Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

How to Make Pancakes

posted in Breakfast and Brunch, Vegetarian by Kathy Maister

Pancakes are eaten all over the world. Here at startcooking.com I have three different recipes which you can choose from to make pancakes:

  1. Chocolate Chip Pancakes from Scratch (video)
  2. Crepes With Nutella (video) (Crepes are a very thin, flat pancake)
  3. From a box mix (today’s photo-tutorial)

If you make crepes or pancakes from “scratch” you will need: flour, baking powder, vanilla sugar, salt, milk, butter, eggs, and vegetable oil. If you are just learning how to cook, all of these ingredients are in fact, an important part of a well stocked cupboard.

BUT, given that this is startcooking.com I’m going to show you how to make pancakes with a box mix.

Before buying the box mix, check the ingredients necessary to make that particular box mix. Some require only water. Some want you to add eggs, milk and sometimes vegetable oil to the box mix. Don’t leave the grocery store until you have read the back of the box of your pancake mix!

This particular mix requires only water. (The directions on the back of the box are usually done very well; often including a picture drawing of what to do!)

Using a medium size bowl, measure out the pancake mix into the bowl; be sure to level off the top of the measuring cup.

Now add the water. Use a glass measuring cup with a spout. It will make measuring and pouring the water easier.

Blend it all together with a whisk or a fork until everything is just combined. (No vigorous beating here!)

Preheat a large fry pan on medium heat for about one minute.

You will know when the pan is hot enough when you drop a few drop of water on the fry pan and they dance and sizzle! (There is a good visual of this in my Stir Fry Video)

Once the pan is hot, add 1 ½ tablespoons of vegetable oil.

You could use butter, but butter burns more quickly than vegetable oil so it can get a bit tricky if your pan gets too hot.

Using a ¼ cup measure, scoop up some batter, hold the cup about 2-3 inches from the surface of the pan, and pour the batter into the pan.

Try and make them nice and rounded. You could mush it around a bit with the back of a spoon to try and get them rounder. It may take a little practice! I like to make about 3 or 4 pancakes at a time.

Tempting as it is to make one giant pancake – I wouldn’t recommend it: it’s really tricky to flip!

There are lots of different topping you could add at this point.

Chocolate chips, coconut, chopped nuts, raspberries, blueberries, bananas, and raisins are some sweet options. For savory pancakes try shredded cheese or cooked bacon.

All you do is sprinkle your extras onto the uncooked side of the pancake. This way, everything gets evenly distributed. (Some recipes will have you add the extras to the batter but I prefer to sprinkle them on the top.)

Let the pancakes cook until you see all little bubbles on the surface of the pancake.

Using a spatula take a peek on the underside to see if they are ready to flip. They should be beautifully browned.

Now cook the flip side until it is nice and brown. The flip side never gets quite as browned or looks quite as good as the top side. The flip side takes only about half the cooking time of the first side.

Don’t keep flipping the pancakes. Flip once and that’s it!

You can keep your pancakes warm in a 200 degree oven until you have finished cooking them all.

There are of course many different types of syrup you can pour over your pancakes, but my favorite is good old fashioned maple syrup!

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • One box of pancake mix
  • Vegetable oil
  • Syrup

Optionall Ingredients:

  • Blueberries
  • Chocolate chips
  • Coconut
  • Chopped Nuts
  • Raspberries
  • Bananas
  • Raisins
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Cooked bacon

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Wine and Chocolate for Valentine’s Day

posted in Beverages, Sweets by Kathy Maister

I received the following from Natalie MacLean, author of “Red, White and Drunk All Over: A Wine-Soaked Journey from Grape to Glass”.

*****

Hi Start Cooking,

Want to seduce someone this Valentine’s Day? Just share a glass of wine (or three) with your sweetheart. Wine is liquid sensuality: Its heady bouquet stimulates the appetite and its velvet caress soothes that desire. What other drink is described as both ‘voluptuous’ and ‘muscular’? And when you pair wine with the mouth-coating luxury of chocolate, the combination is impossible to resist.

The creamy flavors of chocolate go best with sweet, full-bodied, high-alcohol wines.
My top 10 wine and chocolate matches:

1. Dark Chocolate and Banyuls, France
2. Chocolate-Covered Biscotti and Recioto Della Valpolicella, Italy
3. Chocolate-Orange Cake and Liqueur Muscat, Australia
4. Chocolate with Nuts and Tawny Port, Portugal
5. Milk Chocolate and Tokaji, Hungary
6. Bittersweet Chocolate and Amarone, Italy
7. Chocolate-Dipped Fruit and Icewine, Canada
8. Chocolate Ganache Truffles and Sauternes, France
9. Chocolate Raspberry Cheesecake and Framboise, California
10. Chocolate Hearts with Cream Filling and Cream Sherry, Spain

***

Natalie suggests wines to complement 50 chocolate dishes in her online matching tool at www.nataliemaclean.com/matcher. Just click on “desserts” to find pairings for chocolate mud pie to chocolate cheesecake. Her online food-and-wine matcher doesn’t just focus on chocolate. The interactive tool has thousands of wines to pair with any dish: meat, pasta, seafood, vegetarian fare, pizza, eggs, cheese and dessert. You simply choose the food or wine from a drop-down menu to get the pairing suggestions. There are also lots of recipes for those planning a romantic meal. The matcher is updated regularly with new dishes and wines from the 85,000-plus readers who subscribe to Natalie’s free e-newsletter, which offers tips on how to buy, cellar and serve wine.

Natalie has won four James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award. Eric Asimov of the New York Times calls Natalie’s approach “a winning formula,” describing her as “the disarming Everywoman … she loves wine, loves drinking.”

Thanks, Natalie for sharing your expertise!

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Strawberries Dipped in Chocolate

print recipe card posted in Sweets by Kathy Maister
Difficulty:

What a treat! Everyone knows it’s a celebration when you are served strawberries dipped in chocolate! Learning how to make them isn’t difficult but may take a bit of practice figuring out how to dip and not drop the strawberries in the melted chocolate!

Buy medium size berries – two bites is the prefect size. As beautiful as those giant ones are, they are too hard to eat!

Gently rinse the berries in cool water…

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…and then spread them out on a clean dish towel to dry.

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Let them dry completely before you start dipping. Not a drop of water should be left on the berries.

In addition to dipping the strawberries in chocolate, you can also dip the edges in coconut, chopped nuts, sprinkles or nonpareils. (Those are those colored candy dots in the photo above.)

Eight ounces of chocolate will cover about 12-14 medium-large strawberries. You can use any type of chocolate you prefer – dark, milk, semi-sweet or white chocolate.

(Note: A block of white chocolate is a lot tastier than “white chocolate chips, which are only “chocolate flavored” and not the real thing!)

If you are using a chocolate bar or a block of chocolate, chop it into small pieces…

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…and then put the chocolate in a small microwave safe dish. Melt it, in the microwave, for about 1 minute and 30 seconds on medium. (Don’t cover the dish!)

When melting chocolate chips, they will not really change shape that much until you give it a stir.

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The goal is to slowly melt the chocolate, not bring it to a boil. If it still isn’t melted, continue melting in 15 second increments in the microwave. Stir the chocolate. It should be smooth and have no lumps.

 

Once the chocolate is melted, start dipping.

Try to cover about 2/3 of the strawberry with chocolate. It looks prettier than covering the entire strawberry.

Then gently dip the strawberry into one of your additional toppings.

When you do the dipping, be sure to hold back the green top so that it does not get covered in chocolate.

If you are having difficulty holding the strawberry, skewer it, just under the green bit, with a toothpick.

You are less likely to drop the strawberry if you hold it with a toothpick. (There are all sorts of chocolate dipping tools for sale as well.)

Put the dipped berries on some wax paper to set. They should be stored in the refrigerator, and eaten at room temperature, within 24 hours.

Enjoy!

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