Where have all the cars gone? The city seemed unnaturally quiet all weekend. There were plenty of people on the sidewalks, but vehicular traffic, at least up here in Yorkville, was light — or at least we thought so. Kathleen asked at one point, “Was there a headline that we don’t know about?” Not that we’re complaining about reduced traffic!

I had to admit today that I have been running at full throttle for much longer than usual. It is glorious to feel purposeful all the time, but I am a bit pooped. I had a few recipes to write up for today’s kitchen column, but I hadn’t got them earlier and I couldn’t bring myself to fuss. In fact, I couldn’t bring myself to the computer until seven in the evening. As promised, I fixed breakfast in bed for Kathleen, so that she could sleep in. Also as promised — to myself — I made pancakes. For well over a year, I’ve been relying on Eli’s terrific frozen croissants, which really do bake up as nicely as almost anything that you’d find in a bakery. It was time to check my pancake mojo. That wasn’t all I tested today: I also baked a quiche, making pie crust for the first time in the second Bush administration.

People ask from time to time for my pancake recipe, but I tell them that the recipe is not the important part. Almost any cookbook will offer a few good recipes, and my advice is to go for anything that calls for buttermilk. What matters with pancakes, though, is the griddle. If your stove has one, great. If it doesn’t, then you’re going to have to invest in something rectangular and large enough to span two burners. (I’m crazy — this will come as no surprise — about my non-stick All-Clad.) You want a non-stick surface, and you want it to be hot before you pour the batter. Because pancake batter is mixed very quickly, I recommend firing up the griddle as soon as you’ve measured your quantities but before you combine anything. Trust me — a good griddle is all there is to pancakes.

Oh — and heat the syrup. Just zap it (briefly) in the microwave.

Add coffee, orange juice, melon, scrambled eggs* and sausage, and you’ve got a great breakfast. Amazing how quickly it will disappear!

* Making scrambled eggs on the griddle involves childhood-caliber play. You must work the eggs with a spatula to keep them from running off, and of course you have to keep adding raw egg quickly enough to keep the scrambled egg from drying out. The possibilities for disaster are fascinating.

Stack the finished pancakes to one side of the griddle and the sausages or bacon to the other. Beat the eggs in a spouted bowl so that you can pour them very slowly onto the griddle, just a bit at a time.

For fancy footwork, turn one burner down to low before pouring on the egg. This will give you some variation in temperature, once you find out how to feel your way.  

One Response to “Relâche

  1. Yvonne says:

    What a lovely breakfast in bed! But surely this post calls for photographic documentation, because, frankly, some of us here are suspicious about the “melon” claim… ; )

    Have decided that if I ever start an avant-jazz band, I am naming it Pancake Mojo. If you don’t mind.