Friday, March 26, 2010

Sausage Pancakes

When I was a kid, I hated breakfast foods. I can recall a few mornings during my teenage years where I cracked open a can of Dinty Moore Beef Stew and had it for breakfast. Can you even imagine? Yuck. As I've grown up, though, I've started to appreciate biscuits and sausage gravy, omelettes, bacon and oatmeal.

But there is one thing that I have always loved as a kid and as an adult and that is my mom's pancakes. (Well, to be honest I've always loved any and all pancakes). I went through a phase when I was in middle school where my mom made me pancakes for breakfast 2-3 times during the week and I LOVED it. Sometimes I would even get lucky and they would contain the secret ingredient that makes her pancakes 100x more special and delicious. Her simple addition of one secret ingredient is something that I've still never seen anyone else do (although, I'm sure other people do, it's such a simple and damn tasty idea).

Here it is folks... brace yourself... Cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage.

Think about it... don't you LOVE the flavor of sweet maple syrup with the salty, sometimes spicy flavor of pork sausage? YUM. How brilliant is it to put it all inside the pancake? It's the perfect blend of sweet, salty, fluffy and tangy (if you use sour cream or buttermilk in your pancakes).

And it's so easy to do. All you do, is take your favorite pancake recipe (or, boxed mix!) and add cooked, slightly cooled, crumbled sausage to the batter (and you get even more flavor if you pour in the little bit of grease that the sausage rendered during cooking) and voila: Sausage Pancakes, or as I like to call them... the best pancakes ever!

And... another favorite pancake tip (from my aunt) is when you finish cooking your pancakes, turn the stove off or on low and pour your maple syrup into the pan that you just cooked your pancakes in (a griddle obviously wont work here) to heat it up before you pour it all over your pancakes. YUM.

Sausage Pancakes
Recipe: From my mom.

So, yeah, I basically described the method above. But will list it as an actual recipe. Mom always used boxed mixes, so you can do that or just use your favorite pancake recipe and add the sausages. I used a Nigella Lawson recipe as my base, which I will list below.

Seriously, these are the perfect mix of savory and sweet for breakfast. I realize that bacon is getting all the credit these days in the food world... but breakfast sausage has it's place, too.

Breakfast Sausage (my mom is partial to Tennessee Pride, but I used All Natural Jimmy Dean. And you could use links if you wanted, but it's much better if you use the bulk sasauge that comes in the tube for slicing or crumbling or whatever).
Pancake batter

Crumble whatever amount of sausage that you want in your pancakes (personal preference) into a skillet and cook until light brown. Set onto a paper towel and let cool for a minute while you prepare your pancake batter.

Add the cool-ish sausage to your batter and proceed with your pancakes.

Nigella's American Breakfast Pancakes
Recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson from her book How to be a Domestic Goddess

I'll print the original recipe with my changes in italics.

With my changes the pancakes were good, but also not quite as tender as I'd like. Probably my fault and not the original recipe's fault. But really... is there such a thing as a bad pancake?

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour (I used White Lily AP flour)
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 tsp sugar (I used Splenda Brown Sugar)
2 large eggs (I separated them from the yolks and beat the egg whites till they were stiff peaks and then folded them into the batter at the end)
2 tbsp butter, melted and cooled
1 1/3 cups of milk (I used half light sour cream and half unsweetened almond milk)
1 tsp vanilla
butter for frying (I used butter flavored cooking spray)

Nigellas Directions for her ingredients:

The easiest way to make these is to put all the ingredients into a blender and blitz. But if you do mix up the batter by hand in a bowl, make a well in the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar, beat in the eggs, melted butter and milk, and transfer to a pitcher; it's much easier to pour the batter into the pan than spoon it. I like to leave the batter for 20 minutes before using it; and then you might want to add more milk to the mixture if your frying in the blini pan, so that it runs right to the edges.

When you cook the pancakes, all you need to remember is that when the upper side of the pancake is blistering and bubbling it's time to cook the second side, and this needs only about 1 minute, if that.

I get 11 blini pan sized pancakes out of this, maybe 16 silver dollar sized ones on the griddle.

Amy's directions for her ingredients.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl or large spouted measuring cup. In a separate bowl, add your egg yolks, butter, milk, sour cream, and vanilla and mix them together, in another bowl, beat your egg whites till you get stiff peaks.

Next make a well in the center of your flour mixture and add the wet ingredients and carefully stir together. careful not to over stir. Then fold in your egg whites. Add your cooked sausage and cook in a skillet or on a griddle.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

TWD: Toasted Coconut Custard Tart

I love coconut. Always have, hopefully always will. I agree it has a different type of texture... but, what doesnt? It's not like I sit around and eat coconut out of the bag or anything... but I LOVE it in things, on top of things, whatever.

But, it's one of those foods that divides people. You're either into the coconut, or you hate it. There's no "meh." As much as I love coconut, I've never really been one to eat a lot of coconut cream pie. I'm not sure why... probably because anything with a huge plume of whipped cream or meringue on top generally makes me suspicious. It's like someone's trying to hide something underneath a veil of white fluff. I'm onto you meringues. I know your game.

So, I generally get my coconut in the form of cookies, candy bars (almond joys? swoon), cakes, breads, etc.

So when Beryl of Cinemon Girl chose the Toasted Coconut Custard Tart for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe, I was stoked. I'd never made a coconut custard tart and was excited to try something new. (Plus, coconut recipes are kind of low-man on the totem pole in a big group of bakers).

I made a small batch and of course, despite sitting down with the recipe and trying to quarter it properly... I botched it and came out with glop instead of custard. But, the beauty of this recipe is that it was STILL delicious. Like... one taste and I was in coconut heaven. It was unlike anything I'd ever had before. Creamy, sweet and packed with coconut flavor.

I cannot wait to make this again as a full recipe and see how good an accurately measured version is. If you're a coconut fan, this will seriously blow your socks off.

Toasted Coconut Custard Tart
Recipe by Dorie Greenspan

Besides trying to quarter this recipe (which I don't suggest you do), I also made a few other changes. First of all, since I was making a mini-recipe, I made a graham cracker crust instead of a standart tart crust. Easy and delicious!

Next, I skipped the whipped cream topping. To me, meringue and whipped cream just get in the way. But, if you're sucker for toppings, by all means make the one Dorie puts with the recipes... rum in the whipped cream sounds delicious!

Also, I added vanilla to the recipe in addition to the dark rum, I thought it added a nice subtle flavor.

The bad news? I used WAYYY too much cornstarch and so my custard turned into a thick, thick, goopy mess. But... the flavor was still delicious.

Entire Recipe Here