apple Rings (inspired by A Cozy Kitchen; makes 4-6 apple ring pancakes)

What to do:

  • Make this pancake batter, or another favorite pancake batter
  • Core an apple and slice it into 1/4″ rings.
  • Heat some oil in a pan over medium heat.
  • Submerge each apple ring in the pancake batter, gently shake off any excess, and place the rings in the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, then enjoy warm with peanut butter and maple syrup.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Baked Apple-Buckwheat Pancake

Sunday brunch. More pancakes. Of course!

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The baked apple-buckwheat pancake is a different sort of pancake from the one I usually make. This apple pancake — not to be confused with my moist apple hotcakes — is mixed up in a skillet and baked in the oven until puffy and golden. The perfect thing with which to greet a gorgeous fall morning, especially after a long run or cycle.

Baked pancakes — aka “Dutch baby” or German pancake — are like a cross between a crepe and an American-style pancake. F said it’s the kind of pancake he grew up eating. We love its density and that it’s eggy and moist.

 

I adapted the following apple-buckwheat pancake from this Gourmet recipe. I added some buckwheat flour and decreased the sugar for an extra health punch; a sprinkling of cinnamon enhances the fall-like flavors. It comes together quickly and bakes for a scant 10 minutes — just enough time for you to brew another pot of coffee. Then dig into the gorgeous golden, puffy pancake. Enjoy it plain or drizzled with maple syrup and a dollop of yogurt.

Baked Apple-Buckwheat Pancake (adapted from this recipe; serves 2 generously)

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp salted butter
  • 2 small (or 1 large) apples, cored & cut into 1/4″ wedges (feel free to peel the apples, if you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed)
  • 1/4 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • dash of cinnamon

Procedure

  • Preheat the oven to 200C (400F).
  • Put the butter in a skillet and melt over medium heat. Pour half the melted butter into a medium bowl.
  • Slice the apples and throw them into the pan with the remaining butter. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the apples start to soften, 3-5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, combine the rest of the ingredients with the butter in the medium bowl. Blend with an immersion blender — or put in an actual blender — until smooth.
  • Pour the liquid mixture into the pan with the apples, the pop the pan in the oven and bake for 8-12 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up.

Enjoy!

Recipe: “Fluffy but Crispy” Cornmeal & Caramelized Banana Pancakes

Happy September! Can you believe how quickly the summer has flown by? My Ukrainian pupils and colleagues will be celebrating перший дзвінок (pershyy dzvinok, “first bell”) soon to start the school year…it feels a little weird not to be in Sniatyn celebrating with them.

How are you “ringing in” this month?

We kicked off September this morning with a long run for me and cycling for F. As per Sunday tradition, we refueled with pancakes. Brunch tunes (my choice) included Jeremy Denk’s recording of some Bach Partitas and Glenn Gould’s take on the “Goldberg Variations.”

 

And now to the pancakes. Instead of my usual recipe, I decided to try a new one that I’ve had on my “to make” list for a while. These eggless wonders, “fluffy but crispy” in F’s words, were adapted from Minimalist Baker’s Mini Sopapilla Pancakes. Theirs are vegan, mine are not: I used real butter and a mixture of regular (cow) milk and almond milk. You can obviously make them vegan if you want to. I used whole wheat flour and added cornmeal for some texture. The generous sprinkling of cinnamon and slightly caramelized banana slices lend the pancakes depth and they do develop wonderful, crispy edges enveloping fluffy, flavorful insides.

F suggested adding the artistically drizzled maple syrup

F suggested artistically drizzling the maple syrup for a better photo

Cornmeal & Caramelized Banana Pancakes (adapted from Minimalist Baker. Makes 6 medium pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 scant tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • dash of salt
  • 3/4 cup milk (I used semi-skimmed aka 1-2%)
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla
  • 1 banana, sliced thinly

Procedure

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients. In a small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (milk through vanilla).
  • Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until just combined.
  • Put a pan over medium heat and coat the bottom of it with some oil. Slice the banana.
  • Drop a ladleful (~1/2 cup) of batter into the pan. Gently place a few banana slices on top of each pancake. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until bubbles form around the edges, then carefully flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes.
  • Serve warm with your favorite topping(s). Some suggestions: maple syrup, honey, molasses, peanut butter, yogurt, more fruit…

Enjoy!

Cycling Martha’s Vineyard

My family is fortunate enough to have a house in Woods Hole, MA, a small, scientifically-minded town just south of Falmouth in the “armpit” of Cape Cod. We spend a glorious two weeks here each August, enjoying pastries from Pie in the Sky (the best bakery I know), swimming in the ocean, lying on the beach, reading ravenously, and exercising a lot to counteract the effect of all those pastries. One of the exercise-related traditions we have is spending a day cycling around Martha’s Vineyard, which is just a 45-minute ferry ride across Vineyard Sound from Woods Hole. This year’s trip was especially memorable, as it’s my first time back on the Cape since 2010 — the Peace Corps kept me away — and the wonderful F is also with us.

We drag ourselves out of bed at 6am in order to gather our cycling gear and grab a coffee from the aforementioned bakery before catching the 7am ferry. This gets us to Vineyard Haven just before 8am, in good time for a hearty breakfast at The Black Dog Tavern (the best restaurant on the Cape, as far as I’m concerned). I have the “George of the Jungle” pancakes (banana-walnut-chocolate chip) with an egg; F gets a meat-lovers’ omelette; my dad has some kind of scramble with tomato and guacamole; and my mom devours the “Green Monster” scramble with a single nutty pancake.

Black Dog breakfast

Black Dog breakfast

Well-fueled by 9:15am, we strap on our bike helmets, pump up our tires, and hit the road. We start by heading west out of Vineyard Haven, aiming for Menemsha and its adorable bike ferry. The Vineyard roads, despite having little to no shoulder and being somewhat busy with car traffic, are fantastically smooth and well-maintained. The drivers, too, know to look out for cyclists and so are some of the politest you’ll find. (My favorite part of this first leg was Lambert’s Cove Road, which I hadn’t ridden before; it’s smoothly paved and has some fun hills and curves.) Back on State Road, we take the righthand fork past North Tisbury onto North Road. A steep descent takes us into Menemsha and we decide to continue on to ride around Gay Head / Aquinnah. This means the bike ferry, an adorable raft that can hold four bikes and six people at a time and takes less than five minutes to cross the little channel into Menemsha Pond.

Menemsha ferry

Menemsha ferry

We ride around the point, stopping briefly for a view of the Gay Head clay cliffs before a fun descent to Philbin Beach. This is our favorite beach on the Vineyard: beautiful sand, pristine water, pretty rocks, funny shorebirds, and not crowded. My mom enjoys strolling up and down the flat shoreline; F, my dad, and I cool off in the waves and then lie on our towels to let the sun dry us off. A well-deserved rest after 20 miles (~32km) of riding.

After the break, F and I decide to take the next segment a bit faster — we, unlike D&T, have proper road bikes and no racks or panniers, which gives us an advantage in terms of speed — and agree to meet the parents at Beetlebung Corner. Thus starts a fun 10-km/6-mi section of more rolling hills — do you sense a trend? — and curvy roads in the sun. At Beetlebung Corner, in the center of Chilmark, we grit our teeth and set off up and down — but mostly up — Middle Road, the shorter and quieter but hillier option. At least the reward of making it up the biggest hill is pausing to watch the beautiful long-horned cows take turns licking each other, no doubt to scratch some itches.

At the end of Middle Road we always stop at the Field Gallery to check out the sculptures and paintings — all for sale, including some early Calder paintings — and take a breather before joining the bike path for the last 15km/9mi to Edgartown. We get on the bike path and enjoy its roller coaster-like twists and turns, ups and downs, through the forest. This segment is mentally tough for me; the path isn’t as well-maintained as the roads, and it’s hard to see the bumps and roots due to the dappled sunlight coming through the trees. (Also I fell off on this section some years ago and have a knee scar to prove it.) But we make it into Edgartown for a well-deserved break after another 20 miles (32km); this time, Mad Martha’s is our reward. We each have a PB sandwich before digging into hot fudge sundaes (peppermint and mocha chip ice cream for D, peppermint and sinful chocolate for me), a banana ferry (T), and a BLT for F.

we cycle for food

we cycle for food

We’re cutting it a bit close with our timing to catch the 5pm ferry from Vineyard Haven back to Woods Hole, but we have enough buffer to take the Beach Road route through Oak Bluffs with a 20-minute beach break for one last swim. T seems to have been revived by his banana ferry, and leads us at a good clip past the kids jumping off the bridge into the water and lines and lines of beachgoers’ cars. I also feel better after the calorie boost and take the lead for part of this segment. After the beach break, D leads us expertly through Oak Bluffs and along East Chop Drive back to Vineyard Haven, with 10 minutes to spare before the ferry!

In sum:

  • ~81km (50.33mi) in ~4 hours total riding time (including the short jaunt to/from the ferry dock and home)
  • Total elevation: 483m (1,584 feet) — the Vineyard is hilly!
  • Three long-ish breaks — good for resting saddle soreness and sore feet from a tad-too-small shoes (I’m borrowing a bike)
  • Delicious food to keep us going
  • Perfect weather: mid-70s F, sunny, no clouds, little wind
  • Great company and great cycling!
the route

the route

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Recipe: Four-B Pancakes

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Long form: buckwheat-buttermilk-blueberry-banana pancakes. That’s right, quadruple-B. I was going to call them “triple B” but then decided to use buttermilk. “Quadruple” is a bit of a mouthful, so I settled on “four-B.”

best with coffee on a sunny Sunday morning

best with coffee on a sunny Sunday morning

Whatever you call these pancakes, all you need to know is that they are awesome. I adapted them from  the “‘M’ Go Blue” pancakes in The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook, of the famed Black Dog restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard that my family visits for breakfast once a year to fuel up before cycling around the Vineyard.

IMG_4928These differ from many of my other pancake recipes because you don’t mash the banana; rather, you slice it and drop a few slices onto each pancake on the griddle before flipping it. When you flip the ‘cakes, the banana — now on the griddle-side — caramelizes beautifully. That may sound indulgent, but never fear — these four-Bs also pack plenty of health in buckwheat and whole wheat flours, cornmeal and buttermilk, not to mention the fresh blueberries.

The batter may seem gooey, but don’t worry because it cooks up nicely into fluffy, flavorful pancakes. Enjoy them with and combination of butter, maple syrup, yogurt, molasses, more fresh berries, and/or peanut butter.

choose-your-own-(adventure)toppings

choose-your-own-(adventure)toppings

What are your favorite pancake toppings?

Four-B Pancakes (adapted from The Black Dog Summer on the Vineyard Cookbook. Makes 12-14 small-medium pancakes)

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup white all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 rounded tbsp cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1.5 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1-2 bananas, thinly sliced

Procedure

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (through cinnamon).
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the eggs, butter, and milks. Add the wet to the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in the blueberries.
  • Heat a griddle or pan to medium-high heat and oil it. Ladle 1/2 cup of batter for each pancake onto the griddle. Place a few banana slices on top of each pancake. Flip when small bubbles form and start to pop around the edges.

Enjoy!

Recipe: Chocolate Banana-Nut Pancakes

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These are yet another variation on my signature pancakes, but they’re different enough that they merit their own recipe/post. These pancakes are also special because I made them after F and I ran the hilly Hampstead Midsummer 10k race as a well-deserved post-race treat.

 

What makes these different from my other pancake recipes? Chocolate and chopped nuts, along with two mashed bananas, boost the nutritional value and taste factor. These ‘cakes are also white-flour-free. I made this particular batch with regular milk because we had no buttermilk, but you’re welcome to use your milk product of choice. They’d probably also turn out well if you replaced some of the milk with yogurt or even sour cream.

Chocolate Banana-Nut Pancakes (makes 8 medium pancakes, serving 3-4 people generously)

Ingredients

  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1-2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1.5 cups milk (or buttermilk or kefir)
  • 1 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • dash of salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • to taste: cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup nuts, roughly chopped (I used a mixture of almonds & walnuts)

Procedure

  • Whisk the dry ingredients together in one bowl, and the wet ingredients in another. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry mixture and stir to combine. Let sit while the pan heats.
  • Put your pancake griddle or frying pan on the stove set to medium heat. When the pan is hot, add some oil.
  • When the oil is hot, ladle on some batter in the shape and size of your choice. Flip the pancakes when bubbles start to form and pop around the edges.
  • Serve with butter, peanut butter, maple syrup, or yogurt & molasses.

Enjoy!

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