Tuesday, September 27, 2011

German Pancake

Recently I managed to write about a couple of desserts. This was a big deal, because it was a first and because I almost never make dessert and more often than not, I don't give a fig about eating sweets.

I'd like to continue down the road of firsts and talk breakfast with you. I know. It's completely out of character. Despite the fact that this blog is called Rocket Lunch, the majority of what I write about is dinner. Hands down my favorite meal of the day, dinner and what's on its menu are what I spend most of my time thinking about.

Breakfast is something I generally shove quickly into my mouth at the kitchen counter chased down by a few scalding gulps of black coffee. For Fe. breakfast is synonymous with cereal. For him the words could be used interchangeably. I'm trying to change this because cereal is no way for an active boy to start the day.

Oh, the things you learn in preschool. Bring on the protein!

When I was a kid, Sunday breakfast was a thrill. Saturday morning was hot cereal (oatmeal, Cream of Wheat or Wheatena), but Sunday brought ultra-thin crèpes stuffed with fruit and brown sugar or drizzled with maple syrup (the real stuff), or crispy matzoh meal pancakes dotted with apricot jam, eggs in a cup, bacon, or if there was time and we were very lucky a giant golden puffy German pancake.

Maybe you've enjoyed a German pancake. Sometimes known as a Dutch baby, this beautiful raised breakfast treat is quite similar to Yorkshire pudding, only much sweeter and there's no beef fat. Some folks serve this pancake with fruit or jam, but being the creature of habit that I am, I cannot get with that at all.

Lemon and powdered sugar. That is it.

So on Sunday, I had this fabulous idea to make a German pancake with Fe. He was psyched. Only problem was that there was not even the faintest dusting of powdered sugar to be found in my cabinets, and without powdered sugar there is no German pancake. In ransacking the cupboards further, I realized that I didn't even have granulated sugar. I go away for a week and then transition my darling Fe. into preschool and the structure of our existence starts crumbling around us. No sugar!

Turns out the other darling in my life was surprisingly willing to run out to the market at 8:30 in the morning to save the day! It was on. As with just about all of our other cooking endeavors, Fe. was hooting with glee over this project. I don't think ecstasy would be overstating it. The recipe is amazingly easy, takes hardly any time at all and produces stunningly gorgeous and delicious results.

You whisk together a handful of ingredients and then pour the mixture into a pan filled with melted butter. This gets baked for about fifteen minutes. You'll want to serve the dramatic results immediately, so everyone can ooh and ah over your masterpiece. Cut into large slices and serve with plenty of powdered sugar to sprinkle over and lots of lemon wedges for copious squeezing.

It's sweet, but not terribly so. The pancake's eggy texture (think clafoutis or Yorkshire pudding, not American flapjacks) and butteriness combined with all the sour lemon and sugar are what send me. Still my favorite breakfast of all time. Serve it with an egg in a cup (five minutes in boiling water) and your child will be sighing with satisfaction almost as loudly as you are (and you'll get the protein in there!!)

German Pancake
1 cup milk
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 stick of unsalted butter

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Whisk together the milk, flour, sugar, and eggs until completely smooth.

Melt the butter in a 12 x 9-inch glass baking dish in the oven. Swish the melted butter around to coat the sides. Pour in the batter and bake for approximately 15 minutes, until the the pancake is golden brown and puffed up.

Serve immediately before it deflates!

Serves 6

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Dinner Diary: 9/19/11 Grindhaus Sausage

  • Grindhaus Spicy Italian & Pork and Cremini Sausage with Italian Frying Peppers & Onions
  • Creamy Polenta with Butter
  • Heirloom Tomatoes with Basil

Sunday morning brought a brief window of freedom and the Hollywood Farmers' Market. Fruits and vegetables and seedlings! Fe. and I are about to start our first serious garden. I hope I'll have a lot more to share about this soon.

I popped over to the Grindhaus Sausage Shop in Hollywood on the way home. It's a funny little store front with nothing much other than sausages, mustard and an appealing selection of pickled vegetables. Everything is clean and white besides the tattoos and grindhouse posters. The sausages come in tempting varieties like the exotic lamb with honey and dates and duck with chocolate and cherry. You'll also find dependable flavors like Bratwurst and spicy Italian.

It was my first visit to Grindhaus. I picked up the spicy Italian and pork and cremini mushroom. Both were delicious. The quality of the ingredients appeared to be extremely fresh. Cutting into the uncooked sausage, I really liked what I saw. Nothing sketchy! The flavors were excellent.

I'll have to try again soon. Plus their food truck offerings sound utterly fantastic.

Grindhaus Sausage Shop
5634 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028

Dinner Diary: 9/17/11