Monday, April 12, 2010

A Guest Mess

This week's post is being ably handled by the lovely and talented Brandi Wills of The Good in Food. (And no, she did not pay me to say that. She's far too much of a nice Midwestern girl.) Enjoy!

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Hello all! Sorry you had to wait a few extra hours to get your "Messing" fix, but I don't get up as early as Ms. H. 

On my blog, I chronicle my mission to be an educated cook and consumer of foods. Awhile back, I taught myself to make pancakes from scratch for the very first time. I used a recipe for Spanish Pancakes with Olive Oil from a Spanish cooking show. Later, while making cornmeal muffins, I realized that the recipes for Spanish Pancakes and cornmeal muffins were nearly identical. So when Heidi asked me to guest-blog for her, I decided this was my chance to create my very first recipe: Cornmeal Pancakes. I have never cooked something without following someone else's recipe, so merging these two into one of my very own was exciting.

I started with the Spanish Pancake recipe, turned 1½ cups of flour into 1 cup of flour + ½ c. cornmeal. Plus, I left out the chopped chocolate and omitted the olive oil on a whim.


As I worked with the pancakes in the skillet, I found that the cornmeal in the mix made the batter a little more cohesive than the Spanish pancake batter. It held together better during pouring and was much easier to flip and keep in its circular shape. Plus, they left less mess in the pan, meaning it didn't need to be cleaned as often between batches.


After the first batch was done, I took a taste. It had a very light cornmeal-y flavor and slightly grainy texture that was slightly weaker than your average cornmeal pancake, but I liked it. 


I could have happily stopped here. However, I didn't think this constituted enough "messing" to live up to Heidi's standards. So, with half the batter left, I added another tablespoon of cornmeal to see if I could match the expected flavor and consistency. Even thicker and grainier, you could really see the cornmeal in the finished product.


For my third and final trick, I decided to reintroduce the chopped chocolate from the Spanish pancake recipe just for fun. The result was an interesting mixture of flavors and textures. The gritty, earthy cornmeal paired nicely with the sweet, creamy melted chocolate. It was surprisingly good, yet unsurprisingly heavy. The weight of the cornmeal and the sweetness of the chocolate made it an alteration I would only consider if really in the mood for such a thing. 


Ok, time for the Ds—

Deliciousness: All three versions yielded different results, though all were tasty.
Difficulty: Actually, easier than your average pancake.
Do-Over: Next time, I’d stick with the original recipe I created and top it with butter and powdered sugar for a lighter version of a classic.

Details:
1 c. flour
½ c. cornmeal
2 T. sugar
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
touch of salt
1 ½ c. buttermilk
1 beaten egg

Stir gently from the middle outwards, just until the ingredients are blended. Don’t over-mix.

Drizzle olive oil in skillet (or on griddle if you have one) and heat to medium-low. Use a ladle to drop batter onto skillet and spread into a circle with the back of the ladle. When tiny bubbles appear along the edges of the pancake, it is ready to be flipped.


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