Have you seen the blog Not Eating Out in New York? It’s great. As the name suggests it’s all about one New Yorker’s two year commitment to stop eating out and exclusively cook in her home, forrage for food, and host community suppers. Why does she do it? To consume less and be present in the moment. I like apply this philosophy to brunch.
Before Ella, when I was single and fancy free, brunch was the must of the weekend, with the beasties, with the boyfriend, generally hungover until that first rejuvenating sip of a bloody mary. Ahhhhhhhhhh. I can still taste it.
But now brunch is a total chore and our spots of choice demand an hour and a half wait, spent staring at each other (hoping someone will suggest we just return home and to bed), staring at others (in hopes they’ll give up their seat in the waiting area), staring at the hostess (in hopes she’ll call our name next), and drinking too much coffee on an empty stomcah. By the time we’re even seated I’m starving/caffeine crazed/ and generally too annoyed to even enjoy that garlic tomato power punch to the kisser. Not to mention the fact that brunch can easily set us back 50 bones after drinks and a tip.
Instead, I prefer brunch at home. All it takes is pancakes and bacon, a pot of coffee and a whole day of football to set the tone. The best part? No lines, no wait. The second best part, pancake batter holds up well overnight in the fridge- Monday morning pancakes.
My go to is a classic pancake. Flour, buttermilk, a shave of nutmeg and a wink of vanilla. Buttermilk is a must. If you don’t have it you can add a little lemon juice or white vinegar to your milk. It gives the batter a wonderful and unexpected tang that balances out all the sweet.
Adapted from The America’s Test Kitchen Family Baking Cookbook.
Yields about a dozen 4-inch pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Freshly grated nutmeg- about 1/4 teaspoon- or just a few shaves on the microplane
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 1 large egg
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Butter for the pan
1. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and nutmeg together in a large bowl. In a second bowl whisk together the buttermilk, butter, egg, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula until the flour mixture is just incorporated. It is very important not to overmix the batter. Do this and you’ll be stuck eating dense pancakes.
2. Heat your nonstick skillet over medium high heat until you can just hold your palm above the pan for a good 5 seconds. Add a nob of butter, swirling around the pan to sufficiently lubricate the bottom. Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup or a cookie scoop, and portion out three pancakes into the pan. TURN THE HEAT DOWN to medium. I highlight this step because it is tres important. Let the pancakes cook for 2 minutes or until you see bubbles begining to appear on the surface. I like to use my fish spatula to flip my pancakes. It is light and easier to manuever than the clunky wide non stick ones, but use what you have and flip those cakes over and cook 1 minute more until the pancake is cooked through. Call in whoever you’re cooking for (the man, the lady, the kid, the friend, the parents), and start your next batch.
If you’re only cooking for two they you can transfer the remaining batter to an airtight container and keep in the fridge overnight. Alternatively, you can finish cooking off all the pancakes then freeze the ones your don’t eat.